Tremella, a rare mushroom known as “snow fungus” in holistic communities, has been used for centuries to promote vitality and wellness. According to Ayurvedic and Chinese practitioners, as well as some advancing research, it could help to promote tissue growth, slow aging, lower inflammation, and offer a range of rejuvenation benefits that promote overall wellness.
If these benefits pique your interest, this deep dive into the functional mushroom will tell you everything you need to know–what is Tremella? How is it used? And is it safe?
Let’s jump in:
Tremella is an edible mushroom that belongs to the Tremellaceae family and is sometimes called snow fungus, silver ear, snow ear, and white jelly mushroom thanks to its white, jelly-like appearance. It grows mostly on old or fallen branches of hardwood trees and is native to Asia and similar tropical climates.
It’s been used in Chinese, Japanese, and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to promote vitality and longevity, and is sometimes referred to as a “yin tonic,” or a concoction that can help to improve moisture and energy (blood) flow in the body. According to ancient practitioners, this can have an overall positive impact on the body’s many organ systems to help boost heart, brain, lung, stomach, and immune system functions.
Although research to evaluate these benefits is still limited, there is a bit that we do know about Tremella’s benefits, and especially about its nutritional profile, that make it a popular choice for promoting overall wellness.
Like many mushrooms, Tremella is a rich source of plant-based protein, iron, zinc, and many other vitamins and minerals. It also offers potent doses of Vitamin D, an essential vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium to strengthen bones and teeth. Vitamin D is also essential to proper immune system functioning and optimal brain health. Tremella can help you meet certain nutritional needs as part of a healthy diet.
Two primary bioactive components of the Tremella mushroom, however, are thought to be to blame for many of its health-enhancing benefits–polysaccharides and terpenes.
Let’s break these down:
Most fungi are composed mostly of polysaccharides, or complex carbohydrates. Tremella, depending on how it is grown and harvested, could contain a polysaccharide concentration of anywhere from 30-70%. These polysaccharides are broken down into two specific categories–alpha glucans and beta glucans.
Alpha Glucans are primarily an energy source for the body, but beta glucans are the more bioactive compounds that are thought to carry specific benefits that impact immune function, blood flow, and more.
A tremella extract is usually composed of a highly concentrated beta glucan formula, but whole mushroom supplements also offer a balanced, potent beta glucan dose.
Mushrooms, including Tremella, also contain many different terpenoids, a modified classification of terpenes. These are lipids that are often associated with the fragrance of many plants, but they also carry unique benefits of their own.
Now, let’s take a look at the supporting research to help us understand how these beneficial compounds may impact our health:
As we’ve mentioned, the use of Tremella for both skin health and overall wellness dates back decades, but research regarding Tremella’s potential benefits is still in its infancy. With the increased interest surrounding functional mushrooms, we can expect to know more in the coming years, but here is some of the research available for now:
A 2017 study reports that Tremella reduced the incidence of human skin fibroids caused by hydrogen peroxide. Fibroblasts are the cells that help create collagen and build tissues to heal wounds. The researchers believe that these phenomenal skin-protectant effects come from Tremella’s high antioxidant content, which can help to ward off free radicals that damage tissues.
Free radical damage is associated with many different types of skin and tissue damage, including the degeneration of brain tissue as we age and skin blemishes and signs of aging.
Thanks to this potential ability to help reduce free radicals and prevent oxidative stress, Tremella may provide certain protections against inflammation.
According to a 2000 study, Tremella’s anti-inflammatory effects are one of its key benefits. The 2017 study mentioned previously verifies this point, where Tremella was found to reduce the development and spread of inflammation in the body. Many chronic conditions are closely linked to inflammation, and, as this study notes, these anti-inflammatory benefits could make Tremella useful for managing certain inflammatory conditions, like heart disease, obesity, and more. More human trials are needed to fully understand these benefits.
A report from Kaunus University of Medicine found that beta-glucans, a prominent polysaccharide found in most mushrooms (including Tremella), may stimulate the immune system. Combined with Tremella’s potential ability to prevent free radical damage and lower inflammation, these immune-stimulating benefits may help promote overall health and ward off illness and disease.
