Making Medicinal Mushroom Tincture

Immunity Boosters

2020 has been the year of mushroom tinctures in the Blizzard household. I have always been a believer in the medicinal qualities of mushrooms. Kristen and I got more serious about the medicinals this year when COVID peaked our interest in boosting our immune systems. I am not starry-eyed eyed about medicinal mushrooms: they are neither panacea nor miracle cure. There is a large body of research consistently indicating that mushrooms improve immune system function and maybe even more.

While tincture is not the only way to enjoy the medicinal qualities of mushrooms, it is the topic of this blog post. My favorite tincture technique is a double extraction which means the mushroom is soaked in alcohol and then in hot water, each of which extracts different qualities from the mushroom. Some people use a triple extraction which means an initial cold-water soak is performed. Others use a “Spagyric” technique where the solid remains of the soak are burned and the ash added back into the tincture.  Many other techniques exist.

Medicinal Mushrooms - The Human Clinical Trials BookFiguring out the best way to extract the medicinal qualities from mushrooms is quite troubling. Do different mushrooms deserve different treatments? What is the best technique? How long to soak? At what temperatures? There are many questions! There are also very few answers. There is hardly any research to provide guidance. Just to be perfectly clear: we are not experts. I am just going to tell you what we do and why we do it that way. I’m sure there are other methods that are equally viable.

I have relied mainly on three resources to hone techniques and produce results:

  1. Chinese herbal medicine has been using mushrooms for thousands of years. We pay attention to the traditional techniques and pick the brain of our favorite practitioner: David  Teitler of Carbondale Acupuncture Center.
  2. Robert Dale Rogers, RH is the author of The Fungal Pharmacy and Medicinal Mushrooms – The Human Clinical Trials. His books offer a wealth of information, both from Western medicinal research and traditional medicinal usages. While they don’t contain all the answers, they do an excellent job of summarizing the existing research and tradition for each mushroom. I use both as research guides.
  3. Tradd Cotter is the author of Organic Mushroom Farming and Remediation. Tradd is a researcher and his book shares good technique for making safe and effective tinctures. If you are going to buy tincture, I’d recommend Mushroom Mountain’s MycoMatrix brand.
  4. Christopher Hobbs has a brand new book out in 2021 called Medicinal Mushrooms which is also excellent. He has an excellent recipe water only single tincture.  Also, great recipes also for creating powders and edible fungus body recipes.  This article below is focused on the double extraction tek.

The Tincture Recipe

Without further ado, here is how I create tincture, in 4 super easy steps:

Start with about enough mushrooms to fill a quart mason jar, can be fresh or dried (or a combo).

  1. Soak 1/2 of the mushrooms in 190 proof Everclear for 2 weeks, shaking regularly.
  2. Strain, retaining mushroom solids, and set aside liquid.
  3. Add unused 1/2 of mushrooms to the alcohol drained mushroom solids and soak in hot water (130-160 degrees) for 12 hours using a crockpot set to warm.
  4. Strain out all mushroom solids and then combine water and infused alcohol in a 3.5:1 ratio (3.5 water/1 alcohol) or 25-30% alcohol.

I have refined this technique over time and find the following tips helpful:

  • Either dried or fresh mushrooms work. I prefer to use dried mushrooms over fresh now, mainly because it makes the alcohol to mushroom calculations easier.  Another benefit is I can get a lot more actual mushroom fiber into the alcohol when it is dried (and reduced in volume therefore) Fresh mushrooms bring a lot of H2O to the game.
  • Lion's Mane Tincture

    Lions Mane (1/2 fresh, 1/2 dried) soaking in 190 proof alcohol.  I would prefer more solids in this jar to increase the potency.

    I grind the mushrooms up in a grinder to break them down allowing the extract to work more efficiently. This makes a big difference.  

