Tremella fuciformis, known as White Jelly or Snow Fungus, is a tropical mushroom found on hard woods after heavy rains. This mushroom is one of the most popular fungi in the cuisine and medicine of China. Tremella fuciformis is a white, nearly translucent, fungus throughout Asia and in warmer climates worldwide. The fungus gets the common name of wood ear for the way it looks on the decaying logs on which it grows.
Tremella fuciformis is an immune stimulant that may help fight infection. Research has found that it also demonstrates antitumor activity, lowers levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol, protects the liver, and fights inflammation, and that it may slow the ageing process. According to Chinese traditional medicine, if it is eaten regularly, facial freckles will lighten or disappear. However, this has not been scientifically studied. In Japan, Tremella fuciformis is used to prevent atherosclerosis, in which cholesterol gathers into arteries, creating plaques. It does this by lowering total blood cholesterol levels. However, only one preliminary clinical study has confirmed this effect. However, research on snow fungus polysacchairdes as infection-fighters has confirmed that hey help maintain cholesterol levels within the linings of cells, where cholesterol is needed; possibly helping to draw it out of the bloodstream.
Scientific studies have found that the mucilage-like polysaccharides found in Tremella fuciformis bind to receptor sites on certain immune cells. This increased the production of interferon and interleukin-2(IL-2), two important immune-system chemicals, and stimulated the production of germ-eating macrophages. Snow fungus also increases the activity of natural killer (NK) cells and enhances the effectiveness of antibodies. In addition, snow fungus reduces the rate at which cancers spread in a laboratory setting. In order to grow and spread, tumours have to establish their own blood vessel systems. Snow fungus compounds counteract a blood chemical platelet-activating factor (PAF), which makes the blood less likely to clots and spins a fibrin “net” on which blood vessels to serve the tumour can form.