The Shiitake have a
relationship with the trees they
grow on. In order to be considered a saprophyte, the organism
must receive nutrients from dead organic material. Decomposition is a very
important interaction between the Shiitake and
its environment, because it helps to get rid of the
bulk of the material from dead trees.
live in the forests of Eastern Asia... much like the one below.
Do you like your fungus
Photo Copyright: Susan Voisin
Healthy... Is There Really Such a Thing?
Lentinula edodes is a
nutritious and edible fungi.
Most people find the mushroom to be
more fleshy and have a meaty texture. Yum! Shiitake mushrooms contain all 8 essential
amino acids in a higher percentage than in milk,
eggs, meat, or soy beans. Many vegetarians
consume the Shiitake in place of meat, because it
is a good source of protein. Shiitake
mushrooms have long been noted for their
good benefits in traditional Chinese medicine.
They were used to cure colds and increase
energy. Recently though, studies have proven
for the mushrooms to really be as beneficial as
they were long perceived to be. They have
been shown to have anti-tumor, antibacterial, anti-cholesterol, antiviral, and immune
regulating properties. In medicine, it has been
used with HIV positive patients.
Shiitakes contain a
polysaccharide called lentinan which has been
shown to help increase T-cell counts and lower
lymphocyte counts. The Shiitake has a fairly
good record and has only been shown to
cause diarrhea and abdominal bloating.