With a stunning translucent body, soft-white colour and curvaceous elegant shape - tremella might just be the most beautiful medicinal mushroom in existence!
It's no surprise that Tremella is often called the beauty mushroom, but you'll also find it called the snow mushroom, snow fungus, silver ear mushroom, white jelly mushroom, jelly fungus, white tree jellyfish and in scientific circles - Tremella fuciformis.
Tremella fuciformis is the key medicinal species and has been used in ancient Chinese medicine for centuries to help with everything from reducing wrinkles and improving skin health to immune support and help with fighting more serious diseases.
Generally white to off-white in colour, this mushroom commonly grows in Asia but can be found in tropical climates worldwide. Tremella fuciformis has been cultivated and used in China since the nineteenth century, however, the earliest record of its use dates right back to 200 AD!
Medicinal mushrooms and fungus have a long history of use in many different human cultures, including being used to make penicillin and other antibiotics in more modern times. Science is really just only starting to understand the immense uses and benefits of the tremella mushroom.
- What is Tremella fuciformis Extract?
- History of Tremella Use
- Where Are Tremella Mushrooms Found?
- The Nutrition Details of Tremella Mushroom Extract
- How Does Tremella Mushroom Extract Taste?
- 8 Key Health Benefits Of Tremella Mushroom
- Where Can You Get Good Tremella Mushroom Extract?
- What Potency Should the Extract Be?
- How to Take Tremella Mushroom Extract?
- How Often Should You Take Tremella?
- Side Effects of Tremella Mushroom Extract
- Who Should Use Tremella Mushroom Extract?
- Future Studies
What Is Tremella fuciformis Extract?
As with all extracts, the Tremella fuciformis extract is made from concentrating and distilling down whole tremella mushroom to make a much more concentrated powder, liquid or capsule.
Before extracts became available, you'd have to eat the mushroom to get any benefits. Unfortunately, while the whole mushroom offered some uses, you had to eat a lot of it to feel the effects. Luckily, due to its agreeable flavour, people were able to put it in stews, salads, and meat dishes to add texture and bulk.
Early on, extracts were made using the most nutritional parts of the tremella mushroom. The powders created allowed people to take concentrated doses of the most beneficial chemicals and minerals the mushroom had to offer, enabling them to get the most out of their tremella.
Tremella extracts contain large sugar-based molecules called polysaccharides which are attributed a host of different health-enhancing properties. Aside from this, there are a number of other health-promoting molecules including xylose, mannose, and glucuronic acid to name some of the major players.
Glucuronic acid is closely linked to the famous hyaluronic acid and plays a big role in tremella's much-prized anti-ageing and skin hydration benefits.
Taking a potent extract ensures that you get all the benefits of this fantastic mushroom in either powder, liquid or capsule form, meaning you can reap the rewards without having to eat piles and piles of mushrooms!
History of Tremella Use
Tremella fuciformis has a long history of use as a natural beauty product - many millennia to be precise!
There are legends of Yang Guifei (one of the legendary 'four great beauties' of China) using the silver ear (yín ěr) mushroom to help maintain her exquisite looks. Many stories of Yang Guifei refer to tremella as the beauty mushroom and credit it for much of her longevity and youthfulness.
The first official reference to the use of the tremella mushroom is in 200 AD in the writings of Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, one of the fathers of Traditional Chinese Medicine. When people first found it, it was so valuable that only royals and high-ranking officials could use it.
For a while, western medicine ignored the tremella mushroom (and most other medicinal mushrooms), thinking it was just mysticism. However, with the modern resurgence of amazing herbalists and holistic medicine, people started studying mushrooms to understand how they work.
Scientists are still studying tremella and learning new secrets about how it works and its benefits for medicinal uses all the time. It is not the only mushroom they are looking at, there are also many other medicinal mushrooms that have caught scientists attention in recent times due to their numerous health benefits.
Where Are Tremella Mushrooms Found?
Tremella grows in tropical to subtropical regions in many places around the world, including Asia, America, Australia, and Africa. People first discovered its uses and properties in Asia, so much of the mushroom cultivation is still located there.
The tremella mushroom starts as a jelly-like film that creates mycelial growth, or vegetative parts of the fungus when it finds a suitable spot to grow - often being found growing on decaying wood. Tremella then forms watery white fruiting bodies which is the part people usually use when cooking. Its jelly form and colour is responsible for its many different imaginative nicknames.
With its global demand skyrocketing, Tremella is now commercially produced. Many farms provide the right kinds of rotting wood piles to cultivate tremella to be used in cooking or for making extracts.
When choosing a tremella extract, always make sure the producer you favour is producing it sustainably, ethically and fairly. Unfortunately, high demand means an explosion in companies looking to exploit it in 'not so great' ways, leading to many problems surrounding contamination, regeneration and terrible labour practices.
