November 29, 2022 8 min read

Mushroom tea is one of the most classic ways to reap the benefits of medicinal mushrooms, including adaptogenic mushrooms and those with nootropic effects. It is, of course, also one of the primary ways that “magic mushrooms” (those laced with psilocybin) are used, too. Regardless, making mushroom tea is super easy, and you can mix it up to fit your preference. Here’s two ways to do it:

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Table of Contents
What is mushroom tea?
What types of mushrooms are best for mushroom tea?
How do you make mushroom tea at home?
Making Tea from Whole Mushrooms
Making Tea from Mushroom Powder
What are other ways to consume mushrooms?

Key Takeaways

  • Mushroom tea can be made from all kinds of mushrooms, from the “magic” ones to the more classical “healers,” like maitake.
  • Mushroom tea is one of the best ways to reap the therapeutic benefits of mushrooms when dealing with whoel mushrooms.
  • If you have an extract, you have a lot more leniency in how you can make your tea (or numerous other food and drink items).

What’s Mushroom Tea?

Mushroom tea is exactly what you’d expect–a liquid infusion made by steeping mushrooms in hot water. This releases the therapeutic compounds by breaking down the chitin, or the polymer layer that makes up the mushroom’s tissues, which is difficult for the human body to digest.

Making tea with your mushrooms helps to unlock their thereapeutic potential by breaking the beta-glucans and other beneficial compounds away from the chitin, nmaking them more bioavailable for the body. Plus, it makes for an easy and exciting consumption method that you can dazzle up with honey, lemon, cinnamon, or whatever other aromatics are pleasing to you.

Let’s dig a bit further into these therapeutic compounds and the potential benefits they may offer:

Beta-Glucans

Beta-glucans are a type of polysaccharide that are much more bioactive than other carbohydrates. Because they are bioactive, they are often linked to the positive health effects of many mushrooms. Many sources believe that beta-glucans are the primary component behind the holistic benefits of any mushroom formula.

Terpenoids

Most medicinal mushrooms also contain an array of different terpenoids, a modified classification of terpenes. These are lipids that are believed to give various mushrooms their immunomodulatory benefits.

Superfood Benefits

It’s no secret that many mushrooms are considered superfoods–meaning they contain plenty of nutritional benefit, including some vitamins and minerals that are scarce in our usual diets. Some of the nutritional compounds you may find in most mushrooms used to make tea include:

  • B-complex vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • Potassium
  • Rubidium
  • Cesium
  • Amino acids
  • Fiber
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium

Now that you know which therapeutic compounds you can reap from medicinal mushrooms, on to the next question–which mushrooms provide which benefits?

What types of mushrooms are best for mushroom tea?

Aside from the common grocery store varieties–like portabello and crimini–and, of course, psilocybin mushrooms, most people are unfamillair with the bulk of the mushroom variety that’s available.

More concerningly, many people don’t recognize the benefits that functional mushrooms can offer, or know which mushroom’s to choose for certain health benefits. After all, once you start famillarizing yourself with the most popular medicinal mushrooms–lion’s mane, reishi, chaga, maitake, and more–it gets even trickier to keep up.

If you’re trying to decide which medicinal mushrooms to make your tea with, you’ll be happy to know that almost any mushrooms can make a good, nutritional cup of tea. Some mushrooms just have special, specific health benefits. We’ll briefly break down some of the most popular mushrooms used to make tea, but you can click on the links below to learn more about these adaptogenic and nootropic mushrooms in detail:

  • Lion’s Mane  is a sweet, mildly flavored mushroom associated with boosting mental performance and improving other areas of brain function.
  • Maitake  is an earthy, herbal tasting mushroom known for it’s adaptogenic effects that may have a positive impact on digestion, cholesterol, and immune functions.
  • Cordyceps  is known as the “athlete's mushroom” because of it’s potential ability to increase endurance, exercise performance and improve heart health.
  • Tremella  is known as the “beauty mushroom” thanks to its moisturizing properties and proposed anti-aging effects on the skin.
  • Reishi  is a soothing, sleep supporting mushroom with adaptogenic properties.
  • Chaga  is another soothing mushroom with some potential for boosting immunity and helping to regulate inflammatory functions.

A compilation of all of the most popular medicinal mushrooms, including reishi, chaga, lions mane, and more.

Read more:

How do you make mushroom tea at home?

After taking a peek at these potential benefits, you’ll be happy to know that you can easily make mushroom tea at home. There are a few options for this, but we are going to cover the primary ways to make mushroom tea in your own kitchen:

What are the two main ways to make mushroom tea?

There are two ways to make mushroom tea– by either using whole mushrooms or mushroom powder.

These two ways are both beneficial and can both produce a delicious, nutritious cup of therapeutic mushroom tea, but you'll notice that one has a significant advantage over the other.

Let's compare:

Making Mushroom Tea from Whole Mushrooms

If you plan to use whole mushrooms to make your tea, you can choose either fresh mushrooms or dried mushrooms. Both will have a lsightly different taste profile, and some of the nutritional content may be lost during the drying process for dehydrated mushrooms, so fresh mushrooms may produce a stronger cup of tea. Either way, both methods will work, and both will help you reap the nutritional and functional benefits of your favorite mushrooms.

Here’s how it’s done:

Chaga, honey, and other fixings for making a cup of mushroom tea

First, gather your ingredients:

  • Whole, fresh mushroom (3.5-5 grams) OR dried mushrooms (1-3 grams)
  • 8-16 ounces of water (more or less depending on desired boldness)
  • Add ins, like lemon, honey, ginger, mint, or other aromatics (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add the water to a small saucepan and heat it on medium-low until it boils.
  2. While the water heats, cut or break your mushrooms into small chunks.
  3. Add your mushrooms directly to your saucepan and turn off the heat.
  4. Steep mushrooms for 10-15 minues. Now is a good time to add in fresh aromatics, if any are used.
  5. After the water is slightly cooled, strain the liquid off the solids. Discard solids.
  6. Now, add honey or desired sweeteners and enjoy!

Making Mushroom Tea from Mushroom Powder

Mushroom tea powder also comes in two forms–whole mushroom powder and mushroom extract. Here’s a brief breakdown of the difference.

Whole mushroom powder is made when whole mushrooms are simply dried and then ground up into a fine powder. This type of mushroom powder still contains beta-glucans and nutritional compounds that are locked in chitin, so it’s important to steep it correctly–at the correct temperature for the correct amount of time–in order to unlock these bioactive compounds.

Mushroom extract powder  has gone through an extraction process, usually involving a hot water extraction (like a tea) and an alcohol extraction. This thorough process removes all of the beneficial compounds in the mushroom, including those that are not removed during only a tea extraction. Finally, the extract is dried into a powder, which means it’s incredibly potent and versatile.

One of the greatest benefits of mushroom extract powder is that it does not need to be steeped. It’s already a bioavailable form of the mushroom, and it’s usually water soluble. That means you can use it in hot and cold beverages, as well as food of all sorts. So, the process for making mushroom tea from powder is different depending on which form of mushroom powder you choose. Here’s how to do it both ways:

Making Tea from Whole Mushroom Powder

The process of making mushroom tea from whole mushroom powder is very similar to the process for using fresh or dried mushrooms that we explained above. The primary difference is that you won’t have to steep as long, and you may have a harder time straining out the solids that don’t dissolve (though you could use a coffee filter or nut milk bag if you’re patient. If you don’t, you may have a gritty texture left at the bottom of your cup after you finish your tea.

Here’s how to do it:

First, gather your ingredients:

  • 1-2 grams of whole mushroom powder
  • 8-12 ounces of water (more or less depending on desired boldness)
  • Add ins, like lemon, honey, ginger, mint, or other aromatics (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add the water to a small saucepan and heat it on medium-low until it boils, then remove from heat.
  2. Add your mushroom powder directly to your saucepan and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes. Now is a good time to add in fresh aromatics, if any are used.
  3. After the water is slightly cooled, strain the liquid off the solids. Discard solids.
  4. Now, add honey or desired sweeteners and enjoy!

Dried reishi mushrooms and extract powder that can be used to make mushroom tea

Making Tea from Mushroom Extract Powder

Making tea from mushroom extract powder is very different for a number of reasons:

  • You’ll use less powder since its a very concentrated version of mushroom powder. It may be best to follow the dosing suggestions on the product you choose.
  • Extract powder works in both hot and cold liquids, so you can make any type of tea you choose.
  • You don’t need to steep. Just simply stir in the powder and enjoy!
  • Most extracts are water soluble and won’t leave much residue behind.

As you can see, it would be impossible to go over all the variations for making mushroom tea with extract powder. Truly, you can’t go wrong–just use your favorite tea recipe and follow the dosing suggestion on the extract powder you choose. Or, look for a flavored mushroom extract, like a Mushroom Chai Tea, Mushroom Matcha, or even a Musrhoom Coffee, to take the guess work out of mixing and matching mushrooms and flavor add-ins.

What are other ways to consume therapeutic mushrooms?

If sipping on a cup of hot mushroom tea doesn’t fit your fancy, you’ll be happy to know that you can use mushrooms in a number of different ways to reap their benefits.

There is some argument about which form of mushrooms is best and how to use them. For instance, you’ll often see people arguing about whether mushroom powder or tinctures are better, whether you should use mushroom supplements made from the fruiting body or the mycelium, or whether you should use whole mushroom powder or an extracted version of the mushroom’s bioactive compounds.

The truth is, most forms of mushrooms need to be consumed as a tea. Mushrooms contain chitin, the polymer that makes up the exoskeleton of insects. Chitin locks away the beta-glucans and other bioactive compounds to make them unavailable to the body.

The human body is not very good at digesting chitin. So, you need to steep the mushroom material in hot water, a method that melts away the chitin, before consuming. Alternatively, you can cook fresh mushrooms (but not too hot or you’ll degrade some of the nutritional content).

So, what’s the answer to this limitation? Mushroom extract powder! Because extract powder is made by steeping the mushrooms in a pressurized container (to prevent bioative material from being lost) and then subjecting the remaining mushroom material to an alcohol extraction, it ends up being heavily concentrated and very bioavailable.

So, grab an extract powder and use it endlessly, on any and everything. Make teas and drinks, dinner, desserts, healthy meal-replacement bars, or just add it to capsules–either way, a mushroom extract powder is the most versatile way to consume mushrooms without sacrificing any of their therapeutic potential.


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