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Lentinan

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Lentinula edodes (Berk.) Pegler, syn. with Tricholomopsis edodes Sing., Lentinus edodes (Berk.) Singer

COMMON NAME(S): Shiitake, snake butter, pasania fungus, forest mushroom, hua gu

History

Lentinan is a complex polysaccharide that possesses immunostimulating anti-tumor properties. Lentinan was isolated from edible shiitake mushrooms that have been used in traditional Asian cooking and herbal medicine. Shiitake has been renowned in Japan and China as a food and medicine for thousands of years and is now commonplace throughout the world. Extracts of these mushrooms are being incorporated into over-the-counter dietary supplements designed to improve the status of the immune system.

Botany :- Lentinan is a polysaccharide derived from the vegetative parts of the edible Japanese shiitake mushroom. It is the cell wall constituent extracted from the fruiting bodies or mycelium of L. edodes.The light, amber fungi are found on fallen broadleaf trees, such as chestnut, beech, or mulberry. They have de-current, even, or ragged gills, a stem, and are covered with delicate, white flocking. Shiitake mushrooms are commonly sold in food markets in the Orient and are now widely available in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Uses of Lentinan

Lentinan is proving to be a valuable component in cancer and infection treatments. It has also demonstrated cholesterol-lowering and immune-regulatory properties.

Side Effects of Lentinan

Lentinan is derived from the Shiitake mushroom, which is edible and is not generally associated with side effects. Reports of lentinan side effects are rare.

Toxicology

The shiitake mushroom is edible and has not been associated with toxicity. In animals, lentinan shows little toxicity. In a phase I study conducted in 50 patients with advanced cancer, minor side effects were observed in 3 patients; in a study of 185 patients, 17 experienced minor adverse reactions.Few toxic effects are mentioned in 2 reports of lentinan use.

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