top of page

Fungi and Skin - Healing the derma with Ganoderma and other mushrooms

Using mushrooms in skincare

Fruiting bodies protrude from their hosts throughout our forests, the Ganodermas are a sight to behold and entirely hard to ignore. Ganoderma in itself means “shiny skin” of course referring to the varnished crust on many of the species in this genus, but how can we not apply this to our own, human skin. Following is research that has been done on Ganoderma lucidum, Ganoderma tsugae, and Tremella fuciformis and their uses in skin care. I am postulating that we can use out Northwest analogs, Ganoderma applanatum, Ganoderma oregonense, and Tremella mesenterica, the same way.

Sacchachitin and polysaccharides for wound healing

There is a product made from the pulp of Ganoderma fruiting bodies, sacchachitin, that is used as a wound dressing and when used, significantly speeds up the healing process of skin wounds. (Hung 2004) This product of course is not manufacturable by the general public, yet it is easy enough to chop up the Ganoderma into small pieces, place in a blender with a little water and create a pulp that is then simmered for about an hour. The simmering is not necessary for a styptic effect, but you want to extract the polysaccharides to see anti inflammatory, antioxidant and increased healing time effects. Speed of wound healing was also observed when Ganoderma polysaccharides were applied to the wounds of diabetic mice. It was observed that the polysaccharides accelerated the wound healing my inhibition of mitochondrial oxidative stress and improved wound angiogenesis (Tie 2012).

Healing from UVB Damage

Tremella fuciformis has been used in skin care in Asia for decades, yet there is little research on our local species of Tremella, Tremella mesenterica. The polysaccharide content is comparable and so I am using the research and traditional uses of Tremella fuciformis as being analogous to the potential uses of Tremella mesenterica. Tremella is known to be a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory fungus. The Tremella polysaccharide extract was tested on hydrogen peroxide-induced injury of human skin fibroblasts. The polysaccharides from Tremella reduced oxidative stress and cell apoptosis in the treated skin. It also protected the skin fibroblasts from oxidative stress. (Shen, Gusman) Oxidative stress is one main reason our skin becomes wrinkled as we age, so using these polysaccharides topically could be beneficial in protecting our skin from wrinkles. The Polysaccharides, which make up about 90% of this species of mushroom, also assist the skin in its ability to retain moisture, an ability that decreases as we age. Tremella polysaccharides have also been researched for lightening skin spots in sun damaged skin and have been shown to inhibit melanin formation. Another study explored Ganoderma polysaccharides and determined that these compounds protect against “photo-aging” by eliminating UVB-induced reactive oxygen species. (Zeng 2016). One local Ganoderma to the PNW is Ganoderm oregonense, an analog to the Ganoderma Tsugae of the Eastern states. In one study, lanostane terpenoids extracted from Ganoderma tsugae fruiting bodies protected human keritinocytes from photodamage. (Lin 2013)

Triterpenoids and polysaccharides for atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a type 1 hypersensitivity reaction, which means it is an IgE mediated immediate hypersensitivity reaction, like an immediate allergic response. Researches explored a beta-glucan based cream for mild to moderate atopic dermatitis. Topical application resulted in significant improvement. In this study, the people with dermatitis put the cream on half their body, and nothing on the other half. The half of their body that the cream was applied to showed significant decline in dermatitis. (Jesenak 2015) This benefit would come from the water soluble constituents of the mushrooms, while another study looked at the lipophilic triterpenes for type 1 hypersensitivity reactions. They found that the triterpene extract inhibited histamine release from rat mast cells induced by IgE. (Rios 2010) This is a great example where a cream made from both the water and oil extract of the mushroom could be extremely beneficial for these skin conditions. Another example of a type 1 hypersensitivity reaction is the inflammation and itch that we get in response to mosquito bites. A study looked at the methanol extract of Ganoderma lucidum and the response of mosquito bitten mice. Results proved the mushroom extract to calm the scratching response of the mice. (Andoh 2010).

How to make your own mushroom body butter

This body butter is a host and fungi preparation. What this means is that the materials used are derived from both the host tree, Pseudotsuga menziesii (Doug Fir), and the mushrooms found inhabiting this tree, Ganoderma applanatum (Artist Conk) and Tremella mesenterica (Witch’s butter). The more I delve into mushroom medicine, the more I find it is important to use the tree and mushroom together in formula. So much of the energetic properties and physical properties of the mushrooms are determined by their host tree. These trees have provided oxygen, habitat and strength throughout their lifetimes in the forest and this wisdom flows through the mycelial like veins and into the mushroom fruiting body, that has now come to assist this edifice of the forest in breaking down and returning to the soil.


  • 1/2 C Ganoderma infused oil*

  • Doug Fir Pitch oil**

  • 1Tbs cacao butter

  • 1Tbs Shea butter

  • 1/3oz beeswax

  • 1tsp lanolin

  • 1/4 C Ganoderma applanatum hydrosol or hot water extract

  • 1/4 C Pseudotsuga menziesii hydrosol or hot water extract

  • 1 small piece of fresh or rehydrated Tremella mesenterica

  • 10-20 drops Doug Fir essential oil


  • Using the double boiler method, add Shea butter, Cacao butter, Ganoderma oil, Doug Fir pitch oil, and beeswax to the top bowl an melt together, stirring every so often.

