Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
We will be happy to answer your questions.
Do you have any questions about our raw materials, products and services? We have compiled the most frequently-asked questions and answered them for you here. Simply click on one of the following boxes to find the corresponding answers or use our search function.
If you then still need further clarification, please use our contact form.
What are beta-glucans?
Beta-glucans are polysaccharides with a specially branched structure. They are frequently the subject of various studies and are by far the most investigated polysaccharides from mushrooms.
Are the mushroom products impaired by exposure to strong heat, such as if they are mixed into food or exposed to the sun?
Both mushroom powders and mushroom extracts can be added to hot dishes. However, the cooking should be completed before this. We recommend adding mushroom powder or mushroom extracts right at the end, shortly before consuming.
In this way, the valuable components are retained and can unfurl their full effect. The valuable components of the powders and extracts are impaired by direct sunlight if they are exposed to this over a prolonged time. Medicinal mushroom preparations should thus always be stored in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight.
Are other components of the mushroom impaired by the extraction process?
As continuous analyses show, small quantities of vitamins and amino acids are actually lost during extraction. However, as the priority for extracts is the polysaccharide content, this loss is of minor importance.
Nevertheless, this shows why both pharmaceutical forms – extracts and powders – have their place and why it can be sensible to use them in combination.
How does the customer know what’s in the capsules?
All raw materials delivered to Hawlik are given a batch number, just like every finished product. With the aid of this batch number, the results of the Agrolab analysis can be understood and the analysis certificates for these requested by any customer.
From what is the capsule shell made?
The capsule shell consists of cellulose. Cellulose is a natural substance, the main component of which is plant-derived cell walls and which gives plants a firm structure. We completely avoid capsules made from pork or beef gelatine.
Why are mushroom powders/extracts from one mushroom variety sometimes of a different colour?
Our medicinal mushrooms are grown on natural growing materials such as wood or straw. The wood variety, for instance, is not crucial: mushrooms develop very well on any type of hardwood. The various wood types vary in terms of their colour. Wood from oak, for instance, is relatively dark, while apple trees provide a very light-coloured material.
As chemosynthetic agents, the mushrooms take in the various colourings from the growing material and store them in their cells. Following drying and grinding, the various colours of the growing material result in differences in the colour of the powder.
In what way are the dried mushrooms ground and why is the right crushing method so important?
The mushrooms and the dried extracts are ground with the shellbroken method. It creates a highly fine powder in which every individual cell is broken up.
The finer the powder, the higher the quality!
This special and very extensive technique ensures that the components of the mushrooms are made more readily available to the human metabolism. Coarse powder or mushroom pieces also serve as fibre. Their components can only be unlocked and digested to a minor degree during the short digestive process.
How does the cultivation of Cordyceps sinensis work?
The original Cordyceps sinensis is extremely rare and very expensive. The market price in Shanghai in 2016 was around €35,000/kg. As the fruiting body of the mushroom also cannot be grown, a mycelium from the wild Cordyceps sinensis was isolated and reproduced with a special fermentation technique following years of research.
During cultivation, the mycelium is tempered in a vacuum tank together with a special nutrient fluid for several weeks under lab conditions. The mycelium ferments the entire nutrient fluid. The pure Cordyceps CS-4 thus remains after the end of the procedure.
What is the difference between mushroom powder and mushroom extract?
Mushroom powder is acquired via the finest grinding (micronisation) of the dried mushroom. Its efficacy is based on the various bioactive substances that occur in the cells and cell walls of the fruiting bodies. A maximum of one to three per cent of other therapeutically important substances such as polysaccharides are present, depending on the genus of the medicinal mushroom.
To achieve higher concentrations and better availability of components, the combination of water and alcohol extraction techniques provided by traditional Chinese medicine is used. This allows the polysaccharide content of extracts to be standardised to a previously specified level and ensures consistent quality.
The proportions of bioactive substances in powders vary. Powders and extracts thus differ significantly from each other and so have different possible uses.
Is the mycelium of a mushroom less effective than the fruiting body?
The fruiting body and mycelium contain the same components. Studies have shown that mycelium and fruiting body are completely equal. It is important that the mycelium is not grown on wooden chippings, straw or cereal. Otherwise, there is a risk that the growing material is also processed when making mushroom powder. A high proportion of wood, straw or cereals can thus be contained in powder or extracts of this kind.
Only one mycelium production per fermentation, such as with Cordyceps sinensis CS-4, can guarantee an absolutely pure mushroom mycelium.
