Whole mushrooms vs mushroom extracts

Whole mushrooms vs mushroom extracts

Team ErbologyErbology

Are you interested in trying medicinal mushrooms, but unsure about whether to choose a mushroom extract or whole mushroom powder? This article is here to help. It discusses the key differences between the two types of product, as well as the pros and cons of each. Hopefully this will enable you to decide which is the most appropriate for your needs. So, let’s explore the world of these fabulous fungi!

November 09, 2023 9:44 pm

A recap on medicinal mushrooms

For those who are new to them, it might be useful to first give a quick overview of medicinal mushrooms. Then we can get into the finer details of how a mushroom extract differs from a whole mushroom powder.

In essence, medicinal mushrooms are specific species of fungi that offer potent wellness-boosting properties when consumed. These go beyond the normal vitamins, minerals and similar nutrients contained in standard mushrooms you find at the supermarket.

People have been using medicinal mushrooms to enhance their health for thousands of years. For example, they are a key component of Traditional Chinese Medicine. And what’s exciting is that modern scientific research is finding evidence to back up ancient wisdom regarding their benefits.

Each kind of functional fungi has its own unique advantages to offer, as we’ll discuss below. However, they do have certain factors in common. For example, all medicinal mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans. These are special polysaccharides (a type of fibre) which can help to support the body’s immune system.(1) Both mushroom extracts and whole mushroom powders contain beta-glucans, however the concentrations differ. More on that below!

Likewise, all medicinal mushrooms are classed as adaptogens. That means they help us cope with physical and mental stress more effectively and bring our bodies back into balance. Again, this is a benefit you can enjoy regardless of whether you choose a mushroom extract or whole mushroom powder.

mushroom risotto ingredients

The benefits of different medicinal mushrooms

Before picking between a mushroom extract and whole mushroom powder, you need to decide which fungi is right for you. Although there is a lot of crossover in their benefits, each has its own individual strengths. So the best choice for you will depend on the specific advantages you’re hoping to gain.

We have detailed articles about all the different medicinal mushrooms we offer, but here’s a very short recap:

  • Agaricus blazei – fights free radicals and supports cardiovascular health
  • Lion’s mane – balances mood, improves focus, and enhances cognitive health
  • Chaga – a potent antioxidant that protects against oxidative damage and supports skin health
  • Reishi – stimulates the body’s natural immune defences, helps you relax, and improves sleep quality
  • Cordyceps – supports energy and post-exercise recovery, reduces fatigue, and improves athletic performance
  • Turkey tail – nourishes the good bacteria in your gut and supports the digestive system
  • Shiitake – strengthens immunity, supports energy, and enhances cardiovascular health

Once you know which mushroom (or mushrooms) you’re interested in, you can start thinking about how to take them. While it’s possible to eat some medicinal fungi fresh, they’re often hard to get hold of and not particularly tasty! As such, most people prefer to consume medicinal mushrooms in powder form.

So, the next step is to consider whether you want a mushroom extract or a whole mushroom powder. Time to go into the details of how they differ.