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Fungi Fundamentals

Mushrooms are mysterious little creatures of the fungal kingdom.  While thought of more so as plants, they actually share 50% of human DNA. While some are poisonous and some are known for their “magic” properties, our mushrooms are the medicinal kind. They naturally support the healing of our bodies, help us function more efficiently, calm inflammation, modulate our immune response, and even increase neuronal growth factors to encourage brain health (without any trippy hallucinations- we promise). 

Just like mushrooms have the ability to clean up oil spills and preserve their external environments, they can also restore balance to our own internal landscape.

What is a tincture?

A tincture is a naturally derived herbal extract made by steeping herbs, mushrooms, or plant material, in a “solvent” (i.e., a substance that elicits a reaction, or dissolves something). This solvent is most typically alcohol, as it’s the best at extracting these otherwise hard to access active constituents, and also doubles as a wonderful natural preserver.

The mushrooms and herbs get steeped in specific percentages of alcohol for usually around 3-4 weeks to extract their medicinal properties.  The physical plant matter is then drained to leave behind the alcohol-based extraction that has concentrated the bioactive components into a tincture. 

Ceremony’s mushrooms are dual extracted (see "What does dual-extraction mean?" for a full explanation) using alcohol and hot water to ensure maximum potency. 

To evaporate the alcohol, add the dose of tincture to a cup of just boiled water, and allow it to cool.  

What does “dual-extraction” mean?

Dual extraction a two step process that is the most effective at extracting active ingredients out of medicinal mushrooms specifically, using alcohol (as described above) and a hot water decoction, and then combining the two to form a finished, concentrated formula that contains the active ingredients.

Mushrooms contain both fat-soluble and water-soluble active constituents, and therefore require this dual-extraction method to ensure both kinds of beneficial properties make it into the final product. 

To note, herbs only require the alcohol extraction to ensure the effective ingredients are being drawn out.

Why a liquid tincture?

A few reasons!  Efficacy, bioavailability, ease of use, and shelf life.

Efficacy: Tinctures are highly concentrated formats- you’d have to consume a lot of fresh (or dried) mushrooms and herbs to try and recreate the effect of this condensed extract, which isn’t feasible (or probably physically possible) at one sitting.

Bioavailability: Unfortunately so many modern day stressors negatively impact our digestive system and undermine our body’s ability to break things down (like hard capsules).  Liquid tinctures are notoriously easy to digest and are the preferred format of most herbalists for this reason.

Ease of use:  If our product doesn’t fit seamlessly into your current routine, it’s unlikely you’ll consistently go out of your way to use it.  As pretty as we think our bottles are, we won’t reach our goal of supporting people’s health if the format is impractical and doesn’t actually get used.  The fact that the taste blends quietly into the background of our favourite beverages, and doesn’t require blending or change the consistency at all, means that this is easy to incorporate daily without having to suffer through ingesting it.

Shelf life: Alcohol (which is used to extract the bioactive components of the herbs and mushrooms) also doubles as a wonderful natural preservative, so that we don’t need to add any artificial preservatives in order to keep our products fresh.  Our microbial testing supports a 5 year shelf life of all our tinctures. 

What is the difference between “regular” culinary mushrooms and medicinal mushrooms?

We all know about culinary mushrooms — they’re soft and delicious, perfect for cooking and consuming. Some of these, like shiitake, oyster and maitake, also fall into the medicinal category, because of their extensive healing properties.

Medicinal mushrooms are non-psychoactive fungi with beneficial properties that boost mental clarity, modulate your immune response, and nourish vital energy levels. This is done through unique compounds found in them called beta glucans and terpenes, among others.

Many medicinal mushrooms can’t be consumed easily- chaga for example, grows rock-hard and needs an intense extraction process to get the good stuff out, or needs to be ground into a powder.  Or, frankly, some just taste awful and would be difficult to physically get enough in you to receive any benefit from them. 

Regardless, while we love eating some mushrooms whole when possible, the active constituents in the medicinal varieties are increased and made more potent by the tincturing process, which is why we chose that as the method of delivery for Ceremony.

What are mycelium and fruiting bodies?

Mycelium and fruiting bodies are two different parts of a mushroom- mycelium being the equivalent of "roots", and fruiting bodies being the cap and stem.

The fruiting bodies contain the highest amount of active constituents, so we use this part of the mushrooms in all our tinctures. An exception here is Chaga, as it doesn't have a fruiting body and is instead one large, hard mass. In this case we chose the mycelium and sclerotium which houses the healing properties of this mushroom.

What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are any natural substance that actually increases your body’s resilience to stress and lowers its harmful effects in both a physical and mental capacity.  Adaptogens don’t have a one-size-fits-all mechanism, rather they work with an almost innate knowledge of where your body needs rebalancing in order to achieve homeostasis.

Are these hallucinogenic mushrooms?

No (sorry!).  There are all different amazing kinds of mushrooms with unique qualities, however we’ve chosen to stick to just the traditionally medicinal varieties to benefit from their incredible properties, without containing any hallucinogenic compounds.

How often should I be taking my Ceremony mushroom tinctures?

