Don’t Be in The Dark! How Your Medicinal Mushroom Supplement Is Made Matters – Learn Why!

Turkey Tail medicinal mushroom

Mushrooms. Love them or loathe them on the dinner plate – they hold undeniable therapeutic benefits!

Medicinal mushrooms have been valued for centuries as exceptional nourishing and healing fungi in traditional health modalities across the globe. Today, the popularity of mushroom supplements is on the rise, as their benefits become more widely recognized – with a variety of products flooding the market.

Don’t be “in the dark” on mushrooms supplements!

The unfortunate truth is, mushroom supplements are not all made the same, nor do they all deliver the same benefits – and information can be confusing.

There is much more to it than meets the eye! Quality can vary from product to product since the fungal part that is used and how it’s processed and tested are all crucial components in making effective medicinal mushroom supplements.

We’ve broken down the principal factors to consider – and what to check the label for – when choosing the best medicinal mushroom supplement.

Premium Quality Ingredients

While ultimately it comes down to determining whether your supplement provides a full spectrum of medicinal compounds, and specifically whether it communicates the % of beta-glucans, it all starts with this most important question:

Is the supplement made from mushroom or mycelium on grain?

The “fruiting body” of the mushroom is the part you see above ground and the only part that should be referred to as “mushroom”. It is the structure that contains the full spectrum of therapeutic compounds that make mushrooms so beneficial and is what the vast majority of research is based on. It is the part, in fact, that has been used and revered in Traditional Chinese Medicine for millennia.

On the other hand, the “mycelium” refers to the underground root-like filaments that the mushroom (fruiting body) springs forth from, but it is not the mushroom itself. Despite its low potency and lack of supporting research, it is often the main ingredient in many mushroom supplements!

Mycelium-based products originating in North America are lab-cultivated on substrates like grains, including oats, rice, or sorghum, which end up in the final supplement! 

The reality is that it is expensive to grow full mushrooms, i.e., fruiting bodies; commercial operations must mimic natural growing conditions such as occur in forests and require vast quantities of natural growing materials and inputs to do it right – especially in view of the sheer quantity required in a final supplement, given mushrooms are 90% water!

Mushrooms growing naturally under controlled conditions

mushrooms growing in controlled environment

Mycelium – only grown in a lab, on grain

mycelium growing on grain

St. Francis medicinal mushroom supplements are made from the fruiting body exclusively and are sourced from expert growers in China’s Qingyuan County, an area renowned for its pristine, unpolluted natural setting, ideal for the growing and harvesting of mushrooms, situated deep in the mountains far from industrialized centres. These mushrooms are grown on natural substrates, such as sawdust and hardwood logs, in shade-houses or greenhouses where there is a constant flow of fresh air and clean water

Learn more about the stringent quality controls of our medicinal mushroom growing facilities here.

Buying Tip: Check the label’s medicinal ingredients and look for “fruiting body” – if it says mycelium or doesn’t disclose what the supplement is made from, stop right there!

High Potency and Absorption 

Even when working with quality ingredients – drying and grinding mushrooms into powder is simply not enough. With this technique, the body is not able to efficiently access and absorb the full spectrum of beneficial compounds, no matter how small they are ground up, because the tough cell walls have not been broken down.

Our extraction techniques provide the critical medicinal compounds in a form that maximizes the body’s ability to absorb and use them and breaks down the tough fungal cell walls – to ensure maximum absorption.

The techniques are customized to suit the unique characteristic of each mushroom. For example, Reishi, Lion’s Mane, and Chaga require a dual extraction (double) to maximize access to key compounds such as triterpenoids, while others, like Turkey Tail and Maitake, require water only single extraction.

Buying Tip: if a supplement is made from mushroom (not mycelium) and there is only a high-volume number indicated on the label (e.g., 800mg-1500mg), it is dried, ground up mushroom. If there is also a lower number (e.g., 100mg-300mg), it means it is a mushroom extract.

Bioavailable Therapeutic Compounds

It was once thought that general polysaccharide levels were the indicator of a mushroom product’s efficacy.

But it is now firmly established that the ultimate measure of effectiveness in a supplement is that it contains the full spectrum of beneficial compounds – and specifically, beta glucans – highly researched immune supportive compounds.

Most brands don’t disclose the beta glucan levels but lump them in with the broader polysaccharide component on their labels. In some supplements (especially those made primarily from mycelium grown on grain), these levels can appear high, but this is due to the inclusion of starch from the growing substrate, which has no medicinal benefits, rather than their being an indication of actual beta-glucan content. This is one of the main reasons that a polysaccharide count is unreliable – and misleading as a measure of product efficacy.

Buying Tip: a high, general polysaccharide count doesn’t always indicate an effective product. Look for brands and products that test and report on beta glucan levels, as their content is critical to how effective the supplement will be.

St Francis Herb Farm Medicinal Mushroom Supplements

Each St. Francis medicinal mushroom supplement is third-party tested for beta-d glucans, and how much of these are present is communicated on each of the product pages on this site – with levels ranging between 28%-49%!

The equation for how St. Francis makes the most effective medicinal mushroom supplement is simple and straightforward:

Fruiting body ingredient


Customized extraction methods & testing


A potent, quality medicinal mushroom supplement, containing a full spectrum of highly absorbable beneficial compound

Our 100% Pure High Potency Medicinal Mushroom Capsule Lineup Includes:

  • Lion’s Mane – Cognitive health & immune support
  • Reishi – Immune & stress support
  • Chaga – Antioxidant & immune support
  • Turkey Tail – Digestive & immune support
  • Maitake – Healthy blood sugar levels & immune protection

Each 60-capsule bottle of our medicinal mushroom line = 1 month’s supply, providing extremely high value for price + quality. Be sure to compare in terms of quality and on a cost per day basis!

Buying Tip: Remember to Check Labels for Value - It’s important to check the number of daily doses in a bottle, not just the number of capsules, to determine the price per day. Some may appear to be less expensive but contain just a 2-week supply versus a slightly higher-priced, concentrated supplement containing a longer-term supply.

We believe that effective, quality plant medicines combine tradition with modern methods and are made with craftmanship and precision.

Our medicinal mushroom supplements are no exception, sourced from the highest quality, organic, raw ingredients, using precise extraction techniques that harness the therapeutic benefits of these ancient plant medicines. No cutting corners – just results.

Learn more about our medicinal mushroom line, from ingredient sourcing to extraction techniques, and how to navigate labels with confidence by reviewing our Frequently Asked Questions.

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At St. Francis Herb Farm, we have a fantastic, hard-working team. We are truly passionate about our work, and that shows in the effort that goes into crafting, selling and telling the world about our herbal medicines and whole food products.

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