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 four 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 a mason jar and dried & powdered mushrooms.  Usually a coffee grinder is good for powdering the dried mushroom.

  1. Soak 1/2 of the mushrooms in 190 proof Everclear for 2 weeks, shaking regularly.  The mushrooms should be covered by the everclear.
  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 3:1 ratio (3 water/1 alcohol) or 20-25% alcohol.

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

  • 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.  Recently, I upgraded to the Vitamix Flour Mill attachment which is very effective.

  •  I use Everclear Grain Alcohol, but any alcohol will work as long as you adjust your final ratio of alcohol to water. Our 3:1 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 and pour enough Everclear to cover the solids by an inch. When I strain out the Everclear, I measure it and then add 3 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 3X the amount of alcohol. 
  • Straining can suck. After much trial and error, I now pour it all into a fine cheesecloth or nut-milk bag and use a potato ricer to gently squeeze the juice out of that bag. 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.  Try starting with small batches (not full quart jars!) because it is much easer to train a cup or a pint than a quart.
  • 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 currently 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 lions mane, maitake and other soft gourmet mushrooms.  Turkey tail and reishi are the easiest to work with. 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.  

Those dropper bottles also seem to breathe a bit, and the alcohol can evaporate through the rubber stopper. We don’t use them for long-term storage, rather, we refill them when needed.  We keep our tincture in glass liquor bottle for long-term storage.

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 (Reishi, Turkey Tail, Artist Conk, Red Belted Polypore, etc). 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.  It is an easy mushroom to work with in the tinctures.

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 forage. 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, especially in Asian markets.  BTW, they taste good and are easy to throw a handful into soup or brew into a tea.

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 135 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.

      • Nathan
        Reply

        Will I fail a alcohol test for this

      • Helen
        Reply

        I have a batch of dried Lions Mane and want to make a double infused tinture. What’s your thoughts on using the Magical butter Machine with the alchohol Extraction? Say 130 for 4 hours. Then straining and putting in water fir 8 hours or so, as you write above?

        • Trent Blizzard
          Reply

          Helen, Don’t do it!
          1) Alcohol is a fire hazard… don’t put into an electrical device
          2) you need a two week room temp soak… higher temps are not necessary.

    • 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.

      • Sandy
        Reply

        So, the first time I read this I was so excited to get started that I didn’t read carefully. I started an overnight, low temperature water extraction, and then once that was going I put the other half of the mushrooms into everclear. The next morning I realized my mistake, drained the liquid and froze it. I added the mushroom solids to a soup I was making. Is the frozen water extract usable in the same way it would have been if I’d done it according to directions? Can I just thaw when I am ready to combine? Is there any reason not to use the 3.5:1 ratio in this case?

    • 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).

          • Kendall

            How much water do you add to the crock pot?

            Thank you!

        • 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.

      • Sarah
        Reply

        Do u have a trial bottle I can get? I have ptsd, schizophrenia, chronic angziety, major anger issues, adhd, and its not being treated.

    • Eldar M
      Reply

      Thank you so much.
      Can I just leave my mushrooms powder in the 40% alcohol without mixing it with water if I want to be extra strong?
      I didn’t understand the purpose of water extraction?
      Thank you

      • Trent Blizzard
        Reply

        Elder, the water and the alcohol extract different components of the mushroom – you can create pure water extracts, or pure alchohol extracts, but, they theoretically would need be combined with the alcohol extracting triperenes and water extracting the betaglucans… if i I had to pick one, I would probably favor the water extract over the alchohol, personally being a fan of the betaglucans.

        • Megan
          Reply

          Hi. Thank you for the info. I may have missed this already asked but is it better to make separate variety mushroom tinctures and mix after or add different mushrooms and make one tincture?

          • Trent Blizzard

            Megan, dealers choice! I use the same technique fo reach mushrooms, so combining them is not really a factor, just depends what you want as a final product.

