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Medicinal Mushrooms... a deeper dive into each brand's unique story

Medicinal Mushrooms... a deeper dive into each brand's unique story

For many years Santos Organics have stocked a beautiful range of local and unique medicinal mushroom products in our stores and online. 

It's time to demystify the "shroom" stories and dive into all the unique characteristics of each brand’s different types of extraction methods and delivery mechanisms. We have collated some interesting information and fun facts on each of our brands we stock! 

Superfeast

From humble beginnings in his mum’s garage, Mason Taylor created Superfeast in 2011 inspired by his passion for health and his quest for access to the world’s best supplements, herbs and medicinal mushrooms.

With their vibrant team, Superfeast takes pride in their sourcing of Dao Di tonic herbs and mushrooms as well as making a contribution to their wider community. As of October 2021, Superfeast had donated over $50,000 and has continued to donate 2% of all revenue to land care and indigenous charities. 

Superfeast works with herbal extract powders for their convenience and medical potency. Their commercially produced extracts are extracted at a 10:1 ratio meaning 10kgs of the herb is reduced to a 1kg concentrate, then dried and sifted to make a powder which is packaged in Mullumbimby or their TGA facility in Sydney. Their herbs have a 2 year shelf life and are not heat sensitive.  

In order to extract the compounds responsible for the mushrooms therapeutic profile, a solvent such as water or alcohol is typically used. Superfeast uses both these mediums to extract their herbs and chooses the method based on the particular active constituents they want to extract. 

For example, non-GMO rice alcohol is used to draw out the fat-soluble components of the herbs, such as bitter compounds and alkaloids while spring water is used to obtain the herbs immune boosting starches, proteins, tannins and astringents. Dual extraction is used if both water and alcohol is required to acquire a herb’s full medicinal profile. 

Superfeast’s mushrooms are not certified organic and they prefer to sustainably wild source their medicinal mushrooms and tonic herbs where they have been traditionally grown as per Di Dao (an ancient practice that loosely translates to sourcing something from its ‘original place’ or ‘spiritual homeland’). See the below statement extracted from their website about why they have chosen this route:

“ We prefer to work with independent farms whose methods are aligned with our ‘earth-friendly’ ethos where growing practices nourish the land and follow the lineage of herbal lore. We’re not so keen on supporting large umbrella companies as these operations are generally business-driven with the focus placed on market profitability as opposed to traditional herbalism.

Generally, products with an organic certification have more security in regards to shelf sales than those that are grown via traditional practices, so it is in the interest of these companies to hand out organic certifications to the farms that work under their business structure.”

Click HERE to check out our Superfeast Medicinal Mushrooms products online.


Evolution Botanicals

Founded by Nara Commerford in Byron Bay, Evolution Botanicals creates mushroom products that are sourced from certified organic farms and processed in certified organic extraction facilities. Their herbs are grown on farms, frequently in semi wild conditions and some products are sustainably wild harvested, like their Siberian Chaga. 

The inspiring team at Evolution Botanicals believes that organic products have a higher degree of transparency and accountability in the supply chain. They also source their products from Dao Di locations when possible and when they exist. Only a selection of Chinese herbs have documented Dao Di locations while other herbs do not fall under this traditional quality guideline. These locations have been identified in Traditional Chinese Medicine as the most desirable for sourcing individual herbs.

Their mushroom products are full spectrum herbal extracts that are very potent and concentrated. The extraction ratio is listed on each label, ranging from 10:1 (Cordyceps, Tremella and Turkey Tail), 11:1 (Chaga), 12:1 (Lion’s Mane) to as high as 16:1 for their Reishi extract. Evolution Botanicals states that extraction ratios combined with the Beta-D-Glucan and Alpha Glucan testing that they conduct is helpful in ascertaining the potency of their products. 

In addition to this, Evolution Botanicals independently tests their herbs at Eurofins labs for over 250 items including heavy metal, pesticides, moulds, radioactivity and other chemicals and they do not sell herbs that test positive for any of these contaminants.

