With researchers discovering more and more health benefits from mushrooms on an almost daily basis, there has never been a better time than for you to try out some for yourself.
There are so many resources now available to you, that the hardest part will be choosing just which method you’ll want to choose first. Not only that, but consider the 2000 varieties of mushroom you have to select from.
Each variety contains an incredible amount of health benefits for such a little plant and the simple methods used to extract those benefits are just as easy to master.
If you have read through some of our other articles that go into more in-depth information about specific mushrooms, then you’re already aware of just how important adding some to your diet really is.
Consider the ease of adding some Shiitake to your stir-fry, a sprinkle of Chaga to your morning tea or adding some Reishi powder to your smoothies. Pretty simple, right?
But there is another method you could employ to include the goodness and healing power of mushrooms to your daily routine.
That method extracts all the nutrients from the mushroom itself, leaving nothing behind and giving you the very best product possible. You are about to learn how to make a homemade mushroom tincture. Ready to know how?
What is a tincture?
You can use any plant or animal product to make a tincture. Simply add the chosen ingredient to alcohol, wait a few weeks and you have one. But there are more specific ways you can use to increase the quality of the product, as well as reduce the possible wastage by not extracting every last ounce of goodness.
A standard definition of a tincture is any animal or plant product dissolved in an ethanol solution. The level of ethanol used can vary, some as high as 90%. Home-made tinctures, at least those for mushrooms, use either alcohol or water for the base liquid. You can choose whichever you prefer when the time comes.
Do you realize that tinctures date back to ancient times? Mushrooms are one of the true superfoods on the planet. Unlike some that are simply commercialized as being one, mushrooms are versatile, healthy and easy to source, according to thousands of generations of people throughout history.
Ancient China, Korea, Japan, Russia, and many other cultures used mushrooms for much more than just food. Extracting the true source of the healing powers of mushrooms through tinctures is one of the oldest methods still used today.
Is a mushroom tincture better than using mushroom powder?
The mushroom tincture vs powder debate is quite common and understandable. With the variety of products available to purchase, opinions can vary as to which product is not only better for you, but which is more potent.
Powders are the more potent option, the initial mushroom soaked in a solution and then dried and crushed into powder form. You use powders in nearly all meals and drinks, including tea, coffee and smoothies.
But because you digest the powders through your stomach, you may not benefit from the powder as quickly, due to your stomach’s digestion process.
Tinctures, on the other hand, contain concentrated solutions made from alcohol. Once you place the solution under your tongue, it’s absorbed within a few seconds, the benefits instantly in your bloodstream.
If you take several types of tinctures, be cautious of the alcohol that you are ingesting. Some people can find it hard on their stomachs.
Are there pre-made tinctures available?
Nearly every kind of mushroom that has known healing properties is available in a premade tincture. Reishi, Chaga, Shiitake, Lion’s Mane, Turkey Tail, and Maitake are all sold as ready-to-use tinctures, filled with an abundance of healing properties.
Both alcohol and alcohol-free tinctures are available, depending on your own needs. If you find yourself sensitive to the effects of alcohol, many varieties will offer alternatives to choose from.
But alcohol-based tinctures work better for a reason and that’s why we use it. Alcohol is one of the few substances that can extract all the soluble nutrients from a mushroom, including the ones water can’t.
By placing the mushroom into alcohol, you are effectively setting it to work its magic, continuously removing all the healthy bits from your fungus and storing it until you use it.
By using alcohol, the mixture you create is far more concentrated during the initial storing phase, breaking down all the mushroom’s fibers to extract all the benefits contained within.
There’s another reason to use alcohol. Once you have created your tincture and want to use it. Taking a dropper full and ejecting the tincture under your tongue is the quickest way to absorb the healthy potion.
Alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream super-fast and your mouth, containing thousands of capillaries, is the perfect gateway.
Alcohol is also a great preservative, so once you have your tincture prepared, storing it for longer periods is possible.
What do I need for mushroom tincture DIY?
There aren’t many things you need to know on how to make a mushroom tincture. The most important, of course, is the mushroom itself.
You will need to make a number of decisions, though, but these don’t take too much thought at all. Things like what to store the tincture in or what base-liquid to use.
Once you’ve made them, you will be ready to create your own solution from a mushroom tincture recipe.
The other consideration for you to make is whether to use fresh or dried mushrooms. The answer depends not only on which mushroom you choose, but also where you live.
Despite most mushroom varieties now grown around the world, finding some may prove to be difficult. Shop around and see which you can obtain.
You may also find that the mushroom of your choice is only available in one or the other.