          • Megan

            Thanks. I am having no luck grinding the chaga mushroom. Blender, food processor or coffee grinder

          • Trent Blizzard

            Megan, the chaga is hard to work with. We usually break it into small pieces with a hatchet and pair of leather gloves and make them large marble size or smaller than a golf ball. I hear some people put them in a cloth sack and pound them with a hammer. Honestly, we usually stop there and use those chunks for tea, which I kind prefer for chaga more than tincture! But, for tincture, we use an old-fashioned (Weston #10) sausage grinder – it is durable and can be cheap at a garage sale) to break those chunks down into smaller pieces. (pea sized to sand). At that point, they can be broken down in a coffee grinder into a powder. One secret is to start the process when the chaga is not dry – that first hatchet job only works

      • Michael Federoff
        Reply

        I had been micro-dosing psilocybin for 4 yrs now and 2 months back I started taking reishi mushrooms and ashwagandha root, both at 1000mg 3x aday and WOW! This works on my stress and depression so well it’s incredible. You would really benefit from this as I know I am… I have a fairly aggressive no cure for thing from XRT treatments that hit me about a year ago causing atrophy of my muscles. Late occurring radiation induced peripheral neuropathy. Unless this line’s mane keep healing the myelin I’m screwed… lol

    • Megan
      Reply

      wonderfully informative page, thank you! I am wondering if I can use Hericium mushrooms that have begun to yellow/brown to make tincture? I know for eating I would want young, all white fruit is my bodies but I found a large patch and would love to make a tincture if it is safe to do so. Thanks again!

  • 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.

        • Mary
          Reply

          I assume ( assume being operative here) he’s using one of those sonifiers that are used to sterilize dental equipment, used to clean jewelry. I bought one years ago — under 100.00, but last i looked there was one little over that price that was much better. I used it to make liposomes, which I do plan to get back to —

      • Sunny
        Reply

        Hello – I’ hope you receive this. Are you putting your concoction directly into the ultrasonic cleaner or in a beaker within the water?

    • Sarah
      Reply

      Hello. I was curious if there’s is away to rid the alcohol content. I’m using 190 proff and wondering if it would change anything if I were to cook the liquid after to evaporate the alcohol. Do you have a process for this? Temp/ time?

      Thank you

      • Trent Blizzard
        Reply

        Sarah, you could certainly allow the alcohol to evaporate, or heat it off. The problem would be that the tincture requires 25% alcohol to be shelf stable… so you would have to refrigerate and consume pretty quickly.

  • Mahmoud Karimian
    Reply

    Hello
    Produce Ganoderma red variety in a completely standard isolated and hygienic environment
    Our monthly production of at least 90 to 100 kg of Ganodar mushrooms is dried and ready for export
    With all exportable documents
    Please help me to sell my product to any destination or country where it is possible
    Mahmoud Karimian
    Company: Tejarat Motamed Qarn Asia Registration Number 53735
    Iran – Khorasan Contact: 0098.9301722003
    M.karemiyan@gmail.com
    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).

    • Jenny
      Reply

      Hi there. I tried this with locally foraged mushrooms. When I strained the mushrooms after two weeks, the liquid looked perfect. The , I boiled the remaining mushroom solids and strained that liquid. When I combined them, immediately a white almost slime like coating was on the tincture. I strained as much out as I could but when I bottled it, there is some white sediment in the bottom. Is this a common occurance? I noticed your comment on polysaccharides, but when I have bought store tinctures I’ve never seen this. Thank you

      • Davy
        Reply

        Store bought tinctures may not be double extracting and just using that first alcohol extraction

        Also, question your water, is Ti distilled or is there other stuff in there?

  • 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.

      • Denice Bracken
        Reply

        What ratio do you use for your mushroom to menstruum extraction at 190 proof? Or do you just use the folk method for the etoh extraction part?

  • 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.

    • Vanita Cox
      Reply

      I am going to have cateract eye surgery next week .
      Should I stop taking artists conk before surgery.
      I take several mushroom tinctures but I stopped them for the surgery.
      I couldn’t find where the artists conk causes blood thinning.

      • Trent Blizzard
        Reply

        Vanita, you need to consult with your doctor on questions like that!

  • 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.

