The antimicrobial, cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties of aqueous extracts of raw and culinary processed shiitake mushrooms were evaluated and compared with those of lenthionine (1,2,3,5,6-penta-thiepane), the principal aroma-bearing substance of the shiitake medicinal mushroom (Lentinus edodes). Antimicrobial activity was tested using a panel of 4 strains of bacteria, 2 yeasts, and 2 fungi. Cytotoxic properties were evaluated against 3 cell lines (HepG2, HeLa, PaTu), whereas the anti-inflammatory activity of tested samples was assayed based on their ability to attenuate the secretion of the cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α. Antioxidant activity was measured using in vitro DPPH and ABTS assays. It was found that lenthionine possesses significant antimicrobial properties; it is remarkably effective in inhibiting the growth of yeasts and fungi (minimum inhibitory concentration, 2-8 μg/mL) and thus is comparable to standard antifungal agents. Lenthionine is also able to decrease significantly the production of tumor necrosis factor-a and thus could be at least partly responsible for the observed anti-inflammatory effect of shiitake. On the other hand, lenthionine does not seem to contribute significantly to the well-known anticancer and antioxidant effects of the mushroom.