  • In a separate jar mix the hydrosols or water extracts (make sure the extracts are at room temp if recently made. It is a good idea to make them ahead of time and keep refrigerated)

  • Add the Tremella piece to the mixed water solution and blend with an immersion blender until well combined.

  • When all the oils have melted together with the beeswax, add the lanolin (optional) and slowly poor into the jar full of the aqueous material and blend with immersion blender. After well blended, add the essential oils and blend some more. The final product should be very creamy and will become thicker after it cools off.

*Ganoderma infused oil is made my chopping up any Ganoderma species into the finest pieces possible and covering with oil, I used jojoba oil, but you can use olive oil. This is then let to sit for a few months, or I have been placing it in my dehydrator at 115 degrees F for about a week, the heat will speed up the extraction process.

**Doug Fir pitch oil is made by collecting pitch (sap/resin) from the trees and placing in a sacrificial crockpot, and covering with a small amount of oil until it is just barely covered. Let this warm for many days, strain out and you are left with a beautiful thick resinous oil.

Works Cited

  1. Andoh, Tsugunobu, Qun Zhang, Takumi Yamamoto, Manabu Tayama, Masao Hattori, Ken Tanaka, and Yasushi Kuraishi. “Inhibitory Effects of the Methanol Extract of Ganoderma Lucidum on Mosquito Allergy €“Induced Itch-Associated Responses in Mice.” Journal of Pharmacological Sciences 114.3 (2010): 292-97. Web.

  2. Gusman, Jessica Krisanti, Chien-Yih Lin, and Yang-Chia Shih. “The Optimum Submerged Culture Condition of the Culinary-Medicinal White Jelly Mushroom (Tremellomycetes) and Its Antioxidant Properties.” International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms 16.3 (2014): 293-302. Web.

  3. Hung, Wei-Sheng, et al. “Effect of SACCHACHITIN on Keratinocyte Proliferation and the Expressions of Type I Collagen and Tissue-Transglutaminase during Skin Wound Healing.” Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, vol. 70B, no. 1, 2004, pp. 122–129., doi:10.1002/jbm.b.30028.

  4. Hyde, K. D., A. H. Bahkali, and M. A. Moslem. “Fungi: an Unusual Source for Cosmetics.” Fungal Diversity 43.1 (2010): 1-9. Web.

  5. Jesenak, Milos, Slavomir Urbancek, Juraj Majtan, Peter Banovcin, and Jana Hercogova. “β-Glucan-based Cream (containing Pleuran Isolated Frompleurotus Ostreatus) in Supportive Treatment of Mild-to-moderate Atopic Dermatitis.” Journal of Dermatological Treatment 27.4 (2015): 351-54. Web.

  6. Kurtipek, Gulcan Saylam, Arzu Ataseven, Ercan Kurtipek, Ilknur Kucukosmanoglu, and Mustafa Rasid Toksoz. “Resolution of Cutaneous Sarcoidosis Following Topical Application of Ganoderma Lucidum (Reishi Mushroom).” Dermatology and Therapy 6.1 (2016): 105-09. Web.

  7. Lin, Kai-Wei, Yen-Ting Chen, Shyh-Chyun Yang, Bai-Luh Wei, Chi-Feng Hung, and Chun-Nan Lin. “Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitory Lanostanoids from Ganoderma Tsugae.” Fitoterapia 89 (2013): 231-38. Web.

  8. Rios JL. “Effects of triterpenes on the immune system”. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010;128(1):1-14

  9. Shen, Tao, Chao Duan, Beidong Chen, Meng Li, Yang Ruan, Danni Xu, Doudou Shi, Dan Yu, Jian Li, and Changtao Wang. “Tremella fuciformis Polysaccharide Suppresses Hydrogen Peroxide-triggered Injury of Human Skin Fibroblasts via Upregulation of SIRT1.” Molecular Medicine Reports (2017): n. pag. Web.

  10. Tie, Lu, Hong-Qin Yang, Yu An, Shao-Qiang Liu, Jing Han, Yan Xu, Min Hu, Wei-Dong Li, Alex F. Chen, Zhi-Bin Lin, and Xue-Jun Li. “Ganoderma Lucidum Polysaccharide Accelerates Refractory Wound Healing by Inhibition of Mitochondrial Oxidative Stress in Type 1 Diabetes.” Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry 29.3-4 (2012): 583-94. Web.

  11. Zeng, Qinghai, Fang Zhou, Li Lei, Jing Chen, Jianyun Lu, Jianda Zhou, Ke Cao, Lihua Gao, Fang Xia, Shu Ding, Lihua Huang, Hong Xiang, Jingjing Wang, Yangfan Xiao, Rong Xiao, and Jinhua Huang. “Ganoderma Lucidum Polysaccharides Protect Fibroblasts against UVB-induced Photoaging.” Molecular Medicine Reports 15.1 (2016): 111-16. Web.

9 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page