The Nutrition Details of Tremella Mushroom Extract
Raw tremella mushroom is referred to as a superfood in many health circles due to its numerous potential health benefits and health-promoting properties.
The tremella mushroom extract is loaded with antioxidants, as well as many other key vitamins and minerals. The 'snow mushroom' is an incredible source of vitamin D and contains many important B complexes, including B1, B2, B6, and folate. As for minerals, it contains good levels of zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, and iron.
It provides a decent amount of protein with almost no fat in each serve - meaning you get all these properties at only 200 calories for every 100 grams! Its mild taste and low caloric impact make tremella a great addition to recipes to add texture, fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
How Does Tremella Mushroom Extract Taste?
To continue the list of exotic names - the tremella mushroom extract is sometimes called the dessert mushroom due to its subtle and slightly sweet vanilla taste, however, some people say that it has no noticeable flavour at all.
Tremella is brilliant for almost all cooking and desserts as it's not overpowering and tends to absorb the flavour of the other ingredients you include with it. There are countless great recipes out there for it nowadays, but if you like to keep it simple - just stir it into your tea, hot chocolate or morning coffee!
It is probably the most 'flavour friendly' of all medicinal mushrooms, and it's unlikely that you will have a strong reaction to the taste of it in any form. In any case - taste is very personal, so just try a small amount first and see how you go!
8 Key Health Benefits Of Tremella Mushroom
Tremella mushroom has a number of different health and beauty uses, backed both by traditional medicine systems and modern science!
Known as an adaptogenic fungi (or herb), many of these benefits work together to increase your overall health which can sometimes make it hard to separate them. They work in synergy to help you feel better, which, in turn, can help you look and feel younger.
While this list is not exhaustive, and new studies are coming out all the time that find new medicinal properties of the herb, here are some of the most valuable and exciting benefits you can get from the tremella mushroom extract.
1.) Hydrates Your Skin
Retaining moisture is essential for young, vibrant looking skin. One of the most important compounds found in tremella is gluconic acid, which has well-known water retention properties. These properties help tremella mushrooms hold over 500 times their weight in water!
Despite being smaller in size, the molecules that help hold the moisture in these mushrooms actually have a higher water retention capacity than the more commonly used hyaluronic acid. Their small size also enables them to be absorbed quicker and more easily. Hyaluronic acid is often referred to as 'the gold standard' in the skincare world, so the fact that tremella may not just match it, but even better it, is a big deal!
Properly hydrated skin can help reduce wrinkles and skin cell damage - while also helping to maintain or increase elasticity.
To get these hydrating properties, you can use the extract as part of a skin cream, mix the powder with water to make face masks, or take the extract orally. No matter how you use it, you can still reap the benefits to hydrate and replenish your skin.
The extract also has very high amounts of Vitamin D, used in many commercial moisturizers and skin products. Vitamin D is an essential part of skin health that helps with cellular growth and regeneration.
If you are having skin issues Tremella can be a great natural aid, and when paired with a few other brilliant natural skin health remedies like ashwagandha, green tea, reishi and vegan collagen - you will most likely notice some outstanding results!
2.) Full of Antioxidants
Packed to the gills with antioxidants (particularly Superoxide Dismutase or SOD), tremella can help slow cell damage due to oxidation caused by free radicals.
Free radicals can damage your skin by clinging to your collagen and weakening elasticity. By removing them, tremella can help protect your skin from damage, brighten the appearance of your skin and help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Don't get us wrong, free radicals are an important and normal part of daily life, the problem starts when you get too many free radicals in the system and can't clear them fast enough.
This can happen through many means, such as air pollution, smoke, alcohol, toxins, high blood sugar, stress, radiation, and infection.
Antioxidants bind to free radicals, helping to get rid of excess amounts of them, contributing to the anti-ageing process we are all seeking!
3.) Weight Loss
There are times in most peoples lives where they want to shed a few pounds and get in shape.
Early studies are showing that tremella mushroom extract can aid in battling obesity through its ability to help with blood sugar control.
Having control over your blood sugar levels can help you stop hunger cravings as fluctuations in blood sugar levels can increase your feelings of hunger.
If you struggle with blood sugar levels or have a medical condition that can affect your blood sugar levels (e.g. - prediabetes or diabetes) tremella is showing some huge promise.
As well as blood sugar control, tremella is high in dietary fibre. High levels of soluble fibre helps with digestion and in keeping your gut bacteria healthy. Fibre can also help you feel fuller for longer, reducing your appetite and ultimately, help with weight loss.
More studies are needed to figure out just how much tremella mushroom can aid weight loss, and it isn't a miracle cure for shedding weight, however, you may find that when combined with a healthy diet and exercise, it is another useful tool in the kit!
