Juda's Ear / Auricularia Auricula Judae - Organic Mushroom Spawn
Fruit bodies (4 to 6 cm diameter) with gelatine-like to rubbery texture, and dark brown to black share, depending on the humidity. Little infection of insect larva’s, and a very long storage capacity. Easy to grow.
Juda's Ear Organic Mushroom Plug SpawnFruit bodies (4 to 6 cm diameter) with gelatine-like to rubbery texture, and dark brown to black share, depending on the humidity. Little infection of insect larva’s, and a very long storage capacity.
Easy to grow on sterilised material containing cellulose. Very good storage, even dried. Suitable for application in the Eastern kitchen.
- 80% hardwood, mixed fine + coarse
- 10% cereals
- 10% bran
Humidity: 62-63 %
Potential of Fungi Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine: AuriculariaAbstract
The concepts and beliefs of Chinese Medicine are collated, discussed and compared to the Western approach to treatment. Fungi and their innate properties are briefly examined and their structure summarised. The reports available on Auricularia are studied and the scientific evidence separated, dissected and investigated. Then the claims made of Auricularia are considered in conjunction with the evidence from scientific reports. This enables an exploration as to their reliability.
The distinct absence of any scientific experimentation is considered in relation to both its reported healing properties and the recent competition or even possible replacement by more Western remedies. There appears to be a great disparity between the bold claims made in the literature and any evidence of its use.
However the distinct decline in its prominence in the market place could easily be attributed to its perception as a fashionable treatment waning, and thus lead directly to its subsequent replacement by more popular remedies. Whatever potential Auricularia may hold, its continued study seems unlikely when contemplating the combination of its diminished use and the progression towards Westernisation throughout China.
Chinese medicine is based on treating the body and mind as a miniature universe, in which every individual is unique and where health depends upon the balance of yin and yang. An imbalance in these two forces is thought to lead to disease, whereas a balance leads to good health and good fortune.
Yin represents quiet, substance, night and water, whereas Yang represents noise, function, day and fire. The two are opposite forces and thus if you have one, you necessarily must have the other. These two forces are not stationary but are continuously fading into one another, just as night becomes day.
These forces are present in the organs of the body, but not necessarily in equal amounts. The Yin is present as the organ’s substance, the histological structures and nutrients, whereas Yang is present as its functional abilities. Each of the organs of the body has an element of Yin and of Yang. The kidney, for example, is said to be more Yin, whilst the liver is more Yang. Yin and Yang exist in the body as a fluctuating balance that has to be maintained in order to remain healthy.
Traditional Chinese Medicine also states that the body is organized into five functional systems, the kidney, heart, spleen, liver and lung systems. These systems govern particular tissues, activities and mental abilities. For example it is said that the kidney network is responsible for fluid metabolism, as well as storing the “Essence” which is responsible for reproduction, growth and regeneration.
Chinese Medicine has developed over the centuries by a sort of trial and error where the Chinese people used themselves as guinea pigs to see which remedies work and which did not. Although this is true, the understanding of the body and the way it functions is phenomenal considering their knowledge comes from writings dating from as long as 2000 years ago.
In contrast to this idea of balancing forces to maintain health, the Western method of looking at the body takes it as something that is made ill by viruses, bacteria and other external influences. The treatment of these things is reliant on understanding the mechanism by which they work on a molecular level and trying to rectify it there. The body is seen very much as something composed of proteins transcribed from DNA, something that can be controlled and understood down to the tiniest detail. This leads to a science that is very precise and relies on accurate readings being taken and everything being justified and not assumed.
An overview of fungi
This study is looking at the specific use of Auricularia auricula in Chinese medicine and so it is necessary to look briefly at an overview of fungi and how they grow and function. Fungi are simple organisms that contain no chlorophyll and exist as saprotrophs (secreting enzymes onto the dead or decaying matter it wishes to assimilate, and so externally digesting it and then absorbing the products) or mutualistic organisms or parasites of plants and animals.
Fungi are eukaryotic organisms with a thin cell wall made up of chitin a protein also found in the exoskeleton of insects. They grow through and within the substrate on which they are feeding and so there is large surface area for the secreted digested enzymes to work on. Fungi consist of mycelium and fruiting bodies. The mycelium is made up of hyphae which may or may not be divided by septa.
Fungi like Auricularia produce many different polysaccharides, which have a variety of functions in the fruit body, and these polysaccharides are sometimes found to stimulate the immune system in humans or in some cases cause the production of interferon and interleukins that then stop the proliferation of cancer cells. They have also been found to have antitumor, cardiovascular and hypocholesterolemia, antiviral, antibacterial and antiparasitic effects.
Auricularia has been used for thousands of years for the treatment of various ailments. It is prepared in a different way for each different group of treatments.
For example, hypertension, vascular sclerosis and ophthalmic bleeding are all in one group and rheumatic pains in legs and lumbago are in another. Auricularia has been used over the centuries, to treat weakness after childbirth, cramp and numbness; for pains from injuries, obstruction in arteries and veins, numbness and tetany; for malignant dysentery, piles, and enteritis; for menorrhagia and leucorrhoea; for gastric disorder causing nausea and excessive phlegm; for piles in the aged which will not heal.
There must be something that is similar between all these diseases and problems that one mushroom can help with all of them, that is if it truly can. Or maybe there are a few similar elements which different components of Auricularia treat. Whichever it is the research should make it clear if any of these cures have any proof at all. Also it seems that it is necessary to look at the different networks described in the traditional Chinese system to understand why it is claimed to do so much and whether the networks can explain the diversity of its functions.