Frequently Asked Questions
While this product is sold under our Women’s Health Line, it can also be taken by men to effectively treat urinary tract infections
We apologize for any inconvenience, but due to supply issues that have become common for many companies during covid, we will temporarily be using unmarked droppers and reducer caps for our 50 mL and 100 mL bottles, until we find a long-term solution.
To manage dosing either:
- refer to the # of drops per dose on the label or
- pour liquid/drops into a measuring spoon while referring to the mL dose amount on label: ½ tsp = ~2.5mL
Mushrooms are a burgeoning part of the natural health product market, as their medicinal significance becomes ever more widely recognized. Unfortunately, with this explosive increase of interest in mushrooms, a lot of vague, if not murky, misinformation abounds. This means it is very important to educate oneself on the science and facts behind the therapeutic use of mushrooms. In other words, while mushrooms may thrive “in the dark,” your knowledge about them needs a healthy exposure to the light. Hence these FAQs.
First off, if a brand doesn’t disclose what their supplement is made from, stop right there.
In Short: Make sure your supplement is made from mushroom (sometimes referred to as the fruiting body), not the root-like filaments of mycelium grown in a lab on grain, which do not provide the full spectrum of medicinal compounds and in which starches make up a large part of the ingredients. On the one hand, mushroom provides a full spectrum of medicinal compounds, including a rich content of the well-researched therapeutic constituent known as beta-d glucans. On the other hand, however, mycelium is cheap to produce, does not offer a broad spectrum of constituents, and is very low in beta glucans. Don’t be misled by “efficacy” claims associated with % of polysacchrides. Starches (from myceliated grain), as well as beta glucans, are all polysacchrides, the difference being that starches have no medicinal value. So it is critical to look for the % of beta-d glucans as one of the main indicators of medicinal benefit.
St Francis Herb Farm medicinal mushrooms are 100% pure organic mushroom and are rich in 3rd-party-tested beta-d glucans, the highly researched immune supportive compound, for which the specifics are communicated on the product pages. In keeping with our philosophy, we bridge the gap between traditional and modern methods to provide the highest quality, most effective plant medicine possible… without cutting corners.
In Detail: Mycelium refers to the underground root-like filaments that the mushroom (fruiting body) springs forth from, but it is not the mushroom itself. In North America, mycelium for commercial use is grown in a lab, on grain. It therefore contains significant amounts of grains/starches in the final product. The process of creating myceliated grain involves fermentation – but to discuss such benefits would be to misdirect from the fact that there is no mushroom in these products. The long and the short of it is that mycelium is much cheaper to produce versus growing mushrooms naturally. Don’t let a “big-name” attached to a supplement brand stop you from checking out what it is really made of.
The mushroom or fruiting body, which you see above ground and which is the only part that should be referred to as “mushroom,” is grown in natural conditions, with fresh air and sunlight on wood – this is critical, as the wood carries the precursors for many of the key medicinal compounds we want in a mushroom supplement. Mushrooms are genetically more complex and have more medicinal properties – they are where most of the powerful biochemical constituents reside.
The mushroom is what has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Furthermore, a vast body of research has identified that beta-d glucans are the key immuno-supportive compound and that they are found in abundance in the mushroom, but only at extremely low levels in mycelium. Check the labels or websites to see if the % of beta glucans is communicated. You will sometimes see the % of polysacchrides noted as a supposed measure of medicinal potency. This is misleading. Polysacchrides include beta-glucans, but also the starches from myceliated grain, which serve no medicinal purpose. The relevant measure, therefore, is % of beta-d glucans.
If a product states it is a combination of both mushroom and mycelium, it is likely primarily mycelium. Do they communicate what % is fruiting body? It’s important to check – mushrooms are more expensive and therefore likely to be included in small amounts just to facilitate the claim of their being present. Sometimes brands refer to using all the fungal parts, which is to say spores, mycelium, and the mushroom itself, as full spectrum. This alters the true definition of “full spectrum.” In point of fact, the real meaning of this term is meant to describe the fact that the supplement contains a broad number of medicinal compounds e.g. beta-d glucans, triterpenoids, etc. “Full spectrum” has nothing to do with all the fungal parts. This is key, as it is related directly to how effective a supplement will be.
In short: Ensure your mushroom supplement is made from the fruiting body, is an extract, and that the beta-d glucan levels are tested and communicated. The measure of polysaccharides can be misleading regarding medicinal value due to starches from myceliated grain being included.
St Francis medicinal mushroom supplements are made from the fruiting body, and the medicinal compounds are made most available to the body via extraction. They are third-party tested for beta glucans – the proven immune supportive active component – and this is communicated on the product pages on this website.
