Shiitake mushroom and Hepatitis
The significant antiviral and immune stimulating properties of Shiitake were not recognised until Japanese scientists isolated several important compounds from Shiitake with well-studied pharmacological effects including LEM and Lentinan2.
The major active constituent of Lentinan is a protein-bound polysaccharide. It contains about 24.6% protein and 44% sugars. The polysaccharide of Shiitake is in a triple helix structure containing glucose molecules with mostly beta-(1-3) linkage and beta-(1-6) side chains
In a clinical trial of 40 patients with chronic hepatitis B, LEM improved liver function and reduced viraemia
Records of traditional Chinese use of Shiitake dating back to the Ming Dynasty suggest using Shiitake as a medicinal mushroom to improve stamina and circulation, cure colds and promote good health.
Pharmacological and clinical research
Modern Japanese research has revealed that Lentinan in Shiitake mushroom extract has significant immune modulating, lipid-lowering,
and antiviral properties.
It has been found to be able to activate macrophages and lymphocytes to modulate the release of cytokines, which may account for its antiviral properties.