Health Library Home>Natural & Alternative Treatments>Herbs & Supplements>Article


Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

Grifola frondosa, hen of the woods, ram’s head, sheep’s head


Maitake is a mushroom that grows in North America, Europe, and parts of Asia. It has been used to help the body fight illness and improve the health of the ovaries. It can be eaten raw, cooked, or dehydrated. Maitake can also be taken as a pill, powder, or extract.


1 gram 2 to 3 times daily

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome —may help ovulation occur A1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It may be safe to take maitake for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to take for a long period or by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Only take mushrooms that have been identified by a professional.B2


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:

  • People with diabetes should talk to their doctors before taking maitake. It may cause problems in people who take medicine to lower their blood glucose.B1
  • People taking blood thinners should talk to their doctors before taking bee pollen. It may increase bleeding.B3


A. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

A1. Chen TJ, Tominaga K, et al. Maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa) extract induces ovulation in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome: a possible monotherapy and a combination therapy after failure with first-line clomiphene citrate. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(12):1295-1299.

B. Safety

B1. Konno S, Tortorelis DG, et al. A possible hypoglycaemic effect of maitake mushroom on Type 2 diabetic patients. Diabet Med. 2001 Dec;18(12):1010.

B2. Gonmori K, Yokoyama K. [Acute encephalopathy caused by cyanogenic fungi in 2004, and magic mushroom regulation in Japan]. Chudoku Kenkyu. 2009 Mar;22(1):61-69. Japanese.

B3. Izzo AA. Interactions between herbs and conventional drugs: overview of the clinical data. Med Princ Pract. 2012;21(5):404-428.

Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 6/29/2020