    • Mary
      Reply

      Hello, how wonderful you made this discovery. And very helpful for me as my husband suffers from a similar condition: essential tremor. It seems to be getting worse with age, affecting his hands and now his head. His mother had a vocal tremor that was never diagnosed. So they all may stem from similar sources.Now your question. I do not know. I do know that Paul Stamets, one of the fathers of modern mycology produces a high quality line of supplements. And I wonder if consuming them might offer the same benefits? I see them lately at farmers markets. They are very attractive! I have yet to try them, but I think I will. I also see them dried at Asian markets, but I often do not trust the processing methods used in some countries. Another place you might check (I have not)looked for Lion’s Mane here) is: 1st Chinese Herbs. They sell products that have been tested for purity and pure processing methods. Good luck and thanks for sharing!

  • 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.

      • Lee
        Reply

        I just made a 2d batch of COW tincture. My sister is a culinary chef and forages and got them, cleaned them, and froze them for me I put all the mushroom in the alcohol because once I defrosted them I didn’t know how to keep the half for the 2-4 weeks. The recipe was silent on that.

        Is it still OK for me to extract in water after they have been in alcohol for 2-3 weeks as well? I got the magic mushroom device to do that with. It is only my 2d time making this tincture. I used 100 proof vodka and aded a vanilla bean to it for flavor. Also, I had 475 grams mushrooms and added 2 ml alcohol for each gram or 950 ml. I dont do math well so it is hard to follow the volume discussion. do you use the same measure for volume? all grams or all ml?

        • Trent Blizzard
          Reply

          Lee, yes, you can use the same mushroom for both the water and the alchohol extraction. Some people like to do the alchohol first and the waters second… others prefer the opposite. I personally like to do alcohol first with dried and ground mushrooms, strain out the solids, add more mushrooms, and then soak in water, strain then combine. The problem with fresh mushrooms are that you don’t now how much water you are introducing if you are trying to calculate to a 25% alchohol final tincture. Dried mushrooms mitigate this problem. I use ml measurements since I am doing it by volume when working with liquids.

          • Lee

            Trent- I am still struggling with the math part! But, I started with 950ml of 100 proof vodka, and when I strained got 1,100 ml of liquid. So I am guessing I had 150 ml of water in the shrooms then? I did a 1:2 ratio mushroom to vodka early August, and just strained, 6 weeks. Now I have 181 grams left of the strained mushroom to extract in water in the magic mushroom machine. If I understand this recipe, I cannot add more than 475 ml of water at the end, and that will give me a 25% alcohol? I did not understand C1V1=C2V2. I tried to extrapolate when you answered casey above but was missing something. Did I end up in the right place though? Math wise- I dont want to ingest anything toxic.

    • 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.

  • Lee
    Reply

    Sorry I posted this Q in the wrong spot- dont mean to repeat!
    I just made a 2d batch of COW tincture. My sister is a culinary chef and forages and got them, cleaned them, and froze them for me I put all the mushroom in the alcohol because once I defrosted them I didn’t know how to keep the half for the 2-4 weeks. The recipe was silent on that. the sulfer itself is very healthy for body functions and health….it may impact Lyme co infections in a good way too.

    Is it still OK for me to extract in water after they have been in alcohol for 2-3 weeks as well? I got the magic mushroom device to do that with. It is only my 2d time making this tincture. I used 100 proof vodka and aded a vanilla bean to it for flavor. Also, I had 475 grams mushrooms and added 2 ml alcohol for each gram or 950 ml. I dont do math well so it is hard to follow the volume discussion. do you use the same measure for volume? all grams or all ml? When doing water soluable I am confused on ratio if it is before the water liquids or after?

  • mimi knight
    Reply

    I’ve been making and consuming tinctures from turkey tail and reishi, for a couple years. I currently have a large crop of blue oyster mushrooms I’m going in straw in laundry baskets and looking for everything I can do with them. Do oysters have enough medicinal properties to warrant a tincture?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Mimi, I cannot speak to their medicinal properties, but I know many of my reference sources suggest them! That said, I don’t usually do them as a tincture because they taste good so I can just eat them. Personally, I LOVE to make jerky out of them! It is in our cookbook, but, short and sweet: boil a few minutes, marinate overnight in your favorite jerky seasoning, dehydrate until desired consistency achieved (chewy).

