Shop Local: The Healing Power of Mushrooms | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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Shop Local: The Healing Power of Mushrooms 

Ultrasonic extraction helps Manuka Mana bring potent blends to Bend and beyond

Part of this week's Shop Local feature, a story on how local products get made.

Manuka Mana's products are made in Bend, but their origins stretch across the Pacific, to New Zealand. There, the manuka—or "tea tree" grows in abundance, providing the pollen that provides a type of honey known for its antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Manuka honey is a key ingredient and the namesake of Manuka Mana, launched by New Zealander and chef Josiah Alexander and his wife Courtney Rebel just 14 months ago. But manuka honey is just the start; Manuka Mana's products are packed with other ingredients formulated to help people experience more focus and clarity or to boost their immunity, among other wellness goals.

Josiah Alexander and Courtney Rebel create their products at Prep in NE Bend. - NICOLE VULCAN
  • Nicole Vulcan
  • Josiah Alexander and Courtney Rebel create their products at Prep in NE Bend.

At age 32, Alexander suffered a series of mini strokes thought to have occurred due to a past concussion. From that experience, the couple began exploring the healing powers of not just honey, but mushrooms, including lion's mane mushrooms, which have been identified in scientific research as having neurotrophic—or relating to the growth of nervous tissue—properties. After developing their own blend of lion's mane and manuka honey over a period of several years, Alexander has not suffered another stroke, he said.

"Mushrooms are very popular right now," Alexander told me—at least in part due to the rising interest in psychedelics. And while the couple has interest in exploring blends that would include the psychoactive variety, Manuka Mana's current roster includes wild-foraged mushrooms of other types, including reishi mushrooms that act as an anti-inflammatory, chaga mushrooms that promote immune health, cordyceps known to increase adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and cardiovascular performance, and the lion's mane for brain health.

Manuka Mana’s “Think” products contain lion’s mane mushrooms, which have been studied for their ability to grow nervous tissue. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MANUKA MANA
  • Photo courtesy of Manuka Mana
  • Manuka Mana’s “Think” products contain lion’s mane mushrooms, which have been studied for their ability to grow nervous tissue.

Alexander and Rebel invited me to join them on a recent Friday to check out the extraction process they use to get as much healing benefits as they can from the mushrooms that go into their products. Key to their process is an ultrasonic extraction machine that utilizes sound waves to break up cell walls quickly and efficiently. Unlike some tinctures and other blends, which sit in a bath of water or alcohol to extract the product's healing properties, the extraction machine makes the process faster and more potent.

Manuka Mana currently sells its products—including tinctures, tonics and honey blends for immunity, brain and energy—online at its website and also at local markets. Find them at Schilling's Maker Market Dec. 3 and 4 and at the Halo Holiday Market at Halo Hyperbaric & Healing on Dec. 3. They'll also be at the Locavore Holiday Gift Faire on Dec. 10.

Find Manuka Mana online at manukamana.com.

About The Author

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. While the pandemic reduced "hobbies" to "aspirations," you can mostly find her raising chickens, walking dogs, riding all the bikes and attempting to turn a high desert scrap of land into a permaculture oasis. (Progress: slow.)
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