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Maitake 105: Maitake(Grifola frondosa) and Fungal Infection


Here is something I have learned over the years. Plants that come from the decay layer of the forest, meaning the part of the forest where leaves fall and rot, are all filled with anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral substances. Microbes cause leaves to decay, and, to survive in that layer, the plant has to fill its body with chemicals that fight the forces of decay. Otherwise, like the leaves, the plant would be decayed!

Maitake is a mushroom that merrily lives in the decay layer. As such, you kind of know it contains anti-microbials, and no surprise here, that includes anti-fungal substances. Nobody knows how to handle a fungus better than a fungus! The best way to fight fungus, is with fungus! Indeed, all the athlete foot products at the drugstore are made out of fungi!

There is a really ridiculous notion out there that if you have fungal disease, like thrush, you should avoid eating fungus. Why? Who knows. This seems to overlook the most basic fact, fungus contain anti-fungal substances. Mushrooms contain anti-fungal chemicals. They have to in order to survive in the rot layer.

Anyhow, I did a lot of work looking at how you can use fungus, in this case maitake, to treat fungal infections, and the results were rather intriguing.

My work with Maitake and Fungal Infections

Several years ago I was in possession of three hundred shitake logs, that is logs innoculated with the shitake fungus. Everytime it rained the logs produced heaps of shitake mushrooms which I ran out and collected in an old egg basket. At the time I was living in the southern part of the United States which could be described as fungi heaven. In that hot and moist enviroment, fungi spring from anything that stands still for more than five minutes. During my years of tending shitake logs I noticed something curious. Once a log had been innoculated with the shitake fungus, no other fungus would spring on the innoculated log. It may not sound like an earth shattering observation however it introduces our next use for maitake.

Fungi do not like to share. They fill themselves and their enviroments with antifungal substances as a means of keeping competition down to the minimum. The reason the shitake logs was free of other fungi was because the shitake fungus was permeating the log with fungi killing compounds. The natural world is highly competitive. Students of nature will be quick to say that most organisms has a means of keeping competitiors away and this is equally true of fungi.

Along these lines, two common antifungal drugs for sale at the chemist’s are fungal derivatives. Amphotericin B and Nystatin are extracted from Streptomyces nodosus and Streptomyces noursei respectively. Streptomyces are a common fungi that principally live in the soil. Their bodies exude substances that keep other fungi at arms length, so to speak. These fungi are ground up, jarred, and are used to treat infections like athletes foot, ringworm, and candida.

From a chemical perspective, these two fungi produce chemicals known as polyenes that kill fungi on contact. When you spread Amphotericin B and Nystatin on a toe infected with the athletes foot fungus or on a patch of the ringworm fungus, the parasitic fungus dies. More specifically, polyenes attack the building blocks of fungal cell walls and literally melt the parasite. The clever part is that the polyenes attack the building block of the fungi cell wall, ergosterol, and leave human cells alone. Polyenes can be found in most fungi. Not surprisingly, several edible mushrooms have been found to contain potential antifungal drugs.

Mushrooms contain polyenes and other substances known to keep fungi under control. A list of general antifungal compounds found in mushrooms includes the following:

1. Polyacetylenes

2. Phenolic compounds

3. Purines

4. Pyrimidines

5. Quinones

6. Terpenoid derivatives

Mushrooms have been found to contain these generally antifungal compounds and compounds that specifically inhibit or kill fungi that cause humanity aggravation and grief. Candida albicans, a fungus that commonly causes problems in man has been found to be inhibited by the following compounds found in mushrooms.

1.Styrylpyrones(ie hispidin,bisnoryangonin)

2.Terphenylquinones(ie atromentin,aurantiacin)

3.Diphenyl-substituted tetronic acids(ie atromentic, pulvinic,pulvinic lactone, vulpinic, xerocomic acid.)

In the final analysis, no one knows how to kill a fungus like another fungus. For all these reasons and many more researchers are searching the mushroom world for potential antifungal drugs. There is interest in such antifungal drugs because fungi, especially in vulnerable populations, are causing health problems around the world.

As was previously established, the immune system is failing in the modern age. The immune system is responsable for keeping fungal parasites under control. In consequence, practitioners are seeing an increasing number of patients suffering from fungal infection. When the immune system ceases does not do its job, fungal infections become an issue. Practitioners the world over are dealing with a lot patients suffering from chronic, recurrent fungal infection.

If we study one common problematic fungus, Candida albicans, it will shed some light onto the problem.

Thrush (Candida albicans)

By far Candida albicans is the most common fungus causing health problems in the western population. Most women will suffer from candida at some point in their reproductive life and all will quickly state what an unpleasant experience it is. Candida has begun to affect more than women. Even men are coming into “The Herbalists” clinic complaining of problems stemming from Candida albicans.

