Medicinal mushroom preparations are natural products. The image of a sustainable organic product is of great importance in this industry. Not all manufacturers produce in compliance with organic quality. However, this offers a certain level of product safety and raw material quality from the outset. Which manufacturers also use sustainable packaging materials and invest in research and innovation, and what other aspects of sustainability are promoted within the company?
Packaging materials, product protection + research and innovation:
||Product|| Research Activity
|| IMMA Evaluation
|Hifas da Terra (ES/UK/FR/DE/IT)||Mico-Rei Reishi Organic Extract||61% of the turnover is invested in research||Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose||Amber glass with aluminium lid||5|
|Tyroler Glückspilze (AUT)||Reishi (Ling Zhi) Flüssigextrakt BIO||15% goes to the MRCA (research centre in Austria).||Liquid, in glycerine||Amber glass with plastic lid||5|
|Bristol Fungarium (UK)||Reishi Tincture||Research and conservation of local fungal strains||Liquid, in water and ethanol||Glass with plastic lid||4|
|Hawlik (DE)||Bio Reishi Extrakt Kapseln||10% of turnover is spent on research||Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose||Plastic||4|
|KiKi-Health (UK)||Reishi Extract ORGANIC||NC||Hypromellose||Glass with plastic lid||3|
|Mushroom4Life (UK)||Organic Reishi Mushroom||NC||Celulosa||Glass with plastic lid||3|
|Smaints (DE)||Pure Night Flüssigextrakt mit Reishi und Hericium||NC||Liquid, in glycerine||Amber glass with plastic lid||3|
|Sunday Natural (DE)||Bio Reishi Extrakt Kapseln||NC||Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose||Amber glass with plastic lid||3|
|Dynveo (FR)||Reishi Bio||NC||Hipromelosa Celulosa||Plastic||2|
|Nutrixeal (FR)||Reishi Bio||NC||Hypromellose||Plastic||2|
|Ortho Therapie (AUT)||Reishi Extrakt||NC||Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose||Plastic||2|
|Pilze Wohlrab (DE)||Reishi BIO Extraktkapseln||NC||Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose||Plastic||2|
|Vitall+ (FR)||Reishi Biologique||NC||Hypromellose||Plastic||2|
|Vitaworld (DE)||Roter Reishi Extrakt 500 mg 40 % Polysaccharide||NC||Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose||Plastic||2|
|Neovital Health (ES)||Reishi NEO||NC||Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose shellac coating, NOT VEGAN!||Plastic blister with aluminium coating||1|
The packaging of a product serves primarily to protect it. Quality must be maintained during transport and storage. Other aspects of sustainability are desirable and should also be taken into account. Vegan dry extracts are encapsulated in hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose (HPMC). This is chemically modified cellulose, which is water-soluble and can be processed as a coating for capsules and tablets. However, the oxygen permeability of HPMC capsules is significantly higher than that of the classical gelatine capsule, leading to a risk of oxidation of the product. The addition of antioxidants (e.g. vitamin C) is therefore recommended, but again at higher costs. Enteric shellac coatings, such as those used by Neovital Health, are indeed made from natural sources (shellac lice) and not from plastics, but this means that the product is no longer vegan!
The fewer individual pieces a pack has, the easier it is to dispose of and recycle. Blister packaging, as a composite material, is not recyclable. Glass is more expensive to produce and transport than plastic, but offers advantages in terms of reusability and environmental protection.
Research plays an important role in mycotherapy. In the Asian market, mushrooms are a normal part of medicine and are recognised and researched. In the Western world, mushrooms are still a niche product. In order to make the value and potential of mushrooms available to more people, research into new production techniques and, above all, into their use as a therapeutic agent is essential. Investing in the future is therefore very important.
Other aspects on the topic of sustainability:
||Product|| Additional sustainability aspects in addition to the Ecolabel
|Hifas da Terra (ES/UK/FR/DE/IT)||Mico-Rei Reishi Organic Extract||Family business, CO2 neutral, reforestation and species conservation projects, research and promotion of mycological concepts in agriculture and forestry, use of renewable energies, recycling of substrates, ecological extraction.||5|
|Bristol Fungarium (UK)||Reishi Tincture||Grown and processed in the UK||4|
|Hawlik (DE)||Bio Reishi Extrakt Kapseln||Substrate recycling||4|
|Pilze Wohlrab (DE)||Reishi BIO Extraktkapseln||Family business, social commitment, “thriving business”, use of sustainable energy resources||4|
|Tyroler Glückspilze (AUT)||Reishi (Ling Zhi) Flüssigextrakt BIO||Sustainable projects for new agricultural and fertiliser concepts||4|
|Dynveo (FR)||Reishi Bio||Harvested by hand in the USA.||3|
|KiKi-Health (UK)||Reishi Extract ORGANIC||No to child labour on farms abroad||3|
|Sunday Natural (DE)||Bio Reishi Extrakt Kapseln||If possible, direct trade on the spot||3|
|Mushroom4Life (UK)||Organic Reishi Mushroom||NC||1|
|Neovital Health (ES)||REISHI NEO||NC||1|
|Nutrixeal (FR)||Reishi Bio||NC||1|
|Ortho Therapie (AUT)||Reishi Extrakt||NC||1|
|Smaints (DE)||Pure Night Flüssigextrakt mit Reishi und Hericium||NC||1|
|Vitall+ (FR)||REISHI Biologique||NC||1|
|Vitaworld (DE)||Roter Reishi Extrakt 500 mg 40 % Polysaccharide||NC||1|
Some of the manufacturers promote sustainable projects and manage their companies and their production in a way that saves resources and respects the environment. Supporting local initiatives and recycling production waste are very important to make a modern production process more sustainable. The study and conservation of fungi for the utilisation and stabilisation of ecosystems (agriculture, reforestation with mycorrhizae) is socially relevant in the context of climate change, but is only promoted for the least.
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Important: Depending on the mushroom product and the area of application, it naturally takes different amounts of time before an effect is noticeable.
It can take from a few hours (energy booster) to several months (anti-aging). So how long do I have to take a mushroom extract before I notice a noticeable effect? A good overview of what happens in the body when you take Reishi, Cordyceps and Lion’s Mane over an extended period of time can be found here in PDF format.