  • I use Everclear, but any alcohol will work as long as you adjust your final ratio of alcohol to water. Our 3.5:1 ratio is based on using 190 proof alcohol. There are many fine distilled products that are awesome go ahead and use your local distillery’s 190 proof grain alcohol!
  • Honestly I don’t measure much… fill the mason jar with ground ‘shrooms (no more than 1/2 full) and pour enough Everclear to cover the solids by an inch. When I strain out the Everclear, I measure it and then add 3.5 times the amount of water back to the solids (along with the new fresh solids). After I strain out the water in the last step, I may add some fresh tap water to make sure it is equal to 3.5 X the amount of alcohol. 
  • If I am trying to be more precise, I will weigh my dried mushrooms before the alcohol soak and then weigh the wet mushrooms after the alcohol is strained and before adding to water. This will tell me how much alcohol I am carrying from the first soak to the second.
  • Straining can suck. After much trial and error, I now pour it all into a fine cheesecloth and hand-squeeze out as much liquid as possible. I am 150% OK with having fine particulate in our final product.  Conical metal filters, jelly bags, nut-milk bags, potato ricers are also possibilities.
  • You can pour boiling water over our mushrooms and let them sit for 12 hours for the second extraction. I got a better product when we kept the water warm overnight in a crockpot set to warm.
    • I gauge the quality of our water extraction by the amount of polysaccharides visible in the water. You see this as the “cloudy stuff” in the final product. You want a lot of that! You will not actually see the cloudy polysaccharides until after the alcohol is added back to the water, which causes an instant visual reaction.
    • I try to keep the temperature between 130 and 160 because research indicates that the water soluble medicinal components can degrade at higher temps.  I don’t stress it if it is a little hot but do try to avoid letting it boil for sure.
    • I now use a Magical Butter Machine for the overnight soak and set it to either 130 or 160 degrees. We often only run it for an hour or two and then let it sit because some combos can get “gummy” and then overheat, notably polypores. We love our Magical Butter machine for extracting medicinals!
  • We store the tincture in a cool dark place – the pantry.

We use our tinctures in dropper bottles and take 2-4 dropper fulls of each mushroom tincture each day. Make sure to shake them before use, they should have lots of particulate and cloudy stuff floating around. I personally put it into my coffee in the morning since I am not a big fan of the taste of these tinctures and coffee covers up the flavors perfectly. Lately we have been combining all our tinctures into one bottle in equal measures for the sake of convenience.  

The Medicinal Mushrooms

There are many different mushroom species that you can turn into tincture. We tend to focus on the ones we forage ourselves (except for cordyceps, which we grow). 50% of our tincture intake is typically composed of a foraged polypore stack. With no proof, we do prefer to “stack” our mushrooms, introducing variety into our medicinal diet.

Please note: I am not going to get into the medicinal benefits of the mushrooms… no point in regurgitating what you can read yourself in Rogers’ aforementioned books. They certainly impact gastro-intestinal, blood sugar, immunity, and anti-tumor. I think that these tinctures should be ingested every day to impart their benefits.

Warning: these mushrooms are known to affect blood sugars and can be blood thinners. If you have health conditions relating to blood sugar or take blood thinning drugs, be careful and consult with your doctor first. In fact if you have any serious health conditions, consult with your doctor first. 

Ganoderma tsugae on hemlock tree in Cable, Wisconsin.

Reishi

Reishi is the grand-daddy of medicinal mushrooms.  We typically use Ganoderma oregonense but I believe G. sessile, G. tsugae and of course G. lucidum are medicinal equivalents. Look for white pores on bottom (indicate freshness) and make sure to slice up before drying, they get rock-hard after dry.

Ganoderma brownii from Reedsport, Oregon. Sliced up and dried.

Artist’s Conk

Ganoderma applanatum) is a close cousin to Reishi and pretty easy to find. We also use Western Artists Conk (Ganoderma brownii) interchangeably.

Fomitopsis pinicola tincture demonstrating polysaccharides suspended in liquid.

Red-Belted Polypore

Fomitopsis pinicola makes a really thick and even sticky tincture when fresh specimens are used.

Trametes versicolor variety from Salt Point SP, California.

