Shiitake Mushroom

Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Champignon Noir, Champignon Parfumé, Champignon Shiitake, Champignons Shiitake, Forest Mushroom, Hongos Shiitake, Hua Gu, Lenticus edodes, Lentin, Lentin des Chênes, Lentin du Chêne, Lentinan edodes, Lentinula, Lentinula edodes, Lentinus edodes, Mushroom, Pasania Fungus, Shitake, Shiitake, Snake Butter, Tricholomopsis edodes.


Shiitake mushroom is a fungus. An extract made from this mushroom is used as medicine.

Shiitake mushroom is used for boosting the immune system, lowering blood cholesterol levels, treating prostate cancer, and as an anti-aging agent.

Shiitake mushroom is also eaten as food.

How does it work?

Shiitake mushroom contains chemicals that might help lower cholesterol levels. It also contains very small amounts of a chemical that seems to keep tumors from getting bigger.


Next to red peppers, you can get the most vitamin C from ________________. See Answer

Uses & Effectiveness

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Prostate cancer. Shiitake mushroom extract does not seem to stop prostate cancer from advancing, at least according to a laboratory test that measures prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. PSA levels can be used to measure the progress of prostate cancer.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of shiitake mushroom for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Shiitake mushroom is LIKELY SAFE when consumed by mouth in food amounts, but it seems POSSIBLY UNSAFE to take by mouth in medicinal amounts. It can cause stomach discomfort, blood abnormalities, and skin swelling (inflammation). It might also cause an increased sensitivity to the sun, allergic skin reactions, and breathing problems.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking shiitake mushroom if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

“Auto-immune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Shiitake mushroom might cause the immune system to become more active. This could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using shiitake mushroom.

A blood disorder called eosinophilia: Don't use shiitake mushroom if you have this condition. It might make eosinophilia worse.


Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Shiitake mushroom seems to increase the immune system. By increasing the immune system, shiitake mushroom might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease immune system function.

Some medications that decrease immune system function include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.


The appropriate dose of shiitake mushroom depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for shiitake mushroom. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Nimura, H., Mitsumori, N., Takahashi, N., Kashimura, H., Takayama, S., Kashiwagi, H., and Yanaga, K. [S-1 combined with lentinan in patients with unresectable or recurrent gastric cancer]. Gan To Kagaku Ryoho 2006;33 Suppl 1:106-109. View abstract.

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Suzuki, H., Iiyama, K., Yoshida, O., Yamazaki, S., Yamamoto, N., and Toda, S. Structural characterization of the immunoactive and antiviral water-solubilized lignin in an extract of the culture medium of Lentinus edodes mycelia (LEM). Agric.Biol Chem 1990;54(2):479-487. View abstract.

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Takahashi, T., Hori, Y., Isogawa, S., Saho, M., Yoshida, H., Yokoyama, K., Watanabe, M., and Nakagawa, S. [A case of hepatocellular carcinoma in an elderly patient that improved upon combination therapy of Lentinan and Tegafur]. Gan To Kagaku Ryoho 1990;17(8 Pt 1):1517-1519. View abstract.

Takashima, K., Izumi, K., Iwai, H., and Takeyama, S. The hypocholesterolemic action of eritadenine in the rat. Atherosclerosis 1973;17(3):491-502. View abstract.

Takashima, K., Sato, C., Sasaki, Y., Morita, T., and Takeyama, S. Effect of eritadenine on cholesterol metabolism in the rat. Biochem Pharmacol 1-15-1974;23(2):433-438. View abstract.

Takemura, T., Takahashi, S., Yoshikawa, T., and Kondo, M. [A case of advanced gastric cancer (type 3) with pyloric stenosis, multiple liver and lymph node metastases responding to UFT-E granules and lentinan]. Gan To Kagaku Ryoho 2000;27(1):107-111. View abstract.

Takeshita, K., Hayashi, S., Tani, M., Kando, F., Saito, N., and Endo, M. Monocyte function associated with intermittent lentinan therapy after resection of gastric cancer. Surg.Oncol. 1996;5(1):23-28. View abstract.

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