6 Proven Benefits of Black Fungus

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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While the name black fungus may not sound particularly healthy, these mushrooms do have a surprisingly large number of health benefits!

What is Black Fungus?

Black fungus mushrooms (Auricularia auricula) have been a staple of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. The genus Auricularia comprises 10–15 recognized species worldwide, many of which look similar to each other. Black fungus are also commonly known as wood ear, due to their resemblance to a human ear, these dark black and brown fungi have a chewy texture when fresh, and a very hard texture when dry. They are used commonly in both Chinese and Japanese cuisine. The taste is comparative to an oyster or shiitake mushrooms. They are closely related to cloud ear mushrooms (Auricularia polytricha) and jelly ear fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae).

Black fungus in a white bowl on a wooden table

Black fungus is known for its chewy texture and is used in Asian soups and salads. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Benefits of Black Fungus

There are many impressive benefits of black fungus, including its positive effects on blood circulation, heart health, and chronic disease, among others.

Blood Circulation

Black fungus is known for its extremely high iron content and is a popular remedy for relieving symptoms of anemia. It is rich in iron, protein, vitamins, and polysaccharides. The terpenoids in this fungus are thought to help allergy sufferers by preventing antigen activity.

Inflammation

The high polysaccharide content in these types of mushrooms has several medical benefits. It prevents inflammation, particularly in mucous tissue, and inhibits a key enzyme responsible for Alzheimer’s disease.

Heart Health

Polysaccharides found in this type of fungus can lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides. They also inhibit platelet clumping, acting as an anticoagulant, which regulates blood viscosity and reduces the risk of heart disease or stroke. This fungus is used to provide relief from hypertension, blood clots, and thrombosis.

Antioxidant Properties

Vitamin B2 in black fungus acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from free radicals and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. It also has a beneficial effect on physical stress and supports a healthy immune system.

Detoxify the Body

This fungus is a detoxifier often paired with foods that might have slight toxic qualities, to reduce the impact of pesticides or heavy metal residue. This type of fungus is thought to pull impurities from the lungs and digestive system, as well as counteract the effects of radiation and chemotherapy.

Weight Loss

The pectin and dietary fiber in this culinary fungus are thought to help prevent obesity and encourage weight loss by discouraging fat absorption.

Side Effects

Black fungus should be consumed with caution if you have the following health conditions.

  • Blood Clotting: Patients who are on medications for blood disorders should not take black fungus, as it may prevent clotting. Stop taking black fungus at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
  • Pregnancy: Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use this fungus in any form, as it can have potentially negative effects on the baby.
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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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