Turkey Tail

Trametes versicolor is well known for its anti-tumor qualities and is prescribed by doctors (or at least in its industrially processed pharmaceutical drug derivation) along with chemotherapy.

Hericium abietis cultivated at home on douglas fir sawdust.

Lion’s Mane

Hericium erinaceous is classically used but we also use H. coralloides, H. abietes and H. americanum in our tinctures based on what we can find. Hericium is relatively easy to grow at home if you want to try! Lion’s Mane is exciting because it helps with brain-function and has some highly compelling human trials. Ultimately, consuming this mushroom fresh or dried every day might be better than tinctures, it is so tasty, it doesn’t need to be put into a tincture.

Cordyceps militaris cultivated at home on brown rice.

Cordyceps

Cordyceps militaris is another mushroom we cultivate at home. These are probably impossible to forage in enough quantity to make a tincture. The good news is that Cordyceps are increasingly being cultivated in the USA; dried and un-processed Cordyceps are widely available for purchase.

Inonutus obliquus found on birch tree near Marcell, Minnesota.

Chaga

Inonutus Obliquus is one of our favorites. We drink chaga and find the taste quite delightful.  We like the simple tea enough to drink daily, but it is a potent medicine and should not be over-consumed.  It is perhaps the only mushroom on this list we would say that about.  I often grind it fine (to maximize extraction), brew it for a day or two at 160 degrees, and then freeze-dry the whole batch, making a potent powdered chaga that can be instantly added to hot water.  You can brew this at extremely high temperatures in a pressure cooker or instant-pot and extract even more medicinal compounds according to some studies. Of course it can be tinctured too.

Grifola frondosa found near Bradford, Pennsylvania.

Maitake

Grifola frondosa is a highly regarded medicinal mushroom. We haven’t added it to our tincture regimen because we have not foraged enough to use for that purpose… yet.  Update: 2021 was the year, and now we make this too.

Do you tincture? Have any tips or tricks that work well for you? Let us know in the comments!

Showing 59 comments
  • Reni Winter-Evans
    Reply

    Hi,

    Thanks for this informative website. Is there another liquid that can be used other than 190 proof alcohol? I have several potential clients who are recovering alcoholics who need to stay away from the experience of ingesting alcohol.

    Thanks,
    Reni Winter-Evans, LSW, MSW
    765-714-4288

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Reni, Good question. You can definitely do a plain water extraction (maybe cold and then hot and then combine those two liquids) but it won’t be shelf stable and would have to be created fresh each week and stored in fridge. Of course, water-only does not remove the same gamut of medicinal compounds (except maybe chaga where water only is very popular) Other non-alcohol technologies exist but I don’t know enough about them. I personally don’t drink alcohol and add my tincture drops to very hot coffee – alcohol boils off at 173 degrees and that works for me. Alternatively, the alcohol can be evaporated… just remember, the 20-25% alcohol mix makes it shelf stable. That means you may try to evaporate all the liquid and make “powdered extract” for long-term storage using a dehydrator or a freeze drier. Or, evaporate/boil off the alcohol right before consumption. Finally, consuming the mushroom itself is always a viable option. Some like maitake, oyster, shitake and lions mane are delicious in-and-of themselves. For ones like reishi or turkey tail you might consider buying a powdered extract since they can be hard to make.

      If any readers have additions or alterations to this, please share below, thanks.

      • Κουρμπέτης Ραφαήλ
        Reply

        Alcohol evaporates at 90% ,so this is below the boiling temp of the water.
        Since molecules do not evaporate at these temps ,i would mix both tinctures and boil at 90 .
        I m not sure how long it will last without alcohol in the fridge.

    • David
      Reply

      I can only get dried mushroom powder, I am in Thailand. Would this method be suitable for extracting from dried mushroom powder, if not, do you know what method I can use? Thanks 🙂

      • Trent Blizzard
        Reply

        Absolutely! dried mushroom powder is perfect.

