How do you extract adaptogens?

We have talked about what exactly is a mushroom. We saw how a mushroom grows. Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. What is an adaptogen? And what do adaptogenic mushrooms do? How does it coffee with mushrooms made with Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps improve your cognitive function? How Reishi and Chaga Help You Relax? And how do we get all these functional nutrients into our coffee, anyway? Let’s dive in and learn about adaptogens, mushroom chemistry, and extraction.

What is an adaptogen?

Adaptogens are chemicals that help the human body respond to a wide range of stressful situations. Traditional medicine practitioners in China, Korea and Japan have incorporated medicinal mushrooms into their practice for thousands of years, but they have only recently caught on in the West in the last hundred years or so. During and after World War II, Soviet scientists conducted several studies, which found that adaptogens could help reduce the initial peak of stress (the “alert phase”) and reduce the negative effects after a stressful episode (“the exhaustion phase”). Basically, adaptogens help you relax, which in turn allows you to think more clearly and be more creative.[1] More modern studies have confirmed that adaptogens improve adaptability and resistance to stress.

What adaptogens can you find in mushrooms?

There are two main adaptogenic chemicals found in mushrooms: beta-glucans and triterpenes. Beta-glucans are naturally occurring polysaccharides that can help boost your immune system by activating the complement system, which boosts your natural antibody capacity. Beta-glucans also exhibit some anticarcinogenic activity, possibly reducing tumorigenesis and spread.

Triterpenes are a large group of chemical compounds that share a characteristic structure of three terpene units. Within this group are many, many beneficial nutrients. The triterpenes in Reishi mushrooms, for example, may help treat chronic diabetes, asthma, insomnia, and many more conditions.[4]

How do we extract these adaptogens?

It would be nice if you could just eat an adaptogenic mushroom and enjoy all its benefits, but there is a problem. The valuable nutrients inside these mushrooms are trapped inside a material called chitin, which is an extremely tough fiber that gives the structure of the fruiting body. However, most people cannot digest chitin, which means they cannot absorb the adaptogens that chitin contains. These adaptogens are not “bioavailable”. To get beta glucans and triterpenes from mushrooms and into your coffee, we need to extract the adaptogens using a two-part process.

Why double export?

We use two extraction methods at Wunderground: a hot water extraction and an alcohol extraction. The reason is simple: beta-glucans are water-soluble, while triterpenes are alcohol-soluble. Double extraction ensures that the most adaptogens get into our coffees and teas and then into you.

We hope this article gives you a little more information and confidence when choosing the adaptogenic supplement that is right for you. We’re a little biased, but we think the combination of great coffee and adaptive mushrooms is smart. We hope you will try it.

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