Updated: Mar 4, 2019
When teaching classes, I enjoy demonstrating how simple it is for anyone to make a basic tincture. Making a reishi tincture (or any medicinal mushroom tincture) is an exception to that - It is a bit more complicated. But so is making white chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake (my favorite and yes, I have made it: https://triedandtasty.com/copycat-cheesecake-factory-white-chocolate-raspberry).
And reishi is far better for us!
A double extraction is required to access all the constituents that reishi (or any medicinal mushroom) has to offer. Its terpenoids and phenolics are best extracted in alcohol, however, the alcohol destroys the polysaccharides that are so beneficial to supporting our immune system and are best extracted in water as a decoction. Equally important is controlling the percentage of alcohol in the final product so as to not destroy those polysaccharides.
Loving research, I read several books and scoured the internet for advice on making a reishi tincture.. The most useful website I found was
How I Make Reishi Tincture
After much research, this is how I ended up making a very tasty, full-spectrum reishi mushroom tincture. (This same technique can be used with other medicinal mushrooms such as chaga, cordyceps, lion's mane, or turkey tail).
Divide dried and chopped mushrooms into two equal parts. Set aside one part to use in Part 2 below.
Prepare a tincture by covering half of the mushrooms with a menstruum composed of:
70% alcohol (100 proof vodka)
20% food grade glycerin (used to maintain emulsification and improve taste)
Allow to steep 4-6 weeks, shaking occasionally.
Prepare a decoction by combining the reserved second half of the mushrooms with twice the volume of water than what you used for the total solvent volume of the tincture you haves strained.
Simmer the decoction for at least one hour, preferably 2 hours or more.
Keep adding water as needed during the cooking time. I simmered mine for about 6 hours, adding water as needed.
Strain the decoction and continue to simmer the liquid until it equals the amount of strained tincture.
Remove from heat and cool completely.
Combine with the alcohol menstruum and bottle.
You may notice particulate floating in your tincture or settling on the bottom of the jar as it sits on a shelf. That is simply the polysaccharides that have precipitated out of the solution. In this case, I consider the particulate to be an indication of a properly made medicinal mushroom tincture.
Just shake well before using.