Chestnut Herbal School

Maple Medicinal Mushroom Concoction

Text and Photography by Juliet Blankespoor

  • 1 cup dried shiitake slices (1 ounce, or 28 g) (Lentinula edodes)
  • 1 cup dried maitake slices (¾ ounce, or 21 g) (Grifola frondosa)
  • 2 cups dried reishi slices (2 ounces, or 56 g) (Ganoderma tsugae, G. lucidum, or G. applanatum)
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon chips (Cinnamomum verumC. burmannii, or C. zeylanicum)
  • 2½ teaspoons cardamom seeds (decorticated, or hulled) (Elettaria cardamomum)
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • 10 ounces organic corn, grape or cane alcohol (190 proof [95%}), or 25 ounces 100 proof (50%) vodka

Yield: 48 fluid ounces (1.42 liters) if using 95% alcohol and 63 fluid ounces (1.86 liters) if using 50% vodka

  1. Add the mushrooms, cinnamon, and cardamom to a medium pot and add 40 ounces (1.2 liters) of water. Stir the mixture well to coat the mushrooms and herbs.
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  2. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for six to eight hours. Stir and check the water level frequently. When the water dips below the mushroom-herb mixture, add enough water so the mixture is completely submerged.
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  3. Turn off the heat and leave the lid off to let cool for half an hour.
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  4. Strain the mixture through a funnel or ceramic coffee filter lined with a straining cloth into a half-gallon (1.9 liters) jar. Wring out the mushrooms in a cloth with your hands or press with a stainless steel potato ricer.
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  5. Measure the mushroom/herb tea into a half-gallon mason jar, or another vessel you can cap and shake. You’ll want exactly 32 ounces (1 liter) of the tea. If you have less, add just enough water to bring the volume up to 32 ounces (1 liter). If you have more, store the excess by freezing in ice cube trays, and take one tablespoon daily.
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  6. Add the maple syrup first, and then the alcohol.
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  7. Shake well until all ingredients are combined, and pour into storage bottles using a funnel.
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  8. Label with the ingredients and date. Store in the refrigerator if you have space. If you don’t have space, store in a dark cabinet. Will keep for one year refrigerated and six months unrefrigerated.
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  9. Adult dosage (150 pounds) is 2 teaspoons (10 ml) to 1 Tablespoon (15 ml), two times a day. Note that 2 teaspoons (10 ml) will have 2 dropperful of alcohol. One Tablespoon (15 ml) will have 3 droppersful of alcohol. Calculate children’s dosage by weight.
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As an alcohol-free alternative: Follow the steps outlined above, but omit the alcohol. Instead, freeze the mushroom tea concentrate in individual dosages in ice cube trays to thaw and ingest, as needed.

This recipe has less wiggle room than other medicinal preparations. There’s a narrow window we’re aiming for with the alcohol percentage—it has to be high enough to preserve the concoction but not too high, or it will break up the long-chain polysaccharides, which are some of the primary active compounds in the medicinals.The final alcohol volume of the concoction, if the recipe is followed exactly, is approximately 20%. Therefore, carefully measure liquid ingredients.

Meet the Green Mastermind Behind Blog Castanea:

Juliet Blankespoor

JULIET BLANKESPOOR founded the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine in 2007 and serves as the school’s primary instructor and Creative Director. She's been a professional plant-human matchmaker for close to three decades. Juliet caught the plant bug when she was nineteen and went on to earn a degree in Botany. She's owned just about every type of herbal business you can imagine: an herbal nursery, a medicinal products business, a clinical practice, and now, an herbal school.

These days, she channels her botanical obsession with her writing and photography in her online programs and here on her personal blog, Castanea. She's writing her first book: Cultivating Medicinal Herbs: Grow, Harvest, and Prepare Handcrafted Remedies from Your Home Garden. Juliet and her houseplants share a home with her family and herb books in Asheville, North Carolina.

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