Deep in the mountains of China, thousands of small farmers dedicate themselves to the natural cultivation of mushrooms. These are people who are close to the land and understand that food production is a sacred bond with the earth.

Mushroom cultivation started in China in the 12th century, and generations of mushroom growers have maintained a continuous cycle of mushroom cultivation so that today, China is responsible for 85% of worldwide mushroom production. Every crop of mushrooms starts with selected strains, cultivars that have been developed over the course of centuries. Hundreds of mushroom research institutes are engaged in continual research and development on high yielding strains of the highest medicinal quality. The photo above is of reishi mushrooms growing in a hoop house on buried logs.

You may not even have heard of medicinal mushrooms 20 years ago (we certainly hadn’t!), and already, our new mushroom suppliers were working with their Chinese partners to produce sustainable mushrooms without contamination by chemicals, maintaining a world-leading quality standard. Beyond organic, the mushrooms are grown on specially selected nutritious natural materials native to each particular mushroom, that are generally similar if not the same as what these mushrooms would grow on in the wild. In some cases, this is protein enriched sawdust, in others, buried hardwood logs. These natural substrates contain precursors that guarantee the production of important medicinal compounds. The mushroom crops are produced in greenhouses and shade-houses with a constant flow of fresh air and freshwater from deep wells, in natural conditions of temperature, light, and humidity. Natural sunlight provides the stimulus for proper mushroom formation, and the mushrooms are harvested by hand and sun-dried or air-dried in a dehydrator.

If you are like us, this is how we desire out food grown: on a farm by real people, not in a sterile lab with artificial lights and stale air and unnatural substrates made of cereal grains or rice.

After harvest and before processing, every crop of mushrooms is tested for possible chemical drift or other contamination. For processing, the facilities are GMP certified and only process mushrooms. All water used in cleaning and extraction is purified with an ultrafiltration system. Every step of the extraction process is monitored closely according to established SOP’s (Standard Operation Procedures). The extract product is dried and packed in ultra cleanroom environments.

All our mushrooms are tested to confirm <1 ppm of lead, arsenic, and cadmium, and <0.1ppm of mercury. Other less common heavy metals and pesticides are tested for as well. The mushrooms are also tested to confirm the absence of yeast, mold, E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and Coliforms.

Once the mushrooms arrive in the US, they are similarly tested again by reputable 3rd party labs, and also tested for mushroom specific compounds, namely:

1. Beta-glucan testing to ensure the presence of active compounds.

2. Ergosterol testing to insure fungal purity.

3. Alpha-glucan testing to guard against adulterants and carriers. An alpha-glucan test result of <5% is required to confirm no presence of starch or other fillers.

4. Reishi and chaga extracts are analyzed for triterpenoids. Cordyceps is analyzed for cordycepin (the active compound).

You would think that US grown mushroom companies do all this and better, but they don’t. In fact, much of what is sold in the US as mushroom supplements is adulterated with starch :-(

We take all of our sourcing very seriously, and you might be concerned about sourcing food or medicinal products in China. Our founder Jonas has traveled to China about a dozen times, touring the country extensively for his Master’s Degree and also developing in depth professional relationships when he worked in solar products manufacturing. Jonas has seen first hand the industrial megalopolises with atrocious levels of pollution impacting the health of the environment and the health of its citizens. Yet, just like the US, China is a massive and diverse country, and there are rural areas still steeped in traditional wisdom and untouched by pollution. So just as with sourcing Ora Cacao, Mystic Mushrooms only bring in products of the highest quality, and our extensive testing procedures are in place to ensure continual quality.