The medicinal properties of medicinal mushrooms are quite alluring: boosting the immune system, increasing energy levels, enhancing cognitive function, reducing ill-effects of stress, anti-aging, and the list goes on and on.
Though, before you go ahead and buy any mushroom powder, read this post first to make sure you really are going to take advantage of the full spectrum which those power houses have to offer.
If you have just a basic mushroom powder, then most likely the mushroom was merely dried and ground up into a fine powder. It might look similar to an extract powder, but there is a significant difference between these two products.
When we consume unextracted medicinal mushroom powders or we eat the mushrooms raw, we’re going to get little to no benefit at all. So if you have a basic dried mushroom powder, you have to extract it yourself to take advantage of its medicinal healing powers.
Beta-D-glucans, which are water soluble polysaccharides, and triterpenoids are two of the main compounds that we find in medicinal mushrooms. They have been studied extensively and provide the bulk of the health benefits that are associated with mushrooms like reishi, turkey tail, cordyceps, chaga or lion’s mane.
In fact, the bio-availability of beta-D-glucan is often used to measure medicinal potency.
The problem is that the main medicinal compounds are locked inside the cell walls of the funghi, which are quite tough, fibrous and not water soluble. It requires proper processing, to unlock the mushrooms treasures.
We can maximize the bioavailability of beta-D-glucan and other valuable compounds by breaking down the cell walls through extraction and by removing insoluble fibers and other inactive compounds.
The most commonly used extraction method is hot water extraction. During this process, the mushroom gets cooked for several hours. This draws out the water-soluble polysaccharides – the beta-D-glucans, the components that makes the medicinal mushrooms so powerful.
The other method is alcohol extraction, which is also used to extract certain medicinal compounds.
In order to obtain extracted mushroom powder, the fiber has to be removed and the extraction needs to get dried.
Mushroom extract powders have a concentration ratio indicating how strong the extract is.
Most companies produce Reishi extracts with a 10:1 ratio, which basically means that 10 lbs of whole dried Reishi mushrooms produced 1 lbs of extract. This makes the extract 10 times more concentrated and potent.
The higher the ratio, the stronger the extract will be. Our Reishi extract powder actually has an extract ratio of 15:1, which is the highest concentration available on the market.
When you buy a medicinal mushroom product, make sure it says, “extract powder”. The higher the extract ratio, the better. If it doesn’t state clearly that it is an extract then it won’t be. This means the medicinal compounds are not bio-available and you won’t be able to enjoy its healing powers.