What are the different types of mushrooms available?

Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
Although numerous types of mushrooms provide wonderful tastes, textures, and healthful properties, these three mushroom superstars have been recently receiving widespread attention due to their health benefits and, as a result, are increasingly available:
  • Shiitake (Lentinus edodes): These have fleshy, brown, slightly convex caps that range in diameter from about 2 to 4 inches. Shiitakes are cultivated on logs in the United States and in many East Asian countries for their meaty, robust flavor and texture.
  • Maitake (Grifola frondosa): Cultivated on tree stumps, these mushrooms grow in a formation of clustered brownish 1-to-2-inch fronds forming a fan shape. Commonly known as "Hen of the Woods," maitakes have a mild, slightly aromatic flavor.
  • Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum): These usually have an antler or rounded fan shape, with the most popular type of reishi being red in color, although that is just one of the six colors in which they grow. These mushrooms are cultivated on dead trees and are very woody. Therefore, they generally are not eaten but cooked and removed from dishes.
Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

More About this Book

Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

From the bestselling authors of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, the most comprehensive and practical guide available to the nutritional benefits and medicinal properties of virtually everything...

Continue Learning about Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplements

Whether you're visiting the drug store, grocery or natural food shop you'll likely find an aisle where there are jars and bottles of things for you to put in your body that are neither foods nor medicines. Ranging from vitamins an...

d minerals to fiber and herbal remedies, these supplements are not regulated in the same way as either food or medicine. Some of them are backed by solid research, others are folk remedies or proprietary cures. If your diet does not include enough of certain vitamins or minerals, a supplement may be a good idea. Natural treatment for conditions like constipation may be effective. But because these substances are unregulated, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about the products and to use common sense when taking them. This is even more true if you are pregnant or taking a medicine that may be affected by supplements.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.