Daily if possible! Just like anything else in life, what we do on a daily basis is more important than what we do once in a while.  We are passionate about this easy-to-use format because consistency is key.

What time of day should I take my mushrooms?

Our Stress Relief and Mushroom Blends are both conducive for taking during the daytime, so you can get the most benefit out of them while you’re awake and trying to get things done.

You can play around with them and see what works best- some people like taking them with their morning coffee or tea to get their day started, whereas others like having a dose later on to get them over the afternoon slump as well.

Digestion and Sleep are more specific in their timing, and should be used around 30 and 60 minutes respectively before the activity they're named after, eating and sleeping.

Can I mix some of the blends together when taking them?

Definitely.  We like to mix Stress Relief and Mushroom together to get the benefit of both at the same time. 

Can I use all the products on a consistent basis together?

Yes, if you find all of the blends useful for you!  Adaptogens have beneficial properties that take a few weeks to feel their full effect, so while they are suitable for use on an “as-needed” basis for acute support, their actions are more conducive to taking over a longer period.  See "When will I feel the positive effects of Ceremony Mushrooms?" question for a more detailed breakdown of when you can expect to feel the effects of these blends when using them on a consistent basis.

When will I feel the positive effects of Ceremony Mushrooms?

These formulas were designed to deliver an immediate positive effect, as well as long-term benefits that will be felt over time.

Our Sleep formula helps with deep physical and mental relaxation before bed, but also includes ingredients that are “nervine tonics” that nourish and strengthen the nervous system with consistent use.  It is non-habit forming unlike some traditional sleep aids, making it appropriate for daily consumption.  Most people feel a calming sensation within 30-45 minutes of taking it.

For Digestion, similar to Sleep, it is recommended you use it about 30 minutes before you begin to eat.  When your digestive juices are flowing properly, it’s actually more about what you don’t feel that’s important- bloating, gassy, indigestion, or nausea due to a meal.  If you forget to take it beforehand, take it immediately afterwards and you should still see this effect.

The Stress Relief blend uses adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms.  The ingredients in this formula work synergistically to compliment the effects of the others, so that the net result is you feeling balanced and clear-headed.  Adaptogens generally need 6-8 weeks to feel the full effects so it’s great taken as a daily tonic to strengthen our resilience to stress (along with the other amazing benefits of immunity and hormonal support).  That said, we have people who like to use it purely for acute moments of anxiety and overwhelm and find great relief with that too.  Experiment to see what it suits you best for.

The Mushroom blend is quite balanced, with ingredients considered more “energizing” like cordyceps, and more “relaxing” like reishi.  We use the terms in quotes because they’re not energizing like stimulants (coffee) or relaxing like depressants (alcohol).  If you’re sensitive to the effects of these drugs (caffeine is a drug ya’ll!) then you don’t have to be worried here.  Cordyceps for example is oxygenating, so it helps your body function more efficiently and “energizes” it by giving it more of what it naturally needs (oxygen), but not in an anxiety-inducing, overstimulated way that resembles an energy drink, if that makes sense.

Reishi is calming, but rarely would someone take reishi during the day and say it knocked them out or made them genuinely drowsy (that’s why we include other stronger herbs in our Sleep blend alongside Reishi, to have a more powerful effect when drowsiness is actually desired).  Most people find that it’s relaxing effect is enough for them to feel focused, taking the edge off without diminishing their cognitive abilities.  Lion’s mane, included in this blend, enhances brain function, and so would offset any overly calming effect of the other mushrooms.

Since some mushrooms are adaptogens, they should actually give your body what it needs in that moment, whether it’s a boost or a bit of a chill out.

What do your tinctures taste like?

Would it feel like a euphemism if we said “earthy”?? They taste...unique!  But strong.  The base is alcohol, and some herbs definitely have a distinct taste and bitterness to them.  That said, these formulas dissolve extremely well in liquids- we used this tincture format so that we could put it in our coffee or tea and not actually taste it, or turn it into a chunky mess.  So if you’re brave, shoot it straight, otherwise we suggest putting it in your favourite beverage so you can forget it’s even there.

Can I use these products if I have a medical condition or am on medication?

As with any product, it’s important to always consult your medical practitioner to ensure that it is right for you based on your personal health history, medication use, and current health status.  While herbs and mushrooms can be helpful to many, anticoagulant and antidepressant/antianxiety medications are strong classes of medication that interact with many natural health products, and as such would need to be used under both the allowance and supervision of your doctor.  The information provided on our website, packaging, and bottles is informational in nature and is in no way meant to be construed or used as personal medical advice.  We are not doctors and as such we and our products cannot treat, diagnose, cure or prevent diseases.

Can I use these products if pregnant or breastfeeding?

There are many ethical concerns regarding conducting experiments on people who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding, therefore there is not a lot of clinical research to support their use during this time.  To err on the side of caution, we do not suggest using them while pregnant and/or breastfeeding. 

As mentioned above, always talk to your healthcare provider to establish if a product is right for you based on your medical history, medication use, and current health status. 

Disclaimer: These statements listed have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Ceremony Mushrooms products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Ceremony Mushrooms, 2021.