Long before it reached our Seattle Korean restaurant, shiitake mushrooms were revered for its great taste and medicinal properties. Its history as a food goes all the way back to prehistoric times, its first recorded use appearing as far back as AD 199. The Chinese and, later on, the Japanese and Koreans have been cultivating the mushrooms for over a thousand years, using it not only as a food but as a medicine, an agent to empower the chi, and a means to battle the effects of old age.
Though ancient medicine lacked the finer tools of modern day, modern science can confirm many of shiitake’s long-celebrated benefits. Shiitake contains valuable nutrients and powerful anti-oxidants, serving to balance bodily nutrition and fight the harmful effects of free radicals that age your skin and other bodily tissues. Substances in shiitake can also lower cholesterol and prevent the growth of cancerous tumors. It would seem that the doctors of the old East knew what they were talking about!