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Ultimate Guide to Tremella: Health Benefits, Uses & Medicinal Research

Ultimate Guide to Tremella: Health Benefits, Uses & Medicinal Research

Don't let its jelly-like exterior fool you. Tremella, often dubbed the "Snow Fungus," is a culinary and medicinal treasure veiled in unassuming form. While it may bear a passing resemblance to a forgotten loofah, its health potential far surpasses any scrubby sponge.

This ancient delicacy, revered for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is now garnering scientific attention for its diverse benefits. From bolstering immunity to promoting skin health and potentially even cognitive function, Tremella's unique composition unlocks a spectrum of possibilities.

Delve into this comprehensive guide and shed the loofah illusion. In this article, we will explore the fascinating history, examine its diverse applications, and offer guidance on choosing a top-notch Tremella mushroom supplement. 

In This Article:

  1. What are Functional Mushrooms?
  2. What is Tremella?
  3. The Science Behind the Benefits of Tremella
  4. Health Benefits of Tremella
  5. How to Buy a Good Quality Tremella Supplement?
  6. Dose, Safety, Side Effects
  7. How to Take Tremella Mushrooms for Health Support
  8. Tremella for Pets
  9. Frequently Asked Questions

What are Functional Mushrooms?

Referred to as 'functional mushrooms', these edible fungi boast a diverse range of bioactive compounds. Each type of functional mushroom possesses a unique bioactive profile, contributing to its ability to support specific bodily systems. 

If you're familiar with functional mushrooms, you've likely encountered the term 'beta-glucans' or 'beta-D-glucans.' These polysaccharides play a crucial role in the immune-modulating effects of mushrooms. A more detailed exploration of Beta-Glucans will be provided in a dedicated section below.

What is Tremella?

Tremella is scientifically known as Tremella fuciformis, however, this edible marvel is also recognized by various names such as Silver Ear, Snow Ear, White Wood Ear, and White Jelly Mushroom. Referred to as Shiro Kikurage in Japan, translating to "white tree jellyfish," this unique fungus is also aptly nicknamed the Snow Fungus.

Tremella’s distinctive features, including a white to pale yellow colour, a jelly-like almost translucent texture, and a coral-like shape, contribute to its diverse range of names.

Thriving in tropical and subtropical regions globally, including the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, South and Central America, Asia, and parts of North America, Tremella finds its habitat on dead or dying logs and branches from broadleaf trees, favouring humid conditions for growth. [1]

From a nutritional perspective, mushrooms, including Tremella, are known for being low in calories while providing quality proteins and fibre. Rich in vitamin D, folate, calcium, and zinc, medicinal mushrooms such as Tremella contribute significantly to immunity, brain development, and bone health.

Historical Applications of Medicinal Tremella Mushrooms

Tremella stands as a cherished historical gem in China, having been highly valued for centuries. Originally considered a rarity in the wild, this exquisite mushroom was exclusively accessible to royalty and the affluent due to its scarcity. Legend has it that Yang Guifei, a renowned figure among the "Four Great Beauties" of Chinese history, utilised this superfood to preserve her youthful appearance.

Despite its mild flavour profile, Tremella remains exceptionally popular in China, where it goes by the names "yin er" (silver ear) or "baimuer" (snow ear). Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners have extolled the virtues of tremella as a yin tonic for millennia, promoting overall health, longevity, and beauty. 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the concept of "yin" and "yang" represents opposing but complementary forces in the body. Yin is associated with qualities like coolness, moisture, and substance, while yang is associated with warmth, activity, and energy. A "yin tonic" in TCM refers to substances, often herbs or foods, that are believed to nourish and replenish the yin aspect of the body.

Yin tonics are traditionally used to address conditions related to deficiencies in bodily fluids, moisture, and cooling energy. They are often recommended for individuals experiencing symptoms such as dryness, heat, or imbalances in yin and yang. Yin tonics aim to restore equilibrium and promote overall well-being by nourishing the yin aspects of organs and bodily functions.

Recognized as a stomach and lung yin tonic, TCM utilises Tremella in treatments for dry conditions, addressing issues such as dry cough, skin, and throat ailments.