  • bob
    Reply

    hi i put a mix of musrooms in votka ans left them for 2 years.do you think the ticture is still good?can i do the water edtraction now? thanks

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Bob, I am not sure of the science on this, but, I would be concerned the alcohol would break down the medicinal component.

      • bob
        Reply

        only the glucans or the terpenoids to can be break down?

        • Trent Blizzard
          Reply

          Dunno! I personally would not use something that has soaked in alcohol for 2 years, out of concern that medicinal qualities would be wrecked by the long alcohol exposure, but, I don’t know the science, am only guessing.

  • Karen
    Reply

    Hi,
    Is it possible to do a double extraction using glycerin instead of alcohol, and if so, how?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Karen, yes, people do that, but, have neither tried it nor know how.

  • Cristian
    Reply

    Thank you so much! I ve just came with some turkey tails and put them to dry for a tincture. I am happy I found you and can t wait to start my batch

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Thanks Christian, I am working on some new Turkey Tail techniques … hope to post that up to the blog soon, so, stay tuned.

    • Shawn
      Reply

      Hi Trent, thank you for this awesome write up and forum of questions and answers! I have recently gone down the mushroom worm hole and am so excited to be growing 10 species. I just got the magic butter machine, I’ve read about a lot of methods and recipes, but haven’t really seen anything on dosage.
      How do I equate fruiting body powdered extract dosage to tincture dosage?
      Just basic math I think, if I need one cup of tincture for my gummy recipe that makes 30 gummies and I want each to be .2 then I’d start with 6grams mushrooms and 10oz of alcohol. Assuming I lose 2 oz in the magical butter machine during the process, I’d end up with one cup of tincture, add that to my gummy mix and divided into 30 molds I’d end up with 30 .2mg gummies.
      Is that premise correct at all?
      Thank you for your time!

  • Janee
    Reply

    Hi there, thank you so much for all this helpful information. Can the finished tinctures be stored in the freezer to increase longevity of large volumes?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Janee, Yes, I would think the freezer would work well!

  • Jess Ewing
    Reply

    How do I figure out what mg the tincture is? Like for example if I made a tincture how would I know mg per drop?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      I usually treat mg and ml as equal… 1 ml of h20 is the same as 1mg of h20. I don’t know how many ml are in a drop, but Google said 20ml per drop.

  • Sarah Willard
    Reply

    Hello Trent!

    So happy to have found your site. Wondering if you have any comments on what made my Lions’ Mane Tincture so watery-looking. I’ve included my tincture making notes. Wondering if it’s fixable or if I should just enjoy as is but in larger doses. I realize it isn’t totally a dual-extraction, as I simply added enough ETOH to make it shelf stable. Thoughts?
    ***

    Start time 2:30pm. Weighed 53g dried chunks of Lion’s Mane (locally sourced, excellent quality)
    Added 1300 mL spring water and simmered on HIGH for 45 minutes until it was reduced by 300 mL
    3:20pm:, I was able to take the chunks out and chop up. then used an immersion blender to get maximum extraction potential.
    Put back on pan on medium. It started sticking to the saucepan, so added 200 mL more spring water and put temperature on LOW and stirred regularly.
    4pm: turned off with lid on.
    5pm: Measured contents of saucepan, was 1000mL very thick water/mushroom mush. Added 500 mL 75% ABV ETOH (Everclear) and put in mason jars in dark cupboard. Shook daily for one month, Left in dark cupboard in sealed jars with minimal headspace.
    April 2, 23: After approximately 4 months, pressed out tincture. ABV is 25% and shelf-stable.
    ***
    I have a picture that I can post comparing my tincture to a well-known Canadian brand.

