Mushroom Powders vs Tinctures. FAQ01
This is the question we probably get the most, so I thought I'd address this in our very first FAQ blog.
In all honesty it's a question I still haven't figured out how to answer to anyone's satisfaction, but no doubt my attempt to highlight the major differences will help you make a better decision around which of the two, if not both (or neither), best suits your needs and lifestyle.
The first difference I feel needs to be addressed is that our tinctures are triple extracts and our powders are wholefood supplements.
Extracts are when the beneficial compounds inside the mushrooms has been pulled out of the cells and into a carrier liquid known as a solvent. We use two high quality food grade solvents in 3 different stages, spring water and local, organic agave ethanol. The reason for that is some of these beneficial compounds are water soluble and others are ethanol soluble. Some of these compounds are also heat sensitive, which is why we include a cold water extraction over the course of minimum 4 weeks(yes we know, that's extremely thorough). Our 3 extraction phases guarantees that we access the full-spectrum active compounds that these superfood mushrooms have to offer into.
Wholefood supplements on the other hand are when a food is in its original form without additives, fillers or having been extracted. These foods are often dried and/or powdered to preserve and make it's application and storage easier. Our powders are micronized (very finely ground), activated and certified organic at source. We put these same powders into capsules for those wanting an even easier way to use them.
Why is activated powders important?
Well, mushroom cell walls comprise of a substance known as chitin. The same thing insects' exoskeletons are made of. Chitin is actually the second most abundant polysaccharide in nature. On a cellular level chitin is extremely tough. So tough it could protect the DNA content of a spore in the vacuum of space. Now you can imagine it's pretty tough for us to break open inside our stomach for further digestion...
This is why we steam-treat our mushrooms before drying to soften these cell walls making them super easy for us to digest and absorb the good stuff. Chitin and other polysaccharides found in mushrooms also happens to be beneficial to our immune systems, so still having it in our product offers something extracts won't. Plus I am a big believer in eating mostly wholefoods, because food in their original "package" is how nature intended.
So the second thing worth mentioning is that tinctures often contain way less biomass than one might think. Even though us and our industry-peers make our extracts as potent as we possibly could, you can only fit so much mushroom into the extraction process. Tinctures vary widely from producer to producer and often costs quite a bit to make. Powder on the other hand is relatively easy and affordable to produce in comparison and therefore a bit more economical.
Where the real consideration comes in, is whether the bio-availablity of the already extracted elixir makes up for volume of biomass and whether or not we really absorb all the powders that we've had in that capsule or added to that smoothie. An answer only a thorough scientific study would be able to answer with any sort of certainty.
Another big consideration is whether or not you have good reason to avoid ethanol, even in the smallest quantities. This could be due to sensitivities, spiritual or religious reason, abstinence etc. Even though we use the highest quality organic ethanol possible to extract with and there is only plus-minus 30% per every 1ml serving(about 6 drops total ethanol) some may choose to avoid it all together and for them powders and capsules will be the only option.
The tinctures are way easier for the nomadic traveler and on-the-go young hustler who wants to take their mushrooms with them on the road . They can easily be used straight or directly under the tongue without the need to put them into a carrier liquid of sort (even though the do compliment a good coffee, cacao and kombucha). Whereas the powders definitely do need a carrier liquid to help the medicine go down. Trust me, I have taken the powders straight many times. Don't get me wrong I love their flavors (yes even the notoriously bitter Reishi) but a mouth full of dry powder is never fun and never gets easier.
As a side note, mosty FYI, we do include additional mycelium extractions in our tinctures for Lion's mane, Reishi and Cordyceps because studies show higher levels of beneficial compounds in the mycelium vs mushroom for these fungi, as well as the fact that those are the only ones we're able to cultivate ourselves.
Lion's mane as an example only produces erinacines in the mycelium (Check out our blog "Lion's mane - Mushroom and Mycelium") and Cordyceps has more Cordycepin in the mycelium.
Our powders do not yet (if ever) contain mycelium since there is still a lot to discover about 'mycelium on grain' or "solid state mycelial fermentations". There are also too much misinformation and misunderstandings to educate people over. Pure mycelium on the other hand is simply to difficult and expensive to produce in-house at scale(for now)
Those are the biggest considerations when it comes to making your decision between powders and tinctures. If you ever have any specific questions please feel free to contact us here.
May the Fungi be with you my friend!
About Harmonic Mycology
Harmonic Mycology continues to unfold as a long-term, multi faceted mycological venture for enhancing the health and vitality of humyn and ecological systems in the modern age through the development and application of mycelial-technologies and fungal medicines