For people who suffer from problematic Candida, life is a misery. I am currently doing a clinical trial in London studying the effects of maitake in chronic vaginal thrush and have heard from hundreds of women whose lives have been devastated by Candida. An article recently detailing my work with Candida recently appeared in a womens magazine and six hundred letters poured in. In one instance, a women wrote that she had suffered from recurrent candida for over fifty years with little or no break!

There is a great deal of confusion amongst the general public when it comes to Candida and this confusion needs to be cleared up before we can move on to discuss solutions for someone suffering from chronic candida. What follows might seem surprising.

To begin with, most people feel that having candida is an abnormal. They see candida the way they see the streptococcus bacteria that causes strep throat. In fact, Candida albicans is a normal resident of the human body. Candida albicans is a normal inhabitant of the human skin, digestive tract, and bodily orifices. The presence of Candida on and in the human body is entirely normal. If you do not have Candida living on your body, there is something wrong with you.

Though the public holds a view that microbes are all bad, we have a community of good microbes living with us at all times. Our skin, as an example, harbours a seething community of microbes. This community of resident non-pathenogenic microbes is known as the flora. Candida is one of the good microbes residing on the human body. Candida and human beings have probably coexisted since the beginning of time. It is entirely likely that we need Candida for reasons the research committee has yet to reveal. The fact to hold onto is that Candida albicans is a natural resident of the body and that under normal circumstances, it does not cause a problem.

Normally, the human flora exists in a state of homeostasis or balance. This means no one microbe dominates the scene but rather the different microbes live in balanced ratios, in effect, sharing the surface of our bodies.

For the most part, the other microbes in the flora keep candida under control. As an example, the digestive tract is jam packed with the different microbes. There is only so much room for Candida to exist. It has to share the space. The Candida population is kept in check by the other floral residents competitive for space and a meal.

The immune system also keeps on eye on the floral residents and if any one of them starts to dominate the scene, it will correct the situation.

Neutrophils, a type of Non-Specific white blood cells, are known to keep Candida under control. The Acquired Division of the immune system, the T cells, are also responsible for keeping Candida in its place. The Immune System, both Non-Specific and Acquired, keep the Candida population down through regular culling.

The immune system and the competiting microbes conspire to keep Candida in its rightful place within the community of microbes. As is true with the human body in general, balance is achieved through a complicated series of mechanisms. Science is just beginning to understanding these complex balancing mechanisms, two have been illustrated here. In time we may discover there are more controlling factors for Candida. For the most part, candida is kept in check.

However, if the balance in the flora is disturbed or if the the immune system is not functioning properly, candida has the chance to proliferate. When Candida dominates the scene, it becomes problematic. Candida is not a problem, too much candida is a problem.

Here are some common situations in which Candida proliferates and problems ensue.

Immune Suppression

When the immune system fails, the Candida population soars. Like most organisms, candida is driven by the biological imperative, it constantly increases its population through procreation. If the immune system stops killing candida, the population is not kept in control. People suffering from stress have depressed immune function. It is not uncommon for stressed out individuals to develop a problem with candida.

HIV Infection

In this disease a virus attacks one type of white blood cells, the T cells. The T cells normally help keep Candida under control. As these cells are killed off by the HIV virus, the Candida population is no longer kept under control. In the HIV patient, Candida proliferation can become a life threatening condition.

Cancer Therapies

Many of the therapies designed to kill cancerous cells also kill immune cells. Immune function plummets in “Chemotherapy” ; and “Radiation Therapy”. In response, Candida is able to proliferate.


Steroids are commonly used in orthodox medicine to treat Asthma, Eczema, Psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis, and Crone’s Disease. Steroids depress or suppress immune function. Candida flourishes with the immune system out of commission.

Anti-Rejection Drugs

The drugs used to prevent organ transplant rejection suppress the immune system. It is the immune system that rejects a foreign organ and it has to be kept quiet if a person is to be able to hold onto a transplant. Again, in the absence of a functioning immune system, Candida proliferates.

Antibiotic Therapy

Antibiotics are the medicine responsible for bringing Candida proliferation into most homes in the Western world. Prior to the widespread use of antibiotics, problematic candida was rarely described in the medical textbooks. In the age of antibiotics, most women have experienced a candida proliferation.

“Antibiotics” kill the bacteria indiscrimatly. They kill the bad bacteria causing an infection and the good bacteria living in the flora. Antibiotics wipe out the bacterial population throughout the body. They do not however, do a thing to Candida. They leave Candida in perfect health. With their bacterial neighbours wiped out, there is more space for Candida. Antibiotics disturb the balance in the flora and give Candida the opportunity to dominate the microbial scene. Antibiotics result in candida proliferation.

