Written by Markus Horneber and the CAM-Cancer Consortium.
Updated February 8, 2017

Maitake (Grifola frondosa)

Does it work ?

Phase I/II clinical trial

A phase I/II dose escalation trial found dose-dependent effects of a liquid maitake extract on immu¬nologic parameters of disease-free breast cancer patients: increased cytokine production from monocytes and T-cells, and higher numbers of activated NK- and T-cells. The dose associated with the largest immunological effect varied for the different immunological parameters. The authors concluded that “cancer patients should be made aware of the fact that botanical agents produce more complex effects than assumed, and may depress as well as enhance immune function.”11

Another phase II trial investigated the effects of an oral maitake extract at 3 mg/kg twice daily for 12 weeks on immune functions in a small group (n=21) of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Maitake extract increased the capacity of neutrophils and monocytes to produce reactive oxygen species with or without stimulation by E. coli, phorbol ester, and N-formylmethionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (measured by flow cytometry). The authors concluded that „Maitake has beneficial immunomodulatory potential in MDS“.36

Case series

Three case series published by the same group reported “immune-enhancing properties of maitake MD-fraction” and a “potential to decrease the size of lung, liver, and breast tumours.”37-39 A critical comment on one of these case series, however, sounds a note of caution regarding the validity of the published results.40


Markus Horneber, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Maitake (Grifola frondosa) [online document]. http://cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Dietary-approaches/Maitake-Grifola-frondosa. February 8, 2017.

Document history

Assessed as up to date in February 2017 by Barbara Wider.
Summary first published in November 2011, authored by Markus Horneber.

Summary revised and updated in May 2015 by Markus Horneber.


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