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Snow fungus is a white, nearly translucent, "trembling" 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. Good-quality snow fungus has a pale, yellowish-white color and a mucilagelike texture. Chinese and Japanese herbalists have used snow fungus for more than 2,000 years, primarily to increase fluids in the body, for dry coughs, and for palpitations. It has been used as a tonic herb and as a beauty enhancer to improve the complexion.
Evidence of Benefit
Snow fungus is an immune stimulant that may help fight infection as seen in cell studies. Laboratory studies have 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. Supposedly, if snow fungus is eaten regularly, facial freckles will disappear, although this has not been tested in any scientific fashion.
Benefits of snow fungus for specific health conditions include the following:
Laboratory tests have demonstrated that snow fungus extracts kill cervical cancer cells, as well as those taken from other types of tumours. Snow fungus is known to sensitize the cervix and uterus to radiation treatment, making that treatment more effective. One medical use of snow fungus is to increase white blood cell counts in people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer. This is a serious condition, however, so do not use snow fungus in this case without first consulting a physician.
- p. 128, Prescription for Herbal Healing: An Easy-To-Use A-Z Reference to Hundreds of Common disorders and Their Herbal Remedies by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC (2002)ShareThis