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[Producers of Immune Assist™]

The Aloha Medicinals Advantage - Full Spectrum Mycoproducts
Scroll down to see the pictures

There is a lot of confusion today in the field of Medicinal Mushrooms as to what form of mushroom product is the best to use. Is it the fruitbody, or the mycelium, or an extract standardized for some particular compound? This question is not as straightforward as it seems. The answer to this question should be based in scientific fact, not on historical usage, or on someone's idea of what looks pretty or what feels or tastes good. There is a lot of amazingly complex bio-chemistry going on in the mushroom kingdom. Many new drugs are under testing from mushrooms for the treatment of many  diseases like Cancer, AIDS, Diabetes and Hepatitis. This subject deserves to be accurately addressed so that you can know which health supplements are the best for your use.


Fruitbody - This is the mushroom that you see. It is the spore producing portion involved with reproduction. Basically, the fruitbody is equivalent to the flower of a plant. Fruitbodies ONLY form in response to some stress in the environment... heat, cold, fire, flood, running out of food, that sort of thing. The mushroom that you see is NOT the growth form of the mushroom organism. Strictly the reproductive portion.

Mycelium - This is the growth form of the organism, the stable state in which all of the life processes occur; growth, feeding, competing for survival and some forms of reproduction. In cultivated mushroom products, the mycelium can be grown either by fermentation (in a tank full of liquid) which is an unnatural growth condition, or it can be grown on a solid substrate of some material that it would normally grow on - the natural growth condition. For production of many mushroom derived drugs, the compounds are extracted not from the mycelium, but from the broth that the mycelium is grown in.

Extract - This is either the mushroom or the mycelium, extracted with some type of solvent with the intention of concentrating some desirable portion and eliminating or reducing some unimportant portion of the mushroom. There are a number of solvents which are used, depending on which compounds are desired. The two most common are Alcohol and Water. Extracts are more expensive and can be better or worse than the raw feedstock, depending on what you are attempting to achieve.

Scientific Basis of Quality in Medicinal Mushrooms

History - The cultivation of mushrooms specifically for the production of medicinal compounds is a fairly new science, dating only from the late 1970's. Since that time, there have been a number of bio-active compounds of interest identified from the mushroom fruitbody, from the mycelium and from the residual culture broth. In almost all cases, the compounds present in the different life stages are identical. But in a few instances there are differences, where substantially greater amounts of some target compound can be extracted from one growth state as compared to another. Many examples of this can be seen from the charts below, presented here from Dr. Solomon Wassers' excellent article: Medicinal Properties of substances occurring in Higher Basidiomycetes Mushrooms: Current Perspectives (Review) published in - International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, Vol 1, 31-62 (1999) Click Here for Chart

Almost all of the research done recently has shown that the most bio-active compounds are in the extra-cellular compounds (metabolic exudates), as compared to either the mycelium or fruitbodies. These compounds would be in the liquid broth for products grown by fermentation. Knowing this, the question becomes "What is the most practical way to produce medicinal mushroom product of the greatest effectiveness, while keeping them affordable enough for the general public?" We felt that to address the problem by growing in liquid culture, as is commonly done in the Orient was not a good approach. Reason: The mycelium would have to be extracted as well as the residual culture broth in order to capture all the interesting compounds, while at the same time the few different compounds specific to the fruitbodies would be absent. Alternatively, to grow it on grain for a couple of weeks, as is the usual practice with other American growers was also not the answer. We believe that the production of medicinal mushroom nutraceuticals that don't work is counterproductive. The consumers will loose faith in medicinal mushroom products, and the potential benefits are lost.

So, what we did was look long and hard at the chemistry of the wild collected fruitbodies, the mycelium and the extra-cellular exudates. We then experimented with modifications of the growing substrate and culture parameters. By controlling each aspect of the growth cycle, such as the time of growth to harvest, the O2 to CO2 ratios, temperature, the light cycle and all the other parameters, we found we could produce a product with at least as much of the target compounds as is found in nature. In nearly all cases, we are able to exceed the concentration of any target medicinal compounds over what is found in the naturally grown mushrooms. 

