What are extracts, why are they useful and how are they made?


Extraction is the oldest form of medicinal plant preparation known to mankind. The use of medicinal plants in the form of oily or aqueous extracts (also known as drug extracts) has been documented for thousands of years.

Vital mushroom products are also available in the form of extracts (mostly as dry powdered extract, sometimes also as liquid extract). Many manufacturers also sell mushroom powder, i.e. simply dried and ground mushrooms that have not undergone any further processing. Advantage of an extract: the extract dissolves the ingredients in the mushroom cells and concentrates them, so that less product (compared to powder) has to be taken to achieve a high effect and the body can absorb the substances more easily.

Why are extracts useful?

In extracts, the ingredients of the original product are concentrated and their concentration can be precisely adjusted. This makes sense in order to be able to carry out an effective and consistent therapy. Plants and fungi are natural organisms that are exposed to different external conditions during their growth. For example, changing weather conditions or a different soil can cause the fungus to increase or decrease its production of certain substances. By testing and then adjusting an extract, these natural fluctuations can be balanced and controlled.

How are mushroom extracts produced?

In the production process, the dried mushrooms are first crushed and placed in a liquid. Depending on the process, this can be either hot water (see tea) or a mixture of water and ethanol. If both water and ethanol are used, substances are obtained from both fractions and therefore the highest yield can be achieved (dual extraction). The extract is thus more varied than the pure hot water extract. In addition, dual extraction can be carried out at lower temperatures and is therefore gentler. Mushrooms contain thermolabile substances that can be destroyed during hot water extraction

Tentative conclusion: Dual extracts usually offer more ingredients!

When the extract is ready, the dissolving medium has to be removed. This is best done at low temperature. The dry residue is then the so-called dry extract. This can be packaged in capsules or dissolved in other liquids such as water, syrup or glycerine and sold as a so-called “liquid extract”. Here it is important to pay attention to the ingredients. The actual liquid extract, also called tincture, is the extract before the drying process and may still contain alcohol. Freshly dissolved preparations are a liquefied dry extract.

Dry vs. liquid: Many ingredients are sensitive to light, moisture and heat. In dry form, extracts are more stable against external influences and have also proven to be easier to use and have better storage properties.


Comparison of extracts 1

Manufacturer Product Type of extract
Extraction procedure
Ratio of Extract
IMMA Evaluation
Hifas da Terra (ES/UK/FR/DE/IT) Mico-Rei Reishi Organic Extract Dry extract Dual extract 15:01 5
Vitall+ (FR) REISHI Biologique Dry extract Dual extract 14:01 5
Bristol Fungarium (UK) Reishi Tincture Liquid extract 2 x hot water extract + 1 x ethanol extract 04:01 4
Dynveo (FR) Reishi Bio Dry extract Dual extract NC 3
KiKi-Health (UK) Reishi Extract ORGANIC Dry extract Dual extract NC 3
Mushroom4Life (UK) Organic Reishi Mushroom Dry extract Dual extract NC 3
Sunday Natural (DE) Bio Reishi Extrakt Kapseln Dry extract Dual extract NC 3
Smaints (DE) Pure Night Flüssigextrakt mit Reishi und Hericium Liquid extract Dual extract NC 2
Tyroler Glückspilze (AUT) Reishi (Ling Zhi) Flüssigextrakt BIO Liquid extract Dual extract NC 2
Hawlik (DE) Bio Reishi Extrakt Kapseln Dry extract Hot water extract NC 1
Pilze Wohlrab (DE) Reishi BIO Extraktkapseln Dry extract Hot water extract NC 1
Neovital Health (ES) REISHI NEO Dry extract NC NC 0
Nutrixeal (FR) Reishi Bio Dry extract NC 10:01 0
Ortho Therapie (AUT) Reishi Extrakt Dry extract NC NC 0
Vitaworld (DE) Roter Reishi Extrakt 500 mg 40 % Polysaccharide Dry extract NC NC 0

Dual extracts offer the consumer a wider range of ingredients and are therefore preferable to pure hot water extracts. Both types of extract (dry and liquid) are prepared in basically the same way. There is currently no evidence that liquid preparations have a better effect. In principle, they require longer storage time and offer shorter shelf life, but for people with swallowing difficulties, children or unwillingness to swallow capsules, it is easier to use liquid preparations. However, some liquid extracts contain alcohol for preservation or because of the extraction route. This should be taken into account if alcohol is to be avoided. Most capsules in this test are not enteric-coated, so they can be easily opened and mixed with water, for example. Mixing with food should be avoided so as not to hinder absorption. Only Neovital Health uses a shellac coating to make the capsule enteric coated. It is therefore not possible to open the capsule, and this product is the only one that is not vegan!

Here you will come to the next article with the topic of product quality, , learn something about the purity and quality of mushroom products together with us!

Are you interested in our product comparison? Here you can go directly to the end result of this product comparison!

Here you will find more information about our quality standards.

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? Here you will find a good overview of what happens in the body when Reishi, Cordyceps and Lion’s Mane are taken over a long period of time in PDF format.