Lentinus edodes, Marasmiaceae
Shiitake is an edible mushroom native to East Asia, which is cultivated and consumed in many Asian countries, as well as being dried and exported to many countries around the world. It is a feature of many Asian cuisines including Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai. In the East, the shiitake mushroom has long been considered a delicacy as well as a medicinal mushroom.
Modern research has indicated shiitake mushroom may stimulate the immune system, possess antibacterial properties, reduce platelet aggregation, and possess antiviral properties,possibly through antiviral agents known as proteinase inhibitors.
Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) is an α-glucan-rich compound isolated from shiitake. In Japan, AHCC is the second most popular complementary and alternative medicine used by cancer patients. AHCC is a well tolerated compound and is metabolized via the CYP450 2D6 pathway. In addition, animal research has shown that AHCC may increase the body’s resistance to pathogens as shown in experiments with the influenza virus, and bacterial infection. Animal research has shown AHCC may enhance immune function. Lentinan, a compound isolated from shiitake has been demonstrated to possess antitumor properties, and human clinical studies have associated lentinan with a higher survival rate, higher quality of life, and lower recurrence of cancer.
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 Gao Y, Zhang D, Sun B, Fujii H, Kosuna K, Yin Z (October 2006). “Active hexose correlated compound enhances tumor surveillance through regulating both innate and adaptive immune responses”. Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy 55 (10): 1258–66.
 Nogusa S, Gerbino J, Ritz BW (February 2009). “Low-dose supplementation with active hexose correlated compound improves the immune response to acute influenza infection in C57BL/6 mice”. Nutrition Research 29 (2): 139–43.
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 Aviles H, O’Donnell P, Orshal J, Fujii H, Sun B, Sonnenfeld G (April 2008). “Active hexose correlated compound activates immune function to decrease bacterial load in a murine model of intramuscular infection”. American Journal of Surgery 195 (4): 537–45.
 Yang P, Liang M, Zhang Y, Shen B (August 2008). “Clinical application of a combination therapy of lentinan, multi-electrode RFA and TACE in HCC”. Advances in Therapy 25 (8): 787–94.