The number of people suffering from problematic candida as the result of HIV, Cancer therapies, anti-rejection drugs, and steroid use is relatively small in comparison to those that end up with problems as a result of antibiotic use. Doctors hand out antibiotics at an alarming rate and almost everyone that uses them will end up with a candida proliferation. In fact there is something practitioners call the “Candida Vicious Cycle”.

The Candida Vicious Cycle.

The stress associated with modern living depresses the immune system and leaves people vulnerable to bacterial infection. These infections require antibiotics. Taking antibiotics leads to Candidal proliferation. The Candida itself produces substances that depresses the immune system. With the immune system suppressed by Candida and stress, additional bacterial infections occur. More antibiotics result in more candida. Thus people spin around the circle for years and years.

Proliferating Candida

When a patient goes to see an orthodox physician to deal with their candida problem, they are handed a tube of anti-candida cream to apply to the operative bit. The cream works for a period of time, namely as long as it is applied, and then returns with a vengeance when the cream is discontinued.

The reason it comes back is that the problem is not really the candida. The problem is an immune system that cannot keep the candida under control; its antibiotics; its stress. Appplying candida killing cream is a symptomatic treatment and leaves the fundamental problems in place.

For the most part, the begining of the circle is being run down. It is the flagging immune system that leads to the infection that leads to the antibiotics. The solution is not a cream.

Maitake: A better Solution

Maitake, is ideally suited for those with Candida proliferations. Firstly, like all mushrooms, it contains a host of compounds that inhibit or destroy Candida. Secondly, it contains compounds that stimulate the immune system which in turn attacks Candida. The combination seems to put Candida where it belongs, merely a benign member of the microbial community. Maitake is an effective treatment in recurrent candida infections as a consequence of compounds it contains and how they work in the body.

Essential Elements Found in Maitake(Grifola frondosa)

Maitake(Grifola frondosa) is rich in the essential elements necessary for healthy immune function. The list of essential elements found in Maitake that assist immune function: Potassium, Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Boron, and Germanium. In particular, Zinc has been established being essential for proper immune function. In general Maitake(Grifola frondosa) provides the body with the raw materials needed to produce an effective immune response against Candida

Sugars Found in Maitake(Grifola frondosa)

Maitake contains complex polysacharides which stimulate the activity and production of Phagocytes, T cells, and Natural killer cells. All three cells play an active role in the control of Candida population within the body. Maitake’s (Grifola frondosa) ability to stimulate these essential cell lines is coupled with its ability to stimulate cellular mediators that organize the immune systems attack on Candida.

Organic Acids Found in Maitake(Grifola frondosa)

Maitake(Grifola frondosa) is rich in Pyroglutamic acid, Lactic acid, Acetic acid, Formic acid, Malic acid, Citric acid, Succinic acid, Oxalic acid, and Fumaric acid. These acids, have a role in a maitake’s anticandida activity. In example, the Acetic acid found in Maitake has been found to inhibit Candida.

Phytosterols Found in Maitake (Grifola frondosa)

Maitake contains substances known as phytosterols, specifically

ergosterol, fungisterol, and methylsterol. Many fungi contain phytosterols and botanists have long debated the reason they fill themselves with these substances. The answer may be rooted in the “kill the neighbour before it kills you” policy held by most fungi. Phytosterols attack the cell membrane of encroaching fungi. Theorists suggest that the phytosterols contained in Maitake weaken the cell wall of Candida and thus make it more vulnerable to immune cell attack.

Lectins Found in Maitake(Grifola frondosa)

Lectins have the ability to agglutinate, or cause cells to stick together. In effect they curdle cells. Maitake contains a lectin known as GFL, a N-acetylgalactosamine specific lectin. Botanists feel that fungi produce lectins as a defensive measure against competing or carnivorous fungi. Any foreign fungus attempting to penetrate a mushroom would find its tentacles summarily destroyed by the lectins found there. The presence of lectins like GFL may in part explain Maitake’s anti-Candida action.

Enzymes Found in Maitake(Grifola frondosa)

The most interesting of enzymes found in maitake is chitinase. Chitin, mentioned earlier in the section dealing with sugars, is the structural component of a fungal cell wall. It is the basic building block of the fungal cell wall which is in turn the basic building block of the fungus. The chitinase found in Maitake digests the chitin found in the Candida cell wall. When the cell wall is destroyed, there goes the Candida.

Maitake versus Candida albicans.

As you have seen, medicinal mushrooms like Maitake, offer a serious weapon against Candida proliferation. As mentioned earlier, their attack is two fold. Substances like phytosterols, organic acids, lectins, and enzymes wreck havoc with the cell wall of Candida. If the Candida is still standing after being bathed with Maitake, there is more abuse in store. The Maitake gets the immune system working double time. This means the ravaged Candida receives a full frontal attack delivered by the energized immune cells. The picture is not pretty for the proliferating Candida population.