Tremella fuciformis growing on a decaying log

Tremella finds its habitat on dead or dying logs and branches from broadleaf trees, favoring humid conditions for growth.

The Science Behind the Benefits of Tremella

At the heart of Tremella's extraordinary benefits lies a key compound known as Tremella fuciformis polysaccharide (TPS). [1]

TPS is a mixture of polysaccharides. Polysaccharides are complex carbohydrates made up of long chains of simple sugar molecules. 

With specific reference to skin health, distinctive polysaccharides present in Tremella fuciformis are recognized for their potent moisturising capabilities, akin to hyaluronic acid, and offer hydration benefits without the expense associated with premium anti-aging skincare products. Notably, these polysaccharides are of smaller molecular size compared to hyaluronic acid, facilitating easier penetration into the skin.

Beta-Glucans: Nature's Immunomodulators

In the case of Tremella mushrooms, the polysaccharides present, particularly beta-glucans, have been a focal point of scientific interest due to their potential health-promoting properties.

Beta-glucans are naturally occurring compounds found in the cell walls of certain grains, fungi, bacteria, and other sources. Tremella mushrooms, among other fungi like Shiitake and Maitake, are notable for their high content of beta-glucans. 

Beta-Glucan Benefits Explained

Beta-glucans, the key compounds found in mushrooms, play a pivotal role in fostering immune support and various medicinal attributes.

Widely recognized as Biological Response Modifiers (BRMs) [2], beta-glucans function by modulating the immune system, adjusting its activity as needed. These modifiers have the capacity to enhance the immune response, leading to a more effective defence against infections. Test tube studies have demonstrated their ability to activate various immune cells, including monocytes, natural killer (NK) cells, neutrophils, macrophages, and dendritic cells. [3]

Conversely, they can also dampen an excessively active immune response by modulating anti-inflammatory cytokines. Cytokine is a type of signalling protein that acts as a messenger between immune cells, helping to coordinate and stimulate their activities.

Glucuronoxylomannan: Acidic Polysaccharides  

Among the diverse array of bioactive compounds in Tremella fuciformis, acidic polysaccharides, particularly glucuronoxylomannan, stand out for their multifunctional health benefits. These complex carbohydrates, characterized by their unique structure and acidic nature, play a significant role in Tremella's therapeutic and cosmetic applications.

Glucuronoxylomannan, a key acidic polysaccharide found in Tremella mushrooms, has garnered attention for its antitumor, immunostimulatory, antidiabetic, and skin-enhancing properties. In the realm of oncology, research indicates that glucuronoxylomannan can inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells, offering a potential complementary approach to traditional cancer treatments. Its immunostimulatory effects are similarly noteworthy; by activating various components of the immune system, it helps bolster the body's defense mechanisms against pathogens.

In addition to its immunological and antitumor benefits, glucuronoxylomannan exhibits significant antidiabetic potential by modulating blood glucose levels, thus providing a natural adjunct to diabetes management strategies. Furthermore, its skin-enhancing properties are of particular interest in dermatology and cosmetic science. Like the polysaccharides that offer hydration benefits akin to hyaluronic acid, glucuronoxylomannan contributes to skin moisture retention and elasticity, promoting a youthful and radiant complexion.

Health Benefits of Tremella

From traditional uses steeped in centuries of wisdom to cutting-edge scientific discoveries, read on to explore the unique attributes that set Tremella apart in the world of medicinal mushrooms.

Health Benefits At a Glance:

  1. Tremella as an Adaptogenic Mushroom
  2. Tremella for Skin Health
  3. Tremella Supports the Immune System
  4. Tremella Promotes Brain Health
  5. Tremella’s Anti-Inflammatory Properties
  6. Tremella May Help Balance Blood Sugar Levels
  7. Tremella May Lower Heart Disease Risk

Tremella as an Adaptogenic Mushroom

It's evident that stress levels have surged, with a reported 55% of American adults facing occasional stress, as highlighted by The New York Times in 2019 [4].

What makes this concerning is that episodes of stress can adversely impact various systems within our bodies. In such a scenario, the rise of medicinal mushrooms, including Tremella mushrooms, becomes particularly relevant. 

