Cloud Ear or Wood Ear Mushroom (Auricularia polytricha) are a kind of jelly fungi used for their crisp, snappy texture, and their color rather than their taste. The Chinese regularly add them to dishes because it is believed to improve breathing, circulation, and well-being. And they may be correct.
Recent studies of the medicinal effects of Auricularia polytricha have identified a chemical that tends to inhibit blood clotting. Since blood vessel diseases, strokes, and heart attacks are associated with clotting, perhaps moderate ingestion of this mushroom as food may indeed confer long life and good health on its users.
A. auricula is usually sliced in 1/4-inch strips for cooking. Cook them for only a short time. In fact, if allowed to stand with food for any length of time, these mushrooms lose their firmness. For soups, stir-fried dishes, or salads, add such slices as the last stage of food preparation.