In fact, the Anti-candidal activity of medicinal mushrooms is not so strong as to entirely decimate the Candida population. It is strong enough to reduce the population. Candida is a natural part of the human flora and the objective is to restore the balance of the microbial community, not wipe out the Candida entirely.

As the entire cycle of Candida proliferation starts with a fault in the immune system, whether due to drugs, stress, or disease, the ultimate solution is the activation of the immune system. It is in immune system activation that Maitake makes its greatest contribution to the world of herbal medicine. Most people with Candida problems developed them because they needed antibiotics. By stimulating the immune system, infections do not occur, and subsequently, antibiotics are not needed.

Maitake addresses the root of the Candida problem, poor immunity.

This discusion of maitake and candida has been largely theoretical. It is important to say that this theory has been born out on clinical experience. The fact is, patients that formerly suffered from chronic and recurrent candida have improved while using maitake. here are a few examples.

Patient One

One patient came to the clinic suffering from chronic candida. Her case history revealed that she was a single working mother of two. Working 40 hours a week, running home to make supper and attend to her childrens needs, and keeping up with housework and the occasional date resulted in her being run down. By her own admission, she had been run down for years. She was using antibiotics three times a year to clear the infections that routinely occured. Not surprisingly, she had an ongoing problem with vaginal thrush. After being prescribed maitake, the regular bacterial infections neccesitating antibiotics disappeared and the subsequent episodes with thrush as well.

Patient Two

One patient female patient had been diagnosed as being HIV positive three years prior to attending “The Herbalists” clinic in London. The only symptom of her HIV infection was recurrent vaginal and oral candida. HIV patients often suffer from problematic candida and in these cases it can become a life threatening condition. This patient was given candida, 6 grams per day. Within two months her oral candida disappeared and within 4 months the vaginal candida also disapeared.

Patient Three

One patient, a 28 year old male attended the Herbalists Clinic complaining of chronic candida infection on his penis. The problem was causing him great discomfort and made having sex difficult most of the time. He complained of problems at work and at home. He had suffered from one respiratory infection after another and was using antibiotics several times a year. After using maitake, the recurrent respiratory infectins ceased and the Candida on his penis cleared.

Patient Four

One female patient, age 23, had suffered from acne and had been prescribed antibiotics continously for 7 years. Though the antibiotics did little to clear the acne, she continued taking them. She was then diagnosed as suffering from proliferating candida of the gut through an endoscopic examination. The condition was resulting in digestive complaints including bloating, cramping, and unpleasant stools. The patient took maitake for six months and in time, the digestive complaints lessened.

Concluding Thrush

“The Herbalists” have found that maitake is a powerful addition to an anti-candida regimen. Firstly because it kills candida and secondly it stimulates the immune system which in turn kills candida. Patients respond in time and many have become free of thrush. The treatment formulated by the herbalists is two fold. Firstly, we recomend that patients use anti-thrush creams in conjunction with maitake for one month. Thereafter, the maitake is continued for six months.

Concluding Fungal Infection and Maitake

There is no doubt that fungal infections improve when the immune system is stimulated. Regardless of which fungal infection one is discussing, it will be helped through immune system stimulation.

At this point in time, I have worked with two chronic fungal conditions, athletes foot fungus and thrush. In both cases, the conditions have improved through long term use of maitake. My conclusion has been that the best course of action is the combined use of antifungal applications, either from the herbalist or the chemist, in conjunction with maitake.

I would gladly recomend its use in any fungal condition, though it must be said that I have not use it in them myself.

The Mushroom Controversy

For reasons that allude scientifically trained practitioners of medicine, many people suffering from Candida proliferations are under the impression that eating mushrooms will make their Candida worse. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, mushrooms should be the first food eaten when Candida becomes a problem.

Mushrooms offer a natural means of controlling a proliferating Candida population when the normal mechanisms of control have been lost. For reasons greater than their antifungal compounds, some medicinal mushrooms offer the Candida sufferer the medicine he or she needs to get the Candida under control.


hr />Clinical Trial

An Evaluative Study of the Effectiveness
of Grifola frondosa var. Yukiguni (Maitake)
Against Persistent Vaginal
Candida albicans Proliferation (Thrush)

Rosamond Christian, RGN, RM, DipBSS,
Douglas Schar, BA.DipPhyt. MCPP,
and Denise Turner, Ph.D.


Pathological Candida albicans proliferation is common in the immune suppressed; AIDS patients and those on immunosupressive drug regimes being two notable examples. However, the vast majority of patients suffering from chronic vaginal Candida albicans proliferations (Thrush) do not fall into either of these categories. They are women with apparently normal immune systems, women who have fallen into what is often described as the “Candida vicious cycle.”

