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Why Wood Ear (Black Fungus) Should Be a Staple in Your Diet

  • Published on: 04 November, 2014
  • Last update: 26 January, 2016

Thank you to my amazing Chinese Medicine doctor for teaching me all about (and feeding me lots of) “wood ear” this week! Since meeting Lily, I’ve tried foods that may look a little scary but taste absolutely amazing and have a myriad of benefits. I never expected I’d be eating something called “black fungus”… but it’s delicious and makes you feel great. Some of the things I’ve tried this week besides wood ear include: Natto, lotus root, amare seaweed, burdock root, and green curry (from her Thai friend!)

Authentic Chinese cuisine is simple, purposeful, and seasonal. If Lily prepares a cooling dish (i.e. a green vegetable like Bok Choy) she will steam it with ginger to balance the “cold” factor. If she prepares fungus, which can also be cooling (yin), she stir fries it with garlic (a warming spice). She only eats in season (we’ve been having lots of pumpkin and roots) and has soup/a bowl of rice with every dinner. Rice builds up your strength and yang while comforting the stomach.

In a Chinese meal, each individual diner is given their own bowl of rice while the accompanying dishes are served in communal plates (or bowls) which are shared by everyone sitting at the table, a communal service known as “family style” in Western nations. Each diner picks food out of the communal plates on a bite-by-bite basis with their chopsticks. It honestly feels like every single meal is a feast or celebration, and adds a sense of abundance and community to the table.

One of our communal plates the other night at Lily’s house was a stir fry of broccoli, mushroom, and wood ear. You could hardly taste the fungus, but it really added something to the texture and fullness of the meal.

Here are the benefits:

Wood ear is a VERY important food for us that should be incorporated into everyone’s diet. It is especially beneficial for blood, as it can nourish, activate, and clean the blood all at once. Wood ear nourishes yin, counteracts high cholesterol, increases body fluids, and adds moisture to the lung. (We are currently in autumn, a season where our throats/lungs get very dry. This is the perfect time to eat lung-moisturizing foods!)

Black fungus contains vitamin K, which can assist prevention of blood coagulation, thrombosis, and embolism. Regular consumption can help prevent atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. It’s rich in iron, as well as cellulose and a special plant collagen. Cellulose and collagen together can promote intestinal fat/food excretion, prevent constipation, and help the body to remove toxic substances (which alleviates postpartum hemorrhoids!). Last but certainly not least, wood ear can help dissolve gallstones, kidney stones, bladder stones, AND prevent cancer!

Wood ear has little to no taste and the texture is rubbery yet easy to chew. It’s actually very pleasant! 

You can buy wood ear in any Chinese market. They come dried, so you must soak them for at least 30 minutes. After soaking:
1) rinse
2) boil in water for 3 minutes, and
3) drain and set aside

Start up a vegetable stir fry (example: olive oil, garlic, broccoli & mushroom) and add the wood year into the mix on medium heat. It will take on the taste of the garlic and add texture/huge benefits to your meal! Enjoy 🙂

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Jenny Dull LAc

I’m so happy that you are promoting traditional Chinese medicine and that you are healing! I do want to correct you about Vit. K, which is the fat soluble vitamin that keeps our blood at a natural blood clotting state. See below. Wood Ear thins the blood, so opposite of Vit. K. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin. Function Vitamin K is known as the clotting vitamin, because without it blood would not clot. Some studies suggest that it helps maintain strong bones in the elderly. Food Sources The best way to get the daily requirement of vitamin K is by eating food sources. Vitamin K is found in the following foods: Green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, turnip greens, collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens, parsley, romaine, and green leaf lettuce Vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage Fish, liver, meat, eggs, and cereals (contain smaller amounts) Vitamin K is also made by the bacteria that line the gastrointestinal tract. Cheers! Jenny Dull


Food is only one source but please consider the toxic chemical in products you use to color your hair, creams you rub on your face decollete and double chin to hide normal signs of aging, deodorant you apply to your armpits to combat natural smell and birth control pills you are taking to have a casual sex without pregnancy.<br />Not to mention daily makeup routine an poor bowel habits:)

Carolyn Kenyon

I am currently utilizing Gerson Therapy and diet to cure my body of dis-ease. They recommend not consuming fermented foods or fungus while I am in transition. Do you know if this is something I should include in my diet? I am wanting to try everything possible to heal naturally and completely. Thank you


First of all.. You are amazing and I fully appreciate all of your posts! 🙂 I was wondering if a capsule form would be as beneficial. I found them online 🙂 thank you!!

CourtieGurl B

How does this affect people with candida overgrowth etc? Do you eat it in moderation? The word fingus just scares me lol

Olivia A.


&quot;Like&quot; heals &quot;like&quot; 🙂 It will actually help your immune system fight off candida!

CourtieGurl B


Oh wow that is interesting! Also, I am inspired by the research you do! This is awesome as a ChemBio student I appreciate it and have checked out your sources! How do you find time for this? Do you do it in your free time?

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