August 21, 2020
By Christine Cheng, R.Ph. and Fred Cheng, R.Ph.
Mushrooms are not only tasty, but science is discovering they have many different health benefits too. Having been brought up in a household where Traditional Chinese Medicine was employed in conjunction with Western Orthodox medicine (and other modalities), we were exposed to many medicinal mushrooms in the cuisine served to us by our parents and grandparents. One such mushroom is the TREMELLA mushroom (Tremella fuciformis) also known as the “snow mushroom” because the gelatinous fruiting bodies are the colour of snow. We remember this being served at nice restaurants as part of a “dessert soup” and being told that we should eat the fungus inside because it was good for our skin.
Indeed, the tremella mushroom is well-known in Asian cultures for its beauty benefits. Just like the other medicinal mushrooms we have encountered so far, it is the presence of polysaccharides that are responsible for the mushrooms’ antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Unique to the polysaccharides found in the tremella mushrooms is their water-retaining properties; this seems to be part of the reason why tremella mushrooms can encourage “plumper” healthier looking skin, both when taken internally and applied externally. The polysaccharides in the tremella have also been found to be able to reduce the injury caused by molecules such as hydrogen peroxide in human skin, which indicates tremella’s potential role in helping relieve oxidative-stress-related skin diseases and even aging. Another beauty benefit attributed to the polysaccharides found in tremella mushrooms is their ability to reduce apoptosis (or natural cell death) of fibroblasts found in skin (cells that synthesize collagen). Thus, by preserving the activity of the fibroblasts, there are potential benefits for all tissues that contain collagen (such as the skin, joints, and bones).
As with other medicinal mushrooms, the tremella is not a “one trick pony”. Its other constituents have been studied for their anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, immune-supporting and nerve-supporting benefits.
As our readers know, we love to support local and Organika, a company located in Richmond has brought the tremella mushroom to the market. Aptly named, “Glow” provides pure Tremella fuciformis in the form of a powder that can be added to different beverages. Come talk to our Integrative Health Pharmacists about adding this powerful beauty enhancer to your regimen.
Fred and Christine Cheng are a passionate, charismatic sister-brother pharmacist team at their unique, family-operated Pharmasave stores in Cloverdale and Steveston, B.C. They specialize in natural remedies and compounding for both human and veterinarian use.
Everything mentioned in their article is available InStore. Articles, Q&A, blog posts and all materials submitted for publishing is the intellectual property of Cloverdale Pharmacy Ltd – reproduction in part or whole, in print or online, without written consent and permission is prohibited.