In a six month study, one strain of Grifola frondosa (Maitake) was examined for its ability to reduce symptoms in women with normal immune systems suffering persistent, chronic vaginal Candida infections. Twenty-two women were invited to take part in the study and were followed up at monthly intervals to monitor changes in their symptoms. Nine women withdrew from the study after the first month. Thirteen continued through the six month duration of the study. All respondents remaining in the study showed improvement in the severity of their symptoms. The range of average individual improvement was between 40% and 77%. The results suggest that a strain of Grifola frondosa (Maitake) has a role in the control of chronic vaginal Candida albicans proliferation (Thrush) in normal women.

Contact Information:
Douglas Schar, BA. DipPhyt. MCPP
140 Columbia Road
London E2 7RG
Phone: 0171 729 5545
Fax: 0171 739 9378
An Evaluative Study of the Effectiveness
of Grifola frondosa var. yukiguni (Maitake) Against Persistent Vaginal
Candida albicans Proliferation (Thrush)

Rosamond Christian, RGN, RM, DipBSS,
Douglas Schar, BA.DipPhyt.MCPP,
and Denise Turner, Ph.D.


Candida albicans is a yeast like fungus which is part of the normal flora of the human digestive tract, skin, and vagina. In a normal, healthy immuno-competent individual, it does not cause any problems. Indeed, it is part of the balanced community of microbes which ensure proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. If the balance in this community becomes disturbed, the Candida organism can begin to dominate the floral community, to proliferate. It is this domination of the floral landscape, not the presence of the organism, that results in the commonly experienced symptoms associated with vaginal Candida (Thrush). The most commonly reported symptoms relating to vaginal Candida (Thrush) are excessive discharge, itching, and intense soreness, often described as a burning sensation. Other commonly reported symptoms are fatigue and low mood.

Candida proliferation can be caused by a compromised immune system, which in turn may be due to stress, poor nutrition, lack of exercise or adequate rest, pollution, smoking, alcohol consumption, HIV infection, cyto-toxic cancer therapy, and/or steroid therapy. The immune system is one of the guardians of a balanced floral community. It ensures that no one organism dominates the scene. When the immune system flags, aggressive organisms such as Candida albicans tend to seize control and overgrow their rightful place in the floral community.

Antibiotic use can also cause proliferation of Candida albicans. Antibiotics destroy commensal bacteria in the body (but are not effective against fungi), thereby disturbing the normal balance of mucosal flora. As its bacterial neighbours are wiped out by antibiotics, vacancies in the floral landscape are created. Candida albicans proliferates to fill the formerly occupied spaces.

Many women suffering from chronic vaginal Candidiasis are caught in the “Candida vicious cycle” which involves immune suppression and antibiotic use. Here is the cycle. The stress of modern living causes depressed immune function. Depressed immune function results in bacterial infections requiring antibiotics. The antibiotics disturb the floral balance. With bacterial neighbours absent and depleted immune function in place, Candida albicans proliferates. To worsen the situation, Candida albicans produces immune suppressive substances. The additionally depressed immune function leaves the patient more vulnerable to bacterial infection. Additional antibiotics are required. Around and around the cycle goes.

Vaginal Candida proliferation affects many women, significantly impacting their daily lives. Approximately 200 women responded to the announcement of this study and all reported that allopathic treatment previously undertaken only brought short term relief and did not end the cycle. The anti-fungal creams only had an effect when applied and did nothing to insure that the condition would not return. This cycle is widely recognised, and as of yet, there is no effective treatment available to end it. The hope of this research team is that one strain of Grifola frondosa, that produced by the Yukiguni Corporation, will prove to be a valuable tool in combating chronic Candida albicans proliferations and may play a role in ending the cycle via general well being stimulation.

Research has shown that traditionally used medicinal mushrooms have a positive effect on general health. Grifola frondosa, in particular, contains many essential vitamins and minerals as well as a host of compounds that stimulate the body to improved health. In animal studies it has been shown to act as the following:
• immune system stimulator;
• anti-tumour agent;
• anti-fungal agent;
• anti-viral agent;
• anti-bacterial agent;
• hypoglycaemic agent;
• hypolipodemic agent; and
• hypotensive agent.

Most of the research focusing on Grifola frondosa has examined its ability to stimulate the immune systems of animals. It has been found to increase immune cell counts, the activity of the those cells, and to stimulate the production of cellular mediators.

Grifola frondosa contains compounds which specifically inhibit or destroy Candida albicans. It is thought that several phytochemicals found in Grifola frondosa weaken the cell wall of the Candida albicans organism and make it more vulnerable to neutrophil attack. Researchers suspect that Grifola frondosa is effective because of this two-fold action, i.e. direct attack on the offending organism by phytochemicals contained in the mushroom and stimulation of the immune system attack.