What specifically happens during the extraction process?
Extraction is a standardised procedure according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It makes it possible to release the valuable polysaccharides that are bound into the cell walls of the mushroom and make them bioavailable to the human metabolism.
This starts with hot water extraction in various stages. The polysaccharide content can be controlled via the number of repetitions of this procedure.
Why are there lower-quality products with very high polysaccharide contents?
Mushroom extracts are unfortunately frequently mixed with starch. With corresponding tests to check the polysaccharide content, starch is very difficult to distinguish from high-quality polysaccharides. This explains why some lower-quality and cheaper products display a content of up to 50% of these substances.
A further popular method of producing lower-quality mushroom products is to grow the mushrooms on a wood and straw mixture or millet and to pulverise the complete mushroom culture (including straw, wood and millet) once the fruiting bodies have finished growing. Here, too, the polysaccharide values are falsified. What’s more, such products primarily consist of wood and straw. The health-promoting effect will surely be absent in this case.
The proportion of polysaccharides shown in Hawlik products is the pure proportion of mushroom-typical polysaccharides – called beta-glucans.
What is a mycelium?
The mycelium is by definition the entirety of all hyphae, the thread-shaped cells of a mushroom.
The mushroom mycelium is the actual mushroom. The fruiting body is only used for the purposes of reproduction. A mycelium mesh generally grows under the ground or in dead wood and can take on gigantic proportions.
Why do you acquire your mushrooms from China and not from Europe, particularly from Germany?
Due to the long tradition, our farmers in China have well-founded knowledge of the cultivation of the mushrooms, which is now benefitting us. This expertise is lacking among Europeans, as the specialist knowledge about the mushrooms has largely been lost as part of industrialisation and modern medicine.
Only in China are the original mushrooms grown with no time pressure, while, in Europe, new mushroom varieties are grown that can be patented or grow particularly quickly.
The import of the mushrooms from China is thus a significant criterion for the high quality and efficacy of the individual specialities.
What are polysaccharides and why are they so important?
The most interesting and now well-investigated components of medicinal mushrooms include polysaccharides, which primarily occur as framework and storage substances in mushrooms and display promising potential.
Polysaccharides (these also include beta-glucans) are significantly responsible for the effect of medicinal mushrooms. With this in mind, there are to be understood as biological response modifiers.
We will be happy to send you additional specialist information about polysaccharides on request.
When are powders sensible and when are extracts a better option?
Powders are generally used preventatively due to their low proportion of polysaccharides. With their high content of nutritionally relevant substances, extracts are used to accompany or support treatment.
Many therapists prefer a combination of mushroom powders and mushroom extracts to exploit all of the benefits that the mushroom has to offer.
Quality assurance / quality mark
Continuous quality controls accompany our raw materials from the growing area to the product range.
Before shipping to Europe, the state-accredited, certified and independent Agrolab laboratory group in 84079 Bruckberg near Landshut is given samples of every single batch. In this company, the samples are tested a second time for heavy metals, pesticides, microbiological and radioactive impurities as well as PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) according to the German food laws. This examination comprises around 250 different parameters. We have thus established much stricter control criteria than those set down in the German food law.
Through certification of the individual batches, the raw materials of our products can be traced from the finished capsule to the place of origin.
A further plus for us arises from the close collaboration with scientists from various universities as well as doctors and alternative practitioners. As our products are a constant component of research work and studies, we are always at the cutting edge of research.
How long is the shelf life of medicinal mushroom preparations once they are opened?
Once opened, our medicinal mushroom products will keep until the end of the ‘best before date’ if stored properly. Proper storage means that the packaging must be sealed well again after removing the capsule of powder and the products should be stored in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight.
What's so special about beta-glucans?
Beta-glucans have a special structure, which has a helical shape. This structure enables these mushroom-typical polysaccharides to interact with the T cells like a key in a lock and thus open the “doors” to the immune system.
The polysaccharides from cereals, yeast and starch have an alpha type with a linear structure, which does not offer this possibility for the immune system.
Why are there mushroom powders as well as mushroom extracts?
Mushroom powders and mushroom extracts differ significantly in terms of their components. A combination of both can thus be sensible.
The combination brings together the bioactive polysaccharides of the extract and the high-quality complex mushroom powder mixture of vitamins, minerals and trace elements as well as amino acids, enzymes and secondary plant metabolites in one capsule. This is particularly suitable for people who use both versions but only want to buy one product.