The real trick though, is to grow the mushroom organism in glass containers for a long enough period of time to completely consume all of the substrate, and then trigger the mushroom to go into its reproductive cycle of fruitbody production. At that point we have all of the different aspects of the mushroom present: The mycelium, the primordia, the fruitbody and the spores. But most importantly of all, we have the entire range of extra-cellular compounds that have been produced throughout the entire life cycle of the organism. All of the anti-microbial properties, the anti-viral properties, and all of the other potent bio-activities. This long growth period takes at least several months, and for some species can take up to two years. When a supplier says they can deliver a finished, custom grown product  in 30 days, it is certain that the quality will be very low. In nature it takes months-to-years for a mushroom colony to become established. That is why you find them growing in the same place year after year. They are fruiting each season, true, but the organism itself exists from year to year in the soil below. To think that we can trick that organism into optimal growth in only 2 or 3 weeks is wishful thinking indeed.

For some species, we have to resort to fairly extreme culture parameters; for instance with  Cordyceps sinensis, we grow it out for a period of time in a warm, O2 rich environment, after which we drastically lower the temperature to just above freezing, change the light cycle and drop the oxygen to no more than 50% of atmospheric. Then we trigger it to fruit. All of this is done on an organic, vegetarian substrate with no insect or animal substances used. The authors that state, "Cordyceps can not be fruited in culture" are obviously not up to date with the work we have been doing as well as the work of a few other cultivators.

So in a nut shell, the process which Aloha Medicinals has developed is this:
 1.  Select species-specific substrate for the mushroom in question.
 2.  Select the growth parameters of temperature, light, O2, etc. for the results desired.
 3.  Grow for lengthy periods of time (typically 20-45 weeks) in small glass containers, capturing all of the metabolic exudates. (This is the hard part; to grow the mycelium in their own metabolites without stunting the growth. Look at beer or wine production for example: the alcohol accumulation eventually stops the growth.)
 4.  Fruit the mushrooms in the glass container at the end of the growth term. (Yes, even including Cordyceps sinensis, see photos)
 5.  Harvest the whole thing. Mycelium, fruitbodies, primordia, and all of the extra-cellular compounds which have been produced over the entire life cycle, 
 6.  Dry, powder, package, sterilize and supply

This is the best process for production of bioactive medicinal mushroom compounds. Even if further extraction or processing is desired, this is still the most complete and broad-spectrum raw feedstock for downstream processing. By growing the mushroom products this way, we gain the benefits of each phase of the life cycle. 

To look at an example of the different compounds from the same mushroom, we can use the Shiitake mushroom as typical. There are a number of pharmaceutical drugs produced from Shiitake; Lentinan (from the fruit body) LEM (from the mycelium) and KS-2 (from the residual culture broth - an extra-cellular compound). All of these compounds are present in our Full Spectrum product. Same product - multiple modes of action. Are you getting this with other cultivated Shiitake?

Here are a couple of pictures showing the Full Spectrum Mycoproduct process



 Shiitake Fruited, Ready to Harvest

 Reishi starting to fruit in glass jar




 Pleurotus ostreatus fruiting

  Cordyceps sinensis fruiting

What is the Best Medicinal Mushroom Product Available?
What we are producing at Aloha Medicinals Inc. is quite simply the best product of its kind available in the world today. There is no residual grain as is the case with all of the other domestically produced, solid substrate grown mycelium. (less than 2% Residual substrate in ours, vs. typically 60-80% residual grain from some of the other American suppliers. Question: Are you looking to buy Medicinal Mushrooms or are you looking to buy rice flour?) There is a complete profile of the extra-cellular metabolites found in our product, which is not found in liquid culture mycelium. And the life-force of the growing organism, the mycelium, is there in all its glory. The same holds true of the fruitbody-specific compounds. Present and accounted for. To compare products produced by the Full Spectrum process to the usual extracts found on the market,  is like comparing apples and oranges. Nature is a very complex wonder. Think of the rose... Do you want the color, or the smell, or maybe just the prick of the thorns? Some of the extracts being sold today are no more than the pricks. 

