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Shiitake mushroom (Lentinus edodes) is a type of edible fungus. It's native to Japan and China, and contains a chemical called lentinan.

Shiitake mushrooms are the second most commonly eaten mushrooms in the world. Lentinan and other chemicals in shiitake mushrooms might stimulate the immune system.

People use shiitake mushroom for HIV/AIDS, common cold, flu, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
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  • Dental Plaque.  A solution containing an extract of shiitake mushroom is less effective than fluoride mouthwash for reducing dental plaque.
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When taken by mouth: Shiitake mushroom is likely safe when cooked and eaten in food amounts. It is possibly unsafe when used in larger amounts as medicine, or when the uncooked mushroom is eaten. It can cause stomach discomfort, blood abnormalities, and skin swelling. It might also make the skin more sensitive to the sun and can cause allergic skin reactions and breathing problems in some people.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if shiitake mushroom is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

"Auto-immune diseases" such as multiple sclerosis (MS), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Shiitake mushroom might cause the immune system to become more active. This could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using shiitake mushroom.

A blood disorder called hypereosinophilic syndrome: Don't use shiitake mushroom if you have this condition. It might make it worse.

There are no known interactions with medications. Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

There are no known interactions with foods.

There isn't enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of shiitake mushroom might be. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult a healthcare professional before using.

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