Beyond the cell wall: how dual extraction gives us access to the benefits of medicinal mushrooms
We all know that mushrooms are good for us — they contain all sorts of beneficial compounds, most notably beta glucans, which can boost immunity. But did you know that, without a process called dual extraction, your body can’t actually digest those precious polysaccharides? Learn more about our dual extraction process — and how it prepares your mushrooms to work their hardest for you!
The problem with medicinal mushrooms
When you look at a mushroom at face value, there’s not much to it, right?
Generally round top, stem — you know what a mushroom looks like. The tricky thing about medicinal mushrooms isn’t visible to the naked eye. You see, their cell walls are made of a substance called chitin. It’s a polysaccharide that provides structural stability to the cell, and it’s also found in the exoskeletons of crustaceans, crabs and prawns, which brings us to our problem.
Our bodies can’t actually digest chitin. This means that the beneficial compounds that we’re trying to take advantage of in medicinal mushrooms, the beta-D-glucans, triterpenes, and sterols can’t be absorbed by our bodies. They’re locked in the cell walls of the mushroom. Ba-bowwwwww.
Dual extraction to the rescue
Of course, all is not lost. Once we put our medicinal mushrooms through the dual extraction process, it’s ‘see ya later, cell wall’.
Hot water extraction
It starts here.
Mushroom fruit bodies (that means the actual mushroom, not just the mycelium) are simmered in hot (but not boiling) water for several hours. After that, they’re spray-dried and ground into a fine powder. At this point, they can be taken medicinally, but at Touchwood Mushrooms, we take things one step further.
There are some compounds in medicinal mushrooms that aren’t water soluble, like sterols and triterpenes. Because we want our products to be as beneficial as possible, we run an alcohol extraction as well.
At this stage, we soak the mushrooms in large vats of alcohol for between four and eight weeks (depending on the species). After that, we spin the product dry, leaving behind a fine powder. Thanks to Graham’s impeccable nature and deep knowledge of mycology, this results in the highest quality medicinal mushrooms, ready to be added to any food or drink.
At Touchwood Mushrooms, all of our medicinal mushroom products undergo a water and alcohol extraction — in other words, a dual extraction.
We do this to make sure that you get the best possible medicinal mushrooms — dual extraction makes sure your body can access as many of the beneficial compounds as possible.
Home-grown and processed with care
At Touchwood Mushrooms, we grow many species of mushrooms ourselves, including Lion’s Mane, Oyster, Shiitake, King Oyster, and Turkey Tail. There are some mushrooms, like Cordyceps, that simply can’t be grown in Australia, so we import those. When we do import, we only choose the most reputable organic growers.
The care that we put into processing our medicinal mushrooms is staggering for some — but it’s all part of our commitment to offering the most robust, beneficial medicinal mushrooms possible. Learn more about our super speccy mushroom growing facility in Denmark WA, or find out how Graham (aka. Mr Mycology) grows 100-200kg of beautiful mushrooms per week! If you’re keen to give the final product a go, shop now.