    • Betty Barrett
      Reply

      Hi! Thanks so much for this info. I am preparing to make my first mushroom tincture. I’ll be Using sulfur shelf mushrooms. I was gifted some of these and they are frozen. Is it OK to use mushrooms that have been frozen? Or does this make them less potent? Also, I do not have a Magical Butter Machine and I don’t want to purchase one until I’m certain that I will use it regularly. What process should I use instead of the Magical Butter Machine? Thank you for your help!

      • Trent Blizzard
        Reply

        The magical butter machine is totally not required! you can do it on the stove quite easily and monitor the temp with a thermometer! That is how we started. You can also use a crockpot if you have a thermometer, we have one that if you crack the lid it runs at 160 if full of liquid on warm setting. We have another that is just too hot. Apparently, crockpot temps are all over the board! A friend who uses them for dying recently told me she buys them used and then runs them with water and measures their temps and then writes the temperature with a sharpie on the crockpot, so she knows which ones to use for which temps.

        As for frozen, shouldn’t matter. In fact, I always freeze my dried turkey tails for 2 weeks to protect them from the bugs that survive the drying process. I do prefer dried mushrooms now after getting some uneven results with freshones, and that was because I didn’t get the right alcohol percentage in my calculations because the wet mushrooms are 90% water. I am sure I could science that out, but, instead I just used dried product for double extractions. For single water extractions, I woudl use fresh if avialble. (or frozen).

      • Linda Siedenburg
        Reply

        If I combine my mushroom tinctures, say 5 to 7 different varieties into one bottle how much would I want to take a day? Seperate I’m doing 2-4 droppers, I’m confused on the amount In combination.. still 2-4 droppers?? I’ve allowed them to set in the alcohol for 4 weeks..and I’ve done a 1-1 for the alcohol. I’d like to get a stronger tincture as I’d like to try and make some gummies out of it!!

        • Trent Blizzard
          Reply

          LInda, I combine mine that way personally and take them daily. I take probably 8-10 dropper a day in my coffee and tea, spread throughout the day. Sometimes I take more. I also eat lots of mushrooms. I don’t think there is anything like “too much” with these mushrooms (with potentially Chaga being an exception).

        • Don
          Reply

          Very helpful, informative and well written. Suggest revising tincture instructions by including some of the “tips” into the recipe such as ‘one Mason jar ‘ ground ‘ mushroom.
          Thanks,

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Reni, it has been a year nearly since you posted this. I just want to point out a new product on the market, it is a powder where mushooms have been double extracted and then dried out so their is no alchohol. It is a VERY easy powder to work with and goes great in tea, coffee, soup, or reallly anything. I threw teaspoon of their Cordyceps powder into my breakfast potatoes this AM! The downside is you have to by it vs being the maker. https://shop.modern-forager.com/collections/extracts – Also, you could try the mushroom coffee and chai from elevated spores… it is hand-made from wild foraged mushrooms. https://elevatedspores.com/collections/coffee

    • Kim Miller
      Reply

      Thank you sooooooooooo much for this info!! 💙 This is my first double extraction… I used turkey tail, artist conch and chaga…. the water extraction portion is sooooooo dark and rich looking…. is that good….. or did I burn it? ☹

      • Trent Blizzard
        Reply

        Kim, sounds awesome! Artist Conk makes a really dark brown tincture, and Chaga makes a black one… so, that color should be expected! not problems here.

    • Jonathan
      Reply

      have you used the double extract from start to finish with the magical butter machine I can’t seem to find much on it

      • Trent Blizzard
        Reply

        Jonathan, we use the MBM regularly, but, only for the second water-based soak because we like setting the temperature for a 12 or 24 hour soak. The alcohol soak is 2 weeks at room temp, so, no real advantage to the magical butter machine. You don’t really need directions in the sense you can set the temp and time on the MBM to what you want… we do 12 hours at 160 degrees often for the water based soak.

  • Annie
    Reply

    Hi, I am currently using this method for a thesis purpose and I was wondering if there was a faster way to make the tincture since we don’t have too much time to do the two weeks process 🙁 I heard somewhere that you can let the mushrooms sit in alcohol for one or two days and then blend it in blender and that it will work too, thanks in advance

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Annie,

      sorry, not sure of how to speed it up. You could probably powder the mushrooms before putting into alcohol… but, I don’t have any science.