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Sorry Sarah, no clue.. your process is a lot different than mine, so I cannot really comment. That said, I like to eat my lions mane and don’t really use it for tinctures anymore, instead using the less tasty mushrooms for tincutres. Furthermore, my favorite study of lionsmane was basd on dried, ground lionsmane fruiting body – 3mg a day – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18844328/

  • Donna
    Reply

    Awesome tutorial. Thanks!! I made a great Reishi Mushroom tincture and it came out awesome. Your instructions were comprehensive and easy to follow. Kudos!

  • Davy
    Reply

    Hey there

    I stumbled across your website after researching tinctures. Specifically this article (https://modern-forager.com/making-medicinal-mushroom-tincture/)

    I have a question in regards to your recipe, which uses water:alcohol 3.5:1

    I assume that’s because that’s the minimal alcohol to preserve the brew. Im just wondering what are your thoughts on the 3.5 water: but do you think that’s enough water to extract ALL the herbal components from the herbs/mushrooms?

    As I understand it usually you need 1L water to fully hot water extract 10g of herbs. So would adding only 3.5x of alcohol weight back to solids actually be adequate amount of water?

    I’d also like to know why you add 1/2 fresh solids to the hot water extract, and don’t just hot water extract the alcohol extracted solids. I think I know your thought process here but would be interested to hearing it from you.

    Cheers
    Davy

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Davy – so, I would say try it! since you do the alcohol first, and it is the lesser of the two volumes, you should basicallly put as much in there to soak as you are comfortable with.

      in step 2, you move the soaked dregs over to the water bath, where you have approx 3X as much liquid so you can easily add a bunch more mushroom body into that.

      Sounds like you have some plant-based references that recommend a much more “watered down” version of the soak. I want mine as strong as possible so I put a lot of mushroom body in – in fact, as much as I am able. Who knows what is better, but, that is how I do it.

  • Sharron
    Reply

    I’m ready to do my water extraction in a few days, but I’m unsure how to adjust my ratio if I used 80 proof vodka instead of 190 proof Everclear. Is the ratio still 3.5:1 to keep it shelf stable?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      No. I would do 1:1 roughly, or, to achieve a 25% alcohol amount the ratio by volume would 10 parts of 40 proof vodka to 9 parts water.

  • brendan dowling
    Reply

    This is really interesting and I foraged my first Lion’s mane today. As for the overnight soak do you think using Sous Vide machine would work? (don’t have magic butter and the crock pot seems too hot)

  • Mark Hirst
    Reply

    I read your article on Reshi mushrooms and how you create a tincture following a dual extraction process

    However I have seen advertisements for “dual extract reshi mushroom powder “ for sale. I was wondering if this powder has been through a dual process of water and alcohol extraction already ? If this is the case what would be the best way with this powder to create reshi mushroom tincture from this powder given it is in an extracted state ? I was wondering if you could advise

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Hi Mark. Yes, “extract” powder is typically a dual-extract that has been commercially dehydrated back to a powder. those powder makers also typically grind their mushrooms SUPER fine too so there is a lot of actual mushroom body in there too. A good example is Hamiltons Mushrooms which makes a superb powdered extract that is soooo fine that it melts in water like instant coffee. Those extract powders are ready for consumption with no further processing. That said, NO, do not make mushroom powder from that extract, it is already creeated! instead, buy whole mushroom and powder it yourself.

  • Vinny
    Reply

    Hey, I totally get the importance of mushrooms in supporting our immune system. I’ve been incorporating Reishi and Lion’s Mane into my daily routine for a while now. The double extraction technique is intriguing; might give it a shot to maximize their benefits. By the way, you might also want to consider a seamoss supplement for a well-rounded boost to your overall health.