Without extraction, many of the medicinally active compounds in medical mushrooms are not bioavailable to humans as they are bound into the insoluble fibre of the plant. Evolution Botanicals uses a dual extraction process of water followed by organic alcohol to concentrate the medicinal compounds of the mushrooms. However, with dual extraction there can sometimes be damage to water soluble compounds and this is another reason that they conduct Beta-D-Glucan testing.

As with our other mushroom products, the Evolution Botanical range is packaged in Miron glass in order to preserve the goodness of the mushrooms. An interesting fact extracted from their website about the substrate that mushrooms are grown in:

“Knowing the growth substrate is important when sourcing medicinal mushrooms. Medicinal mushrooms turn the growth substrate into secondary metabolites that are beneficial to humans, a mushroom's capacity to do this depends largely on what they are grown on. Most mushrooms require a hardwood substrate for this, Chaga requires living Birch trees and wild Cordyceps requires living caterpillars (don’t worry we do not source wild Cordyceps).”

Click HERE to check out our Evolution Botanicals Medicinal Mushroom products online.


Life Cykel

Life Cykel was co-founded by Julian Mitchell and Ryan Creed in 2015 when they decided to collect coffee waste from Australian cafes and restaurants and use it to grow gourmet mushrooms, which they could sell back to the community. 

Once the coffee waste had been used to grow mushrooms it could then be used as an organic fertiliser. They were creating a closed-loop system and beginning their mission to inspire new attitudes towards food production, waste products and mushrooms.  

This amazing idea launched an innovative business that now also incorporates a wide range of native Australian ingredients. Life Cykel has transformed into an evolutionary mushroom biotechnology company producing full spectrum double liquid extracts infused with wild harvested Australian Kakadu Plum. The Kakadu Plum gives the extracts a sweet flavour while also enhancing the benefits of the mushrooms. 

Life Cykel proudly supports and works alongside amazing people and organisations including John Smith Gumbula, founder of BUR’AN, an Ethical Fair Trade Indigenous Social Venture Corporation (who also helped develop their native Australian ingredients range) and our local Byron Bay Herb Nursery.

Life Cykel’s liquid extracts are formulated by using a unique patented double extraction method (water and alcohol based) in their laboratories in Australia and the United States which are then rigorously tested by in-house scientists.

The potency of their liquid extracts is 1:2 which means that 1kg of mushroom material is used to make 2L of liquid extract, with each extract containing a range of full spectrum compounds acting synergistically together.

We are often asked about the alcohol content of the Life Cykel products. They are made from 70% purified water extract and 30% alcohol extract. The alcohol is used as a preservative and to extract the alcohol soluble compounds (mainly antioxidants such as triterpenoids) and making them bioavailable to the consumer. 

As one serve is 2ml, there is a very small quantity of 0.6ml of alcohol in each serve, with no intoxicating effects. 1 serve of extract is equivalent to 0.6ml of alcohol = 0.4g of alcohol = 4% of a standard drink. This means that it is the equivalent to drinking 12ml of a standard 5% alcohol beer or 5.2ml of a standard white wine restaurant glass size (150ml) of 11.5% of alcohol.

All of LifeCykel’s mushroom fruiting bodies are produced by them, with their Lion’s Mane Hericium coralloides and Turkey Tail Trametes versicolor extracts made from strains growing natively in Australia. Here’s an interesting extract from their website about the sourcing of their products: 

“Our cordyceps, chaga and reishi extracts are grown and engineered in the USA as we are not allowed to grow these strains in Australia under the current biosecurity laws. 

All mushroom fruiting bodies used for our extracts are produced by us, we do not use Chinese based ingredients in our liquid extracts. Most of our fruiting bodies are grown on hardwood sawdust, cordyceps being an exception as it is grown on a substrate based on organic brown rice.”

Click HERE to check out our Life Cykel Mushroom products online.