      Frankly the science is all over the board… 1) different mushrooms probably deserve different treatments and we often learn something about mushroom A and then apply it to all the other mushrooms… and it may not be relevant. 2) Which components bring medicinal advantages are not really clear either… so, if we don’t know what the component is, how can we decide which tech to use? 3) The extraction techniques are mysterious and it is hard to pin down the timeframes, temperatures & solvents that are best for the job.. . and in what order? fresh or dried shrooms?…Ultimately, our method is to try to maximize the results based on the lowest common denominator across a bunch of different mushrooms. Our method is meant to be fairly easy too. We use a tech that should work best most of the time. I think your idea sounds worth trying, but, just dunno about how it impacts the final product. They are mysterious!!!!

    • Justin
      Reply

      I’ve been having good success doing Ultrasonic extraction. Apparently it breaks down the cell wall (chitin) very effectively, making all the good stuff maximally bioavailable. Take dry, powdered mushrooms. Add vodka or higher proof ethanol (about 1:5 volume of mush:alc). I do a 30 minute cycle in the Ultrasonic machine. It seems that this is all it takes. The active compounds are released into the vodka. I’ve been storing the final product in the freezer. No need to steep for weeks! Anecdotally, it does seem to extract things extremely well from mushrooms, based on my own experience of ingesting my own tinctures made in this way.

      • Sean
        Reply

        Is this a lab sonifier you’re using or is this another device for home use? I’d love to do ultrasonic extraction, but it seems a bit out of my grasp due to price.

  • Mahmoud Karimian
    Reply

    Hello
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    Our monthly production of at least 90 to 100 kg of Ganodar mushrooms is dried and ready for export
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    Thanks

  • Jonathan Nutt
    Reply

    The polypores like Ganoderma Lucidium (reishi) are immunomodulators – herbalists call them adaptogens – so I don’t worry about “overdosing” or overstimulating the immune system on the water or alcohol extracts I make. The brilliance of most polypores is the very fact that they are immunomodulators and keep the body in balance. I have been drinking Reishi tea water extract for about 3 and a half to four years. While I primarily have been water extracting, I thank you for your experience with alcohol extracting. I just started a batch of Reishi extract and appreciate your advice. Currently, I make a homemade blend of fingerroot, ginger, roselle, and reishi. I am not a vendor, just a person who is trying any way possible to stay healthy in these public health crises (heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and a plethora of manufactured and natural viruses).

  • Jane O
    Reply

    Hi! I’m having trouble grinding up the turkey tails. I have a packet of dried, but they aint grinding, any tips?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      I use a coffee grinder … it work pretty well, tends to make a “fluffy” product out dried turkey tails. Two thoughts: your grinder may be slow and dull (sorry!)… I have two and one works much better than the other. Also, you may want to cut them up with scissors just a bit before grinding. I also use a vitamix with a grain attachment (much bigger and more efficient than a coffee grinder) but that is a relatively new tool.

    • Matt Parkinson
      Reply

      Sounds like maybe they aren’t as dry as possible – you could try putting them in the oven on the lowest setting (I use a fan oven set at 50C and it takes 5-6 hours to get Turkey Tail dry enough to grind them in a coffee grinder)

  • Matt Parkinson
    Reply

    Amazing article thanks so much for sharing your experience and knowledge. I’ve grown some Lions Mane at home, producing 250g fresh mushrooms, I’ve just sauteed 50g (delicious!) and drying the rest so that I can make a tincture and wondering whether anyone knows how effectively our digestive system absorbs the beneficial compounds when eating the fresh mushrooms compared to consuming the dual-extracted tincture? Is it even worth consuming fresh Lions Mane mushrooms for medicinal purposes?