4.) Boost Your Immune System
I think we can all agree that it's now as important as ever to ensure that your body has a healthy immune function and is firing on all cylinders.
Having a robust immune system is crucial in keeping you healthy and free from sickness. And if you do unfortunately fall ill, a strong immune system is what will speed up your recovery time from illnesses.
Studies have linked tremella mushroom extracts to improvements in the immune response via high levels of Vitamin D and the strong concentrations of polysaccharides we mentioned earlier - most notably polysaccharides called beta-glucans.
Beta-glucans are thought to increase the activity of macrophages and natural killer cells (also called white blood cells) in your system that are responsible for attacking diseases, removing dead cells and stimulating the action of other immune system cells.
White blood cells are one of the most important features of a healthy immune system and not only help keeps simple colds and the flu at bay, but also destroy more serious cancer cell growth. Even if cancer starts to grow, the more active white blood cells can help limit the spread and metastasizing of the cancer cells.
Not just a 'beauty mushroom', tremella is a great way to get a helpful boost to your immune system and stay healthy on the inside, as well as out.
5.) Promotes A Healthy Heart
Heart disease is one of the most common health issues today, with cardiovascular disease being responsible for 1 in 4 deaths in Australia.
Tremella mushrooms can lower your LDL cholesterol (also known as "bad cholesterol") that can collect in the walls of your blood vessels - raising your chances of heart disease and other health problems.
High LDL cholesterol levels have been linked with heart attacks, strokes and many other complications. Cholesterol is one of the major contributors to the formation of plaque which blocks your arteries causing pressure to build and ultimately can cut off circulation in your system. Reducing and managing cholesterol can helps promote healthy blood flow and function.
Aside from cholesterol, tremella aids a healthy heart by helping to decrease triglyceride levels which, if present in high concentrations, can increase the risk of strokes and heart disease.
Better heart health, weight loss, and blood sugar control can all work together to help you live a much healthier and more productive life, and tremella mushrooms have been known to promote all these!
6.) Helps To Protect Your Brain
None of us wants to experience cognitive decline, so it's crucial that we do everything we can to keep our brains healthy!
Studies are now showing that certain compounds in tremella fungus have neuroprotective properties. Neuroprotection refers to the preservation of neurons and their function, which is obviously very important to brain health. Neuroprotective compounds can reduce the loss of nerve cells, allowing you to keep your mind and nervous system sharper and functioning correctly.
Some studies have also shown that tremella mushrooms can help improve memory function. It was seen to have positive effects on memory tests for both humans and rats.
Tremella fuciformis also contains properties known as nerve growth factors that are thought to help replace and regrow nerve cells. The ability to grow your nerve cells back makes the extract an exciting prospect to help in the fight against the effects of brain damage and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
More studies are definitely needed in this area, but it poses some amazing possibilities at this stage!
7.) Can Support Lung Health
The silver ear mushroom has been used in TCM for many thousands of years to support healthy lung function and treat respiratory ailments.
Many herbalists and practitioners use it to help lubricate and soothe the lungs so if you have been having issues with a dry cough, tremella may help you find some relief. Even if tremella can't fix the problem, it can help soothe the upper respiratory tract and give alleviate some of the symptoms.
One study also suggested that the tremella extract may help fight lung cancer by promoting the apoptotic cell death and autophagy of lung cancer cells. Much more evidence is needed in this area but it shows exciting promise.
8.) A Powerful Anti-Inflammatory
Inflammation starts as a good thing, it's your body's natural response to trauma and injury. Unfortunately, it can last too long and turn into chronic inflammation. This causes significant ongoing pain and can lead to worse issues such as problems with your heart, brain, nervous system and immune system.
Tremella's polysaccharides are once again the key player here - acting as an anti-inflammatory and helping to naturally reduce chronic inflammation in the body. Reducing excessive inflammation can help with a range of issues such as joint pain, heart disease, lung issues, cardiovascular health, and weight gain.
Chronic inflammation is common and can cause a tonne of pain which will obviously affect your mental state, happiness and general well-being. It's important to get on top of it as best you can - and tremella is shaping up to be a helpful ally!
Where Can You Get Good Tremella Mushroom Extract?
With the recent explosion in demand for tremella - the number of tremella extract producers has also exploded. However, this is not necessarily a good thing.
There are countless 'shonky operators' on the market nowadays, selling extracts that are not only low concentration and packed with filler material, but also contaminated and seriously bad for your health! Many cheap, unsustainable and unethical extracts have flooded the market recently that independent labs test show are often laced with mycotoxins, mould and heavy metals.
When buying a tremella extract you want to make sure that it comes from a trustworthy source. Check to make sure they have transparent lab testing results, ethical sourcing practices (e.g. di tao) and are well received and reviewed by legitimate customers.
