Wood ear(Auricularia heimuer)

wood ear

Ingredient Profile

Wood ear is scientifically known as Auricularia Heimuer or black wood ear. It is a species of edible fungus. China extensively cultivates this edible fungus. It grows on the sides of dead trees. It has an ear-shaped form. It is a gelatinous, elastic, and smooth fungus. Its width is around 5-10cm. When dried, it becomes dark-colored and challenging in texture.

This fungus has a soft and delicious taste when fresh. It also has rich nutritional value. Its nutritional value is comparable to meat. Nutritionists praise wood ear as the “meat of vegetables.” After rehydrating, it can regain its slippery mucus texture.

Auricularia hamper is valued at over $4 billion annually. Chinese cuisine commonly uses it. Hot and sour soup mainly uses it. Traditional Chinese medicine also utilizes it. This nutritious ingredient has become an essential economic fungus in Chinese agriculture and food culture.

Nutrition Facts

According to the USDA

100 grams (100g)

Vitamin C0mg
Vitamin D0mcg

Traditional Chinese Medicine

In traditional Chinese medicine, wood ear has many therapeutic effects. It can clear the lungs. It moisturizes the intestines. It helps in nourishing the blood. It promotes blood circulation. It improves vision. It also benefits the stomach.

People use wood ear to treat different conditions. These include excessive uterine bleeding and hemorrhoids. It can also treat bloody stool, anemia, and constipation. The wood ear has enzymes and alkaloids. These help dissolve gallstones and kidney stones. They promote secretion and catalyze calculi.

Modern research on wood ear began in the 1980s. The initial discovery was its role in inhibiting platelet aggregation. This discovery drew worldwide attention. Researchers like Wu Wutong have made further studies. They have extracted and identified important bioactive components. These include wood ear polysaccharides.

Researchers have conducted many studies on wood ear polysaccharides in recent decades. These studies have uncovered many health benefits and bioactivities. wood ear polysaccharides have immunomodulatory effects. They have antitumor and anti-aging properties. They are anticoagulant. They can lower cholesterol. They also have hypoglycemic effects. These benefits make wood ear valuable. People use it as an ingredient in medicine and functional foods.[1]

Immune Enhancing Effects

In a study by Chenqionghua et al., they made a finding. The finding was that wood ear polysaccharides increased mice’s spleen index. They also increased the hemolysin value and E-rosette formation rate. The wood ear polysaccharides promoted macrophage phagocytosis. They also announced lymphocyte transformation—this enhanced immune function in mice. Zhanglinghua et al. did some research. They reported intraperitoneal injection of wood ear polysaccharides increased mice’s immunity. There was a significant increase in humoral and cellular immunity. Zhangcaiqing et al. did another study. They made a discovery. The discovery was wood ear polysaccharides had little effect on rat erythrocyte aggregation. However, they markedly improved macrophage phagocytosis in rats.[1]

Anti-Tumor Effects

Wood ear polysaccharides indirectly produce anti-tumor effects by enhancing immune defense. AMisaki et al. conducted a study. They found the water-soluble glucans in wood ear showed significant anti-tumor activity. Intraperitoneal injection inhibited mouse S180 solid tumors. Intravenous infusion of the glucans inhibited Lewis lung cancer in mice at 20 μg/kg. It also inhibited B16 melanoma and H22 hepatoma in mice at the same dose. Zongcanhua et al. did some research. They made a discovery. The discovery was wood ear polysaccharides increased NO levels in H22 mice. In the study by Zongcanhua et al., the wood ear polysaccharides promoted tumor cell apoptosis in mice.[1]

Anti-Aging Effects

Wuxianrui et al. conducted some studies. These studies showed that wood ear polysaccharides protect against tissue damage. Wuxianrui et al. also demonstrated that the wood ear polysaccharides delay aging. They enhanced fly flight ability and mouse swimming endurance. The polysaccharides significantly decreased cardiac lipofuscin in mice. They also increased SOD activity in the brain and liver of mice. Zhouhuiping et al. did some work. They demonstrated wood ear polysaccharides prolonged fly lifespan. They also increased non-specific resistance in aged mice. They reduced plasma lipid peroxidation and lipofuscin generation.[1]

Radiation Protection Effects

Chen Zhiqiang et al. experimented. They injected mice with wood ear polysaccharides. The dose was 2mg per mouse intraperitoneally. Researchers injected the mice for seven consecutive days. The mice were then exposed to 60Co γ radiation at a total amount of 800 rad. The results showed something. The survival time of the mice was longer than the control group. It was 24 days longer. The survival rate was also higher. It was 1.56 times higher than the control group. This indicates wood ear polysaccharides have protective effects against radioactive cell damage.

Fan Lisheng et al. Fan Lisheng et al. made a finding. Oral administration of wood ear polysaccharides reduced rates. They followed this with 60Co γ irradiation at 3.5Gy. The rates reduced were micronucleus in bone marrow and sperm malformation. The reduction was significant. It also increased survival rates and prolonged survival times. This demonstrates the excellent radiation protection effects of wood ear polysaccharides.[1]

Anticoagulant Effects

wood ear polysaccharides can inhibit platelet aggregation. The primary mechanism is inhibiting thrombin activity. Researchers in China did in vitro tests. They showed something. Mixing polysaccharide solution with rabbit blood extended clotting time. The polysaccharide solution was 0.1mL at 30μmol/L. Researchers mixed it with 0.9 mL of rabbit blood. The extension of clotting time was two times. Mice were given administration via several routes. The routes were intravenous, intraperitoneal, and oral. The dose was 50mg/kg. This administration grew clotting time. Researchers compared the growth to control groups. For intravenous, it increased by 2.1 times. For intraperitoneal, it grew by 1.3 times. For oral, it grew by 1.3 times.[1]

Hypoglycemic Effects

Zong Canhua et al. experimentally analyzed the hypoglycemic effects of wood ear polysaccharides in diabetic mice. The results showed something. It was after 15 days of administration. The blood glucose levels were lower in all dosage groups. Researchers gave the dosage groups wood ear polysaccharides. The blood glucose levels were significantly lower. They were lower compared to the diabetic control group. Han et al. extracted polysaccharides from wood ear using cellulase and protease. Their research found something. It was on the hypoglycemic effects. When the dosage was over 200mg/kg, something happened. Wood ear polysaccharides markedly lowered blood glucose. This lowering was in diabetic mice. But in normal mice, wood ear polysaccharides had no effect. The effect was on blood glucose. This indicates wood ear polysaccharides have sound preventive and therapeutic effects against diabetes.[1]

Hypolipidemic Effects

One study reported something. It said daily administration of wood ear polysaccharides. Researchers gave the polysaccharides to hyperlipidemic mice. The dose was 300mg/kg. The administration lasted 12 consecutive weeks. Measurements showed it markedly decreased serum total cholesterol and atherosclerosis index. It also enhanced serum and hepatic antioxidant capacities.

Cai Xiaoling et al. injected wood ear polysaccharides daily into hyperlipidemic mice. After one week, the polysaccharides significantly reduced serum cholesterol levels. Zhou Guohua et al. tested wood ear polysaccharides of varying concentrations on hyperlipidemic mice. The results showed something. Serum triglycerides were lower in treated mice versus controls. Total cholesterol was also lower. LDL was lower, too—the degrees of lowering varied. However, HDL was higher than controls. HDL was markedly higher. This indicated something. It showed wood ear polysaccharides have hypolipidemic effects.[1]


[1] 黑木耳营养保健功能及其产品开发