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December 06, 2021 4 min read
Superfood mushrooms are a fairly recent phenomenon in the Western world. Taking a page from traditional Chinese cultures, we have begun using these fungi in more ways than just beef (‘shroom?) up a tasty meal – they are also becoming widely available as supplements in powder or extract form. The Tremella mushroom can be considered part of this group of mushrooms that may provide health-supporting compounds and properties to the body.
Also known as the snow mushroom, white fungus, or white jelly mushroom, Tremella mushrooms can be traced back centuries, with the first recorded uses found in literature dating back to 200 A.D[CM1]. Originally reserved for royalty and the ruling class, Tremella has remained a staple in Chinese cuisine because of the benefits observed in both the health of the body and the skin.
The fruiting body of Tremella (the part you would consider the mushroom itself), is white and gelatinous, resembling underwater coral. It’s this fruiting body that provides many of the beneficial compounds Tremella mushrooms are celebrated for.
Most widely known for the potential benefits to the skin and in anti-aging* Tremella mushrooms are now being explored for both topical (to be put on your skin) and internal (to be consumed) uses.
In fact, skin-care companies worldwide have begun adding Tremella to their products, claiming it may be an all-natural substitute for hyaluronic acid, which is considered the superstar of good skin hydration.* As legend has it, one of the Four Great Beauties in ancient China, Yang Guides (who was actually considered the most beautiful woman in Chinese history,) used it to keep her skin youthful and glowing.*
And Tremella wouldn’t be the first natural solution to healthy skin. Collagen, a protein found both in the human body and animal and vegetable proteins, has begun to emerge as a popular addition to a complete skin-care routine. When used topically, Tremella mushroom may help maintain healthy complexions and a youthful appearance, but when ingested, may provide a host of other benefits!
Chock-full of polysaccharides (which can also be credited for the skin-boosting benefits due to their water-retaining properties,*) Tremella mushrooms may have an antioxidant effect that could help the body minimize damage from free radicals.*
If you’re not a chemist or biologist, you may not be aware that damage from free radicals can have a significant impact on our bodies. If the free radicals that you naturally generate overwhelm your antioxidants and the body can no longer regulate them, you may be prone to oxidative stress, which can not only cause cell and tissue damage, it has also been linked to inflammatory disease, certain cancers, and neurological disorders, among others. Maintaining the body’s balance of free radicals and antioxidants is crucial to help support healthy body functions.*
Recent research has also identified that Tremella mushrooms may have anti-inflammatory properties. While inflammation can be a natural response to, say, a wound, consistent (or chronic) inflammation can contribute to a whole host of health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and fatty liver disease. Reducing inflammation helps to improve overall health.*
If this wasn’t enough, believe it or not, Tremella mushrooms also provide critical nutrition, like vitamin D which supports bone health, potassium which supports healthy cell function, and dietary fiber, which is known to help control blood sugar.*
Much like most superfood mushrooms, Tremella mushrooms can be found as a powder or extract, or as an ingredient in natural elixirs.
Most of the Tremella mushroom benefits are associated with the fruiting body of the mushrooms, which is where most extracts originate. Because Tremella mushrooms are typically found in tropical and subtropical regions, most of the Tremella mushroom powder we find is made using commercially cultivated mushrooms, which allows the powders or extracts to be widely available. As with any natural product, you should read the nutritional label to ensure that your powder doesn’t contain sugars, natural sweeteners, or fillers like soy or extra starch.
If Tremella mushroom powder is your product of choice, it can be used to create a superfood mushroom coffee or tea, or it can be added to any other liquid, like smoothies, soups, or juices.
You can also keep your eyes out for lotions and creams containing Tremella if you are looking to take advantage of the benefits to your skin.
Lastly (and I admit this is merely hearsay,) apparently Tremella mushrooms are delicious. Like, cram-them-in- your-mouth-and-don’t-share kind of delicious. If you do come across whole Tremella mushrooms, you can expect a mild, slightly sweet flavor. More commonly in Asian grocery stores, you can find dehydrated Tremella (which requires rehydration before consuming,) that can similarly be used in a variety of cuisine, though it is often used as a thickening agent.
Whichever way you choose to use Tremella, incorporating it into your daily routine may just show you some benefits that are more than skin deep.*
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease.
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