White fungus (Tremella fuciformis) is a wild edible mushroom that grows on tree bark and branches, especially on broad-leaved trees (
It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Today, it’s still lauded for its medicinal benefits, including its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
This article explores the benefits, uses, downsides, and ways to prepare and enjoy white fungus.
It’s also known as snow fungus, silver ear, snow ear, white wood ear, and white jelly mushroom — due to its characteristic features and because it’s generally found attached to fallen branches of broad-leaved trees.
It has a white to pale yellow color, a soft, jelly-like texture that’s almost translucent, and a shape that resembles underwater coral.
White fungus commonly grows in Asia but is also found in tropical climates worldwide, including South and Central America, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands (
It has been used as a medicinal herb in Chinese medicine for years to promote health and longevity (
White fungus is an edible medicinal mushroom with a gelatinous texture and a coral shape. It commonly grows in Asia and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for years.
There’s currently no available information on white fungus nutritional value.
However, its nutrition profile is likely similar to that of other wild mushrooms — or mushrooms in general.
Overall, mushrooms tend to be low in calories and provide small amounts of protein and fiber (
Adding fiber to your diet may help lower the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and gastrointestinal diseases (
White fungus is low in calories and high in fiber. It’s also packed with multiple vitamins and minerals that are essential for optimal health.
However, research is limited and mostly in animals and test tubes. Thus, keep in mind that although findings seem promising, human research is needed.
May be anti-inflammatory
Inflammation is a natural way your body responds to injury and supports the healing process. It typically goes away once a wound has healed (
Chronic inflammation is also associated with increased levels of pro-inflammatory markers like nitric oxide, interleukin-1 beta, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (
May have antioxidant properties
Antioxidants are molecules that help neutralize free radicals, thus protecting your body from oxidative stress (
May promote brain health
White fungus polysaccharides may protect brain cells against nerve cell damage and degenerative diseases (
One test-tube study found that white fungus extract may reduce brain toxicity caused by beta-amyloid — a protein that in high amounts has been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease (
Research also suggests that the extract may improve memory.
One 8-week study in 75 people found that consuming either 600 mg or 1,200 mg of a white fungus supplement per day improved memory questionnaire scores — especially in short-term memory parameters — compared with a control group (
Similarly, one 14-day study in rats showed that a daily oral treatment with white fungus extract significantly reversed drug-induced memory loss (
May boost your immune system
Bioactive compounds in white fungus may stimulate some of your immune system’s defense cells.
Another study showed that its polysaccharides might help regulate the immune response and reduce infection-related mortality in a laboratory-induced infection in mice (
However, more human research is needed to better understand what this means for human health.
May improve skin complexion
White mushroom is popular in the beauty industry due to its anti-aging and moisturizing properties.
What’s more, white fungus polysaccharides form a transparent film that improves water retention when coated on the skin. Thus, they may act as natural moisturizers and antiwrinkle agents (
May help control blood sugar levels
White fungus polysaccharides may also help lower blood sugar levels by acting upon multiple antidiabetic pathways.
For example, one animal study determined that white fungus polysaccharides may considerably lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which is how your cells respond to the hormone insulin (
Additionally, test-tube studies found that white fungus extract may positively influence diabetes-related enzymes and hormones.
May lower heart disease risk
Compounds in white fungus may also protect against heart disease (
Evidence shows that LDL oxidation is involved in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis — the buildup of plaque in your arteries — which is considered a risk factor for high blood pressure and stroke (
Research suggests that white fungus may offer various health benefits, mostly due to its polysaccharide and antioxidant content.
There are no reports of unwanted side effects or toxicity from white fungus intake.
Even so, pregnant women should avoid consuming it as a precautionary measure.
Also, foraging for white fungus in the wild is not recommended. You risk mistaking edible mushrooms from poisonous ones, which poses a serious health concern.
White fungus has no reported side effects. Still, pregnant women should avoid consuming it.
Although you may find fresh white fungus online or at your local specialty store, it’s mostly sold in dried form.
Dried white fungus should be prepped before cooking by following these simple steps:
- Soaking. Cover the dried mushroom with water, and let it sit for 1 to 3 hours or until all of it becomes gelatinously soft.
- Trimming. Trim off the bottom part, as it remains hard after soaking.
- Washing. Tear the fungus into small, petal-like pieces. Wash thoroughly and drain or pat dry.
White fungus has a sweet taste and bland texture and is traditionally cooked in soups, both sweet and savory. Still, you may enjoy it as an ingredient in other everyday dishes.
Here’s an easy way you could make white fungus porridge:
- Prep your white fungus by soaking, trimming, and washing it. Then chop it into smaller pieces.
- Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add 1/4 cup of oats and the chopped fungus, then simmer for about 5 minutes.
You may enjoy this porridge with fruits or nuts as part of a balanced breakfast or snack.
White fungus is easy to cook with and can be added to your everyday dishes. Just remember to soak, trim, and wash it first if you get it in its dry form.
White fungus is a wild medicinal mushroom that’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
It’s rich in fiber and chains of carbohydrates called polysaccharides, which provide it with health benefits like improved brain, heart, skin, and immune health.
However, keep in mind that human research is limited and that most of the purported benefits are only backed by test-tube and animal studies.
White fungus has no reported side effects and is easy to add to your diet.