In Detail: Mushroom supplements are not all created equal! A study conducted in the U.S.  tested 19 reishi supplements, and only 5 were found to be in accordance with what they claimed on their labels, 3 of those 5 being from Nammex, our supplier.
First of all, you need to ensure the supplement is made from the mushroom itself, not mycelium or a combination of the two, which means in turn that it provides a broad spectrum of medicinal compounds. Beyond that, you need to verify that the % of beta-d glucans is communicated and that they are in a form your body can absorb well (extraction).
- Beta-1,3-d glucans are key. To what degree are they present?
Based on the science, there is no dispute that beta-1,3-d glucans (beta glucans for short) are essential active compounds providing medicinal benefits, and that it is in the mushroom (fruiting body) where they are to be found in significant levels. In contrast, they are only present at low levels in mycelium. Look for brands that test and report on these levels, as this is critical to how effective the supplement will be (an exception is chaga, which is technically not a mushroom and whose benefits come from the full spectrum of medicinal compounds). Note that, on some products, you will see the % of polysaccharides listed. While beta glucans are polysaccharides, so are the starches that are in the mycelium grown on grain and that have no medicinal value. Which means that this measure can be misleading and not necessarily an indicator of effectiveness.
- Are the beta glucans and other key medicinal compounds like terpenoids in a form that my body can effectively absorb?
Supplements made from mushroom (fruiting body) can be comprised of dried mushrooms or extracted mushrooms, which means the key medicinal compounds have been drawn out of the mushroom via liquid. The reason for extraction is to make these compounds more readily available to our bodies by breaking down the tough fungal cell walls (the cell walls of mushroom are made of chitin – a fibrous substance consisting of polysaccharides and forming the major constituent in the exoskeleton of arthropods and the cell walls of fungi). As you can imagine, it is necessary to break down chitin, so as to provide the medicinal constituents in a form the body can effectively absorb. Depending on the type of mushroom, extraction is done using hot water, or both hot water and alcohol. For reishi, lion’s mane, and chaga, the dual extraction ensures better access to terpenoids, which offer additional health benefits.
The alternative is dried mushrooms that are ground up into a powder. This format makes it harder for the body to access and absorb the active compounds. Grinding them up to an even finer or “micronized” powder helps, but, because the tough cell walls have not been broken down, the medicinal compounds are still not as available as they would be after extraction. This also significantly increases the daily dose requirement, i.e. the number of pills/day.
Our mushrooms are extracted as follows and contain X% beta-glucans:
water only extraction
- turkey tail – 35.9% (min 31.1 % -38.1 max %)*
- maitake – 21.9% (min 16% – max 25%)* chaga – 4.4% (min 2.6% – max 7%)* (full spectrum is what is therapeutically relevant)
- reishi – Avg 34.2% (min 31.4%-max 37.7%)
- chaga – 4.4% (min 2.6% – max 7%)* (full spectrum is what is therapeutically relevant)
- lion’s mane – Avg 26.4% (min 21.8% – max 28.6%)*
*based on testing of all lots for each mushroom – since these mushrooms are naturally grown there is variability across lots – so we are showing the average as well as the min and max range.
2 Upton R. American Herbal Pharmacopeia and Therapeutic Compendium: Reishi Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum. Standards of Analysis, Quality Control, and Therapeutics. U.S.A. Canada: Santa Cruz; 2000.
The majority of medicinal mushrooms are known for their active polysaccharides, called beta-D-glucans. Some mushrooms like reishi also have triterpenoid compounds. Take note of whether these compounds are listed and quantified. If they are, make sure the company can support this claim with actual testing documentation. Some companies list multiple “active” compounds without any actual testing results.
Don’t be misled by high polysaccharide numbers. Polysaccharides can simply be starch, which is an alpha glucan and a major component of grain. Grain is commonly found in mycelium products.
In short: Make sure your supplement is made from the fruiting body. Then, if there is only a high volume number indicated, e.g. 800mg-1500mg, this is dried ground-up mushroom. If, on the other hand, there is a lower number e.g. 100mg-300mg, this means it is an extract.
St Francis Herb Farm medicinal mushroom supplements are extracts from the fruiting body only, providing you with a high potency capsule. What you will see on our labels is e.g. Lion’s Mane: High Potency 170mg, 8:1 extract/equivalent to 1360mg. This means the extraction process takes 1360mg of dried mushroom down to 170mg of high potency extract (8:1 extract) – which is why you only need to take 2 capsules per day!