Renowned for their adaptogenic properties, these mushrooms aid the body in adapting to different stressors, whether physical, biological, or chemical. Functioning as adaptogens, they interact with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis to stabilise cortisol levels during stress and facilitate the restoration of balance in the body.

Tremella also functions as an adaptogenic designed to enhance beauty and promote hydration. This unique supplement adapts to the body's needs, contributing to both aesthetic benefits and improved hydration levels.

Tremella for Skin Health

Tremella is celebrated for its skin-enhancing properties, drawing a considerable following for its potential anti-aging and skin health benefits. Some of the notable beauty advantages attributed to Tremella include:

Mitigating Skin Oxidation

Skin oxidation refers to the process of oxidative stress occurring in the skin, where reactive oxygen species (ROS) or free radicals can overwhelm the body's antioxidant defence mechanisms. Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons that can damage cellular structures, including proteins, lipids, and DNA.

Oxidative stress is a result of an imbalance between the production of these harmful free radicals and the body's ability to neutralise them. 

In the context of the skin, oxidative stress can be caused by various factors, including exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, environmental pollutants, and other external stressors. The skin is particularly susceptible to oxidative damage because it is constantly exposed to the environment.

The consequences of skin oxidation can manifest in several ways:

  1. Premature Ageing: Oxidative stress is implicated in the ageing process, leading to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, essential proteins that maintain skin elasticity and firmness. This can result in the development of wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin.
  2. Inflammation: Oxidative stress can trigger inflammatory responses in the skin, contributing to conditions such as redness, irritation, and skin disorders.
  3. DNA Damage: Free radicals can cause damage to the DNA in skin cells, potentially increasing the risk of skin cancer and other skin-related issues.
  4. Skin Discoloration: Oxidative stress may contribute to uneven pigmentation and the development of age spots or hyperpigmentation.

Antioxidants are compounds that aid in neutralising free radicals, thereby safeguarding the body against the harmful effects of oxidative stress. [5] Test-tube studies have found that the polysaccharides found in Tremella contain antioxidants that may reduce oxidative stress by fighting free radicals. [6]

Collagen Synthesis Promotion

Polysaccharides found in Tremella contribute to the promotion of skin collagen synthesis, supporting skin elasticity and diminishing wrinkles and fine lines. [1]

Rich in Vitamin D for Skin Growth and Repair

Abundant in vitamin D, Tremella aids in skin cell growth and repair, thereby preventing premature skin ageing and mitigating excess skin oxidation.

Enhancement of Hyaluronic Acid Levels

The fungus has been demonstrated to elevate hyaluronic acid levels, the body's primary lubricant and moisturiser. This not only benefits skin health but extends to improvements in eye and joint health as well. [1]

Skin Tone Balance

Tremella is rich in kojic acid, contributing to even skin tone, reduction of age spots, and skin lightening. [7, 8]

Improved Water Retention for Skin Moisturization

Compounds found in Tremella are believed to enhance water retention, providing effective moisturization for the skin and contributing to the reduction of wrinkles. [1]

One study suggested that skin products with T. fuciformis polysaccharides (TPS) had a better moisture retention rate than those with hyaluronic acid. [9]

Tremella Supports the Immune System

Antioxidants are known to protect the body from all sorts of harmful environmental toxins. A little-known fact about them is how they’re also in charge of providing the first line of defence in our immune system. 

As mentioned earlier, test-tube studies have found that the polysaccharides found in Tremella contain antioxidants that may reduce oxidative stress by fighting free radicals. [6] 

The polysaccharides content of Tremella (specifically, beta-glucans) can also improve immune sensitivity, allowing the body to detect potential infections and harmful bacteria sooner. [10]

Tremella has also been found to contain special proteins that have been shown to stimulate macrophage activity. The macrophage is a type of white blood cell that eliminates bacteria and destroys harmful damaged tissue. [11] 

Tremella Promotes Brain Health

Medicinal mushrooms such as Tremella, Reishi and Lion’s Mane are known as Nootropics. 

