You have probably heard about medicinal and functional mushrooms. Medical science has finally caught up to ancient wisdom regarding these potent healers. Explored for millennia in Chinese medicine, many of the benefits from mushrooms are now supported by trial studies and researchable data. There are several ways to attain these medicinal mushroom benefits depending on your goals. One of the most important things to educate yourself about is mushroom extraction methods.
What is a Mushroom Extract?
Extracts are commonplace in any household. Check the kitchen and you’ll probably find baking emulsions, food colorings, vanilla, almond flavorings, juice from concentrate, or instant coffee. All of these are extracts or products of an extract. An extract is any facilitated concentration of biological components. An easy-to-understand example is juice concentrate. Juice concentrate is made by removing the water from natural fruit juice, leaving behind all of the flavoring components, sugars and other non-aqueous components that give juice its color and nutritional value. This would be considered an extract because the powdered or liquid concentrate is extracted from fruit juice, leaving behind only water.
A mushroom extract follows the same concept mentioned above, but instead of just removing water, many other components are also removed. This is an effort to concentrate or extract the healthiest medicinal compounds of these fungi. It’s a great way to ingest bioactive properties from mushrooms that are too tough or bitter to eat in raw form, such as chaga.
How are Mushroom Extracts Made?
Mushroom Extracts are made using either polar or non-polar solvents to dissolve the most sought-after compounds in medicinal mushrooms. These liquid solvents are then subsequently removed by distillation or evaporation, leaving behind a concentration of the compounds. In some cases, the liquid solvent is reduced, but still left in a liquid state to allow for easy administration.
The most common mediums used in mushroom extraction are water and ethanol. Water is polar and can dissolve any polar molecules, including most polysaccharides. Ethanol extracts non-polar molecules that are left behind in a water extraction. This includes triterpenoids and other lipid-based molecules. When ethanol and water are combined, it allows for dual-extraction and yields the maximum amount of beneficial compounds. Oil, on the other hand, is non polar and a challenging extraction medium. It requires a high temperature to separate solutes from the oil after being extracted. It also does not mix with water, removing the possibility of “dual extraction.”
Dual Mushroom Extraction
A dual extract combines polar and non polar compounds within a solution to keep both in suspension, usually a combination of water and ethanol. Although ethanol can extract both polar and non polar compounds, as a carrier, its pure form is very abrasive. That’s why a combination of both ethanol and water is more effective. It also mellows out the intensity of the ethanol. In many cases, water extraction is processed first, utilizing a hot water bath or steep. The solution of water and aqueous compounds is then strained from the remaining solids and set aside for completion in the next phase, ethanol extraction. The remaining solids are then left in pure ethanol for a duration of time, usually 6 weeks at minimum. Then the ethanol phase is either added directly to the water phase or reduced down (concentrated) before the combination of the 2 phases.
Optimally Extracted Mushroom Supplements
What sets us apart is our method of administration and dedication to maintaining active compounds. We provide our dual-extracted formulas in tincture or mushroom powder form for dosing accuracy, potency and convenience. Our process guarantees that the right mushroom species is being used with 30% or more beta glucans, the bioactive property with the most scientific literature supporting it. We work with a third-party lab to ensure our mushroom supplements pass heavy metal and pesticide requirements.