The popularity of medicinal mushrooms has grown immensely over the past couple of years, driven in part by Netflix programmes such as ‘Fantastic Fungi’.
It is difficult for consumers to choose who to trust and where to buy mushroom supplements from. To make matters worse, most producers of mushroom supplements do not grow their own mushrooms and have little knowledge about how to quality control the growing process.
HOW TO CHOOSE A QUALITY SUPPLEMENT MADE FROM MEDICINAL MUSHROOM?
LOOK OUT FOR:
Did you know that when buying mushrooms from China, the carbon footprint could heat a five-bedroom house all winter?
Always ask your mushroom seller for evidence of where their mushrooms come from.
Growing mushrooms on logs versus vertical farming
The idea of growing mushrooms on logs is very romantic indeed.
In reality, most growers of medicinal mushrooms stack them in layers indoors to maintain optimal growing conditions. This is the best way to guarantee hygiene, uniformity, and safety standards.
Mushrooms grown outdoors can soak up unwanted chemicals such as heavy metals, pesticides and pollution from the soil, water and the air. In a protected environment, mushrooms are cultivated free from any pollution.
According to schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is an offence to intentionally pick, uproot or destroy certain rare fungi such as Lion’s Mane.
Sellers who forage mushrooms
There are sellers claiming to forage their own Lion’s Mane or Cordyceps in the woods. Some mushrooms such as Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps, are so rare that they cannot be harvested in commercially viable amounts. Cordyceps sinensis grows only in the alpine regions of the Himalayas with annual precipitation of more than 350 mm, in and around the Tibetan plateau, Nepal, China, Bhutan. According to recent research papers, its’ unsustainable extraction may lead to setbacks in forest conservation in the Himalayan region. Whenever you’ll find someone on Etsy or Ebay selling Cordyceps sinensis for £15 per 50 gram, you now know to run.
Did you know that spawning from a single mushroom culture cannot be extended forever? New spore cultures need to be created every few weeks. Immortal cell cultures do not exist in the world of fungi.
There is a mushroom tincure seller in the UK, who claims on his Instagram that he forages Lion’s Mane from a tree that conveniently grows ‘locally’ just a few metres from his business. This tree was apparetly full of lion’s mane and just happened to be chopped down when he strolled past. After collecting the Lion’s Mane from the chopped tree, he seemingly was able to create an immortal cell culture.
This is not possible.
To be certified organic in the UK, mushroom growers needs to provide evidence that the material on which their mushrooms grow, which is called the substrate, is organic. The organic label is very important to consumers although it is not a high bar to reach.
Serious medicinal mushroom cultivation starts with the expertise of growing various types of mushrooms in varying conditions (humidity, temperature, etc.) over a period of two to six months. After a gentle dehydration process the mushrooms are double-extracted, in water and quality, pure grain alcohol or ethanol. There are other steps in this process that can aid extraction, such as freezing. For or marketing purposes this step is sometimes described as triple or quadruple extractions. It is not.
Recent scientific evidence points to preserving antioxidants and other compounds by extracting mushrooms slowly and at a lower temperature.
What does a tincture look like after extraction?
After extraction, a tincture solution remains transparent, even if the ratio of mushroom to solvent is high. Depending on the mushroom species, the tincture can vary in colour.
Here are pictures of a lion’s mane extraction that you can buy from this site with a super high ratio of 1 : 2.5. This is likely one of the most potent you will ever find.
Many UK sellers offer cheaper medicinal mushroom products, because they import the mushrooms from China or buy them on eBay. Buying mushrooms cheaply from China equals buying products that have uncertain origin and quality control.
What to Buy – Capsules, Powders or Tinctures?
Tinctures are absorbed at a faster rate by the body. They also deliver a higher concentration of active compounds in a single dose. This mode of delivery is a real advantage for those who have problems swallowing capsules.
If you don’t like alcohol then theat the tincture lightly and stir it to let the alcohol evaporate while preserving the compounds. Avoid boiling the tinctures, this could destroy some compounds.
Capsules and powders often contain additives such as fillers, preservatives, bits of growing substrate, artificial flavourings or binding agents. Unopened, our tinctures are the most shelf-stable supplements. They do not contain added sugars so you can store these bottles for a very long time.
Alcohol or not?
Alcohol extractions are the strongest method of extracting many of the mushroom’s compounds, as not all of them are available from a hot water or glycerine extract.
To reduce the alcohol content of your tincture by 20% simply stir into your hot tea or coffee and wait five minutes. For those who want to further reduce the alcohol content by up to 50%, put the tincture into an eggcup and leave it uncovered for 24 hours before ingesting it. To evaporate all the alcohol, use a Bain Marie or similar, until 50% of the liquid has evaporated.
We continually receive positive feedback from our customers, for example Dannii sent us this email:
“After learning about the potential benefits I purchased Lion’s Mane extract.
Work has been pretty stressful, and I was feeling a little overwhelmed and anxious. I noticed the positive effects of taking 1ml of Lion’s Mane a day fairly quickly. My mood was more level and I felt more equipped to cope with the pressures of work. I’ve now been taking it regularly since then and the effects have remained! I’ve also recommended Lion’s Mane extract to a friend who was suffering with health anxiety, and she has also noticed the positive effects”.
Our products are gluten free and suitable for vegans, people with lactose intolerance and coeliac disease.
Our packaging and glass containers are 100% recyclable.