Nootropics are substances that have been shown to enhance cognitive function, memory, creativity, and motivation, among other things. Nootropic supplements, also known as cognitive enhancers or smart drugs, can be natural or synthetic and work by altering neurotransmitter levels in the brain, increasing blood flow, and protecting brain cells from damage.

Researchers concluded that the compounds found in Tremella support brain-cell growth, which can have potential applications in neurodegenerative disease treatments, notably Alzheimer’s disease. [12, 13]

Tremella also promotes nerve growth factor (NGF). NGF is part of what produces and repairs nerve tissues. A healthy nervous system supports proper movement and response to stimuli. [12]

Experts also suggest that the mushroom can have benefits for memory and help with drug-induced memory loss. [13] One study involving 75 subjects reported better memory after taking 600 mg to 1,200 mg of tremella for 8 weeks compared to the group that did not receive the Tremella treatment. [15]

Click here to learn more about Nootropics.

Tremella’s Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Chronic inflammation is considered the root cause of many diseases known to humans, so it’s only reasonable to keep inflammation to a minimum. Tremella mushroom supplements may help lower inflammation.

Research conducted in test tubes indicates that incorporating mushroom extracts, such as those from Tremella, may contribute to the reduction of inflammation markers, including tumour necrosis factor-alpha, nitric oxide, interleukin-1 beta, and interleukin-6. [16]

While inflammation is a necessary response for our survival, it should ideally be short-term. The issue arises when inflammation becomes chronic or persists in a prolonged, low-intensity state. 

Lowering chronic inflammation has the potential to alleviate the severity of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, gout, inflammatory bowel syndrome, allergies, and migraines.

Tremella May Help Balance Blood Sugar Levels

Tremella’s polysaccharides have the potential to lower blood sugar levels through various antidiabetic pathways.

In a particular animal study, it was observed that polysaccharides significantly reduced blood sugar levels and enhanced insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity is the body’s ability to scavenge glucose from circulation. [17]

Moreover, findings from test-tube studies indicated that Tremella extract could have a positive impact on enzymes and hormones associated with diabetes.

The research suggests that Tremella might inhibit the activity of aldose reductase, an enzyme whose elevated levels can contribute to eye and nerve damage in individuals with diabetes. [18,19]

Additional studies propose that Tremella’s polysaccharides might bring about a normalisation of resistin and adiponectin levels—two hormones that, when imbalanced, could lead to insulin resistance [20, 21].

Tremella May Lower Heart Disease Risk

The components found in Tremella could potentially offer protection against heart disease.

A laboratory study indicated that the antioxidant properties of the mushroom might inhibit the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), referred to as “bad” cholesterol. [16]

Research suggests that the oxidation of LDL is implicated in starting and advancing atherosclerosis, the accumulation of plaque in arteries, which is recognized as a risk factor for conditions like high blood pressure and stroke. [22]


How to Buy a Good Quality Tremella Supplement?

Choosing a good quality mushroom supplement can be a daunting task, as there are many options available in the market. However, there are a few key things to consider when selecting a high-quality mushroom supplement:

Fruiting Body vs. Mycelium

Quality control standards for functional mushroom products are currently lacking, highlighting the urgent need for systematic scientific verification of active compounds in these nutritional supplements. This is crucial for ensuring greater accountability regarding ingredient integrity and transparency.

When a product fails to specify the source of its Tremella, there's a risk that it relies on mycelium (the fungal root structure) rather than the Tremella fruiting body (the actual mushroom we see above the ground). To ensure the highest quality Tremella mushroom supplement, it is advisable to choose products with an ingredients label indicating the use of only organic fruiting body, free from mycelium or grain contaminants.

Explore the notable distinctions between supplements crafted from mycelium and those derived from the fruiting body by clicking here.

Beta-Glucan Content

Beta-glucans are one of the primary compounds responsible for the unique immune system-supporting function and other health benefits of Tremella.

Many brands incorporate various starch, fillers, colorings, unnecessary additives, and other ingredients into their supplements, which offer no health benefits. Moreover, these additions suggest a low percentage of actual Tremella extract in the product, resulting in a diminished concentration of beta-glucans (medicinal compounds) and, consequently, lower therapeutic potency.

