When taking Yarsagumba as a supplement or medicine, use 1 to 2 pieces per dose, or 0.3 to 0.7 grams. You may brew it just like a herbal tea, add the powder form to milk or a smoothie, or even eat just like any other mushroom.
There is no need to take the Yarsagumba every day. One dose twice a week is more than enough. Try to keep at least 3 days between each dose.
Fresh vs dry
If you’re buying Yarsagumba whole, you are far more likely to get your hands on the dry stuff. That’s okay because this makes it easier to both sell and distribute and to keep in your pantry once you buy it.
The dry stuff is also a bit more versatile – you can use it to brew tea, make veggie dashi stock, crush into powder and mix with salt for seasoning, or blend into smoothies. However, depending on the drying method, there is a chance that some of the nutrition has disappeared. It should not be a large amount, but it’s still something to keep in mind.
On the other hand, fresh Yarsagumba has 100% of all of its nutrients, though it’s a bit more difficult to transport and store. It’s also more suitable for making tonics and lotions, though you could sneak some into your food as well.
Dehydrating Yarsagumba at home
Ideally, if you’re looking to preserve all of the nutrition, you may want to freeze-dry it. Freeze-drying does what it says on the tin – flash freezes then dehydrates the food. This method preserves 100% of the nutrients and moves the expiration date for years and not mere months.
However, not everyone has a couple of thousands of dollars to drop on one of these machines, so you may need to stick to classic dehydrations methods and equipment.
It’s better to avoid most dehydrator models that are marketed for home use. If you can dish out money for something better, make sure that it’s a model that has an option to turn off the heat completely.
If not, you can always pick up sun-drying nets and shelves, and chuck a large fan underneath to promote air circulation. Obviously, a lot of air is good, but even a small amount of heat may kill some of the nutrients in the Yarsagumba.
Is Yarsagumba only taken orally?
Yes. For now, we can only confirm that it’s safe when taken orally, with topical and other applications still being under a huge question mark.
Are all parts of Yarsagumba used for medicine?
Though some cheaper products may also include the “stalk”, the “body” is where the magic is.
Yarsagumba resembles a chili pepper a bit, and that woody looking part is what we’re calling the stalk here. Technically, there are some beneficial compounds in it as well, but nothing that our bodies can extract on their own.
How do the Chinese consume Yarsagumba?
China makes a wast Yarsagumba market, and even so much that they have developed their own ways of cultivating it. They allow the spores to infect ghost moths and then let the fungus grow in a controlled environment.
This “farming” method is very efficient, but it’s still not ready for production on a larger scale. So, even though it’s not as expensive as the stiff that’s found in the wild, it’s still a premium product.
Probably the two oldest and most common ways a regular person would consume this fungus in China is either as tea or in a “restorative” soup. In the latter case, they would just add however much they can afford into a pot.
But in the case of tea, several preparation methods are recommended. Dry Yarsagumba can be used in the same way and ratio as dry tea leaves. To get the most nutrition, a cold brew may be the best idea – use the same ratio but with cold water, and leave it to infuse in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
Fresh fungi are not suitable for classic tea brewing methods and may work better with the cold brew technique.
If you’ve ever landed your eyes on an Asian TV show, you might have seen the characters ooh and aah when they receive these nutritional jellies. Even without actors being paid handsomely to fawn over them, they are still pretty popular in the region and considered an appropriate (and in some cases a mandatory) gift when meeting or visiting people. Though it is a bit awkward for a young person to give this out to another youngster, there is no age limit on the suitable recipient.
In almost all on-screen cases it’s always ginseng, some companies also make Yarsagumba jellies. Or Yarsagumba could be chucked into the mix with ginseng or other medicinal plants.
They come in small sachets (on average, the size of 2 to 3 sachets of ketchup from a fast food restaurant), and may or may not have added flavor. Though, considering that in that part of the world it’s considered good when medicine tastes bad, a lot of companies broadcast how healthy their preparation is by not making it more palatable.
These products came into being with the mass-commercialization of traditional medicine. They were made for busy business people who can’t tote around cumbersome glass extract bottles, or have time to brew teas. They are available as casual, more affordable options in convenience stores, or as premium, beautifully packaged sets.
The truth is, you can make your own by turning a tea, extract, or tincture into a fluid gel. You can learn more about those from modernist cuisine chefs. The most fool-proof method is with glucomannan as a gelling agent – it doesn’t set on its own so you don’t have to worry about getting the dose exactly right. Also, it has a higher tolerance for acid in comparison to agar and gelatin if you’re planning to make the jelly with fruit juice.
Tinctures are concentrated extracts made with alcohol or vinegar instead of water. Dosages are usually measured in drops and are either added to tea and other beverages, or sugar cubes for those who can’t stand bitterness at all.
This is usually the form you will find Yarsagumba if you visit a herbalist or a traditional Chinese medicine doctor, not only in China but in other countries in the region as well. They are rarely mass-produced and can be quite pricey. The price goes higher the more Yarsagumba there is in the product, so you’re far more likely to find it mixed with other ingredients.
Pretty much any method or recipe will work with this fungus as well if you are in the mood to make some at home. Just remember to apply the dry herb ratio to dry Yarsagumba and fresh herb ratio to fresh fungi.
OCOO and other double boilers
East Asia overall has a huge market for health and wellness products, including items related to traditional medicine. It’s not a strange thing to walk into a Chinese home appliance store and find “double boilers”, glorified electric kettles that are designed to cook herbs and other plants without destroying the more delicate compounds. These guys are so mainstream that even large companies like Xiaomi, Joyoung, Midea, and others have at least one model in their line-up.
And then, there’s OCOO.
OCOO is South Korean, but it’s considered to be Bugatti of “health-makers”. It combines the classic principle behind the classic double boiler with pressure cooking technology. It promises to preserve more nutrients than the competitions, and even to make yogurt in a single hour, or black garlic in a single day.
Obviously, it works wonders when making Yarsagumba tinctures. In (company’s) studies, each extraction has at least 60% more nutrients than the ones made with other methods and devices.
Though, all that comes at a cost. This device is already quite pricey in countries with official distributors. If you want to order one online, get ready for additional shipping cost, and import tax as well.
Can you eat Yarsagumba as regular food?
Yes, but that can become an expensive habit pretty soon. But, if you want to add more nutrition to the cream of mushroom soup, or a duxelles paste, or any other mushroom sauce, you can add it to the recipe. Just check if your dining companions can safely consume it as well.
Can you overcook Yarsagumba?
If your goal is to consume it for its health benefits, yes.
Though every chef will tell you that you can’t overcook mushrooms, that’s only when we’re talking about maintaining their texture and flavor. Yet, there are a lot of delicate compounds that will get lost when exposed to heat (or exposed to it for too long). And the truth is you are eating Yargasumba for those compounds in the first place.
If you’re adding it to your dish, do so at the final stages of cooking to stay on the safe side. For example, if you’re making a mushroom soup, add the Yarsagumba only a second before you turn on your blender.
Can you microwave Yarsagumba?
Yes, as long as you’re working with the fresh stuff. Anything high in water content can be cooked in the microwave with, honestly, better results than most other cooking methods.
And you don’t need any special equipment – just a bowl and some plastic wrap or a silicone lid will do. Make sure that the wrap or the lid is secured properly and microwave on high for a minute or two.
Unfortunately, you will have to experiment and figure out on your own how long you should microwave Yarsagumba. The exact time will depend on the amount, size, and your microwave. But to set you on the right path. a single stalk cut into 1-inch pieces should take 1 minute at 1000W.