As groundbreaking research is, at last, becoming more accepted into the mainstream, it is becoming more widely known that compounds that range within medicinal mushrooms have the ability for anyone’s immune system to receive a maximum reboot of beta-glucans, banish cancerous intoxicants with cordycepin, battle inflammation with triterpenes, and improve mood and concentration with hericenones and erinacines. Depending on the medicinal mushroom, be it lion’s mane, cordyceps, reishi, or chaga, one should be prepared for an awareness of beneficial change to come into play as soon as a mushrooms extract is brought into daily practice.
The medicinal benefits of mushrooms can be absorbed into the body through various different methods, depending on one’s taste preference and desired potency. In what form will one access these medicinal wonders? Two ancient, tried & true ways to embody the full spectrum of a medicinal mushroom is by the use of mushroom tinctures and mushroom extract powders.
Mushrooms are made up of the same building block that insects are made from and it’s called chitin. Chitin is full of starchy polysaccharide fibers that the mushroom is equipped with as an external protective shield to guard its medicinal compounds. In order to unlock the mushrooms' medicinal qualities, our own faculty to must be able crack the passcode to its treasures by performing the method of extraction.
Both tinctures and extract powders are extracts, however, tinctures are liquid extracts and extract powders are solid extracts. Extracts are made by extracting or taking out, a quality within a raw material, concentrating it and then trapping the active compounds in another form such as alcohol, vinegar, water or eventually, a powder. Mushroom extract powders created by the potent dregs of the double-simmered mushroom broth and mushroom tinctures are a strong simmered powdered mushroom broth mixed with alcohol for increased extraction.
To make an extract powder, the mushrooms are ground up then boiled until mostly a mushroom compound sludge remains in the pot. This “medicinal sludge” is then dried and broken up, becoming an "extract powder" that can be added to food, drink or capsules. In other words, an extract powder is essentially a highly processed mushroom. The advantage is that you know you're getting every part of the mushroom and all it's beneficial compounds in your body. The disadvantage is that... you're getting every part of the mushroom, including all the parts that don't provide any medicinal value.
Mushroom tinctures hold a high concentration of medicinal compounds, but unlike extract powders, are not added to food or water or taken alone. The traditional formula to make a tincture is as relaxed as putting organic plant material in a jar, chopping it finely so that the most surface area of the plant is exposed, adding an alcohol-based solvent and letting the all constituents sit in a dark place together for about a month. Since a mushroom's medicinal compounds are incredibly guarded by their chitin-polysaccharide armor, they crave a double-extraction method. A double-extraction method makes sure that all aspects of the medicinal compounds can be accessed and is done by simmering dried powdered mushrooms, putting the simmer and dregs into a jar and then adding alcoholic solvent. About every week, the mushroom liquid is blended again, and after eight weeks- the mushroom powder is strained out and the tincture is ready.
Mushroom tinctures and powder extracts are two different potency-packed methods to receive the anti-inflammatory, anti-cancerous, brain function boosting qualities that mushrooms hold and we crave. If you are looking for a tincture made in small batches with organic ingredients, try Hodgins Harvest organic mushroom tinctures like chaga, turkey tail, cordyceps, reishi and lion's mane. A re-vitalized mushroom-y future awaits you!