As the “Candida vicious cycle” starts with poor immune function, an agent that stimulates impaired immune function could go a long way to break the chain. The objective of this study was to begin examining Grifola frondosa as such a potential cycle breaker.


This six month clinical investigation was designed to provide a preliminary assessment of the effectiveness of Grifola frondosa var. Yukiguni (Maitake) in the treatment of persistent vaginal Candida albicans proliferations. Assessment criteria for the “effectiveness” of this treatment regime include both short and long term relief of specific symptoms such as discharge (D), itching (I), and soreness (S). The object was to determine if the documented immune stimulating powers of Grifola frondosa could break the cycle of persistent vaginal Candida albicans proliferations.


The Maitake tablets for this study were obtained from HCR of London. Each tablet contains 270 milligrams (mg) of the dried mushroom Grifola frondosa var. Yukiguni (Maitake) plus 10 mg Vitamin C.

The vaginal cream used in this study, also from HCR of London, was developed by Douglas Schar and consisted of Echinacea angustifolia in a natural base cream.


Potential candidates were identified from respondents to an article in the June 1998 issue of “Woman’s Own” magazine. All applicants were preliminarily screened by the HCR Medical Co-ordinator, Ms. Ros Christian. Ms. Christian is a trained nurse with more than 20 years experience in allopathic medicine and six years experience in complementary medicine.

Through a combination of screening of applicant letters and preliminary telephone interviews, Ms. Christian made an initial selection of women to participate in the study. The women selected:
• were pre-menopausal;
• had active symptoms of vaginal Candida proliferation of long duration;
• had no known mushroom allergy; and
• displayed a willingness to commit to the study.

The women selected were not:
• insulin dependant diabetics;
• women receiving anti-cancer or steroid therapy;
• suffering from low blood pressure; or
• pregnant.

Those initially accepted into the study were then asked to fill out a detailed medical questionnaire (designed by Ms. Christian) to assess the severity of three specific symptoms (D, I, S) and record any other symptoms volunteered by each potential study participant. Responses were based on a scale of 0 to 5, with “0” indicating no symptoms and “5” indicating an intolerable level of distress. The results of these interviews were then reviewed by the entire study team (R. Christian, D. Schar, Dr. A. D. Turner) and final selections were made. In total 22 women were accepted onto the study. There was no control group instituted for this evaluative study.

The selected respondents were initially provided a six-week supply of Grifola frondosa var.Yukiguni (Maitake) tablets (i.e., 504 tablets) plus one 30-gram jar of cream. All study participants were instructed to gradually increase their daily dosage of Grifola frondosa var.Yukiguni (Maitake), beginning with two tablets per day (0.54 grams) for two days, and then increasing their dosage by two tablets per day until reaching the recommended 12 tablets per day. The cream was used daily on an as needed basis for the first month of the study. Each patient was contacted by telephone in the first two weeks of the study to be certain that they understood the treatment regime and had no further questions or adverse reactions to any of the medications.

The first treatment data were collected by telephone in the fourth week of the study, and subsequent data was collected (by telephone) at four-week intervals (see Table 1). In addition to the symptoms shown in Table 1 (D, I, S), other individual symptoms were tracked on a monthly basis. However, this data has not been presented in this report.


Of the 22 candidates initially chosen for the study, 13 remained in the programme for the designated six months. This attrition rate can be attributed to the following causes:
• One due to pregnancy;
• One due to lowered blood pressure;
• One participant moved out of contact; and
• Six due to digestive changes after taking Grifola frondosa (Maitake).

Although most of the above explanations are self-explanatory, the last category requires further discussion as it is of clinical relevance.

Six women taking part in this study described flatulence and change in bowel habit following taking Grifola frondosa var. Yukiguni. Grifola frondosa contains large quantities of mannitol, a sugar noted for its laxative and flatulence producing effects. Some people, when first taking Grifola frondosa (Maitake), describe an increase in gastro-intestinal activity. For some this is more disturbing than for others. As the effects of Grifola frondosa var. Yukiguni on the gastro-intestinal tract were not the subject of this study, women experiencing these symptoms were dismissed from the study.

Of the 13 respondents remaining in the study, the overall average improvement in symptoms was 58%, based on a range of 40% to 77% improvement. The specifics were as follows.
• 76% to 100% improvement: 1 respondent;
• 51% to 75% improvement: 7 respondents;
• 26% to 50% improvement: 5 respondents;
• 1% to 25%: three patients: 0 respondents;
• No improvement: 0 respondents.

Two respondents were entirely clear of all symptoms for three months, and four more respondents were entirely clear of at least one symptom for that time. With two exceptions, all of these respondents originally reported at least one symptom to be “intolerable” (5) or “very troublesome” (4) at the beginning of the study, but only one symptom (D) of one respondent, and another symptom (I) of a second respondent remain troublesome (score 3). The remaining scores were all between 0 and 2.

