Medicinal Mushroom Highlight: The Honey Mushroom

Common Name(s):

Honey Mushroom

Bootlace Fungus

Shoestring Fungus

Mustard Armillaria

Scientific Name: Armillaria mellea
  • Wood ear mushroom (Auricularia auricula-judae) is a nutritious fungus with notable chemical constituents and nutritional value. Here are some key points:

    Chemical Constituents:
    - High levels of beta-glucans, particularly in the cap and stem.
    - Sesquiterpenoid aromatic esters like armillaricin, armillarigin, armillarikin.
    - Sesquiterpene aromatic esters including armillarilin, armillarinin, armillaripin.
    - Sesquiterpene aryl esters such as judeol armillyl everninate, armillol, melleolide.
    - Nor-sesquiterpene esters like armillasin, armillatin, and AMG-1.

    Nutritional Value:
    - Protein content ranges from 11.4% to 29.2%.
    - Total carbohydrates make up about 75.9%.
    - Contains fiber with a crude fiber content of 5.8%.
    - Provides essential minerals like calcium (0.27-0.4mg/100g), phosphorus (8.4-12.5 mg/100g), and potassium (32.6-43.4 mg/100g).
    - Calories amount to 384 kcal per serving.
    - Contains vitamin A.

    Other Components:
    - E-threitol (C4H10O4) found in the fruiting body.
    - Polysaccharide content is approximately 2.27%.
    - Mycelial extract includes armillane, volatile organic acids, hepatonic acids, potassium, iron, manganese, and copper.

    These constituents contribute to the nutritional and potential health benefits of wood ear mushroom. However, it's important to note that individual nutrient content may vary depending on factors like cultivation and processing methods.



    General Uses:
    • The mushroom possesses properties that support the stomach and intestines during cases of gastritis and painful digestion. Additionally, it can be beneficial for conditions such as dry skin, weak vision, night vision issues, and offers protection against specific respiratory infections. These benefits can be attributed, at least in part, to its remarkably high vitamin A content.

      In China, A. Mellea tablets are reputed to enhance blood flow to the brain and heart, making them recommended for the treatment of dizziness, neurasthenia, insomnia, tinnitus, epilepsy, and limb numbness. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), honey mushrooms are utilized for various purposes, including the management of epilepsy, sleep disorders, cholesterol regulation, sciatica, and improvement of night vision due to their abundance of beta-carotene. It has been reported that these mushrooms increase blood flow to the brain and alleviate symptoms of dizziness, insomnia, and tinnitus.

      Furthermore, there exists a commercially produced tablet in China made from the mycelium of honey mushrooms. This tablet is used for strengthening the nervous system, as well as fortifying the lungs, intestines, and stomach. It aids in preventing dry skin and alleviating leg and lumbago pain, rickets, and epilepsy.
    Medical Studies:
    • Honey mushrooms have the potential to improve insulin resistance. Numerous studies have demonstrated their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Two studies have shown promising results in using honey mushrooms for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease patients. They have also exhibited antibiotic action against pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, and B. subtilis. Armillaric acid found in honey mushrooms inhibits Gram-positive bacteria and yeast.

      Animal studies have reported various benefits, including decreased heart rate, reduced peripheral and coronary vascular resistance, and increased cerebral blood flow. Honey mushrooms have been reported to alleviate symptoms of essential and renal hypertension, as well as neurasthenia. Extracts from the fruiting body of the mushroom have shown activity against Staphylococcus aureus. Additionally, honey mushrooms have demonstrated antitumor activity against sarcoma 180 (inhibiting it by 70%) and Ehrlich carcinoma (inhibiting it by 80%). They contain AMG-I, which exhibits cerebral-protective effects.

      In a study conducted at the Central Hospital of Shanghai Jingan District, honey mushroom tablets were tested on patients with hyperlipidemia. The results showed an average reduction in cholesterol levels of up to 48%, with an effective rate of 83%. Triglyceride levels decreased by 42%, with an effective rate of 75%. The majority of patients experienced a decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and symptoms related to hypertension, such as dizziness, chest tightness, and anxiety, were alleviated.

      Honey mushrooms have also been found to reduce symptoms associated with essential and renal hypertension, neurasthenia, and possess sedative and anti-convulsant properties. They exhibit antiviral activity against poliomyelitis and may have potential in treating thrombosis. The mushrooms' anti-inflammatory activity is attributed to the inhibition of NO, COX-2, iNOS, and cytokine production. They induce the maturation of human dendritic cells without inducing cytokine expression and promote the expression of intracellular adhesion molecule-1, which regulates the movement of immune cells to inflamed areas. Honey mushrooms contain armillarisin B, which has inhibitory effects on Gibberella zeae. Furthermore, they possess anti-epileptic activity and may offer a more cost-effective and less toxic alternative to existing anti-epileptic drugs on the market.
    • 500-1000mg/day of extract powder
    • 15g/2x daily of dried fruiting bodies
    • Can cause upset stomach in some people, especially if not well cooked.
    • In some people it may cause diarrhea.
    • Do not combine with alcohol.


    By Isaiah Chavez

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