  • Thomas Heikes
    Reply

    Hello, I’m hoping for some clarification on my reishi dual extract process. I have taken training from Sajah Popham with Evolutionary Herbalism and following his instructions. I first have made a tincture at 1:4 in 70% alcohol, extracted with a herb press, from dry mushroom. Then when strained and done, I take new dry mushroom of the same amount of grams and decoct and reduce to get 2x as much decoction/water extract as I have volume of tincture when strained. I slowly pour the tincture into the water extract while stirring (the water extract was chilled from being in the fridge…). It’s my understanding/math that this will end me around a 30%, the ideal alcohol percentage to support as much polysaccharides staying disolved into solution while also getting the best from the alcohol range extracted with the 70%. However upon mixing there is massive separation, so many polysaccharides are precipitating out of solution and float in a massive layer on top. A few questions. Have I ruined my dual extract? It seems to me that this layer and visible separation is the water based polysaccharides not being able to be in this medium. Perhaps there is a certain amount that can be held in this solution, and it’s the excess that I see? I made it really strong. I have read other posts where it is said this is fine and maybe even good, I’m not so sure?… Are these still active, or inert? When they congeal and “fall out of solution” do they still have medicinal properties? I have talked with others who do a tincture at 70% and then mix 1:1 tincture:decoction and say they have less of separation issues. Did I do something wrong?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Thomas, no, you have not ruineed anything… those polysaccarides precipiating are awesome! The more the better. That is why you shake it before using. I love to see my jar half full of precipitants, which sink. Over time they compress and only are 1/4 full though. The floating bits though may be actually mushroom sediment, which, is also OK!The stronger the better. SOME mushrooms, like Agaricon, make so much precipate that the tincture becomes too think and therefore unusable. that is a different problem 🙂

      Also, I do 1 part Grain Alcohol (190 proof) to 3 parts water (which you call decoction) to make a 20-25% alcohol solution.

      • Thomas Heikes
        Reply

        Hello Trent, thank you so much for your reply, I so appreciate your time and response as I’m trying to make the best medicine possible! I’m glad to hear that just because there are precipitants you feel they are still medicinally active. I wasn’t sure if in the process of becoming a precipitant that perhaps they are binding to something and essentially becoming an inert substance?

        It’s curious to me that others I know who mix their 70% tincture at a 1:1 with the water decoction have far less preciptation. I assumed one would want to get the dual extract as strong as possible but not have any precipitants. I figured the amount of polysaccharides that can be held in solution was a product of the final alcohol solution, and as I end around a 30% finished alcohol I achieve the low end where I thought water based polysac. can stay in solution but still be preserved (minimum 25% alcohol for long term safe storage). But it seems to me that perhaps it is less about the finished alcohol range as it is to volume of alcohol to water. For example when folks mix 1:1 (alcohol:water) there are fewer water based polysac. so this ends with less precipitants. Whereas a 1:2 or 1:3 (of course depends on how much mushroom was used) contains simply more polysac. so no matter the finished alcohol there is an intolerable amount when combined if it’s more based on how much total polysac. there are vs. end alcohol %. The weird thing to me is that the decoction on its own keeps all the polysac. all held in solution, it’s only when combined that things separate… so hoping there is some process that keeps it all, I dislike the slimy goo for ease of combining.

        Lastly, I hear you saying that you do 1:3 at 190 proof alcohol. This has a higher % to allow you to mix in more water extract to attain your end goal of around 25%. Is this your goal? There are certain constituents in the alcohol extract that are valuable too, but you feel getting as much water constituents is more important? Further, I wonder if at 95% alcohol you are killing off some of the constituents, perhaps a wider range of alcohol based compounds would be extracted using a lower % such as a 70%. Nobody knows it seems, we’re all exploring, but taste and felt effect says what is best.

        Thank you for your time, very grateful.

  • nanci
    Reply

    Hi Trent!

    I love everything that you are saying here, but I’m having a really hard time understanding how i can make a 5:1 tincture. For whatever reason, something isn’t sticking in my brain. I would take 5 grams of lions mane in 1 ml of alcohol? It just doesn’t make sense to me…. I feel so lost!!

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Nanci, no problem… I would say “don’t worry”. basically, take your lioins mane (dried) and powder it in a coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle. Pour it into a mason jar, and cover with 190 prooof grain alchohol. soak 2 weeks. Then, strain out all the liquid and measure how much you were able to squeeze out of the “marc” (or wet mushroom gunk). Now, measure that liquid! That is the 1st step of a double tincture. the Alcohol step.