We've tried and tested many manufacturers over the years and only go back to two brands now for our tremella - SuperFeast & Teelixir. You can read our complete in-depth SuperFeast Tremella Review here and our Teelixir Tremella Review here.
These suppliers, in our experienced opinion, are hands-down the best in the business for the amazing beauty mushroom!
What Potency Should the Extract Be?
When analysing the potency of your tremella mushroom extract, there are a few key things to consider:
- Does it contain any kind of filler?: Ideally, you want an extract that is pure tremella, or included with a blend of other mushrooms, but not something that contains rice flour or other non-medicinal materials. Manufacturers generally do this to reduce the costs of producing it.
- Has it been dual extracted?: Mushrooms such as tremella require a dual-extraction process to make sure all of the beneficial compounds have been captured. This is because some are water-soluble and others are alcohol-soluble.
- What is the extraction ratio?: Again, to save on costs - some manufacturers will extract at lower concentrations such as 2:1. This is indicative of adding fillers. You should ideally be looking for 10:1 or greater.
There is no point in taking tremella as a medicinal herb if it doesn't contain potent levels of beneficial compounds such as beta-glucans, terpenes and other polysaccharides.
Again, SuperFeast and Teelixir tick all of the boxes here, but if you choose to use other brands - make sure you do your research first!
How to Take Tremella Mushroom Extract?
You can take tremella extract in many different ways.
It is resilient to heat and cold so whether you want to simply add it to water, smoothies or juice - or prefer to stir it through your morning coffee or a hot meal, it will still work its wonders.
Again, tremella mushrooms don't have a particularly strong taste making them a great addition to almost any drink or meal.
One of the most common ways to take it is as a simple 'tremella tea' by stirring it in a cup of hot water, adding milk and/or honey if preferred.
Some people will also use it as a thickening agent when they cook. Not only will this help enhance some of your favourite recipes, but dish out some amazing health bonuses to boot!
You can also get the extract in capsule or pill form if that's your preference. It's like taking any other vitamin, simply take the recommended amount every morning and let the capsules do all the rest! They don't need to be taken with food, but it won't be a problem if you do.
How Often Should You Take Tremella?
How much you take is really a personal preference, however, as with all new supplements, to ease yourself into it - don't start on the highest dosage straight away!
Start out with the smallest effective dose recommended by the manufacturers for a week or so and see how your body reacts. Everyone has a different constitution when it comes to taking tonic herbs.
Once adjusted, most people end up taking 1 to 2 tsp per day. Some people will take much more, especially if taking it in a capsulated form which usually contains around 1,000 mg per capsule.
Side Effects of Tremella Mushroom Extract
There are no known side effects or toxicity associated with using the tremella mushroom extract and it is considered to be very safe for people to take.
As we always state though - it is always best to talk to your doctor or healthcare practitioner before starting a new supplement, especially if you have ever had sensitivities to natural herbs, foods or mushrooms. If you have any specific medical conditions or are taking any prescription medications, you will definitely want to discuss the use of any extract.
Who Should Use Tremella Mushroom Extract?
A tremella mushroom extract can be beneficial to anyone but can offer particular help to anyone seeking a natural anti-inflammatory or those dealing with skin issues, heart or lung problems, or weight. It is also great for anyone trying to reverse the adverse effects of ageing, including mental acuity and wrinkles.
Honestly, there are not many people who wouldn't appreciate the benefits of tremella extract. Considering how easy it is to add to your daily diet, there's really no excuse to not have this awesome mushroom in your supplement plan. However, if you feel you could benefit specifically from any of the benefits listed above then you should probably make taking a tremella extract a priority.
Tremella is considered safe for adults, children, and the elderly, but again, always consult your GP if you have any questions or concerns first.
There are some brilliant studies and results currently published regarding the effectiveness of tremella, and scientists are still studying the properties and benefits of tremella extract, finding new results and uses all the time.
Even though people have been using tremella, and other herbal remedies, for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine, modern science still has a way to go when viewing through a Western Medicine lense.
PubMed is an exceptional resource for keeping up to date with all of the latest scientific advances relating not just to tremella, but all of our favourite medicinal fungi and herbal medicines.
People might argue about its name (is it snow mushroom, snow fungus, or jelly mushroom?) but they will have a more challenging time arguing about the tremella mushroom's health benefits and effects.
As one of the favourites of Yang Guifei and the entire TCM system for many thousands of years, tremella has been used by countless humans throughout history for its anti-ageing properties, assistance with inflammation problems, lung benefits and to generally help live a healthier and more productive life.
The extract doesn't have too strong a flavour, just slightly sweet, meaning it can be added into almost any food or drink and you can enjoy the health benefits without making considerable changes to your daily diet.
Don't let us harp on about it any longer though, it's time for you to grab a small jar and try it out for yourself!