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Hot Water Extract vs. Alcohol Extract

Important note: The information on this page was originally written in response to the many questions we get about reishi hot water extract but it applies generally to all our health supporting mushrooms. In addition to the general information on this page, each mushroom may require additional special considerations for optimal extraction benefits. We take everything into account.

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Our most frequently asked question regards hot water extract vs. alcohol extract. One well-known Japanese reishi brand as well as one increasingly popular American brand both claim that only hot water extracts are effective and alcohol extracts are useless because - they say - the important health promoting compounds of reishi are the polysaccharide compounds, which must be hot water extracted. This is an oversimplification to the extent that it is actually misleading. Let us set the facts straight:

  1. The polysaccharide compounds in reishi are very important in promoting health and they need to be hot water extracted. That much is true.
  2. However, the anti-inflammatory compounds (triterpenoids) in reishi cannot be hot water extracted. They can only be extracted by alcohol. The anti-inflammatory properties of reishi are considered one of the most important factors of reishi's powerful effect on health.
  3. Hot water extract and alcohol extract can be mixed after extraction. Our reishi products contain both hot water extract of reishi and alcohol extract. So unlike the Japanese and American brands referred to above, our brand contains both polysaccharides and anti-inflammatory compounds. It has the best of both worlds.
  4. When the hot water and alcohol extracts are mixed, the large water-soluble polysaccharide molecules fall out of solution and make the liquid cloudy.  So the cloudiness you see in our reishi extract is visual evidence of its high polysaccharide content.  (The same high polysaccharide content is found in the capsules as well.)

Paul Stamets', producer of the Fungi Perfecti brand that we offer, is known as the leading health mushroom expert in the U.S.  He has spent decades honing his extraction methods to perfection.  He currently uses a triad of extraction methods to pull all active compounds out of his organically grown health supporting mushrooms:

  1. Hot water extraction (polysaccharides, etc.)

  2. Alcohol extraction (triterpenoids*, nucleosides, sterols, ganoderic acid, etc.)

  3. Fermentation (arabinoxylanes, etc.)

Each extraction method pulls out different compounds, all of which have been proven by scientific research to be therapeutically important.  So in other words, when using Paul Stamets' Fungi Perfecti brand of reishi, you reap the benefit of everything that reishi has to offer, including hot water extracted polysaccharides.  On the other hand, if you use the Japanese or American brands of only hot water extracted reishi, you get only the water soluble polysaccharides.  You do not get the alcohol soluble anti-inflammatory compounds nor the fermentation extracted arabinoxylanes.

Select mushroom extracts by Stamets have been tested by the CDC and U.S. army labs.  With thousands of products tested they were, as an example, found to be among only a handful effective against biological war-fare agents such as smallpox related viruses and anthrax.  The reishi extract of Paul Stamets is likewise as potent as any modern knowledge and technology is able to create.

(*Triterpenoids are a family of compounds.  The many benefits of triterpenoids include liver support and detoxification, anti-inflammation (allergies, arthritis, asthma), balancing blood pressure, cholesterol and blood clotting.  With the brands of Reishi that are are only hot water extracted, you will miss out on these important benefits of reishi.)


Copyright © 2009-2017 Cordyceps Reishi Extracts, LLC. - all written material on this, including "Reishi Hot Water vs. Alcohol Extract."
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Please note that the claims on this page and this web-site have not yet been verified by the FDA.  We recommend that you consult a licensed medical practitioner before using any substance for medicinal purposes.

Credits: Thank you to Paul Stamets for source material about fungi & mushrooms!
Copyright © 2009-2017 Fungi Perfecti & Paul Stamets - all images of mushrooms, fungi, and products
Copyright © 2009-2017 Cordyceps Reishi Extract, LLC - All written material on, including "Reishi Hot Water Extract vs. Alcohol Extract"