Maitake in Japanese means 'dancing mushroom.' Some say it is so named because in ancient times people who found the mushroom danced with joy since it could be exchanged for its weight in silver. It is also called hen of the woods and sheep's head.
When used consistently as a food or tea, it possible aids in cancer prevention, immune stimulation in people with cancer, support for people having chemotherapy (which is immunosuppressive), and people infected with the AID's virus. It potentially benefits diabetics (lowering blood glucose) and people with hypertension.
from 'Medicinal Mushrooms, An Exploration of Tradition, Healing, and Culture' by Christopher Hobbs, Botanica Press, 1995