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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

Impact factor: 1.123

ISSN Print: 1521-9437
ISSN Online: 1940-4344

International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v2.i3.10
26 pages

Medicinal Value of the Genus Tremella Pers. (Heterobasidiomycetes) (Review)

Sergey V. Reshetnikov
N. G. Kholodny Institute of Botany, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 2 Tereshchenkivskaya Str., Kiev 252001, Ukraine; and Med Myco Ltd., Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel
Solomon P. Wasser
International Centre for Cryptogamic Plants and Fungi, Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa, Israel; and N.G. Kholodny Institute of Botany, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine
Ina Duckman
Med Myco Ltd., Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel
Katherina Tsukor
Med Myco Ltd., Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel

ABSTRACT

Jelly mushrooms from the genus Tremella have been known in Oriental medicine for hundreds of years as beneficial for health. During the last decades they were intensively investigated for medicinal effects in in vivo and in vitro model systems, and clinical applications were developed for different groups of patients. Both traditional and modern medicinal properties of Tremella mushrooms are reviewed. The present review includes the data on Tremella taxonomy and systematics, peculiarities of dimorphic growth, biological and ecological aspects of complicated life cycle, and fructification ability in pure culture. Nutritional value and composition are compared in wild and cultivated fruiting bodies. The promising feature of Tremella species is that the main pharmacological effects are attributable to acidic heteropolysaccharide glucuronoxylomannan action. Polysaccharide composition of fruiting bodies and those produced in pure culture are compared. It is shown that the antitumor activity of Tremella mushrooms is due to immunomodulating effects of both humoral and cellular immune factors in the body. Tremella species also stimulate vascular endothelial cells; possess pronounced antiradiating effects; stimulate hematogenesis; demonstrate antidiabetic, antiinflammatory, hypocholesterolemic, antiallergic activities; and show hepatoprotective effects. Tremella glucuronoxylomannan can be recommended to improve immunodeficiency, including that induced by AIDS, physical stress, or aging, and to prevent senile degeneration of microvessels, maintaining better blood perfusion conditions in vital organs.