Black Fungus (Auricularia polytricha) Mushroom Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning

Black Fungus (Auricularia polytricha) Mushroom Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning

What are the Benefits of Black Fungus Mushroom?

  • Contains powerful antioxidants
  • Supports immune and gut health
  • Helps to reduce cholesterol
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Promotes brain health
  • Protects the liver

Black fungus mushroom is a well-known ingredient for many Chinese dishes. However, aside from being tasty, this mushroom is gaining more popularity for its many benefits. To know some of them, read on.

First, being a mushroom, black fungus is naturally high in antioxidants. These plant compounds are necessary to fight oxidative stress, which could result in different diseases and inflammation. (1, 2)

Moreover, mushrooms are rich in polyphenol antioxidants. Incorporating polyphenols in the diet can result in a lower risk of chronic conditions and cancer. (1, 2, 3)

Black fungus mushrooms also contain prebiotics, especially beta-glucan. This prebiotics feeds the friendly gut bacteria called the gut microbiome. These are helpful in maintaining bowel regularity and promoting digestive health. (1, 2)

In addition, the gut microbiome is associated with immune health. This prebiotics in black fungus is believed to improve the body’s immune response to harmful pathogens that could make a person sick. (1)

Black fungus may be helpful in decreasing cholesterol levels too. The mushroom’s polyphenols may help decrease LDL or bad cholesterol. This would result in a reduced risk of heart disease. (1)

This mushroom may also be good for body detoxification. Black fungus is considered a detoxifier and is commonly combined with foods that may be slightly toxic. This could help minimise the impact of heavy metal residue and pesticides. This mushroom is claimed to remove impurities from the digestive system and lungs. It could also counteract the effects of chemotherapy and radiation.

Mushrooms, including black fungus, are also claimed to support brain health. (1, 2)

A test-tube study showed how fungi or mushrooms could inhibit beta-secretase activity. This may help prevent the development of degenerative conditions, like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. (1)

One study that was published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms revealed that eating black fungus whether raw or cooked, could prevent the said diseases. (1)

Black fungus consumption may also protect your liver from harmful substances.

One rat study showed how powdered black fungus, when added to water, could help prevent liver damage that is caused by acetaminophen overdose. This effect may be the result of the mushroom’s antioxidant capabilities. (1, 2)

Truly, black fungus has promising health benefits. However, as of now, it cannot be used as an official medication for certain human conditions. More studies need to be carried out to prove its effects.

What is Black Fungus Mushroom?

Black fungus mushroom is usually back or dark brown in colour. It has a jelly-like form with wrinkled ear lobes. Normally, they are dried and sold in this form. However, its gelatin-like form returns when placed in the water.

This fungus grows well in humid climates. They are usually found on fallen logs and tree trunks. Aside from China, this mushroom is cultivated in India, Hawaii, and other Asian countries with a tropical climate.

Black fungus mushroom is part of the Auricularia mushroom family. It has the scientific name Auricularia polytricha. Nevertheless, it is not similar to the ear mushroom. They may come from the same family, but the wood ear mushroom is a particular species from the Auricularia auricula species. This is usually found growing on various kinds of plants and trees.

How Does Black Fungus Work?

The wonderful health benefits of black fungus mushroom are attributed to its rich nutritional content. It is packed with antioxidants which primarily decrease the risk of different diseases.

Moreover, it is low in calories and fat. On the other hand, is high in fibre. Black fungus also contains vitamins and minerals that support bone, heart, and brain health. These are magnesium, folate, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium.

How Do I Take Black Fungus Mushroom?

It is not safe to eat fresh black fungus since it has poisonous substances. However, most of these toxins will be eliminated once dried under the sun. Before cooking, this mushroom must be carefully soaked in cold or warm water until it becomes soft. The water must be changed quite a few times during soaking. The mushroom needs to be washed several times too until the water is clear.

Black fungus mushroom can be cooked into various delicious dishes, like stir-fried fungus with veggies or meat and fungus salad. It can also be added to soup and stews.

When it comes to dosing, there are different factors to be considered. Thus, you need to consult your doctor before taking mushroom supplementation.

Can I Take Black Fungus with Vitamins or Medicines?

For the meantime, there is no information regarding how black fungus may interact with other vitamins and medicines. For this reason, anyone who is on any medication for a particular condition needs to contact their health provider first. They may be advised not to take the fungus supplementation, or their medication dosage may be replaced.

Is Black Fungus Mushroom Safe?

The black fungus mushrooms that can be bought from the market are usually sold in dried state. It is necessary to soak them in water to remove the brittleness and density. In addition, they must be carefully cooked to kill the bacteria and get rid of the residue. According to studies, boiling could even increase the mushroom’s antioxidant activity. (1, 2)

Nevertheless, foraging for this mushroom is not recommended. It is because of contamination or misidentification. Wild fungi do not only absorb the pollutants from the surroundings. Consuming the wrong mushroom could be poisonous or even deadly.

There are some people with health conditions that are advised to not take black fungus. For instance, patients who are taking medications for blood disorders must not take this mushroom to avoid clotting. For those who will undergo a surgery, they should stop taking this supplementation two weeks before the schedule.

Women who are either breastfeeding or pregnant should not take any form of fungus. It can have harmful effects on the baby.