This tutorial will teach you how to make a dual extraction reishi mushroom extract. Extract polysaccharides and terpenoids for an immune-boosting tincture.
Now, more than ever, we need to boost our immune systems. There are several ways to do this, but certain mushrooms can help immensely. Last week I had a friend ask if I wanted some Reishi mushrooms. I took home over 20 pounds! Reishi, Ganoderma tsugae, is prevalent in the mountains of Western North Carolina and is one of the best mushrooms for this type of tincture.
Best Mushrooms for A Mushroom Extract
As stated above, Reishi is great for helping to boost the immune system. Other types of reishi, such as G. lingzhi and G. lucidum, all have different properties. G. tsugae grows on dead or nearly dead hemlock trees, often found near streams. The ones I found were in the higher elevations, around 5,000 feet, and in a dense forest. If there is enough rainfall, like we have in the temperate rainforest here, you may be able to find them around your area. Check with local mycologists to see if they grow around you.
Other Usable Mushrooms
Other good mushrooms would be Maitake-Grifola frondosa, Shiitake-Lentinula edodes, Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor), Cordyceps (Cordyceps militarist), and Ophiocordyceps sinensis and Lion’s Mane (Hericium Erinaceus). It should be noted that Turkey Tail comes in a few varieties. True Turkey Tail has a white underside and has pores while false Turkey Tail has a tannish underside and is smooth. True Turkey Tail has more of the constituents that you want to pull into your mushroom extract, but False Turkey Tail can be used in a pinch.
Why Dual Extraction?
Mushrooms contain many compounds. Some are best extracted in alcohol, like polysaccharides and some, like terpenoids, are better extracted in water. By doing a dual extract, you cal pull out more of the compounds that can help you. Polysaccharides and terpenoids can help to kill cancer cells and can also help to improve blood circulation in arteries. There are many ongoing promising research projects on the subject.
Reishi Mushroom Extract Instructions
For the first part of the tincture, you’ll need dried mushrooms. Chopping the mushrooms small or powdering them will give you more surface area. With more surface area you can extract more in a shorter time. You’ll also need alcohol. you can use 40% (80 proof) vodka or 95% (190 proof) alcohol, commonly sold as Everclear. This is the first of two parts to this recipe.
Ingredients and Equipment
- 16 ounces powdered or finely chopped dried mushrooms
- 16 ounces 95% alcohol
- Quart jar
- Wax paper
- Place the mushrooms in the jar and add the alcohol, making sure the mushrooms are completely covered. Leave about half an inch of free space at the top of the jar.
- Place a double layer of wax paper over the top and screw the top on tightly. The wax paper will keep the alcohol from damaging the inside of the jar lid, avoiding possible contamination.
- Shake the jar well and place the jar in a dark spot.
- Shake daily for about 6 weeks.
- When the six weeks are up, strain the mixture and set the mushrooms aside. The leftover mushrooms are known as “marc”. Close the jar lid and set it aside. You’ll be adding to it later.
You can also use 40% alcohol, but you won’t be adding as much water later.
In the second part of the mushroom extract recipe, you’ll need water. I like to use rainwater when I can, but you can use distilled, reverse osmosis, or filtered water.
Ingredients and Equipment
- 64 ounces of water
- the leftover mushrooms
- a non-reactive stockpot
- Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. (I use a large stainless steel stockpot, but you can use any non-reactive pot.) This will kill any bacteria that may still be present.
- Add the mushrooms and reduce the heat. Simmer for 2 hours or so. You’re looking to reduce the liquid to around 16 ounces. Depending on many things, such as temperature and humidity, this may take up to six hours. Measure the amount of alcohol that you have. If you use 95% alcohol, you’ll want four times as much water. If you use 40% alcohol, you’ll want twice as much. This will give you 20% alcohol, which is enough to inhibit bacterial growth.
- Cool the water, strain the mushrooms, and add to the alcohol. This recipe will give you a 1:5 menstruum (the alcohol and water mixture).
- Store in a dark bottle in a dark, cool place. Transfer to a dark dropper bottle for use.
Using Your Reishi Mushroom Extract
Once the tincture is done, it is ready to use. You can take 15-20 drops a day for general use or a dropper full 3 times a day if you feel something coming on. I get sinus infections occasionally, and just a few doses and this usually takes care of it. I don’t like the taste so much, so I slip into my coffee or juice. You can take it with almost anything to disguise the taste.
Single or Dual Marc Mushroom Extract
There are many schools of thought on whether to use single or dual marc for the mushrooms used in the tincture. Some say to use a single marc or use the same mushrooms for both the water and alcohol parts. Some others say to use a dual marc, or use separate mushrooms for each part. You’ll need to experiment and choose what method is best for you.
One last thought: some herbalists use a bit of liquid vegetable glycerin in the alcohol stage to keep the mushrooms from floating. A few tablespoons are all you need. I don’t use glycerin, but that part is up to you.
Have you tried to make a mushroom extract? It’s a simple yet helpful process!