Step #1: Choose your mushroom
To get started on this journey, you need to begin with choosing the number one item: your mushroom. What will it be? Reishi? Shiitake? Lion’s Mane? The best way to choose a variety is to find out what condition and ailments the mushroom treats. While some will focus on boosting your immune system (Chaga), others are great to avert the common cold (Turkey Tail).
Different varieties will give you vastly different healing properties, so choose one that is beneficial to the things you’d like help with. Check out some of our other articles that can give you a much better understanding of the healing properties of each variety.
Step #2: Choose your alcohol
While ethanol is a common base liquid for tinctures, any grain-based alcohol is great as well. Vodka or Rum is very common and features in many recipes. You’ll want at least 500ml for most tinctures.
Step #3: Prepare your equipment
Once you have received your chosen mushroom, either by ordering it online or from your local health food shop, prepare the rest of the things you’ll need to create your tincture. You will need a good quality sealable jar that is airtight. If it leaks air, then it will evaporate the alcohol and you will end up with less tincture.
Step #4: Decide whether you’re creating single or dual extraction
There are different mushroom varieties and they contain many different properties that you want to extract. Some are water-soluble while others are not.
For those mushrooms with properties that are not water-soluble, performing a dual-extraction will give you all the mushroom’s goodness, wasting nothing.
So why not just perform a dual extraction on them all, I hear you ask? Quite simply, because some of the powerful nutrients contained in certain mushrooms are damaged if subjected to alcohol extraction.
With mushroom varieties numbering in the thousands, investigate to see if your mushroom is suitable for alcohol extraction. While the process doesn’t destroy all of the nutrients, it will reduce the quality of the product slightly.
Step #5: Start adding your mushrooms
For the purpose of this guide, I will explain a dual extraction so that you don’t need to search for a separate article. Better to find everything in the one place, I say.
Because the alcohol extraction takes a lot longer than the water extraction, let’s begin with the longer process first. I now there are some recipes that narrow this process down to a few hours, but generally the longer the better.
Start by placing your mushroom into the seal-able jar. You can prepare more than one jar of course, the shelf-life of the finished product stretching to years.
Once you have the mushroom ready, pour enough alcohol into the jar to cover all of the mushroom. Don’t fill it all the way to the top. Once done, seal the jar as tightly as possible.
I like to draw a line where the alcohol is, to ensure it really is sealed. You’ll soon notice if the alcohol starts to evaporate. If it does, change to another jar. Once sealed, store the jar in a dark, dry place, out of sunlight. Keep the jar stored away for the next month, giving it a good shake at least once a day.
Step #6: After a month, strain the liquid gold
Now that you have patiently allowed your mushroom to give up all its goodness to the alcohol, it’s time to continue. Unscrew the cap and strain the alcohol from the mushroom.
A cheesecloth works best, but any cloth is fine. Don’t throw the alcohol away as that is your liquid gold. Keep the mushroom as well, because now it’s time for our second extraction.
Step #7: It’s time to grab the saucepan
With your alcohol solution ready and waiting, let’s extract the last few bits of goodness from your mushrooms. Place them into a saucepan and pour in about 2 cups of water.
Bear in mind that the amount of water you use will determine how long this process takes, plus also how many potions you’ll end up with. The secret to creating a positive result is to monitor the cooking process.
Bring the mushrooms to the boil and then reduce the heat to a light simmer. The cooking time may vary, but around 45 minutes to an hour works well. Don’t boil the solution dry.
The remaining liquid will contain the remaining mushroom extraction, so try and keep about a cup’s worth at least. Once done, allow the solution to cool.
Step #8: Give it a final strain and combine
Use another cheesecloth and strain the solution through, this time discarding the mushroom into your compost. Combine the alcohol and water solutions together and admire the finished product, your tincture waiting for the final touch.
Step #9: Enjoy filling the glass dropper bottles
Give your final solution a thorough shake to combine everything. If you find solids forming in your liquid, it doesn’t mean failure. These can be polysaccharides, a compound that can solidify when stored. Shaking the tincture will redissolve them.
Place your little funnels on the bottles and slowly fill as many as your liquid allows. Close the lids and store them in a dark place until you’ve used them up. Congratulations on completing your tincture and enjoy the many benefits you’re about to experience.
The Final Thoughts
It is important for you to remember that before you jump in and start using your tincture in standard dosage, start by using a small amount to make sure you aren’t sensitive to the tincture’s ingredients.
Side-effects do exist and the last thing you want is to find that the mushroom variety you chose isn’t compatible with you.
The product you have created has come to you through thousands of generations of people, all of whom were looking for that extra boost of health. Now you can benefit from their experience.