Since early times, humans have been trying to “spruce up” their exterior. While today’s trendy high-tech efforts include plastic surgery (remember, there’s a reason they call it “plastic”), toxic injections, chemical burns, and even laser treatments, our earliest ancestors resorted to simple botanicals and natural remedies.
What is beauty? To me, beauty is the reflection of a radiantly healthy, vibrant, whole, and balanced being. Regretfully, we live in a culture that puts undue emphasis on superficial appearance.
A Legendary Mushroom
This attitude is not without its historical context. Concubine Yang, the favored courtesan of a Chinese emperor in the eighth century, is said to have been so beautiful that she distracted the emperor from ruling and the country began to fall apart, eventually leading to a rebellion. Considered one of China’s most gorgeous women of all time, when Yang Guifei walked through a garden, so the story goes, the flowers would bow low before her beauty. When asked what her secret was, Yang replied, “Tremella.”
Tremella: An Ancient Secret Weapon
Tremella (T. fuciformis) is a traditional Chinese medicinal mushroom with a long history of use for nourishing the lungs, stomach, and kidneys, and providing proper hydration to the skin. Its hydrating quality makes tremella particularly appropriate as a beauty aid. What is the primary purpose of most topical creams and lotions? To moisturize! Hydrated skin cells are healthier, fuller, and happier. And a happy cell is a younger cell.
By taking the tremella mushroom internally, you literally hydrate your body from the inside out. That’s not all. Tremella is an excellent source of vitamin D, which, among its many essential actions in the body, is involved in skin-cell metabolism. Other internal beauty benefits include anti-inflammatory actions, liver-protecting properties (the liver and skin are leading detoxifying organs), and the ability to boost the body’s natural antioxidant levels.
Tremella is also a powerful immune-system enhancer. When compared to other potent mushroom immune boosters in two separate studies, tremella ranked first and second in effectiveness (second only to maitake mushroom).
Tremella in Cosmetics
Cosmetic companies in France and Japan have recently begun to explore tremella’s promise as a topical cosmetic aid. One of the first areas of study was to determine if its traditional Chinese medicine benefits also applied to topical applications.
When compared to hyaluronic acid, a popular skin-care ingredient, tremella was found to be less sticky, leaving the skin feeling moisturized and smooth. Its water-retention ability was higher than both hyaluronic acid and glycerin. It not only moisturized the skin better, but this mushroom also helped the skin hold onto the water longer.
Further research also shows that tremella works effectively as a topical antioxidant, preventing oxidative damage, which ages us, as well as enhancing one of the body’s own powerful, free-radical-fighting mechanisms, superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD could be called a cascading antioxidant—when it neutralizes one free radical, it is then able to neutralize another.
Radiant beauty reflects “whole” health. Tremella is just one member of a family of medicinal mushrooms that offers an immeasurable array of healing and rejuvenating gifts—both from the inside and out.