    • Otto
      Reply

      It mainly depends on the state of your own digestive system. But assuming it’s ok, you could add some fresh ginger (~15g) to enhance digestion through warming the stomach & digestive tract, as in Chinese herbal medicine. But then you’re on the slippery slope of herbal formulas & not creating a single compound tincture 🙂

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Matt, I never answered your question… because I ask the same question. As I put 100G of dried lions mane into the alchohol, I ask myself: what if I just cook this up and ate it fresh, would I be getting all the values? As I do more research I am thinking the answer is yes, but would like to ask someone who understands the science better. However, two thoughts spring to mind: 1) the famous study on lionsmane that helped people with neuro issue, used simple dried and powdered Lions Mane packed into capsules. (remember that next time someone tells you that mushroom have to be cooked!!!!). 2) I try to eat all the yummy mushrooms and have been doing the tinctures more for mushrooms I don’t enjoy cooking into a meal like reishi or turkey tail.

  • Susan
    Reply

    I’m wondering if it’s okay to leave the bits of lions mane that have risen to the top of my double extraction, or should I filter them out with cheesecloth.

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Susan, I would think those bits are OK. I usually filter mine, but, roughly so that there are fine bits in the sediment, but real small so they shake up easy and get into my dropper. As I do more medicinals, I find myself trying to get more mushroom body into the medicine whenever possible. The book on this by Christopher Hobbs also encourages this: https://shop.modern-forager.com/products/medicinal-mushrooms-the-essential-guide – it is really an excellent book, I am going to amend the article above with some of changes I have instituted from the book.

  • Carol A Kelly
    Reply

    I was diagnosed with Spasmodic Dysphonia w/tremors over a year ago. There’s very little research on it, as it’s rare, and medically the best they can do is shoot Botox into your vocal chords to paralyze them every 3-4 months, or suggest surgery. I figured there had to be a better way. It’s a neurological vocal disorder, and I had read that lion’s mane had been used with Parkinson’s patients for tremors. Through trial and error I started with a 7 mushroom blend, and noticed a slight difference. I wanted to know if there was a difference in each mushroom, so started cutting back one at a time until I noticed the tremors getting worse. It was when I cut out the lion’s mane. So I started taking pure lion’s mane tincture, and also powdered fruiting bodies. I’ve hit on something. My ENT doctor, and speech therapist, said keep doing whatever I’m doing because it’s working. It won’t cure it, but it will hopefully keep it from getting worse. I need a new source for pure lion’s mane tincture, and wondered if you know of any reputable ones. I don’t want to make it myself.

    • Michelle
      Reply

      Hello,

      Thanks for this recipe. I’m looking forward to making my fresh lions mane tincture but have only 80 proof vodka. How would I adjust for that?

      • Trent Blizzard
        Reply

        Michelle, if you use 80 proof, that is 45% alcohol…so, when you do your calculations to create a final product of 25% alcohol, you will need to I think double the amount of alcohol and remove one-part water (I would estimate 2 parts alcohol + 2 parts water, instead of 1 part alcohol + 3 parts water.

        • Scott
          Reply

          Why not use the concentration volume equation. C1V1=C2V2

          Plug in your alcohol concentration for C1 and the alcohol volume. After multiplying them together divide by your desired final alcohol concentration to find the total volume of solution needed. The total volume of solution is the alcohol plus water. This assumes you use dried mushrooms to actually work but will allow you to dial in any alcohol concentration you like in your tincture.

          Nice write up!

    • KB
      Reply

      Hi Carol, there is a company called Booth’s Brew that makes a double extraction of lion’s mane mushroom.

  • Lee
    Reply

    I am making my first medicinal tincture using fresh frozen Chicken of the woods/Sulpher shelf mushrooms . How do I know that this kind of mushroom can be done as a dual extraction? can they all mushrooms benefit from dual extraction? If I used a 100 proof apple brandy as the alcohol, or a 80 proof vanilla vodka would it make it taste better? does the distilling process of the alcohol used matter ie: filtering?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Lee, I think any kind of mushroom can be used as a dual extract – but I cannot say if they necessarily benefit. Certainly the cast of medicinal mushrooms we use benefit from dual extraction, but I am unaware of any specific medical benefits from COW (chicken of the woods.) and my resources don’t reference that specific species. I don’t know about the flavor of the alcohol… I use a 190 proof alcohol for that alcohol step of my dual extraction because I am focused on the alcohol soluble elements and believe high-proof alcohol extracts that much better. I don’t think the distilling process matters one iota in terms of the efficacy of the alcohol to extract the medicinal qualities from the mushrooms. Also, finally, I prefer dried mushrooms because I can more effectively calculate the weight of the alcohol and water to get the right final % of alcohol more precisely.