      Now, take water – 3X that alcohol you just measured – and pour it in a pan. put the “Marc” into that. Feel free to add some freshly ground dried lions mane too if you want… since you have 3x the liquid, you can probably fit more mushroom in at this step. Heat that gently to 160 degrees and hold for a few hours… I personally do 8-12 hours myself. Then, strain/squeeze out all the liquid. if you lost liquid in that process, top off so you have 3X again. Comine with the alcohol and you are done.

  • Heather
    Reply

    Thanks for your informative article and recipe.

    I dried and blended artists conk with Everclear 151 on October 22nd and have since wondered if it’s still safe to use for a double extraction since the blended particulate isn’t all submerged in the alcohol. I’ve shaken it many time but not for several weeks now. I used 55 grams dried, chopped mush blended with 400 ml 151 proof Everclear (75.5%) and didn’t want to compromise its strength by adding more alcohol. Is there any way to know whether this is still ok to use with the double extraction after having waited so long to finish the process and since the mushrooms weren’t all constantly submerged in alcohol?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Heather, I appreciate trying to keep the extraction strong by not having too much alcohol… but, you do need enough to cover the mushrooms at all times. I cannot say whether what you have now from October is good or not. If you have more ingredients, maybe just redo it for the two weeks recommended period, fully submerged, and then continue to the water phase. That way you will have confidence!

      • Heather
        Reply

        Thanks so much Trent! Saw another couple artists conks yesterday so I’ll give it another go. Scored some Turkey tails today so I’ll give those a try too 😁

        • Trent Blizzard
          Reply

          Excellent! We have turkey tails flushing here now in January on the Oregon Coast. I am replenishing my collection.

          • Heather

            Right on! We found these guys along the top of the beach after collecting oysters…which, bear somewhat of a funny resemblance to the turkey tail somehow. Very neat stuff.

  • Madhusudan
    Reply

    I am trying to use a Soxhlet as an extraction tool but I could not find 95% ethanol, will vodka work as a solvent ?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Sorry, not sure, I don’t personally do Soxhlet, but, it is certainly next level for getting great extracts. I would say taht the efficiency of a 190 proof product is greater than one of an 80 or 100 proof product. You can order it on amazon though – look for food grade non-denatured alcohol 955 which is an ethanol and consumable. it needs to be food grade and non-denaturd and ethanol

  • Angela Buchdahl
    Reply

    I made my mushroom tincture and put it in a dark cool place…and then forgot about it for 4 months! Does this mean the tincture is not usable? Do you think it’s ok that it soaked for so long?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Was it the alchohol soak you are asking about? I don’t know the answer fo4 sure, but, I would be inclined to start over. the reason is that the high-proof alcohol does extract certain qualities, but, it also degrades many compounds over time. I worry that a long soak in high alchohol will degrade the medicinal qualities.

  • Hayley Klobuchar
    Reply

    Hi! Thank you so much for sharing! I forgot to leave half of the mushrooms out so they are all soaking in everclear. Did I blow it? Any way to still work with it??

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      NO, it should be just fine…. use all of that in the second step (the water soak). No biggie, I did it myself that way for years.

  • Eric
    Reply

    I made a tincture by boiling the mushrooms in water for about 15 to 20 minutes. I had some liquid left over. I put it in a dropper bottle in the fridge. How long will it be good in the fridge and still safe to use ?

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      Eric, I am not sure… I assume it would keep a few weeks …

    • Trent Blizzard
      Reply

      NO, it should be just fine… use all of that in the water soak for the next step… no biggie! I did it that way myself for years!

  • Ashley
    Reply

    Hi! Thank you for your informative post! Do you suppose I could prepare this with a cracked cap polypore foraged in an old growth forest?

pingbacks / trackbacks
  • […] 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.  […]

  • […] also can make your own extract, or tincture, from desired medicinal mushrooms. A few drops of concentrated tincture contain all […]

  • […] Lion’s mane also has a host of medicinal benefits, from boosting mental functioning to reducing inflammation. These benefits can be harnessed from eating the mushroom or making medicinal extracts from it. […]

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