Alongside the ability to prevent tissue damage, Tremella may help to protect against neurodegeneration. One 2007 study found that Tremella tea helped to promote the growth of nerve cells. It also helped to decrease the incidence of cell toxicity related to many neurodegenerative diseases. Some experts suggest that these neuroprotective benefits could be useful both for preventing degeneration in healthy brains and for slowing degeneration as we age, but more human trials are necessary to verify these benefits.
A 1996 animal study found that rats following the "tremella diet" experienced a 31% decrease in bad cholesterol and a 19% decrease in total cholesterol. The study also found that these mushrooms helped to decrease triglyceride levels which may help reduce the risk of stroke.
To learn more, read “Tremella Benefits.”
If you think that Tremella's potential benefits may be useful to you, you've probably come to another question–how do you use Tremella safely and effectively? Before you get started, here are some things to consider:
First, it's important to note that Tremella is marketed as a dietary supplement in the U.S., which means it isn't regulated as closely as pharmaceuticals and other medications. In other words, you need to do your due diligence to ensure that the Tremella product you choose is well made and safe. We recommend looking for a brand that uses a cGMP compliant manufacturing facility and provides lab testing for the final product batch. It’s always nice to know that you’re actually getting what you see on the product’s label.
Because Tremella is not typically used for specific stimulating or sedative effects, the time of day you take your Tremella dose is mostly based on preference. Choose a time of day where you can easily and consistently take your Tremella dose since functional mushrooms are most effective when used consistently.
Here are some times you may choose to incorporate Tremella each day:
The amount of tremella you need to reap optimal benefits will vary based on your weight, tolerance, metabolism, other supplements you may be taking, and more. There are also several different tremella formulations available, and the specific formula you choose will affect the dosage you need.
If you're using a whole mushroom tremella powder, you may find that your perfect dose is between 1 and 3 grams a day. If using a form of tremella extract, like a tincture, you may start with doses as small as 1/2 tsp daily.
Again, the dosage used depends on the amount of bioactive polysaccharides in the formula you choose. In many cases, it's best to abide by the suggested dosage on the products label.
Also keep in mind that you may need less tremella when using a multifaceted functional mushroom blend that includes other mushrooms or adaptogens. Because many of these supplements have synergistic benefits, you may need a smaller dose than when taking tremella on its own.
Read “Tremella Dosage” to learn more.
We mentioned that there are two main formulas to choose from–whole tremella mushrooms and tremella extract. Within these two categories, you'll still find several different dosing options.
For instance, whole mushrooms can be ground into powder. Tremilla powder is convenient because it allows you to accurately control your dose, and can be mixed into your favorite beverages or foods for a seamless dosing routine. You may also find tremella powder in capsule form, which offer pre-measured doses that are tasteless and simple.
Tremella extract is generally found in liquid form, but you may also find concentrated powders that offer potent doses of tremella's bioactive compounds. In general, the best form of tremella is totally based on preference, as long as you ensure that the products you choose are well made and lab tested.
Tremella is an edible mushroom that’s used as part of a healthy diet in various parts of the world, and it is thought to be safe for most people who do not have an allergy to mushrooms.
Although side effects are incredibly rare and have not yet been well studied, there are some possible adverse reactions to be aware of, including:
It is also possible that Tremella interacts with some other medications, including:
Ultimately, most people can take Tremella without complication, but you should talk to your doctor about the risks of Tremella if:
Read “Tremella Side Effects” to learn more.
In Chinese medicine, Tremella is often called a “yin tonic,” meaning it could support healthy heart, lungs, stomach, and immune system function. The mushroom contains a high concentration of bioactive polysaccharides that may promote healing and rejuvenation in the body.
Tremella is generally considered safe for healthy people who do not have a mushroom allergy. You should talk to your doctor about Tremella safety if you have a diagnosed chronic condition or take daily medications.
Some evidence suggests that Remella can help prevent free radical damage, slow aging, and provide a vitamin D boost for the skin and body. It may also promote cellular restoration and healing.
While some people notice the benefits of Tremella after the first use, others experience gradually increasing effects over the first two weeks of dosing. In general, Tremella may need to build up in the body before you experience the full benefits, so be sure to take it consistently.
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