Shiitake Mushrooms - Lentinula edodes

Shiitake Mushrooms

Lentinula edodes

Shiitake Mushrooms are one of the best to boost immunity, lowering blood cholesterol levels and has an anti-aging agent. They also help colds/flu's, hardening of the arteries and help treat treat prostate or breast cancer.

  • Plant Family: Marasmiaceae
  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names:
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Fruit
  • Side Effects: Be cautious if on blood thinners as Shiitake have anti-clotting effects.
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About Shiitake Mushrooms

Lentinula edodes, habitually known as Shiitake mushroom is cultivated all around the globe cheerfully due to its medicinal benefits in traditional medical literature. It is the second most abundantly produced mushroom in the world. This notorious Japanese mushroom is also well known as black mushroom, black forest mushroom, sawtooth oak mushroom, oak mushroom, or golden oak mushroom.

Shiitake is an inhabitant of deciduous trees, mainly shii, oak, maple, chestnut, beech, poplar, sweetgum, mulberry, ironwood, chinquapin, and hornbeam. Shiitake is famous in East Asian cuisines, especially in Chinese and Japanese dishes. It is also used as a raw material for the formulation of organic fertilizers and compost. More than that, shiitake mushroom does not back down when it comes to manifest its medicinal properties too. Shiitake boosts the immune system and helps in treating dyslipidemia, diabetes, atherosclerosis, eczema, cold, and flu. Shiitake is frequently being used as an antihypertensive agent, anti-aging agent, antimicrobial agent, anticancer agent, carminative, and so forth.

Shiitake is considered to be brimmed with various biologically active compounds like erythritol, copalic acid, adenosine, carvacrol, polysaccharides, terpenoids, sterols, lipids, and amino acids.


Shiitake mushrooms are a bit challenging variety to grow as their mycelium is not as dynamic as others and demands some time for incubation. As much as they are enjoyed in wild, these sumptuously delicious mushrooms can be cultivated indoors too and can provide you with mushrooms after every 4 to 5 weeks for approximately 4 to 6 years.

Shiitake desires for a wood-based growing medium that can be blocks of sawdust or logs of deciduous trees.

A freshly cut log of about 3 to 4ft is the best choice for the inoculation as an old or time-worn log has a chance of being attacked by other fungi. For sawdust blocks, usually, a container or bag is required to hold and keep the substrate in place.

Winter is the best time to inoculate but the careful gardeners devote their time and energy in spring-loaded sawdust spawn. Sawdust and logs are pasteurized under extreme heat and pressure. The logs are inoculated in spring after all the dangers of the frost have departed. The holes are drilled in the log and the spawn is inserted only to be sealed with wax afterward. The logs are then transferred outdoor in a shady region, careful not to let any other fungus attack it. They require water once in a week but when the temperature is below freezing, it is better not to do so.  

As for sawdust, it is mixed with the spawn and a little bit of water. The mixture is then transferred to the container or growing bag which is then allowed to sit in a dark place. It does not require water and will grow on its own.

Shiitake releases basidiospores upon maturation which disperse via wind. The ones that are successful reach their target i.e. logs, woodchips, and other suitable growing media. Upon the provision of favorable conditions, basidiospores germinate and form hyphae.

The hyphae further initiate branching which gives rise to the development of primary and secondary mycelium. The secondary mycelium then colonizes by digesting wood and storing nutrients.

All these events make way for the primodium which grows and forms a mature mushroom, with the signature stem and cute cap.


After 6 to 18 months of incubation, the mushrooms are ready to be harvested from the logs. Also, when the caps are open and not to flat, that is the best cursor for the harvest.

Shiitake fruiting body is cut at the base of the stem using a sharp knife. It is advised not to twist the mushroom because this may subject to damaging the mycelium.

Shiitake mushrooms are supposed to be refrigerated in paper bags. This way they tend to stay best for ten days.

Shiitake can also be air-dried to keep the spirits alive for a longer period of time.


Shiitake mushroom is the best mushroom that surely deserves to be incorporated into your routine as it the best immune booster and source of vitamin A, C, D, selenium, zinc, iron, and magnesium.

  • Tincture- Dried shiitake mushrooms infuse in grain alcohol for 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea- Dried shiitake mushrooms are topped with hot boiling water. A pinch of sea salt wakes the magic of tea.
  • Decoction- Dried or fresh chopped shiitake mushroom is used to make a decoction.
  • Syrup- Shiitake mushrooms, chicken broth, and grapeseed oil are used to make shiitake syrup.
  • Infused oil- Dried shiitake mushrooms and olive oil are used to make shiitake oil.

Articles About Shiitake Mushrooms