    • Shawn M
      Reply

      Thanks for the clear procedure. When mixing alcohol and hot water extract for red belted polypore I’ve seen some thick foamy precipitate form upon mixing. Is this all polysaccharides or potentially some other protein that should be filtered out? It did not appear until mixing and resembled curdled milk.

      • Trent Blizzard
        Reply

        Shawn, yes, I do believe those precipitates are indeed polysaccharides and like to see as many as possible in my tincture! I even tweak my tek to get more of this when possible. Even little mushroom bits that were small enough to make it through my filters are cause to rejoice. And like you noted, they do no appear until the water and alcohol are mixed.

  • Marisa
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing this information! I have a question for you, regarding the age/quality of the mushrooms. I recieved a decent amount of turkey tail recently and they seemed to be old, possibly close to past their prime. How do you know when a mushroom is no longer good to use for tinctures? They are firm, not mushy, but still don’t look quite as young as others I have found.

    Thank you!

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Marisa, we can tell the “fresh” turkey tail, they are kinda rubbery in quality and when you fold them in half and rub them together they kind of squeek and the bottom of them is white. As they age then tend to get browner pores and less rubbery/flexible/squeeky.

      It is hard to say if we would make tincture with them without handling. We like the fresh ones of course.

      All that said, I am not sure if the medicinal qualities change in the TT as they age a bit… so, can offer no guidance there. I doubt anyone has any science on that, only opinion.

  • Amanda Shaffer
    Reply

    Hi there! Does a fresh Lions Mane water decoction need to be refrigerated?
    Thanks so much for this wonderful info!

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Yes, absolutely! A decoction is usually water-based and the mushroom is simmered/boiled in it. Since it is not 25-30% alcohol it is not shelf stable.

  • Kevin
    Reply

    First off, I love the recipe and explanation. I have been searching online, and this seems to be the most well-considered I have found!

    I am curious, is there a reason why you only put half of the mushrooms in alcohol for two weeks? If you put 100% in, the alcohol would extract alcohol-soluble polysaccharides from all of the mushrooms. Then step two would extract all of the water-soluble polysaccharides. As it stands, aren’t you missing out on the alcohol-soluble polysaccharides from half of the mushrooms?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Thanks Kevin. Yes, you are correct. Look at it this way: I put as many mushrooms as I can into the alcohol, as much as the liquid will accommodate. Then, because the water is 3X the alcohol, I double down on the mushrooms in that step! If I put all the mushrooms into the first step, there is not enough alcohol to soak them. I am trying a new tek now to push more shroom body, by weight, into my tincture and hope to write it up in a few weeks if it works as well as I hope.

  • Owen Weinman
    Reply

    Hello! Thank you so much for the information. I have a question about alcohol content: Why do most people say that the alcohol should only be lower than 30%? Why is this? I am doing a Reishi dual extraction and trying to decide my final ratios. Why can’t I just do 50/50 of the tincture and water extract?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Owen – I think it is because alcohol will slowly degrade the medicinal quantities when stored over time – I am not a molecular biologist… but, I think it was Tradd Cotter who explained that, and, you know, he is! IF you make it 25% alcohol you get a shelf-stable product that doesn’t degrade like a high-alchohol version.

  • Aaron
    Reply

    Wondering about the measurements here. Using 190 proof, that’s 95% alcohol, so a 1:3.5 mixture gives .95 pure alcohol in a total volume of 4.55. 0.95/4.55 = 0.208, or 20.8% alcohol by volume (ABV). Am I missing something? You were wanting between 25% and 30%?

