Auriculariapolytricha, also known as black fungus, is a medicinal mushroom that can range from a variety of brownish or blackish shades. Due to its distinctive rubbery texture and earlike shape, other common names for this mushroom are cloud ear, tree ear, wood ear, and Judas ear.
Auriculariapolytricha is native to countries with humid climates such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. It can also be found in other Asian countries with more temperate climates such as Japan and China. I has also been found in certain parts of Europe and even in the United States, specifically in Hawaii.
Europeans call this mushroom jelly or jew’s ear. Meanwhile, Indonesians and Malyasians know this mushroom as jamurkuping or the ear mushroom. Hawaiians simply refer to it as pepeiaoor ear, while Filipinos call it tenga ng daga or rat’s ear.
Due to its slightly gelatinous and chewy texture, it is highly prized and often used as an ingredient in Asian cuisine. The fruit of the mushroom itself is translucent and is either a pale brown, dark brown or blackish brown in color and grows from a short stalk.
Most of the Auriculariapolytricha that are sold in markets are usually dried in order to preserve their color and taste. Although it is possible to eat the mushroom in its dries state, cooks would usually opt to soak the mushrooms before use in order to return their natural slippery and slightly crunchy texture.
Chinese scientists believe that the mushroom can act as a possible treatment for numerous health issues. It is specifically being studies as a treatment for patients suffering from stomach, lung, and liver problems. Recently, the mushroom has also been discovered to hold remarkable anticoagulant properties.
As in many other jelly funji, the main active compound of the fruit of the Auriculariapolytricha is its high polysaccharide content. Additionally, it has also been shown to have increased levels of phenols which contribute to its hypercholesterolaemic and antioxidant properties.
Benefits of Black Fungus Mushrooms
Research into the health benefits of Auriculariapolytricha has revealed that it may be effective in treating people with certain cancers, high blood pressure, and coronary heart disease. In relation to this, in a study using rabbits, the fungus has also displayed its potential in reducing LDL cholesterol levels as well as aortic atherosclerotic plaque.
Treatment for Alzheimer’s disease
Though it is often enjoyed as an edible fungus by people of all ages, Auriculariapolytricha could have a special effect on its elderly consumers. The isolated polysaccharide component of the mushroom has been shown to inhibit the growth of one of the key enzymes that cause Alzheimer’s disease. Eventually, doctors might even recommend the inclusion of the fungus in every elderly person’s dietary needs.
Diseases that involve blood vessels and arteries such as strokes and heart attacks are often caused by blood clotting and poor circulation. Fortunately, studies have shown that the Auriculariapolytricha has certain anticoagulant substances which can prevent blood clotting and improve overall blood circulation.
In relation to its ability as an anticoagulant, the mushroom has also been used as a treatment for hemorrhoids, gonorrhea, and bruises. It is able to improve blood circulation and hasten the body’s natural ability to heal itself after being bruised. In the same way, better blood circulation can help treat hemorrhoids and even uterine bleeding and other intestinal issues.
Lowered Cholesterol levels
Auriculariapolytrichahas also been used in studies that involve obese or diabetic test subjects. The results of these studies have shown that the fungus could be able to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels by inducing hypoglycemic effects in its patients. Early test on mice have exhibited a reduction of LDL cholesterol levels by 24%.
Though the skin is the body part that is the most prone to dryness, other internal organs such as the throat and or mouth can also suffer from extreme dryness. This often results in a dry and painful cough or a case of sore throat. In relation to its ability to promote blood circulation, the Auriculariapolytricha has also been thought as having the ability to moisten other body parts and alleviate dryness.
Though it is not one of the mushroom’s active components, Auriculariapolytricha also contains trace amounts of germanium. Germanium is highly regarded for its anti-tumor and anti-viral properties. Specifically, the component is renowned for its ability to revitalize and energize the body thus helping it ward off viruses.