In the herbal products field, there was historically a lot of misleading product claims and hocus-pocus, as well as just honest differences in herbs grown in this area or that area. Herbs from different soils and different climates often brought about different results. So the industry as a whole responded by demanding standardized extracts. Which is a very good move and definitely a step in the right direction. But it is important to realize that the chemistry of plants is much less complex than what is found in the fungal kingdom (mushrooms). Usually in plants, there are just one or two active ingredients present and they are well known. So it is easy to say that standardizing on this or on that is going to result in higher quality products. This is a good move with plant based herbs. But with mushrooms... that's another story.

Extract Chemistry: First off, the Mushroom biochemistry is much more complex than that of plants. Orders of magnitude more complex. And the chemistry involved is not nearly so well known. Aloha Medicinals uses extracts for its most potent and most successful products. But these are very specific and targeted extracts. Extracts which are made for the specific purpose of concentrating out specific compounds. Just as in the production of penicillin, the fungus (a Penicillum species) is grown in liquid culture, then the active ingredient (Penicillin) is extracted from the residual culture broth. An example of a pecific target compound, using a specific growth method and a specific extraction procedure. This works very well. And in the cases where we have identified a specific compound which we want, it is easy to find a way to extract it. For example, to extract Lentinan from Shiitake mushrooms is a pretty straight forward chemical process. But what about another compound present in Shiitake, the one called Eritadenine? This compound is useful in the treatment of high cholesterol, while Lentinan is used for the treatment of cancer. If you extract Shiitake by hot water, then use alcohol to precipitate out the polysaccharide fraction, the Lentinan is concentrated and the resultant product is effective for cancer treatment or immune stimulation. However, with this process you loose the Eritadenine, and the extract has no effect on blood cholesterol. So, even though a raw shiitake product shows great effectiveness in treating high cholesterol, the "Standardized Extract" as available today is useless for this purpose. So what is the more valuable product, the raw Full Spectrum Shiitake, or the "standardized extract"? The answer is neither, or both. It really depends on what you are hoping to achieve with the supplement. For general health supplement usage, the best product is the one that has the greatest effectiveness over a broad range of conditions. In this example, it makes much more sense to use the Full Spectrum product.

In General, the following things can be said regarding Mushroom Extracts:
There are two general categories of bio-active compounds found in mushrooms, the polysaccharides, which comprise most of the medicinal compounds. These are soluble in hot water and are not soluble in alcohol. The immune-stimulant type action so well known in mushrooms is from this class of compounds. If you are looking for Immuno-modulation action, then don't use alcohol extracts. That would be a waste of money and time since they do not work for this. Another class of compounds from mushrooms are those which are soluble in non-polar solvents like alcohol and hexane. These are usually smaller in molecular size and they are more specific in their bio-activity. Nucleosides, deoxynucleosides and most of our antibiotics and anti-microbials fall into this category.

The Bottom Line:
Aloha Medicinals is pleased to provide either Extracts or Full Spectrum MycoProducts. Or for that matter, fruitbodies or liquid culture mycelium. As the largest medicinal mushroom manufacturer in North America, we do it all.  Our quality is assured. And we work with you to make sure you are getting what you need for the product task at hand. We know that every company wants to say that their products are the best. I hope that by showing you here a little of the thoughts behind our processes, you can see that our quality is different than the other producers of medicinal mushrooms.

Aloha Medicinals does one thing only, and we do it right. We produce Medicinal Mushrooms. And with the largest production capacity in North America, no project is too big. We have two full time mycologists on staff with over 50 years combined experience, and a work force that averages 18 years experience in the production of mushroom compounds. Certified Organic and Made in America. Why risk the reputation of your products on imported raw materials, when better quality is available right here in America, Certified, Qualified and Independently Assayed by FDA certified labs. And at a price lower than imported raw materials in most cases. Let us bid your next order. You will be pleasantly surprised!

Click here to buy Immune Assist™ securely from HartAmerica online

©2004 Aloha Medicinals Inc. - Corporate Headquarters - PO Box 686 Haiku, Hawaii 96708
Research and Manufacturing Facility - 1211 Fair Ave. Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Tel: (831) 426-2059
African Division - Aloha Medicinals (GH) Ltd. PO Box AH 257 Achimota, Accra, Ghana West Africa



The statements on these pages have not been evaluated
  by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, 
or prevent any disease, but rather are dietary supplements intended solely for nutritional use to help the body.
Copyright © 2004  Last modified: March 27, 2013