Capsules contain extract powder, but make dosing much easier - you know exactly how much you take and what is in it.
• We are selling highly concentrated extracts. A side effect of highly concentrated extracts is that they are very hygroscopic, meaning they attract and absorb moisture easily. Loose powder is difficult to keep damp-free, so if no precautions are taken (using e.g. a desiccant or some additive such as maltitol) the powder will soon start cakeing, solidify or develop lumps. In itself this is no problem: the therapeutic effect is not affected, but it is impossible to sell like that. And we do not use additives in any of our mushroom extracts, unlike other vendors.
In fact, the described hygroscopic effect can also be called an indication of quality: only extracts have these problems and non-extracted mushroom powder or biomass doesn't.
• Putting herbs or herbal powder in a bottle together with alcohol and/or water is called 'cold-extraction'. Liquid extracts or alcohol tinctures are effective with herbs, but never with mushrooms. Alcohol or water does not break down chitin, the main structural ingredient of fungal cells. Some directly exposed bioactive compounds will dissolve in the liquid, but the percentages are very low. Mushroom tinctures therefore never specify bio-active compounds on their supplement facts label, because these levels are entirely unpredictable and in general below the level of detection. At least 95% of the tincture is just liquid and the therapeutic potency is minimal, if any.
And consider this: a powdered extract is in fact the deposit of a solvent extract (solvent = alcohol/water), it's what's left after the liquid has evaporated. After all, all powdered extracts start as a liquid extract. A single 30ml tincture bottle contains ± 4 capsules worth of mushroom extract, the rest is useless liquid. The value for money is very poor, but since it is easy, cheap and fun to do, there are a lot of DIY vendors on the market. For therapeutic effects such products are unsuitable.
In May 2013 we did a test run with Chaga extract powder, sold in bags of 100 grams each. (Of all extracts Chaga is the least susceptible to cakeing, most likely because Chaga is only in part fungal according to research.) Because it remained stable we decided to add loose Chaga extract powder permanently to our line-up. No other extracts will be released in powder form in the future.