Let's talk about one of my favorite ingredients:
Fermented Sclerotium Mushroom
AKA Sclerotium Gum.
Funny name, yes, but a truly amazing natural silicone alternative (and so much more).
First, it's multifunctional, and I adore ingredients that multi-task!
When added to liquid, it forms a beautiful, soft gel...a natural, pure polysaccaride polymer with skin softening properties. It creates a luscious, but extremely stable texture (the technical term is rheology modifier, which is a fancy way of saying how the product flows). It produces products that not only feel good to use, but helps protect them from things that would normally be detrimental to their consistency, like exposure to high heat.
But, that's just the beginning of its magic. It has film forming properties that make it a natural moisturizer for skin and hair, so it can be used in everything from face creams to shampoos and even makeup. It's also a beta-glucan, with lovely soothing and smoothing properties.
Its gelling ability makes it a very effective suspending agent, keeping ingredients dispersed evenly throughout the product, such as moisture beads in shower gels, or pigments in cosmetics.
And the list goes on...
"This biotechnology-derived beta glucan EPS is nonionic and hydrosoluble with gelling, stabilizing and hydrating properties, making it a popular ingredient for various applications. With widely used and traditional polymers being petroleum-derived and non-biodegradable, sclerotium gum can act as an eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to conventional polymers in cosmetic formulations." READ MORE
HISTORICAL MEDICINAL USES:
"In many parts of the world, mushroom sclerotia are regarded as an important source of food and medicine, especially to the indigenous communities. The medicinal properties of mushroom sclerotia, such as antitumor, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, and other activities, have been studied, providing insights into the nature of the active components and underlying mechanisms of action." READ MORE
The sclerotium of Lignosus species are the part with medicinal value. In Peninsular Malaysia, the sclerotia of Tiger Milk mushroom are widely utilized by aborigines for the treatment of various ailments including cough, asthma, fever, food poisoning, cancer and as a general tonic (Lee et al., 2009). In China, the sclerotium is sold at a high price and is considered expensive among the other folk medicine in China. It has been used to treat gastric ulcers, chronic hepatitis and liver cancer (Wong and Cheung, 2009). READ MORE
I think you can see why I love reaching for this ingredient when formulating!
You can find Fermented Sclerotium (Mushroom) Gum in the following Zagorska products: