Soxhlet Extractor: How to Make Medicinal Mushroom Extract Products
Updated: Aug 18, 2022
Below, you will find a step-by-step guide to how we make our medicinal mushroom extract products. Please understand that for clarity and length, this is a simplified version and not a comprehensive guide to making medicinal mushroom extract products with a Soxhlet extractor. Nonetheless, by the end of this article you should have a pretty clear idea of how we currently do what we do.
To learn about our current extraction processes, read our article Medicinal Mushroom Extractions: A Primer on Our Process, or dive into the details of why we use a Soxhlet in our post Soxhlet Extractor: Why We Do What We Do.
Grow or purchase U.S. grown medicinal mushrooms, preferably from your local mushroom farmer
Dehydrate your medicinal mushrooms until cracker dry (typically around 48 hours for medicinal mushrooms like Lion’s Mane and 24 hours for polypores like Turkey Tail and Reishi)
Pulverize your dried medicinal mushrooms into a powder or ¼-inch chunks
Weigh your final mushroom powder to determine how much solvent to use in your extractions. For reference, we at Mindfull Mycology aim to use 1 pound of 100% dried mushroom fruit bodies (each batch has slight variations) per 1 liter of extract. If you’re making a 50/50 Aqueous/Alcohol extract, that means you want your end product to consist of 500ml water and 500ml alcohol. Don’t worry if your end product is a bit more diluted. We pack 2-8 times more mushrooms into our extracts than most companies.
Measure out your solvent to the desired extract ratio. Be sure to account for some solvent loss via evaporation during the Soxhlet extraction process.
Assemble your Soxhlet
Place your dried mushroom material into the Soxhlet’s thimble. Other people call this piece the “extraction chamber” instead of the thimble. We’re simply referencing the hollow glass chamber that constitutes the middle piece of your three piece Soxhlet extractor. At Mindfull Mycology, we pack our dried mushroom material into rosin press bags for some species (e.g. Lion’s Mane) but place the dried mushroom material directly into the thimble for other species (e.g. Reishi, Turkey Tail, Artist’s Conk). When placed directly into the thimble, we position filter paper (we use 25 micron paper) on the bottom of the thimble to prevent mushroom material from clogging the siphon.
We can fit around 150 grams of dried Lion’s Mane into the thimble (split between two rosin press bags) per run and about 80 grams of Reishi mushrooms into the thimble per run (1 run = 1 hot water extraction followed by 1 hot alcohol extraction)
Turn on your heating mantle until your solvent begins to simmer. Run the Soxhlet until your solvent no longer pulls any more color from the thimble. Typically, this takes around 6 hours for the hot water extraction and 6 hours for the alcohol extraction but time is dependent on the volume of dried mushroom material used.
Measure your two end products (Aqueous Extract and Alcohol Extract) and combine to reach your desired alcohol by volume. Our end products typically range between 35 and 45% ABV. Some companies go as high as 50% ABV. Others go as low as 25%. Our percentage is species dependent (e.g. lower ABV for Lion’s Mane, higher ABV for Reishi)
Label, bottle and enjoy daily!