The Sparassis Crispa or the edible Eastern Cauliflower Mushroom derives its name from its distinctive shape which resembles that of the cauliflower vegetable. Due to its appearance and white or pale yellowish color, it is also known as the brain mushroom, the ruffle mushroom, the white fungus, and the hen of the woods. In Japanese it’s known as Hanabiratake.
The cauliflower mushroom grows from a single underground base which sprouts into smaller separate branches. Often, these branches are stubby and contorted and are white when fully ripened. However, both the flower and the base can turn more yellowish as they begin to rot.
This medicinal mushroom species thrives at the roots or bases of hardwood tress like pine trees and oak trees. Occasionally, they can also grow in forests at the base of coniferous tree stumps. The cauliflower mushroom usually grows in temperate climates and can be found in eastern North America, Korea, Australia, Europe, and Japan where it is known as the hanabiratake.
They bloom annually and often reoccur in the same locations. When they die, they leave behind a brown rot during the summer and fall seasons.
Since it is an edible fungus, the Sparassis Crispa is already being commercially grown in these countries. Farm-grown cauliflower mushrooms can weigh upwards of 5 kg. They are best eaten while they are still white in color, otherwise they can cause indigestion. Every lobe must should also be thoroughly cleaned to remove dirt and mud. It should also be properly cooked before being served as part of a meal or on its own.
Benefits of Sparassis Crispa (Eastern Cauliflower Mushroom)
The Sparassis Crispa has been used in traditional Japanese and Korean cooking for centuries. However, it was only recently that the fungus gained popularity and commercial acclaim as a medicinal mushroom even in Europe and North America. This is primarily due to the mushroom’s high beta-glucan content. Compared to other mushroom species, the Sparassis Crispa has at least 43% of the regular amount of beta-glucan in tis dietary fibers.
Additionally, the cauliflower mushroom has been found to exhibit anti-microbial properties. Specifically, its active components, terpenoid and phthalide, have been implicated as having the potential to fight off disease.
Numerous in-vitro and in-vivo tests have proven that the active components of Sparassis Crispa have the potential of promoting anti-tumor activity in patients. Specifically, its components enhance haematopoietic response, as well as activate macrophage and dendritic cell function while inhibiting metastasisand angiogenesis at the same time. In tandem with other procedures, disease patients suffering from lung, breast, colon, ovarian, prostate, stomach, and liver diseases displayed marked improvement in their quality of life scores after ingesting the mushroom over a period of 15 months.
As early as 1923, Sparassis Crispa has been known for its innate anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties. Recently though, the mushroom has also been able to display effectivity even against several anti-fungal agents that are usually resistant to anti-bacterial drugs. Notably, the Sparassis Crispahas been shown to contain chemicals which can possibly inhibit the growth of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA. Though it has yet to be tested, extracts of the fungus have also shown high levels of possible resistors for HIV-1.
3.) Skin health and repair
Sparassis Crispa has shown to have significantly increased the amount of synthesized collagen and reduced water loss in healthy humans. It has also been noted for having the ability to inhibit melanin synthesis and delaying the darkening of or tanning of the skin. Meanwhile, those suffering from skin asthma or allergies displayed reduced inflammation and itching after consuming the mushroom. Additionally, the Sparassis Crispa has been found to have the potential of enhancing the wound healing abilities of diabetic patients.
4.) Stroke Prevention
Though it is not advertised as a cure for stroke patients, Sparassis Crispa has been shown to have the ability to delay or limit strokes and possible death in stroke-prone test subjects. The active components of the mushroom can significantly lower the blood pressure and improve the cerebrovascular endothelialdys function to prevent strokes from progressing or occurring.
Active Compounds of Sparassis Crispa (Eastern Cauliflower Mushroom)
- Vitamin D2
- Glucosyl ceramide
- Beta-glucan from dietary fiber
- Terpenoid compounds
Some would say that a low dose of 0.3g on daily basis would be enough to achieve skin health and immunity. However, in order to fully reap its numerous health benefits, it is recommended that you take at least 3g of Sparassis Crispa per day.