Medicinal mushroom extracts are a potent way to consume mushrooms, as they are concentrated extracts of the natural compounds found in these beneficial fungi. An extract is a way to remove the active constituents from a mushroom. Each type of extract can be created through different methods, but ultimately they are all trying to do the same thing - get rid of everything that isn't an active constituent or beneficial to us humans and keep what is beneficial.
What is the best way to extract medicinal mushrooms? There are a few different methods, but it really depends on what you are trying to extract from the mushrooms. There are three types of extracts that can be made from medicinal mushrooms - water, alcohol or dual-extracts. In this article, we will take a look at each type of extract and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Water extractions of medicinal mushrooms are made by first soaking the mushroom in warm distilled water until the cells open up releasing their nutrients into the water (like soaking oatmeal) and then straining out all of the particles. This is a common method for making an extract and will contain mostly water-soluble compounds, such as enzymes, polysaccharides and some low molecular weight phenols.
Medicinal mushroom polysaccharides, which include beta-glucans, are water-soluble and are some of the most beneficial compounds in fungi. This is because they strengthen our immune system, helping it to fight off infections and diseases. The main drawback to water extraction is that it doesn't extract all of the beneficial compounds from the mushroom, such as terpenes, which are fat-soluble. That means that you aren't getting all of the possible benefits from a medicinal mushroom when using water extraction.
Qi Mushrooms extracts are made using a 5-step process to develop the most bioavailable mushroom extracts on Earth.
1. To extract the mushroom material, multifunctional extraction tanks that are able to extract both water-soluble and fat-soluble compounds from the mushrooms are used. The process is carefully monitored and optimized to ensure that this method extracts the maximum amount of bioactive compounds from each mushroom strain.
2. A 300 mesh frame filter press machine to separate the extract from the mushroom material is then used. This ensures that all of the beneficial compounds are extracted and that no unwanted particles make it into the extract.
3. A double-effect energy concentrator machine to concentrate and purify the extract is then used. This step is important to remove any unwanted compounds and to increase the potency of the extract.
4. High-speed centrifugal spray dryer machines are then used to remove the water from the extract, leaving a pure and potent powdered extract. The result is a highly bioavailable mushroom extract that contains all of the beneficial compounds from the mushrooms.
5. The final step is testing the raw material using a high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) machine to measure and grade the potency of the extracts. This ensures that each batch of extracts is consistent in quality and potency.
Medicinal mushrooms can also be extracted with alcohol, such as ethyl alcohol or ethanol (the type we drink!). These types of extractions have been used for centuries and are still the most popular way to extract compounds from plants. When making an alcohol extraction, the mushrooms are chopped up and then soaked in alcohol. This allows for the active constituents to be extracted from the mushroom into the alcohol.
The main benefit of using an alcohol extraction is that it can extract fat-soluble compounds from the mushroom. Compounds such as terpenes (ie Erinacines found in Lion's Mane) and triterpenes (Ganoderic Acids found in Reishi) are only found in small quantities in water-extracted mushrooms but are present in larger quantities in alcohol-extracted mushrooms. Water-soluble compounds, such as polysaccharides and enzymes, are not generally found in high amounts in alcohol extractions.
A dual extract is a combination of both water and alcohol extracts. To create a dual extract, the water and alcohol finished products are blended together. This type of extract is beneficial because it allows for the extraction and preservation of both water-soluble compounds, such as beta-glucans, enzymes and polysaccharides, but also includes fat-soluble terpenes and triterpenes from medicinal mushrooms. This leads to a larger range of active constituents than either an alcohol or water extraction alone.
The answer to this question really depends on what you are trying to achieve and what mushroom you are using.
Water-soluble beta-glucans, enzymes and polysaccharides have been shown to be beneficial in supporting the immune system, which is why extracts containing these compounds can help boost immunity or fight off illness. Turkey Tail polysaccharopeptide (PSP), for example, is a water-extracted medicinal mushroom that has been shown to be beneficial in treating cancer.
Alcohol-extracted mushrooms often have a higher concentration of fat-soluble compounds than water extracted mushrooms, so they can be more beneficial for conditions such as chronic inflammation or liver disease. Erinacines from Lion's Mane, are known to have anti-inflammatory properties and are thought to be the key compounds responsible for Lion's Mane's neuroprotective effects. Erinacines are only found in small quantities in water-extracted Lion's Mane but are present in high concentrations with alcohol extracted Lion's Mane.
Dual extracts provide the benefits of both water-soluble compounds (beta-glucans) as well as fat-soluble terpenes and triterpenes from medicinal mushrooms. This makes them very beneficial for boosting immunity but also treating conditions such as chronic inflammation and liver disease. For example, Reishi contains a wide range of active compounds, including Ganoderic Acids (alcohol extract) and beta-glucans (water extract). A dual extracted Reishi contains both water and alcohol extracts, which allows you to get the benefits from all of these different types of compounds.
Which extraction is better for you really depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you are looking for an extract that contains compounds that can boost your immune system, then water or dual-extract would be the best choice. If you are interested in extracts with neuroprotective or anti-inflammatory properties, then an alcohol extraction may be the better option.
Medicinal mushrooms extracts are a potent way to consume mushrooms, as they are concentrated extracts of the natural compounds found in these beneficial fungi. Extracts are a way to remove the active constituents from a mushroom. Each type of extract can be created through different methods, but ultimately they are all trying to do the same thing - get rid of everything that isn't an active constituent or beneficial to us humans and keep what is beneficial.
Water-soluble extracts are beneficial because they contain beta-glucans and enzymes. Alcohol-extracted mushrooms have a higher concentration of fat-soluble compounds, so they too can be good for fighting chronic inflammation or giving your liver some support. Finally, dual extractions provide the benefits from both types of mushroom extraction methods - water and alcohol. The only question now is - which one is right for you?