Shiitake Medicinal Mushroom Could Cure Hepatitis?

A Japanese study has brought hope for hepatitis sufferers. This animal study into the effects of Shiitake medicinal mushroom found that certain compounds suppress liver inflammation, and could become a cure for hepatitis.

Hepatitis is a widespread viral liver disease, where the liver becomes inflamed. Initial symptoms are usually flu-like, with muscle and joint aches, and fever. Hepatitis sometimes leads to liver cirrhosis. If acute hepatitis is untreated it could lead to acute liver failure, where the liver is unable to clear toxins from the body. This is a life-threatening condition which could require a liver transplant.

Researchers (Ayano Itoh, Katsuhiro Isoda, et al) at Osaka University, Japan, developed an animal study where hepatitis was induced in mice, and treated with compounds extracted from Shiitake medicinal mushrooms.

Shiitake is a very popular edible mushroom . It’s native to East Asia, and has been cultivated for over a thousand years. Shiitake is widely used in traditional medicine, and is frequently dried and sold as preserved food all over the world. Shiitake medicinal mushroom is included in many alternative medicines used by cancer patients to complement their traditional therapies.

Shiitake medicinal mushrooms contain several beneficial bioactive compounds known as polyphenols. The researchers in this Japanese study extracted syringic acid and vanillic acid from the Shiitake medicinal mushrooms.

Shiitake medicinal mushroom extract suppressed hepatitis

Syringic acid and vanillic acid was given to the mice before hepatitis was induced, and their blood was tested. The Shiitake medicinal mushroom extract significantly decreased the levels of inflammatory cytokine levels in the blood. These results clearly indicate that syringic acid and vanillic acid have a protective effect.

Syringic acid and vanillic acid are small molecules, which can be synthesized easily, which means new drugs can be developed from Shiitake medicinal mushrooms to fight hepatitis.


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Bridget Greenwood


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