In Detail: It is not always easy, primarily because not all labels indicate what is being used: mushroom (fruiting body) or mycelium? dried mushrooms or mushroom extract?
First, check the label under the Medicinal Ingredients to see if it states fruiting body or mycelium. From there, you will want to focus on ones made from the fruiting body.
Then, to understand if it is dried or extracted, look at the volume numbers on the label or product page. If you see a high number like 800mg-1500mg, this refers to the volume of dried mushroom per capsule. If that is the only number mentioned, this means it is ground up, dried mushroom. If you also see a lower number like 100mg-300mg, usually accompanied by copy such as “8:1 extract,” this means it is indeed an extract – the form that is best absorbed by the body. What these numbers mean is, for example, that the extraction process takes 800 mg of dried mushroom down to 100mg of high potency powder. Hence, this is referred to as an 8:1 extract. Said another way, 100mg per capsule is equivalent to 800mg of dried mushroom.
In short: High potency means there is a high amount of medicinal compound in a form the body can absorb and use, in a small amount of powder. This means you need to take fewer capsules per day to get a therapeutic dose. When comparing supplements, be sure to determine how many days’ worth is in a bottle, along with the quality, to determine the best value.
St Francis Herb Farm mushroom supplements are extracts of the fruiting body and therefore provide a high potency dose in just 2 capsules/day. Our 60ct bottle = 30 days or 1 month’s supply. You should find that our medicinal mushrooms offer extremely high value.
In Detail: High potency means there is a high amount of medicinal compound in a concentrated form the body can absorb and use, the result being a small amount of powder.
Not only are you getting a very high-quality supplement, but, because it is in a concentrated form, it also means you get a therapeutic dose in only 2 capsules per day.
To be able to properly compare supplements, it is therefore especially important to check how many days’ supply is in a bottle rather than the number of capsules, to determine the price per day. Some may look like they are a lower price/bottle, but could in fact only amount to 2 weeks’ worth supply versus another that is slightly higher in price, but is 4 weeks’ supply and so a much better value.
In Short: We have partnered with Nammex, a Certified Organic, North American based company that for 40 years has been a leading player in creating high quality mushroom extract powders from mushrooms (fruiting bodies). They grow their mushrooms in China, home place of the acknowledged masters of the use of mushrooms in the healing arts, in pristine mountains far from the country’s industrialized centres.
In Detail: We source our 100% Certified Organic mushrooms from North American Medicinal Mushroom Extracts – Nammex – a distinguished grower and manufacturer, specializing in extracts made from the mushroom (fruiting body) and widely recognized for the quality and integrity of their products. Nammex founder, Jeff Chilton, has over 40 years of mushroom growing experience and has been at the forefront of the mushroom industry since its beginning. Nammex has set the bar for quality standards through analytical analysis of the important compounds in these mushrooms like beta-glucans. Their farming operation is based in China’s Qingyuan County, an area renowned for its pristine, unpolluted natural setting, ideal for the growing and harvesting of mushrooms, situated as it is deep in the mountains far from the country’s industrialized centres. Their 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.
Why China, you might ask? Because the therapeutic use of mushrooms lies at the very heart of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). They have been cultivating mushrooms for hundreds of years, and TCM Practitioners are the acknowledged masters of this healing art.
Mushrooms utilized as health products are rarely cultivated in North America. It’s just too expensive. Most mushrooms today come from Asia, primarily China. In fact, China produces 85% of the world’s mushrooms. Even Japan, a traditional mushroom producer, is the number one importer of Chinese mushrooms.
None. Although alcohol is used in the extraction process, it is all evaporated by the time we arrive at the powdered extract.
The superior quality of our mushroom supplements hinges on two critically important criteria. Firstly, we take care to use the key medicinal part of the mushroom and to process it as it should be processed to gain optimal benefit. Secondly, we place great stock in the quality controls that we have put in place every step of the way.
To begin with, as mentioned, we choose to make our mushroom extracts from the fruiting body, which is to say the mushroom itself and not lab-grown mycelium. Then, rather than just simply drying and packaging the mushroom as is, we use water and/or alcohol to extract all its key medicinal components.
Beyond this, we follow up with a rigorous testing regime to verify therapeutic effectiveness. In fact, all along the way, we have quality controls in place to ensure the integrity of the final product. Here are some of the key steps we have taken:
- Growing mushrooms sustainably without the use of agricultural chemicals
- Using specially selected natural substrates such as protein enriched sawdust and hardwood logs as the food base for the mushrooms to guarantee the production of important medicinal compounds.
