Shiitake mushroom, the common Japanese name for Lentinus edodes (Fig. 1), derives from the mushroom associated with the shii tree (Castanopsis cuspidate Schottky) and take, the Japanese word for mushroom (Table 1). Because Japan is the world leader in production of this type of mushroom, the mushroom is now widely known by this name. These mushrooms are renowned in Far East countries (e.g., Japan, China, Korea) as a food and medicine for thousands of years. In the year 199 A.D., Kyusuyu, a native tribe of Japan, offered the Japanese Emperor Chuai a shiitake mushroom. Even older documents record its use in ancient China, where it was referred to as “ko-ko” or “hoang-mo.” The cultivation of this mushroom has been practiced for a thousand years, with its cultivation originating in China during the Sung Dynasty (960-1127). Both history and legend credit Wu San Kwung as the originator of shiitake cultivation. Almost every mushroom-growing village in China has a temple in his honor. In 1313, Chinese author Wang Cheng recorded shiitake-growing techniques in his Book of Agriculture. He described how to select a suitable site, choose appropriate tools, and cut down the trees on which one could cultivate the mushrooms. He outlined the basic methods as follows: Cut the bark with a hatchet and cover the logs with soil. After 1yr, top the soil and water frequently. Beat the logs with a wooden club to induce mushroom production. The mushrooms will appear after a rain.[2,3] Shiitake mushroom cultivation techniques were probably introduced to Japanese farmers by the Chinese between 1500 and 1600 A.D. At present, shiitake is one of the five most cultivated edible mushrooms in the world. Its production (2 million tons) is second only to button mushroom Agaricus bisporus. Grown mainly in East Asia, shiitake is now arousing interest worldwide.[5-8] Increasing markets have been spawned, partly by the exotic and wellappreciated taste of shiitake, and partly by advances in research that has demonstrated its significant medicinal properties. Shiitake mushroom is becoming popular in nutritional and medicinal products throughout Asia, Europe, and North America.
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© 2005 by Marcel Dekker. All rights reserved.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Professions (all)
- Medicine (all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (all)