In reviewing the data it was evident that there was a cyclical nature to the symptom pattern, i.e., improvement, some relapse, further improvement, etc. The overall trend, however, showed steady improvement, a lessening of the severity and longer intervals of relief from symptoms. In discussions with the respondents, there were some external events which may contribute to the exacerbation of symptoms. This information was offered by the respondents as links they had previously made themselves, i.e., dietary changes, increased alcohol intake, antibiotics, stress, and variation in sexual activity.

Tables 2, 3, and 4 summarise the data by symptom (D, I, and S, respectively), and the overall average per cent improvement by symptom is summarised below:

Symptom Week 0 Week 20 % Improvement
D 3.3 0.8 50%
I 3.4 0.5 58%
S 3.6 0.25 67%


The intent of this study was to determine if Grifola frondosa var. Yukiguni impacted vaginal Candida proliferations. Of the women remaining in the study, 92% had a 55% reduction in discharge, a 62% reduction in itching, and a 67% reduction in soreness. The women’s conditions markedly improved while they were taking the tableted mushroom powder. Whereas these women’s conditions had previously been static, with the addition of the Grifola frondosa var. Yukiguni, the conditions began to shift in a positive direction.

Of the thirteen respondents, ten were contacted three months after the end of the study to review their continued symptom relief (the remaining three were out of contact). Four women reported having remained completely clear of symptoms, a further four reported one episode of Thrush since stopping Maitake, but commented that this was very much less severe than previously. Two respondents reported two episodes since stopping treatment, one commenting that the symptoms were much less severe. The other person experiencing two episodes commented that the symptoms were equally as severe as pre-study. This respondent then restarted treatment with Maitake and, after six weeks, had remained completely clear of symptoms.

Ten out of the thirteen respondents were pleased with the effects that Maitake had demonstrated on the relief of symptoms. Only two women felt that it had not helped them. The women who had benefited (85%) felt that it had made a significant difference to their daily lives and morale.

These data raise several important issues that need discussion. Firstly, the result of this study was sufficiently favourable to warrant additional research. A more comprehensive study of Grifola frondosa var.Yukiguni and vaginal Candida albicans proliferations is now being formulated. The next study will include vaginal and microscopic examinations. The research team feels this additional data will provide a better picture of how this particular herbal medicine impacts the condition.

The researchers involved in this study were looking to see if Grifola frondosa var. Yukiguni could end the Candida albicans vicious cycle. The conclusion has been that the study was not long enough to make this determination. In all cases, when the study ended, the women were gradually improving. They appeared to be on the mend and were moving towards a disease free state. They had not yet achieved it when the study came to a close. The next study will need to be of one if not two years in duration if we are to achieve an answer to this primary question. The Candida problem does not go away overnight, this much we have learned.

Another interesting point is this: the fact that Grifola frondosa var. Yukiguni had a favourable impact on the condition refutes a medical myth floating around the world of alternative medicine. Some practitioners feel that women suffering from Thrush should avoid all mushroom products as the consumption thereof will “worsen” their condition. In the thirteen women involved in this study, the opposite was observed. The use of a mushroom product improved chronic vaginal Thrush. It would pay to add that many of the anti-fungal creams used by the allopaths are derived from ground dwelling fungi. The notion that consuming fungal products will worsen chronic vaginal Thrush is highly suspect and this study makes this point. If anything, this data suggests that we should look towards the fungal world for a drug that could end the Candida problem.

This research group is conducting another study at the moment, which evaluates the effects of Grifola frondosa var. Yukiguni in HIV infection. All participants in this study who suffer from Candida albicans proliferation have experienced an improvement in symptoms while taking Grifola frondosa var. Yukiguni. This result underscores the importance of continuing research which examines Grifola frondosa as a possible addition to an anti-Candida albicans regime. There is much more to know, however, that which we have seen suggests further research is warranted.

Table 1
Summary of Improvement Experienced by 13 Women
Taking Grifola frondosa for Thrush over the Six Month Study