- After harvest and before processing, testing every crop of mushrooms for possible chemical drift or other contamination
- Passing all water used in both the extraction and cleaning processes through an ultra filtration system that filters out heavy metals, pesticides, industrial solvents, dissolved solids, bacteria, viruses, and pretty much any waterborne contaminants.
- Facilities that are Certified Organic and GMP certified, meaning that they follow Good Manufacturing Practices. Critically, all the air that enters the clean areas of the building is filtered. All clean spaces are monitored daily for possible entry of airborne microbes.
- Complete microbial testing for bacterial, yeast and mold, e coli, and coliforms before final packaging
- Heavy metals analysis and pesticide testing that exceeds USP standards, as well as an organoleptic evaluation (i.e. assessment of flavour, odour, and appearance).
- After shipping, a further round of microbial, heavy metals, and pesticide testing by qualified 3rd party labs.
- In addition, tests are completed for the following:beta glucans, to ensure the presence of active compounds
- ergosterol, to ensure fungal purity
- alpha glucan testing, to guard against adulterants and carriers
- triterpenoids in the case of reishi and cordycepin in the case of cordyceps
- A final organoleptic evaluation.
In summary, if you are looking for high quality mushroom products, thoroughly tested and with analytically verified important levels of beta glucans, we are the leaders. Our goal is to bring you the very best the world has to offer. No mycelium, no grain, no starch. We grow genuine mushrooms, naturally, the way nature intended.
Wild Chaga grows naturally in the vast forests of Canada, Russia, northern China, and northern climatic zones, where birch makes up the primary tree species. Even though Chaga is commonly referred to as a mushroom, it is actually a fungal growth with a dark, pigmented outer layer that resembles burnt charcoal. For hundreds of years Chaga has been wildcrafted and utilized by the people of northern Europe and Russia.
Birch trees have precursor compounds such as botulin and other triterpenoid compounds. Without the trees, these triterpenes are rarely found in Chaga. Chaga draws betulin and other precursors directly from the birch tree and turns them into inotodiol, trametenolic acid, and betulinic acid. Chaga needs these tree-bound precursors to synthesize the triterpenoids for which it is famous.
All of this means that Chaga contains measurable secondary metabolites that distinguish it medicinally from other mushrooms that we sell, such as reishi or lion’s mane, for example, where beta glucan content is a key criterion.
If you are sick, we recommend stopping Deep Immune and switching to one of our Cough + Cold products such as Virafect or EchinAce. For children, you can switch to Echinacea kids. Once you are well again, you can resume using Deep Immune. To identify the best products for a specific condition click here to view a chart and blog that outlines this.
Immune function is a delicate balance between competing subsets of immune cells. Noteworthy among allergy sufferers is a predominance of T-helper cells known as Th2, relative to Th1 cells. Those with this imbalance are more prone to autoimmune diseases, infections, and cancer! Another issue is a deficiency in function of T-regulatory cells.
Allergy Relief with Deep Immune® is a two-pronged allergy solution that provides symptom relief plus addresses the underlying cause of an over-active immune system. To achieve this, we’ve combined the essential herbal elements of our classic Deep Immune® formula with homeopathic ingredients.
Both our Deep Immune® products and Allergy Relief with Deep Immune® address the underlying cause of allergy, i.e. an over-active immune system. However, Allergy Relief with Deep Immune® also addresses allergy symptoms, i.e. itchiness, congestion, runny nose, and watery eyes.
Ideally, you should start taking Allergy Relief with Deep Immune® 4-6 weeks before allergy season and then throughout the season. Otherwise, start immediately and take it for as long as allergy season lasts. As for Deep Immune®, simply take it year-round, but stop when you switch to Allergy Relief with Deep Immune®.
The name says it all. St. Francis Herb Farm’s Sinafect® is the perfect formula when it comes to relieving the symptoms of sinusitis (sinus infection) and nasal/sinus issues related to allergies (and colds & flu). Use for acute sinusitis (lasts less than 4 weeks). For chronic sinusitis (longer than 4 weeks), use in a 2 week rotation with our Oréganum Plus gelcaps for a highly effective solution.
Our Oréganum Plus Capsules contain not only oregano oil, but also black seed oil and garlic oil, which makes it a unique product on the market. Oréganum Plus Capsules play a key role in treating chronic sinusitis (lasts longer than 4 weeks), while Sinafect® is recommended for allergy-related acute sinusitis (less than 4 weeks). For effective treatment of chronic sinusitis, we recommend rotating the use of Sinafect® with Oréganum Plus Gelcaps every 2 weeks.