Medicinal Mushroom Highlight: Wood Ear

Common Name(s):

Wood Ear

Tree Ear

Cloud Ear

Mu Erh

Black Jelly Fungus

Scientific Name:

  • Wood ear mushroom (Auricularia auricula-judae) contains a variety of bioactive compounds that contribute to its potential health benefits. Here are some important constituents found in wood ear mushrooms:

    1. Polysaccharides: Wood ear mushroom is abundant in polysaccharides, including β-glucans and heteropolysaccharides. These complex carbohydrates have been linked to immune modulation, antioxidant effects, and potential anti-tumor properties.

    2. Triterpenoids: Wood ear mushroom contains triterpenoids like ergosterol, ergosterol peroxide, and lanosterol. Triterpenoids are known for their anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and potential anti-cancer activities.

    3. Phenolic Compounds: Wood ear mushroom harbors phenolic compounds such as phenolic acids, flavonoids, and tannins. These compounds possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which contribute to the mushroom's potential health benefits.

    4. Sterols: Wood ear mushroom contains sterols like ergosterol and ergosterol peroxide. Sterols are bioactive compounds associated with anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and cholesterol-lowering effects.

    5. Lectins: Wood ear mushroom produces lectins, which are proteins that bind to carbohydrates. The lectins in wood ear mushrooms have been studied for their potential anti-tumor and immunomodulatory properties.

    6. Minerals: Wood ear mushroom is a good source of essential minerals, including iron, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium, which are important for various bodily functions.

    It's worth noting that the specific chemical composition of wood ear mushrooms can vary depending on factors such as their origin, cultivation methods, and processing. Further research is still needed to fully comprehend the bioactive compounds present in wood ear mushrooms and their precise mechanisms of action.

  • It has a unique scent caused by the chemical compound known as dihydro-5-pentyl-2(3H)furanone acid.


General Uses:
  • Wood ear mushroom, also known as black fungus or Auricularia auricula-judae, has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for various purposes. According to TCM, wood ear mushroom is believed to have the following effects:

    1. Enhancing mental and physical energy: Wood ear mushroom is traditionally used to boost energy levels and improve overall vitality.

    2. Addressing conditions such as bleeding of the uterus and hemorrhoids: In TCM, wood ear mushroom is used to help address these specific conditions.

    3. Nourishing the lungs: It is believed that wood ear mushrooms can nourish and support the lungs, promoting respiratory health.

    4. Replenishing energy levels after childbirth: Wood ear mushroom is sometimes used in TCM to help women recover and regain their energy after giving birth.

    5. Improving blood circulation: TCM suggests that wood ear mushrooms can enhance blood circulation throughout the body.

    6. Additional benefits and uses: Wood ear mushroom is also utilized in TCM for various conditions such as lumbago (lower back pain), postpartum debility, muscle spasms, poor circulation, dysentery with blood, leukorrhea (abnormal vaginal discharge), excess mucus, nausea, slow wound healing in the elderly, and even mushroom poisoning. It is used to treat hemorrhoids, act as an anticoagulant, stimulate bowel movements, and boost energy levels.

    While wood ear mushroom has a long history of traditional use in TCM for these purposes, it is important to note that scientific research on these specific claims is limited. Consulting with a qualified healthcare professional or TCM practitioner is advisable for personalized advice and treatment.

    1. Immune-Boosting Effects: The polysaccharides present in wood ear mushrooms have been found to have immunomodulatory effects, meaning they can help enhance the immune system's function and response.

    2. Cardiovascular Health: Wood ear mushrooms may contribute to heart health by reducing cholesterol levels and preventing the formation of blood clots. It contains compounds that inhibit the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which is involved in cholesterol synthesis.

    3. Blood Sugar Regulation: Studies have shown that wood ear mushroom extracts can help regulate blood sugar levels. It may have a hypoglycemic effect by improving insulin sensitivity and reducing glucose absorption.

    4. Anti-inflammatory Properties: Wood ear mushroom contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help alleviate inflammation in the body. This property can be beneficial for conditions such as arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.

    5. Digestive Health: The high fiber content in wood ear mushrooms promotes healthy digestion and can aid in preventing constipation. It acts as a natural laxative and supports regular bowel movements.

    6. Wound Healing: Wood ear mushroom extracts have been traditionally used topically to treat wounds and promote healing. The polysaccharides in the mushroom help stimulate collagen synthesis and enhance the growth of new tissue.

    7. Anti-tumor Potential: Some studies suggest that wood ear mushroom extracts exhibit anti-tumor activity. The presence of bioactive compounds, such as polysaccharides and triterpenes, may contribute to this effect by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.

    It's important to note that while wood ear mushroom has potential health benefits, they should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If you have specific health concerns or conditions, it's best to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating wood ear mushroom into your diet or using it for medicinal purposes. 

Medical Studies:
  • Wood ear mushroom (Auricularia auricula-judae) has been the subject of several medical studies, investigating its potential health benefits and medicinal properties. Here are some examples of research conducted on this mushroom:

    1. Immune-Boosting Effects: Researchers examined the immunomodulatory activity of wood ear mushroom polysaccharides. They found that these polysaccharides demonstrated significant immune-enhancing effects by stimulating the production of immune cells and cytokines.

    2. Anti-Tumor Activity: Studies explored the anti-tumor potential of wood ear mushroom polysaccharides. Results showed that these polysaccharides exhibited inhibitory effects on cancer cell growth and induced programmed cell death (apoptosis) in tumor cells.

    3. Cardiovascular Health: Research focused on the cholesterol-lowering properties of wood ear mushroom extracts. The study revealed that the mushroom extract inhibited the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which is involved in cholesterol synthesis. This inhibition suggests a potential for reducing cholesterol levels and improving cardiovascular health.

    4. Blood Sugar Regulation: Studies investigated the hypoglycemic effects of wood ear mushroom extracts. The findings indicated potential improvements in insulin sensitivity and reduced glucose absorption, which could have implications for blood sugar regulation.

    5. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Researchers explored the anti-inflammatory activity of wood ear mushroom polysaccharides. The study demonstrated that these polysaccharides exhibited significant anti-inflammatory effects by suppressing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

    It is important to note that while these studies suggest potential health benefits associated with wood ear mushrooms, further research is needed to fully understand their mechanisms of action and their effectiveness in different contexts. It is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using wood ear mushrooms or any other natural remedy for medicinal purposes.

  • Polysaccharides derived from A. auricula have been found to stimulate the synthesis of DNA and RNA in human lymphocytes.
  • 15g/day 2x per day of dried mushroom
  • While rare, it is possible for A. auricula to cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. Therefore, caution should be exercised. Additionally, it is advised that pregnant or lactating women, as well as those planning to conceive, avoid taking A. auricula.
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