Don't be fooled by the all the freeze dried mycelium hype out there...
While mycelium extracts of some species (most notably Lion's Mane) have been shown to contain potent concentrations of specific compounds, they are not capable of offering the full-spectrum nourishment provided by Pure Fruiting Body Mushrooms! (1)
What are Pure Fruiting Body Mushroom Extracts?
The mature fruit bodies of mushrooms are the above ground parts ~ the reproductive structures that the mushroom makes to spread it's spores. When you let mushrooms grow to their fullest potential, you allow them to produce the complete expression of their innate intelligence. Just as Ginseng grows more potent as it ages, most mature mushroom fruits contain higher concentrations of beneficial polysaccharides & antioxidants than the immature mycelium. (2)
For thousands of years people have been cooking or tincturing medicinal mushrooms to extract the water-soluble & alcohol-soluble compounds, as the tough chitinous structures of most raw mushroom fruits are not easily digestible by humans. Here at Cintamani, we continue these traditions, extracting both the alcohol & water soluble constituents, and then evaporating the solvents, leaving an instantly water-soluble extract. This easy-to-use powdered concentrate can be added to hot water for an instant tea, broth, or blended into other foods & beverages. Our extracts are incredibly potent. Every 1 kilo of powdered extract contains the medicinal concentrates of 10 kilos of mature mushrooms fruits! And all our Dual Extracts have been standardized to contain at least 30% polysaccharides, making them some of the most potent available on the market.
What is Freeze Dried Mycelium?
In recent years, we have seen many top companies switch from selling fruiting body mushroom powders or extracts to instead selling freeze dried mycelium powders. So exactly what is freeze dried mycelium, and why have producers chosen this method of production & preservation?
Mycelium is the underground part of mushrooms ~ the digestive organ of the mushroom mass. Its microscopic cellular fibers branch out into the soil (or wood, or whatever the substrate is), and digest the nutrients in the substrate as the mushroom grows. In commercial mushroom cultivation, the substrate is typically grains. This "myceliated grain" looks a lot like tempeh ... the grain (rice, sorghum, millet, etc) is slowly consumed by a thin layer of mushroom mycelium, actively digesting the nutrients, turning them into more mycelium and eventually fruiting bodies.
As you might imagine, it takes time and sterile growing conditions to successfully produce fruiting bodies from the myceliated grain. Crops can fail with even a hint of contamination. So many commercial producers have decided that instead of taking the time and resources needed to grow mushrooms all the way through to the fruiting stage, they simply dry and powder this mostly undigestible "tempeh" and sell it. So while people think they are paying for a powerful mushroom tonic, they are actually paying top-dollar for partially fermented grain with a little bit of mushroom mycelium mixed in. While this may be 'efficient' from a business standpoint, and many of these companies have funded their own studies espousing the benefits of these powders, dried mycelium has still not been clinically proven to be the most efficacious way to assimilate the powerful immunological intelligence of mushrooms. Have you ever eaten raw tempeh? Probably not, as we know that it's largely indigestible until thoroughly cooked. Some companies have turned to freeze drying, as it's an effective way to preserve the delicate antioxidants in fresh, ready-to-eat foods. However, it does not drastically improve the digestibility of chitinous foods like mushrooms. (3)