Mushroom Tinctures and Extraction Methods Explained

Posted by Blair Kovacs on

Chaga mushroom is undoubtedly well respected and known as the King of medicinal mushrooms. The black encrusted fungus inonotus obliquus grows on birch trees throughout North America and Northern Europe.

Used by indigenous tribes in pipe ceremonies, healing moxibustion and even as an antiseptic after child birth. Chaga has most notable been used as a healing medicinal tea.

The health benefits of chaga are vast. Over the years two main extraction methods have been used for chaga mushroom each offering a different outcome and health benefits.

chaga tincture and chaga tea
Chaga Tincture and Chaga Tea Bundle

Chaga Mushroom Tincture vs. Chaga Tea

Hot Water Extraction

Hot water extraction can be compared to a traditional tea-making process.

Hot water extraction is the most common and the cheapest method. Ideally one should avoid boiling chaga as over time this will cause the bio active beta glucans to disintegrate. This may also destroy many of the naturally occuring phyto-nutrients and vitamins found in chaga mushroom.

The beta D-glucans, the bio active part of these polysaccharides, may contribute up to ±35 % in a very pure extract. Polyphenolic components like melanin are water soluble will also be present.

Water insoluble components, such as phytosterols, betulinic acid and betulin, will be absent in a hot water extract. Several extraction rounds combined with modern techniques may result in high levels of polysaccharides of up to 60%.

Alcohol Extraction

Alcohol extraction using Ethanol or methanol isolates the water insoluble components, betulinic acid, betulin and phytosterols. Alcohol extraction is often used as a second step after hot-water extraction. Ethanol alone will not break down chitin effectively because heat is essential.

Alcohol used to make tinctures

190 high proof ethanol is most effective when making chaga tincture. It’s also the only edible solvent that can effectively extract the non-water soluble compounds found in chaga mushroom.

Using vodka or rum to make chaga tincture will not be as effective in extracting the compounds from chaga mushroom.

Most tinctures use ethyl alcohol, which is a high-proof alcohol that is commercially available and very safe for consumption. Given that the amount of tincture taken is very small the amount of alcohol consumed is negligible.

Annanda uses certified organic pharmaceutical grade high proof cane ethanol. Our spirits are three stage filtered to assure the highest level of purity.

Benefits of Alcohol extraction 

Alcohol allows the body to absorb nutrients quickly. 

Alcohol tinctures are extremely fast-acting and effective because alcohol can enter our bloodstream quickly. Our tongue and cheeks contain capillaries which quickly absorb alcohol.

When taking chaga tincture under our tongue, it’s entering our bloodstream directly. Helping to deliver the chaga tincture benefits almost immediately.

Tinctures usually have 25% alcohol as a minimum mostly to act as a preservative. This allows for a product shelf life of up to 5 years.

Extract ratios and alcohol percentages in tinctures

The formula of a tincture may also indicate the ratio of herb to solvent in addition to the alcohol percentage.

Ratios in herbal tinctures help us to understand how much plant material is present relative to the volume of alcohol. In this way, ratios tell us how concentrated an extract is.

For example, a tincture of 1:2 contains one part plant material to two parts alcohol.

The amount of alcohol used will depend on the properties of the chaga used and how much water it contains. The alcohol percentage refers to the percentage of solvent in the tincture.

An extract with a lower extract ratio does not necessarily mean a more potent tincture, only that it contains more alcohol.  

Alcohol is used as a vehicle for extraction; in the end one should strive for a lower alcohol content

Glycerin Extraction

Vegetable glycerine came into use by herbalists around 1846. A process in which liquid is obtained by the hydrolysis of vegetable fats or fixed oils.

Extracts made from glycerin are also known as glycerites. They can be a good choice for herbal extracts if one is sensitive to alcohol for any reason.

Glycerin extracts have a shelf life of 14-24 months, versus an alcohol extract with a shelf life of 4-6 years.

Food grade glycerin can often be expensive and difficult to source.

Betulin is a soluble acetic acid and cannot be effectively extracted by water based solvents like glycerin. (1)

In comparison, chaga tincture made with ethanol would contain the same amount of alcohol as an overripe banana. 

Negating potency and efficacy seems to be a poor trade off for the avoidance of alcohol.

Double Extraction

Combining hot water and ethanol extract together is known as dual extract or double extraction. This combination is very effective and offers the benefits of each method in a bio available form.

When researching chaga tinctures check the product label for the amount or percent of polysaccharides and betulinic acid offered.

The majority of mushroom supplements sold today are non-extracted and have limited therapeutic value. In fact, a recent study suggests that one in three supplements on the market today are fake.

Triple Extraction

The third extraction method refers to freezing hot water extracted chaga tea in an attempt to further break down chitin.

Chitin is a waxy cellular coating which protects molecules and requires heat in order for it to dissolve. 

A natural protection mechanism from sub zero temperatures. Freezing chaga will have no effect on dissolving chitizize nor will it amplify the efficacy of bio active compounds.    

Put simply, the term triple extraction or triple extracted chaga tincture does not apply to chaga mushroom.

The term triple extracted tincture does apply to Lion's Mane Tincture. Third stage cold water extraction is used to extract the spores of Hericium Erinaceum.  When combined with hot water and ethanol stage extraction the cold water extraction results in Triple Extracted Lion's Mane Tincture.

Chaga Tincture Dosage - How Much Tincture to take

Annanda Chaga Tincture  Adult Dosage take 2 to 3 dropper pulls daily under the tongue or with any beverage.  

Repeat dosage up to 3 to 5 times a day. 

Annanda chaga tincture is a natural health product regulated by Health Canada. These dosages do no apply to other chaga tincture products.

Annanda Chaga Tincture can be added to your daily protocol of Chaga Tea if desired.  Refer to the Annanda chaga dosage guide for more information on daily dosage.

Health Benefits of chaga Tincture

  • Immune modulation
  • Battling sun damage
  • Pain relief
  • Supporting cancer treatment
  • Removing certain parasites
  • Antiviral
  • Detoxifying (blood and liver)
  • Reduces oxidative stress
  • Balancing blood sugar
  • Heart protective
  • Bronchitis
  • Improving circulation
  • Intestinal protection
  • Lowers bad cholesterol
  • Support chemo & radiation therapy 

Side Effects of Chaga Tincture

Chaga is a vasodilator and can mimic a blood thinner. You should stop taking chaga tea or chaga tincture 8-10 days before any planned surgery.

Chaga decreases blood sugar levels. Diabetics should seek medical advice and to monitor blood sugar levels if taking chaga tincture daily.

Chaga grows on the Birch tree so those with allergies to Birch should not consume Chaga Mushroom in any form. Birch allergies are not common but usually accompany other known allergies to other foods like pitted fruits or carrots.  

Refer to our complete dosage and side effects of chaga mushroom guide for more information.


Annanda Chaga Tincture is a natural health product regulated by Health Canada. Based on science with formulated dosage in mg per serving.

The directions, dosage and advise in this article only apply to Annanda Chaga products.

Consult your family physician or seek medical advice before taking any home based remedies.


1 Extraction of betulin, trimyristin, eugenol and carnosic acid using water-organic solvent mixtures