To obtain the most potent and high-value functional fungi supplement, scrutinise the product label for specific beta-glucan content. To ensure the optimal quality of your Tremella mushroom supplement, verify that the product specifies a beta-glucan concentration of at least 25%. This ensures you receive the full spectrum of health benefits associated with this mushroom.

Antioxi's Tremella Extract boasts a beta-glucan content exceeding 30%, guaranteeing that you receive the necessary benefits.

Organically Certified

Opt for certified organic options as mushrooms tend to absorb pollutants from their surroundings. Mushrooms that are organically grown refer to mushrooms cultivated in a natural manner, devoid of herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides.

Safety Tests

Heavy metals and pesticides tests are safety tests which will indicate whether mushrooms are safe to consume.

Extraction Method

Understanding the ingredients in your diet is crucial, especially when it comes to functional mushrooms and their quality. 

A key indicator of a high-quality functional mushroom product is its extraction from the mushroom (fruiting body) and using the appropriate extraction method. Three commonly used extraction methods for functional mushrooms are hot water, alcohol, and dual extraction (involving both hot water and alcohol). 

The choice of the extraction method can impact the quality, and research indicates that not all methods are equally effective for every mushroom. Some methods may even remove medicinal constituents during the process. Therefore, it is crucial for supplement producers to understand which extraction method ensures maximum benefit and efficacy for their product.

To maintain elevated beta-glucan levels in tremella, Antioxi employs the hot water extraction method.

To guarantee the top-notch quality of your Tremella mushroom supplement, check whether the product has utilised a hot water extraction method.

Click the link below to learn more about what to look for when choosing a high-quality mushroom supplement. 

Learn More

Dose, Safety, Side Effects


General Health Maintenance:

For those incorporating mushrooms into their routine for overall health benefits, a suggested dose of 3g or 6 capsules is recommended. This non-treatment use aims to promote well-being and vitality.

Treatment-Targeted Use:

If you are utilising mushrooms as part of a treatment plan for a specific health condition, a suggested dose of 5g or 10 capsules is advised. This higher dose is intended to address targeted health concerns.

Flexible Dosage Regimen:

Whether you prefer splitting the dose throughout the day or taking it all at once, the choice is yours. For optimal absorption, it is recommended to consume mushrooms on an empty stomach. However, if you have a sensitive constitution, consider splitting the dose and taking it after a meal.

Why the Discrepancy in Recommended Doses?

You may have noticed that some mushroom distributors recommend lower doses, such as 1g. This is often as large companies typically suggest consulting with a health practitioner to ascertain the right dosage for individual health conditions, which can result in recommendations for lower quantities. However, our dosage recommendations are directly informed by clinical literature, enabling us to provide specific dosing instructions with a solid foundation in research.


Individuals with diabetes are advised to seek guidance from their healthcare provider before incorporating Tremella into their diet, as it may impact blood sugar levels.

Do not consume Tremella mushrooms within two weeks of undergoing surgery or if you suffer from a bleeding disorder.

For individuals who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an autoimmune disease, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before considering the use of Tremella mushrooms.

Do not consume Tremella if you are allergic to mushrooms.

Medication Interactions

While Tremella mushrooms boast potential health benefits, it's crucial to be mindful of potential interactions with medications. Understanding how Tremella may interact with certain conditions and medications can guide individuals in making informed decisions regarding its inclusion in their routine.

Individuals who are taking the following medications should also consult their healthcare provider before incorporating Tremella into their regimen:

  • Medications for diabetes management
  • Blood-thinning medications

If you have any concerns regarding the interaction between tremella and your medications, it's a good idea to discuss it with your healthcare provider. They can offer you the most appropriate guidance.

Please bear in mind that the information we provide is for educational purposes and shouldn't be considered a replacement for professional medical advice. 

Your health and safety are important to us and we want to ensure all our customers use our products to their benefit, not detriment.

Side Effects

Generally, Tremella mushrooms are well-tolerated and have no reports of unwanted side effects.

