Plant Compounds and Dual Extraction

Community Q & A on Hands on Health


Jeff Winkler and Dana Woods

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Episode 177 for Part 1 – Dandelions (October 16th)

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The following is an excerpt from an article at

The Herbal Academy

Although the art and science of making plant medicine can seem to grow ever more complicated the longer an herbalist maintains a practice, the accessibility of making full-spectrum medicinal plant extracts frequently remains within the grasp of do-it-yourself home medicine makers. Today I’m going to share with you how to make a medicinal mushroom double-extraction tincture.

This process, known as “double-extraction,” is a method commonly used for immune stimulating herbs, including many of the known medicinal mushrooms such as reishimaitakechagashiitake, turkey tail, and Cordyceps.

Medicinal mushroom use has a long history in traditional medicine, a history which current research is only beginning to catch up with. Modern biochemical data shows an array of active constituents and compounds which assist the human body in the maintenance of health and in the healing process of ailments.

Fungal polysaccharides, actively researched since the 1950s, are long branching chains of complex sugars and have been shown to exhibit immune-modulating, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor activities (Hobbs, 1986), while compounds such as phenolics and terpenoids display a reduction in oxidative damage on the cellular levels (Mase, 2012).

These activities have indicated medicinal mushrooms in instances of under-active immune systems (such as in common cold and flu season), overactive immune function (such as in cases of autoimmune diseases), and carcinogenesis (such as in the growth of tumors and metastatic cancers) (Masé, 2012).

Because medicinal mushrooms contain this variety of constituents, both easily water-soluble (polysaccharides) and of lesser solubility (terpenoids and phenolics), the double-extraction process is necessary for making a full-spectrum medicine.

During the researching of this article, it became apparent that many highly-esteemed medicine makers and clinical herbalists differ in the particularities of making double-extractions of medicinal fungi. For this reason, we will offer an outline of the basic steps required during the double-extraction process, appended with more detail as to the options and variations recommended by a variety of experienced practitioners.