The Science and Spirit of Mushrooms with Reishi Strauss – Mushroom Revival

The Science and Spirit of Mushrooms with Reishi Strauss

This episode is critical interview with Reishi Strauss, who has pioneered some great research on cordyceps in the US. This is a great episode if you want to learn more about the mushroom supplement industry, scientific testing, mycelium on grain vs fruiting bodies, cordyceps extraction techniques and much more. 
Reishi Strauss has been a long time friend of ours and lead scientist for some Cordyceps studies she conducted with our cordyceps at Bastyr University over the last two years. A scientist and herbalist who attended Bastyr University, an accredited University in Seattle that is the only school in the world to offer a Bachelor's of Science in Herbal Sciences. After taking classes in Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Ethnobotany, First Aid, Herb/Drug Interactions, Disease Processes, Anatomy, History of Herbs, and more, she finished her program with her final project conducting a study on cordyceps militaris. She then partnered with students the next year to conduct phase two of this study with first ever data on this research in the field of science. 

"Materials and methods

Fresh and dried fruiting bodies were generously donated by Mushroom Revival LLC. Fresh fruiting bodies were kept at 35F during the duration of research. These fruiting bodies were prepared into fresh and dried extractions including the following: 7 minute hot aqueous infusion, 25 minute hot aqueous infusion, 15 minute decoction, 1 hour hot aqueous infusion, 1 hour room temperature aqueous infusion, 2 hour room temperature aqueous infusion, 10 hour cold aqueous infusion, 12 hour room temperature aqueous infusion, 14 hour room temperature aqueous infusion, 16 hour room temperature aqueous infusion, and a 16 hour hot aqueous infusion. Infusions were prepared by pouring boiling water over a finely ground sample using a 1:10 ratio of cordyceps to water. These samples were covered completely during the entire duration for each infusion. Decoctions were prepared using covered glassware heated on a hotplate. For the cold infusion, maceration time was kept at 35F. Preparations of mycelium were graciously donated by Mushroom Revival LLC and were prepared into the following extractions: 1 hour room temperature aqueous infusion, 15 minute decoction. These preparations followed the same protocol as above. Weight-volume ratios of 1g C. militaris to 10 mL deanimanted water applied to all extractions. 2 mL of each preparation was transferred to 2 mL sample tubes before being centrifuged for five minutes in order to remove all sediment. The samples were then transferred to 25 clean 1.5 mL tubes in preparation for the final dilution. Before assessment via HPLC, all preparations were diluted to 1:5 in deaminated water within 26 glass 2 mL vials. HPLC methods were built upon what was established in a previous study done upon the separation and extraction of cordycepin and adenosine from cordyceps fungal material.

Results and Conclusion

As a soft bodied mushroom, cordyceps does not need to follow the usual hard bodied functional mushroom protocols for preparing extracts. Our research will help herbalists and scientists alike craft the most potent extracts from this widely useful fungus. The following data was assessed using the standard curves shown in Figure 3 and Figure 4. We found that our cordycepins absorption amount was consistently the highest in each respective aqueous temperature preparations when it was taken from a dried source. The times themselves differ between the highest concentrations. These two factors are communicated when expressing the results. Our highest cordycepin aqueous extract was the 15 minute dry decoction that yielded 2683.65 ug cordycepin per gram of herb, while our highest adenosine aqueous extract was our 1 hour dry hot infusion that granted 44209.90 ug adenosine per gram (Figure 6 and 7). These two constituents together suggest having an extraction preference for hot temperatures although their time of absorption differ. For some comparison our most potent cordycepin from a fresh extract was the 14 hour room temperature extraction resulting in 2777.07 ug cordycepin, while the strongest adenosine extract was 13660.74 ug adenosine from a 1 hour fresh hot extraction. For our mycelium preparations the 15 minute decoctions provided the highest concentration with cordycepin reaching 345.86 ug while adenosine being 1053.01 ug (Figure 6 and 7). Our previous hypothesis that the fresh material would offer higher amounts of both cordycepin and adenosine was incorrect. These new findings suggest that both cordycepin and adenosine may begin degrading as soon as the fresh material is harvested. Very little relevant studies have been done on the extraction qualities of cordyceps involving cordycepin and adenosine, therefore these findings suggest that more studies should follow."

Other findings in our studies:

  • Mycelium is ~8-40 times weaker than fruiting bodies.
  • Mycelium post fruiting or pre fruiting have about the same compounds
  • dehydrating cordyceps does not degrade any of the cordycepin or adenosine

Other studies have shown that:

  • 60% alcohol at 130 degrees F for 8 hours with ultrasonic assisted extraction is the best for cordycepin concentration
  • supercritical co2 extraction was the best method for cordycepin