The Amanita Muscaria mushroom is finally having its moment. Also known as the Fly Agaric, this little mushroom has been part of pop culture for a while with its distinctive red cap with white spots. It wasn't until more recently that we've been able to harness the full properties of Amanita Muscaria to create truly powerful mushroom products that boast a range of benefits and mitigates the toxic side effect. The extraction method and preparation can have a significant impact on the efficacy of these mushroom products, as well as their overall safety. More and more products are entering the market, but they're not all created equal. In a white paper by Robert Myers and California Ag Labs (our third-party testing facility and partner in product development), the different extraction methods are compared and looked at in more detail. You can read the white paper in its entirety here, but you can keep reading for a few of the highlights on Amanita Muscaria extraction and what it means for you.
Compounds in Amanita Muscaria
First things first, let's look at what compounds are found in Amanita Muscaria that give it its potent properties. The most talked about one is Muscimol, a naturally occurring compound, or tryptamine, that has psychoactive benefits. This tryptamine interacts with the GABAA receptors in your brain and acts as an agonist, which means it has more of a sedative or relaxing effect on the body.
It's not the only tryptamine found in this mushroom. Ibotenic acid, muscazone, and muscarine are all also active ingredients. Plus, the fruit of the body contains other compounds that encourage the entourage effect (basically, the sum is greater than all the parts). Where some extractions get into trouble is that ibotenic acid is left in the mixture, which can cause upset stomach, nausea, and general unpleasantness. Or they aim to extract only muscimol, creating a less effective product. We strove to create an extraction method that preserved the entourage effect of the mushroom while removing unwanted parts that might leave your stomach objecting later.
Each extraction method has different results on the end product. While you might find different companies using different methods, it's important to understand the drawbacks of certain extractions.
1. Grinding into a powder
It's a tale as old as time... the good ole mortar and pestle, although probably on a much larger scale nowadays. This method takes the entire fruit of the mushroom and grinds it into a powder. While it is simple and straightforward, the ibotenic acid found in the fruit remains. When ingested, ibotenic acid gets processed through the liver and goes through a chemical process called decarboxylation. This effect leaves users with unpleasant side effects like nausea and diarrhea.
2. Solvent Extraction
Fun fact, muscimol shouldn't be heated above 140° F as it causes massive degradation (for reference, water boils at 212°F). Certain solvents can be used to remove the desirable compounds from the fruit of the mushroom. But where this method runs into problems is with burning off the solvent. Because muscimol has a low threshold for heat that's lower than most solvents need to completely burn off, the end product is left with trace amounts of a solvent, like methanol. Even in small amounts, these solvents can also contribute to unpleasant side effects like headache, upset stomach, and diarrhea.
3. Synthetic Muscimol
It's not surprising that with something as popular as muscimol, people would try to find ways to synthesize the process to create a final product. However, synthetic muscimol lacks the other active ingredients found in Amanita Muscaria, which in turn limits its effectiveness. It's also worth noting that synthetic muscimol can be harmful at higher doses.
4. Solventless Extraction
With a solventless extraction, the fruit is processed into a concentrate without the use of chemicals. This method is ideal as it also allows all the beneficial compounds to remain while removing unwanted elements. We've maximized this method by also creating a new mechanism that shatters the chitin wall (a cell wall that contains even more wonderful tryptamines), creating a more powerful concentrate.
While these different methods are all effective to some extent when creating Amanita Muscaria extract, they’re not all equally capable of creating a quality product. When shopping for Amanita Muscaria and muscimol products, pay attention to the extraction method and look for solventless extraction and third-party test results. Not only will this help you avoid unpleasant side effects, but you can enjoy the maximum benefits of this wonderful fungus.
Head over to our shop to find top-quality Amanita Muscaria gummies that have been created with solventless extraction and have been rigorously third-party tested.