Truth about medicinal wood ear mushroom, science confirms

wood ear

The scientific name of the wood ear is Auricularia auricula-judae Schrot.


Scientific names Common names
Auricularia auricula-judae Schrot. Taingan-daga (Tag.)
Jelly ear (Engl.)
Jew’s ear (Engl.)
Judas’s ear (Engl.)
Wood ear (Engl.)
Cloud ears (Engl.)
Taingan-daga is a shared common name of: (1) Taingan-daga, Auricularia auricula-judae, Jew’s ear; and (2) Taingan-daga, Oxalis repens, Indian sorrel.
Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Hei Mu-erh, Mo-er.

“Judas’s ear” name comes from the legend that Auricularia formed its ear-shaped fruiting body as a curse on the tree that Judas hanged himself after his betrayal of Jesus.


Wood ear is a saprophytic fungus, growing in tree stumps in damp moist forests. Plant is formed by multi-celled hyphae extracting nutrients from decaying tree trunks or logged timber. Spores extending from the tree trunk are shaped like human ear, of variable sizes, smooth, dull brown to gray,sticky when moist, leathery when dry.


Auricularia is found throughout the Philippines. Other than the auricula-judae species, another specie reported edible is Auricularia affinis Leville.


In damp moist forests.


– Yields a high content of carbohydrates (approximately 63% of dried fruit bodies), proteins and minerals (Ca, P, and Fe). (see study)

– Main monosaccharide composition of A. auricula polysaccharides is glucose (72%), mannose (8%), xylose (10%), and fructose (10%). (see study)


– Neutral, pleasant tasting.

– Considered an immune system stimulant.

– Antitumor, hypolipidemic, antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic, and of cardiovascular benefit.

Edibility / Culinary

– An edible black-brown mushroom.

– Imported in dry state from China and Japan. A popular ingredient for chop-suey, sotanghon, pinsic, etc. Folkloric

– Used for metrorrhagia, urinary tract diseases, dysentery.

– Used for bleeding hemorrhoids, dropsy and sore throat.

– In Chinese traditional medicine, used for weakness after childbirth, cramps, numbness,dysentery, piles, enteritis, heavy menstrual bleeding, leucorrhea.

Scientific proven health benefits uses and benefits of wood ear


Study on mice reports of a 3% polysaccharide extract reducing the fasting blood glucose. Another found the crude polysaccharide improved glucose tolerance to intraperitoneal glucose loading; and neutral polysaccharides showed dose-dependent lowering of fasting and nonfasting glucose and insulin.

Study showed the hypoglycemic effect of a water-soluble polysaccharide from the fruiting body of AA on genetically diabetic mice.


Study showed hypocholesterolemic effect in rats, lowering the total and LDL cholesterol without affecting the HDL concentration.

Anticoagulant Activity:

Study isolated an acidic polysaccharide from the edible mushroom AA, with the alkali extract showing highest anticoagulant activity. The effect was through an inhibition of platelet aggregation.

Antioxidant Activity / Hypocholesterolemic:

Study showed lowering of total and LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels and increased total antioxidant capacity.

Anticomplement Activity:

Study of exo-polymer of AA showed a 70%-anti-complementary activity.

Auricularia auricula Polysaccharide Flour / Antioxidant:

Study showed that up to 9% of Auricularia auricula polysaccharide flour could be included in bread formulation without altering the sensory acceptance of the blended flour at the same time markedly increasing the antioxidant property of the bread. Breads containing AAP may be regarded as health-promoting functional foods.

Anti-Tumor Activity:

Study compared the antitumor activities of two (1 goes to 3)-beta-D-glucans isolated from the fruiting body of Auricularia auricula-judae.


Study investigated the hypolipidemic effect of biopolymers extracted from culture broth, mycelia, and fruiting bodies (FB) of AAJ in dietary-induced hyperlipidemic rats. Administration of FB reduced triglycerides, TC, LDL cholesterol and the atherogenic index while also increasing the HDL cholesterol.

Cerebral Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury Protection:

Auricularia auricula-judea polysaccharide (AAP) treatment protected rat brain from focal ischemia/reperfusion injury by its anti-oxidative effect and worked better than EGb671. AAP treatment decreased Longa’s score, brain infarct size, apoptotic neurons and mitochondria-generated ROS in a dose-dependent manner.

Comparative Anti-Tumor Activity:

Study compared the antitumor activity of extracts from Auricularia auricula-judae, P. gilvus, G. lucidum and 100 Korean wild plants in the P388D1 macrophage cell line. Results showed four plant extracts (4% of tested wild plants and A. auricula-judae extract with similar levels of Ph. gilvus and G. lucidum extracts may be potential antitumor agents.

Inhibition of Tumor Cell Growth In-Vitro:

A dichlormethane fraction from 70% Auricularia auricula-judae ethanol extract showed the highest level of antitumor activity compared to other solvent fractions. The DCMF was found to have more potent antitumor activity against bronchoalveolar cancer and gastric cancer cells. Results demonstrate the DCMF has a potential as functional additive for enhancing antioxidant activities and suppressing tumor growth in the body.


Study investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of a dichlormethane extract of A. auricula-judae. Results showed significant inhibition of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced nitric oxide (NO) production in a dose-dependent manner. The extract markedly reduced the expressions of inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-ß) mRNA in LPS-treated murine RAW264-7 macrophages.

Antioxidant / Functional Formula Diet:

Study investigated the antioxidant activities and protective effects of a functional formula diet AHP, containing polysaccharides from Auricularia auricula, polyphenolic compounds from Hawthorn and Pueraria radix. Results showed the AHP possessed potent radical-scavenging effects and inhibitory effects against peroxidation of LDL induced by Cu in vitro. Results suggest the functional formula diet could be a potent alternative as a functional diet to prevent atherosclerosis at early stage.

Polysaccharide Antithrombotic Effect:

Study evaluated the antithrombotic effect of polysaccharide of Auriclaria auricula-judae. Results showed polysaccharides of A. auricula-judae can significantly inhibit the formation of thrombus, with marked prolongation of CTFT (characteristic thrombus formation time) and TFT (thrombus formation time).

Blood Lipids and Bone Density Effect in Middle Aged Obese Women:

Study demonstrated consumption of A. auricula-judae had a positive effect in improving blood LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and bone density of middle-aged obese women.

Exercise Endurance Effects:

Study evaluated the effects of polysaccharide from AAJ on exercise-induced oxidative stress in mice. Results showed polysaccharides from Auricularia auricula-judae enhance exercise endurance and possess protective effects against exhaustive swimming exercise-induced oxidative stress in mice.

Fruiting Bodies Melanin / Natural Colorant:

Study evaluated the physiochemical properties of melanin from Aa fruting bodies. The melanin showed to be dark with a little red and yellow, with properties similar to those of synthetic melanin and same redox properties of natural melanins previously reported. Results suggest a potential for fruiting body melanin to be used in the food industry as a natural colorant.

Wound Healing Effect / Polysaccharides:

Study evaluated the wound healing promoting effect of polysaccharides purified from T. fuciformis and Auricularia auricula on an ex-vivo porcine skin wound healing model. Results clearly showed both purified polysaccharide extracts promoted a significant wound healing effect.



Available in the market.

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