Maitake is among the world's most beneficial functional mushrooms. Its name, which is translated as the dancing mushroom, perfectly describes the beautiful array of overlapping caps that resemble a bird's plumage. Thanks to its bird-like appearance, it is known as the “hen-of-the-woods” in Europe and North America.


This feathered mushroom offers a wide range of health benefits, including its ability to help support healthy blood sugar levels and immune health. If you're wondering how to experience maitake mushroom benefits and how to incorporate it into your daily routine, here's some background on this superfood mushroom's history and some tips on how to take it every day.

The Historical Use of Maitake

Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is native to China, northeastern Japan, and North America, where it can be found on the forest floor at the base of oak, maple, or elm trees. Capable of growing to over 100 pounds, it earned the title of “king of the mushrooms.” It was first discovered over 2,000 years ago by a group of Buddhist nuns and woodcutters in Japan. Apparently, overjoyed by the taste, sight, and medicinal properties of this distinctive mushroom, they danced, and its nickname derives from that experience.

Following its discovery, maitake became an integral part of Chinese and Japanese herbology as a result of its therapeutic and restorative attributes. As a medicinal mushroom, it was used in traditional Chinese medicine to improve spleen and stomach health as well as to help calm nerves. In 1979, Japanese mycologists created indoor and outdoor cultivation techniques and today, maitake is one of the most broadly used mushrooms throughout the world.

Maitake Benefits and Health-Supportive Properties 

Maitake mushrooms are nutritious and beneficial as a functional food. Their nutrient value comes from amino acids, B vitamins, and minerals, including copper, zinc, and phosphorus. As functional mushrooms, maitake contain an impressive amount of alpha- and beta-glucans polysaccharides, triterpenes, and additional bioactive chemicals that are known to offer a wide range of health benefits. These benefits include:

Provides Adaptogenic Support

Maitake is one of a small group of functional mushrooms that provides adaptogenic support. Adaptogens are substances that increase a person’s ability to adapt and recover from stress.  As a beneficial adaptogen, maitake helps to promote a natural balance and healthy stress response in the body.

Supports Healthy Blood Sugar

Maitake has been shown to support healthy blood sugar levels. A water-soluble extract of maitake given to lab animals in one study supported insulin response, resulting in healthy blood sugar and insulin levels. This functional mushroom supports metabolic health.

Supports Healthy Blood Cholesterol Levels

The fiber content of maitake mushrooms aids efficient digestion. Research with lab animals demonstrated maitake’s support for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. 

Promotes a Healthy Gut Flora

Maitake, like other mushrooms, contains plenty of prebiotic fiber. Its polysaccharides support microbial diversity in the intestines, enabling the growth of beneficial bacteria and promoting a healthy gut flora. 

Supports Weight Management

Through the combined benefits of support for favorable gut flora, its fiber content, and its effects on digestion, maitake supports healthy weight management. By including it in your daily diet, you can support your body in maintaining efficient metabolism and healthy body weight. 

Promotes Immune Health

The beta-glucans content of maitake has immune-supporting effects. The mushroom's bioactive polysaccharides support both cellular and humoral immunity. This helps the body ward off pathogens—particularly useful when there's a cold going around at the office, or you're experiencing stress and have a weakened immune system.

Provides Antioxidants

Oxidation occurs as a result of natural body processes and functions, as well as exposure to certain external toxins. When unchecked, this process can cause oxidative stress that damages and ages body tissues. Antioxidants found in maitake mushrooms benefit the body by neutralizing free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Maitake supports the body’s response to oxidation which supports healthy aging. 

Learn More About Maitake Mushroom Supplements

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Maitake Mushroom Dosage

Tasty Maitake Mushroom Recipes

History of Maitake (Hen-of-the-Woods)

Finding Safe, High-Quality Maitake Mushroom Supplements

Maitake mushrooms are edible and popular with chefs and home cooks around the world. With its mild, woodsy, eggplant-like flavor, maitake can be consumed daily. It is especially delicious in soups, stews, pasta dishes, ramen, casseroles, sauces, and sautés. To make maitake a regular part of your wellness routine, however, you must have a reliable and affordable source. If you're looking for a quick and easy way to incorporate maitake's health benefits into your daily health regimen, try it in a dietary supplement form. 

Om Mushroom provides a variety of the highest quality, cultivated mushroom superfoods on the market. Grown through the full life cycle at our indoor farm in Carlsbad, California, we take pride in controlling the process from start to finish. In our state-of-the-art cleanroom with filtered air and water, our mycologists are able to cultivate maitake mushrooms free from pesticides, heavy metals, environmental toxins, and microbes. After dehydration and milling, our products undergo third-party testing to ensure top quality for our valued customers.

Om Mushroom supplements:

  • (Single-species supplements) Contain at least 2,000mg of whole food mushroom blend per serving
  • Are made from certified USDA organic mushrooms grown on organic oats
  • Are verified non-GMO 
  • Are certified Kosher
  • Are gluten-free
  • Are grown in the US
  • Are cultivated and processed under FDA cGMP standards
  • Are processed according to the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety

Options for Adding Maitake Mushroom Benefits to Your Day 

As a leading producer of certified organic, whole food mushroom powders, Om offers maitake as a single species and in curated blends with other functional mushrooms. Powder blends are easy to use and can be added to smoothies, juice, coffee, tea, oatmeal, eggs, and dressings—you can even bake with them. Some of Om's mushroom powder blends can also be purchased in capsule form and in functional drink mixes that make it easy to enjoy the benefits of functional mushrooms when you're on the go.

These products feature the power of maitake:

Om Maitake Organic Mushroom Powder

This single species powder blend provides high-quality maitake mycelium and primordia. A single teaspoon serving each day provides full-spectrum support for weight and healthy blood sugar and cholesterol management.

Om Beauty Blend Organic Mushroom Powder

Maitake lends its benefits as one of five functional mushroom species. For a multi-species blend that supports health and beauty, this powder blend is full of antioxidant power to combat damage from free radicals and beta-glucans polysaccharides to support healthy immune functioning. If you prefer the same antioxidant and immunomodulating power with biotin in capsule form, Om has that too.

Om Beauty+ Mushroom Drink Mix

For a strawberry-lemonade, functional drink mix with antioxidant and immunomodulating power, Om provides the same mushroom species along with collagen, biotin, and vitamin E to support strong and healthy skin, hair, and nails.

Om Immune Blend Organic Mushroom Powder

This beta-glucans power blend provides broad-spectrum support for the immune system with maitake and three additional functional mushroom species.

From natural energy to helping promote a head-to-toe glow, Om's mushroom products are convenient nutrient-dense supplements that offer multiple options for modern-day consumption. 


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Functional mushroom products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This page was originally published on November 16, 2020; it was updated on February 2, 2022.

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