Patient No. Symptoms Week 0 Week 4 Week 8 Week 12 Week 16 Week 20 Week
24 Overall % Improvement
D 5 4 3 2 1 0 1 80%
1 I 1 0 4 0 0 2 0 20% 50%
S – - – - – - – -
D 2 1 1 3 0 0 0 40%
3 I 4 0 0 1 0 0 0 80% 73%
S 5 0 1 2 0 0 0 100%
D 3 2 1.5 1 2 1 1 40%
4 I 3 3 1 1 3 1 1 40% 40%
S 3 0 1.5 1 1 1 1 40%
D 4 0 1 2 1 3 0 80%
5 I 4.5 0 1 1 1 2 0 90% 77%
S 3 0 0 1 1 3 0 60%
D 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 60%
8 I 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 60% 60%
S 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 60%
D 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 20%
10 I 4 3 4 4 4 3 3 20% 40%
S 4 3 2 2 2 2 0 80%
D 3 0 0 2 0 3 1 40%
11 I 4 0 0 2 0 3 1 60% 47%
S 3 0 0 3 0 3 1 40%
D 3 4 4 3 2 5 3 0%
13 I 5 1 5 4 0 4 0 100% 53%
S 3 0 3 1 0 0 0 60%
D 3 1 3 3 2.5 2 2 20%
14 I 4 1 2 2 0 1 0 80% 60%
S 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 80%
D 4 2 2 4 3 2 0 80%
16 I 2 0 1 4.5 3.5 2 0 40% 67%
S 4 3 2 5 3 2 0 80%
D 4 4 3 3 2 1 1 60%
17 I 3.5 3 2 1 0 0 0 70% 70%
S 4 2 2 2 1 1 0 80%
D 3 1 1 1 0 1 1 40%
18 I 5 0 0 3 0 0 1 80% 67%
S 5 0 0 2 0 0 1 80%
D 5 1 2 0 * * * 100%
19 I 1 1 2 1 * * * 0% 47%
S 2 1 1 0 * * * 40%
*Awaiting contact

Symptom Scale
0% = None 20% = Mild 40% = Moderate 60% = Troublesome 80% = Very Troublesome 100% = Intolerable

Table 2
Discharge (D)

Patient No. Week 0 Week 4 Week 8 Week 12 Week 16 Week 20 Week
24 Overall % Improvement
1 5 4 3 2 1 0 1 80%
3 2 1 1 3 0 0 0 40%
4 3 2 1.5 1 2 1 1 40%
5 4 0 1 2 1 3 0 80%
8 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 60%
10 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 20%
11 3 0 0 2 0 3 1 40%
13 3 4 4 3 2 5 3 No change
14 3 1 3 3 2.5 2 2 20%
16 4 2 2 4 3 2 0 80%
17 4 4 3 3 2 1 1 60%
18 3 1 1 1 0 1 1 40%
19 5 1 2 0 * * * 100%
*Awaiting contact
Symptom Scale
0% = None 20% = Mild 40% = Moderate 60% = Troublesome 80% = Very Troublesome 100% = Intolerable

• (92%) 12 respondent improved by an average of 55% (20% to 100%);
• ( 8%) 1 respondent saw no change.

Table 3
Itching (I)

Patient No. Week 0 Week 4 Week 8 Week 12 Week 16 Week 20 Week
24 Overall % Improvement
1 1 0 4 0 0 2 0 20%
3 4 0 0 1 0 0 0 80%
4 3 3 1 1 3 1 1 40%
5 4.5 0 1 1 1 2 0 90%
8 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 60%
10 4 3 4 4 4 3 3 20%
11 4 0 0 2 0 3 1 60%
13 5 1 5 4 0 4 0 100%
14 4 1 2 2 0 1 0 80%
16 2 0 1 4.5 3.5 2 0 40%
17 3.5 3 2 1 0 0 0 70%
18 5 0 0 3 0 0 1 80%
19 1 1 2 1 * * * No change
*Awaiting contact
Symptom Scale

0% = None 20% = Mild 40% = Moderate 60% = Troublesome 80% = Very Troublesome 100% = Intolerable

• (92%) 12 respondents improved by an average of 62% (20% to 100%);
• ( 8%) 1 respondent saw no change.

Table 4
Soreness (S)

Patient No. Week 0 Week 4 Week 8 Week 12 Week 16 Week 20 Week
24 Overall % Improvement
3 5 0 1 2 0 0 0 100%
4 3 0 1.5 1 1 1 1 40%
5 3 0 0 1 1 3 0 60%
8 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 60%
10 4 3 2 2 2 2 0 80%
11 3 0 0 3 0 3 1 40%
13 3 0 3 1 0 0 0 60%
14 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 80%
16 4 3 2 5 3 2 0 80%
17 4 2 2 2 1 1 0 80%
18 5 0 0 2 0 0 1 80%
19 2 1 1 0 * * * 40%
*Awaiting contact
Symptom Scale
0% = None 20% = Mild 40% = Moderate 60% = Troublesome 80% = Very Troublesome 100% = Intolerable

• (92%) 12 respondents improved by an average of 67% (40% to 100%);
• ( 8%) 1 respondent provided no data on soreness.

Disclaimer: The author makes no guarantees as to the the curative effect of any herb or tonic on this website, and no visitor should attempt to use any of the information herein provided as treatment for any illness, weakness, or disease without first consulting a physician or health care provider. Pregnant women should always consult first with a health care professional before taking any treatment.