Maitake Spagyric
Maitake Spagyric
Maitake Spagyric

Maitake Spagyric

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Maitake Spagyric (Grifola frondosa) in 50mL Miron Glass anti-drip infinity bottle

15 drops, 2-3x per day

Grifola frondosa is an aptly termed Latin name for a large polypore composed of a bouquet of beautiful overlapping fronds. This mushroom is also known as ‘hen-of-the-woods’ for its similarity to the avian farm animal’s plumage, and ‘maitake’ meaning ‘dancing mushroom’ in Japanese. Maitake, primarily fruiting on dead or dying oak trees from September through November, also happens to be MushroomLife’s pivotal fungus. The company was founded on, and has been bolstered over the years by sales of wild maitake mushrooms. Michael Weese, MushroomLife’s owner/operator, is famous for his hen hunting prowess. Michael truly is the mid-Atlantic’s own maitake whisperer, each year he forages and transports thousands of pounds of maitake mushrooms directly from the forest floor to both the dinner table and laboratory bench. Each winter after the all the hens have been hatched and plucked, he then focuses on creating hand-crafted maitake spagyrics as well as many other extracts from his yearly haul. 

We truly believe this particular process of spagyrics, with its painstaking attention to detail, order, and discipline is very special. It can take a lot of time, financial resource, and physical work to produce some of these extracts. The level of dedication in those selflessly practicing these arts is a beautiful thing to behold. It is rooted in some of the oldest transmutation practiced by mankind, and I feel the people that see the purpose behind this type of slow medicine are also a special kind. With a keen eye on the mind, the stars, and the flask they forge on in faith of knowing a greater wellness on the other side of these operations. For a brief description what a spagyric is, how we make ours, and why, please check the 'Spagyrics' tab. 

 In the wild, maitake must form complex, robust chemical defenses against many organisms in order to survive. Historically, studies have shown that wild mushrooms boast up to 30x more metabolites than their cultivated counterparts (1). Those secondary metabolites, medicinal compounds generated by maitake to protect itself in nature, are recognized and utilized by the human body to the same end. The water soluble portion of maitake contains what is thought of as one of the most promising therapeutic compounds in the natural supplement world, simply called the maitake D-fraction (2). The D-fraction is a complex mixture of branched polysaccharides composed of β-glucans, macromolecules in which glucose units are bonded through linkages at the 1 and 3 positions (2). It is important to note that researchers vary widely in their methods of extracting the components of maitake mushrooms for study. In many papers citing maitake as having the potential for medicinal utility, researchers only utilized crude hot water extracts of this mushroom for testing (2). 

Our desire to bring you the most optimized product possible means we only use wild harvested fruit bodies in the production of this extract. In the wild, this particular mushroom only fruits for a few weeks in the fall rendering supplies limited. There may be times we run out of this product if we run out of its ingredients. Supply is limited. Hand made, small craft, slow medicine...its the nature of the beast. Once again though, this product is a one of a kind item found nowhere else on the planet. Made from our own harvest to assure maximum attention to detail throughout the entire cycle.

 When analyzing the literature on the active components of G. frondosa researchers have historically had much success with the D-fraction in cellular based assays. These notable biological activities have prompted progress into animal models and even further into human studies. Oral administration of the famous G. frondosa polysaccharides contained in the water fraction to rats fed high-fat diets (rats considered hyperlipidemic and hypercholesterolemic), showed modulation of gut microbiota and regulation of lipids and cholesterol (3). Interestingly, in addition to the water fraction displaying these effects, a group from the same University in Japan as the previous study showed that administering the 95% ethanol fraction of Grifola frondosa to the same rats on the high-fat diet, had a positive effect on lowering their overall body weight and serum lipid levels (4).

 On the heels of solid data from animal studies, β-glucans from maitake are now being used as adjuvant therapies in clinical trials, mainly in the far East. Today purified β-glucans are primarily utilized in cancer therapies, often in conjunction with anti-cancer drugs (5). After 30 years of intense scientific studies and clinical trials, in 2010 China approved a drug simply translated as ‘Grifola frondosa polysaccharide’ (2). A paper summarizing 108 independent studies, stated that research over time has revealed a number of health benefits of maitake polysaccharides (2). Many papers published in China and Japan report positive effects of adjuvant maitake therapy on both patient survival statistics and quality of life (5). In the West, a phase I/II human trial, conducted by Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center, showed maitake polysaccharides were able to stimulate the immune systems of breast cancer patients (6). In addition to its antitumor and immunomodulatory properties, maitake has further been shown to display anti-diabetic, antihyperlipidemic, and antiviral effects over decades of research and scientific studies (2).

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

  1. Hobbs, C. (1996). Medicinal Mushrooms: An Exploration of Tradition, Healing and Culture. Santa Cruz, CA: Botanica Press.
  1. He Y, et al. 2019. “The biological activities of the antitumor drug Grifola frondosa polysaccharide.” Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science. Vol163, p221-261.
  1. Li L, et al. 2019. “Grifola frondosa polysaccharides ameliorate lipid metabolic disorders and gut microbiota dysbiosis in high-fat diet fed rats.” Journal of Food and Function. Vol10 p2560-2572.
  1. Pan YY, et al. 2018. “Effect of Grifola frondosa 95% ethanol extract on lipid metabolism and gut microbiota composition in high-fat diet-fed rats.” Journal of Food and Function. Vol9 p6268-6278.
  1. Aleem E. 2013. “β-Glucans and their applications in cancer therapy: focus on human studies.” Anticancer Agents and Medicinal Chemistry. Vol13(5), p709-719.
  1. Deng G, et al. 2009. “A phase I/II trial of a polysaccharide extract from Grifola frondosa (Maitake mushroom) in breast cancer patients: immunological effects. Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology. Vol135(9), p1215–1221.