How to Take Tremella Mushrooms for Health Support

Powders vs. Capsules


tremella mushroom supplement south africa


For those with a fast-paced lifestyle, intricate recipes might not be in the cards. That's precisely why Antioxi has crafted an Organic Tremella Extract available in convenient capsule form. 

If you're a cooking enthusiast or favour the convenience of a powder, our Organic Tremella Extract in powder form could be an ideal option for you. Our Tremella can be seamlessly incorporated into smoothies, stews, coffee and all your other favourite meals and drinks.  

It's essential to note that there is no difference in potency between our powdered extracts and capsules. Our capsules contain the exact same powdered extract, guaranteeing uniform effectiveness throughout our product line. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the Mushrooms Organic?

All of our mushrooms have been organically sourced and certified.

Is It Safe To Consume Medicinal Mushrooms During Pregnancy or whilst Breastfeeding?

While medicinal mushrooms can offer some great benefits during pregnancy such as strengthening immune health, improving digestion and of course the much needed energy boost, there is unfortunately not yet enough information regarding studies during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding where we can confidently give advice.

The best would be to consult with your healthcare provider and/or midwife.

Can Children Use Medicinal Mushrooms?

Research regarding the use of medicinal mushrooms by children is still at its infancy. There is however an interesting study conducted in 2018 which investigated the effects of Reishi on immune system cells of 3-5 year olds. [23]

The study showed that Reishi increased immune system cell counts in the peripheral blood, which are crucial for defending against infections. The treatments were also well-tolerated and safe, with no abnormal increases in serum creatinine or hepatic aminotransferases. While the study shows promise in the safety and effectiveness of the use of medicinal mushrooms in children, we do always suggest consulting with your child's doctor prior to introducing anything new into their diet.

If you do get the go ahead we suggest reducing the diet to 1/4 of a dose for young children.

These findings suggest the need for more extended controlled clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of medicinal mushrooms in preventing infections in children.

What is the difference between the Powder and Capsules?

There is no difference in terms of benefits. The only difference is preference of use.

What is the difference between using the 8 Mushroom Blend and using an individual mushroom?

Our 8-blend mushroom product is like an all-in-one health elixir. It's perfect for those seeking overall well-being, boosting digestion, or just looking for a daily health lift.

However, if you're using mushrooms as targeted support for a specific health concern, say, Lion's Mane for cognitive clarity or Reishi for stress relief, the individual route is your best bet.

Are There Any Allergy Precautions/Medication Interactions?

Individuals with diabetes are advised to seek guidance from their healthcare provider before incorporating Tremella into their diet, as it may impact blood sugar levels. 

Do not consume Tremella mushrooms within two weeks of undergoing surgery or if you suffer from a bleeding disorder.

For individuals who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an autoimmune disease, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before considering the use of Tremella mushrooms.

Do not consume Tremella if you are allergic to mushrooms.

Individuals who are taking the following medications should also consult their healthcare provider before incorporating Tremella into their regimen:

  • Medications for diabetes management
  • Blood-thinning medications

Which Mushroom Extraction do you use?

The optimal extraction method once again depends on the mushroom itself. Different methods are used to promote and dissolve the unique active ingredients in the mushroom extracts and hence create a high spectrum mushroom extract.

The 3 different extraction methods:

1. Alcohol (ethanol)

This extraction is used to draw out the fat-soluble compounds in the mushrooms, such as the adaptogenic terpenoids. 

2. Hot water 

This extraction is used to extract the water-soluble compounds, the polysaccharides, and the immunomodulating Beta-D-glucans. The dual extraction process ensures you’re getting the full spectrum of compounds when it comes to a potent mushroom extract.

3. Dual extraction

Dual extraction refers to a combination of water and alcohol extraction. The dual extraction process ensures you’re getting the full spectrum of compounds when it comes to a mushroom where the active ingredients benefit from both alcohol and well as a water extract.

Hot water extraction works best for:

Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Maitake & Tremella

Double (alcohol & water) extraction works best for:

Lion's Mane, Reishi, Chaga

Do you use the Fruiting Body or Mycelium?

We use the Fruiting Body of Tremella.

We have a helpful article here which explains the different mushroom parts.


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