This was the question posed by researchers at Kobe Pharmaceutical University in Japan. Maitake mushroom has been used for centuries in Asia as an “adaptogen” — a remedy that helps keep many body systems in balance.
Several animal studies have supported the use of a special maitake extract supplement called maitake MD-fraction for cancer. It is believed that maitake MD-fraction has strong anticancer activity because it stimulates immune cell activity.
In this recent human study, a combination of MD-fraction and whole maitake powder was given to a group of cancer patients aged 22 to 57 years. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was seen in 58.3% of liver cancer patients, 68.8% of breast cancer patients and 62.5% of lung cancer patients. Furthermore, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, immune cell activities were enhanced, compared with chemotherapy alone.
Sources: Altern Med Rev. 2002 Jun;7(3):236-9