  • Jo Evans
    Reply

    Not sure, but I think there is a typo in the article Making Medicinal Mushroom Tincture on your website.

    The paragraph on Chaga in this article reads: “We like the simple tea enough to drink daily, but it is a potent medicine and should be over-consumed.”

    Did you mean to say it should NOT be overcomsumed?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Thanks Jo, I fixed that typo.

  • Casey Buccino
    Reply

    Hi! Thank you so much for this awesome blog post. I am curious on your thoughts. I just made my first Reishi double extraction. It was a dark brown color. And once I added the liquid it’s much lighter now. I had 12 oz of 40% vodka. and then added 4 oz of Reishi extract water. I did see all of those stringy things and strained them out! Was that wrong? I’m also worried I added a bit too much water, but feel it might still be shelf stable. I’m definitely going to make another batch and see how it turns out. I’m really trying to get that dark color. Thanks!

  • Ben
    Reply

    Hey, I am wondering if it is okay to use lions mane mushrooms that are a few days past their shelf life? I have about 2 pounds that were out too long and have a slight off smell. I am wondering if the alcohol extraction will effectively sterilize the fruits and extract the medicinal benefits, or if it is unsafe.
    Cheers and love what you have going here, mush love from northern California!

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Ben, not sure what the science is on that answer… but, I personally only use the good stuff. I wouldn’t advise someone else to use sub-par materials. So.. not really a direct answer, but, I wouldn’t mess with old or smelly shrooms. Thanks for the encouragement – we juste returned today from a trip to the coast near Salt Point.. it was too dry for the mushrooms, but, a beautiful place nonetheless.

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Casey, My math says you have. 30% solution (4.8oz of alchohol in 16 oz of liquid) which should be fine.

      If you think it is “weak” you could always just consume 2x as much at a time :). My Reishi, after it settles, looks like sun tea (approximately).. When I shake it, or right after I make it, it looks more like coffee with a lot of cream in it, since the solids (polysaccharides I think) are light colored.

  • Sarah L.
    Reply

    How do you do a cold water extraction in the beginning of you wanted to?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Sarah, you would typically soak the mushrooms in cold water for 24 hours and then move on to the alchohol and warm water steps. I usually don’t bother… but, others swear by the cold water extraction. IF I did it, I would probably do the cold water soak and then chill (or freeze!) the liquid until I was ready to combine it with the final results of the alcohol and hot water (since, theoretically, it is made 2 weeks before the rest of the ingredients are ready). Also, I would dry out the mushroom “marc” again before the next step (the alchohol step presumably0, so I had my final alchohol/water measurement as accurate as possible.

  • Keith
    Reply

    Hello, thank you so much for the guide, I’m making a tincture right now and this info has been super helpful. I just want to suggest a correction to the water/alcohol ratio though. A a ratio of 1 to 3.5 of pure alcohol to water actually yields a final alcohol percentage of 22.2%, and 21.1% for 190 proof (95% alcohol). I believe you’re calculating 1 divided by 3.5 to get around 28.5% ABV, when you actually have to calculate the entire mixture of 1 part alcohol divided by 4.5 parts total to get the true ABV. The ratio of alcohol to water for a final ABV of 28.5% would be 1 part alcohol to 2.5 parts water, for a total of 3.5 parts. 1 divided by 3.5 = 28.57%. Hope this helps, thank you!

  • Lucas
    Reply

    Where to find information which mushrooms need double extraction and which just one ?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Lucas, I don’t think there is any definitive answer to that question. I would say that most people who do this prefer the double or even triple extract because it extracts additional elements and also is shelf stable. Try Hobb’s book on medicinal mushrooms, he has good sections on the single extract with some relevant recipes.

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  • […] Using both water and alcohol is a method of mushroom tincture crafting known as double extraction. The rationale is that alcohol extracts some beneficial ingredients and water extracts others. It’s not a difficult process but it is a bit time-consuming. I’ll summarize my steps below, but the recipe I chose to follow can be found over at Modern Forager.  […]

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