Mushroom tinctures are finally having their moment… But they’re not exactly new. Herbal tinctures have been used for thousands of years to draw out active ingredients and boost medicinal properties. And who wouldn’t want that? So buckle up, because this article will explain everything you need to know about mushroom tincture benefits, usage and how we make them.
What Are Mushroom Tinctures?
The word tincture and extract are often used interchangeably… But they’re not the same thing. There’s a bit of confusion over what’s what - and the difference comes down to how they’re made.
A mushroom extract is made by soaking the mushroom in any type of solvent, such as vinegar, water or alcohol. This process works to draw out the active ingredients to have a better affect on your body. On the other hand, a mushroom tincture is when we specifically use alcohol to soak the mushroom. Therefore, you could say a tincture is a type of extract.
Ok, but what’s so good about using alcohol to dissolve mushrooms?
What Are The Benefits Of Mushroom Tinctures?
We get it - using alcohol to create a medicinal and nutritional mushroom product might sound a little questionable. But hey, we’re not talking about getting boozed up on mushrooms. We’re talking about ways to draw out their goodness.
You see, mushrooms are overflowing with nutrients like polysaccharides, triterpenes and proteins. But these nutrients are locked away behind a tough exterior made from chitin. And while hot water works to draw out some of these nutrients, some compounds need a little more of a kick (ahem, alcohol).
One of these compounds is triterpenes. Triterpenes are present in a wide range of plants, animals and fungus – however, certain strains of mushroom have particularly high quantities of them.
Remarkable Reishi is one of them. The triterpenes in Reishi are believed to have anti-inflammatory, anti-HIV, antiviral, antimicrobial and even anti-tumour agents. Its no wonder Reishi extract has been used in the east alongside traditional medicine for centuries!
Oh, and if you speak to any mushroom expert about Chaga, chances are they will mention its high triterpene content. The triterpenes in Chaga are also believed to activate the immune system, reduce inflammation and assist traditional cancer treatment.
Triterpenes are powerful stuff, folks. And adding alcohol is what will help you access them.
So, How Do We Make Mushroom Tinctures?
The next question that many fungi fans have is how to make mushroom tinctures? And how do we use alcohol in a way that is safe, ethical and good for you?
Here at Natura Mushrooms, we’re straight shooters. Which is why we’re going to share our dual extraction process (which means using both hot water and alcohol).
We start off with hot water extraction – adding water, mycelium, fruit body and botanicals into a pressure cooker. The process of hot water extraction is beneficial on its own, working to break down nutrients like polysaccharides.
The mushroom mixture spends around 10 hours in the pressure cooker at a range of different temperatures. First of all, we start off on low pressure, and we gradually turn it up over 4 hours. We then leave it on high pressure for another 4 hours, and then allow it to cool for a final 2 hours. You see, the pressure cooker allows it to get far hotter than alternative methods of heating. These methods ensure the chitin wall breaks down effectively. And you know what they say; the best things in life take time.
And for a little more goodness? We follow the hot water extraction up with alcohol extraction.
The remaining mixture from the hot water extraction is strained. Then, the mushroom material that’s left over is added to 96.6% alcohol for a week, which pulls out the alcohol soluble compounds (like triterpenes).
But before you start running for the hills… Know that the final product is not 96.6% alcohol. After a week, the liquid from the hot water extraction and alcohol extraction are combined to leave a product with only 30% alcohol.
And combining the two means that the final product contains the full range of active ingredients – those from hot water extraction and alcohol extraction.
Creating tinctures in this way ensures maximum bioavailability, which means it is more available for your body to absorb. What’s more, the alcohol in tinctures gives it a long shelf life.
What Are The Downsides Of Mushroom Tinctures?
It would be foolish of us if we didn’t shed a light on the downsides of mushroom tinctures. And the truth is, alcohol can be a drawback for some. Pregnant women, young children, individuals with alcohol-abuse problems and those with religious beliefs that forbid alcohol should avoid our tinctures.
The good news is that hot water extraction still has wonderful medicinal qualities. Our Natura Mushroom powders use hot water extraction, and are perfect for those who cannot consume alcohol.
How To Take Mushroom Tinctures
The recommended daily dosage is 2ml per day, or 1ml twice a day. As alcohol can have quite a strong flavour, it’s best to mix tinctures into your food or drink. Add them to your coffee, tea, smoothie or whatever is on the menu! But remember, it’s best to consult your doctor before starting with any mushroom supplements.
At Natura Mushrooms, we combine our homegrown and ethically sourced mushrooms with a range of native botanicals, including Davidson Plum, Quandong, Strawberry Gum, Lemon Myrtle and Mountain Pepperberry.
These botanicals are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, and enhance the positive effects of our mushrooms. Not only that, they also give our tinctures a truly Australian flavour.
Written by Shane and Ash, the scientists, mushrooms farmers and garden enthusiasts behind Natura Mushrooms.