Colloquially termed ‘black mass’ due to an appearance resembling burnt charcoal, Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) sits with the likes of Turkey Tail, Reishi, Cordyceps and Lion’s Mane as one of the most important medicinal mushrooms in history. It’s been extensively used in traditional medicine cultures throughout China, Northern Europe, Siberia, Russia, Korea, Northern Canada and Alaska.
Absolutely loaded with beta-glucans and anti-oxidants - Chaga has been used for centuries to increase the immune system, reduce inflammation and boost overall health. Traditionally brewed as a mushroom tea, there are now many other easy ways to take it as well.
As one of the most fascinating and beneficial mushrooms on the health scene, there has been an explosion of producers and manufacturers looking to capitalise and get their extracts on the market.
While this flood of producers can obviously drive the price down, it’s not necessarily a good thing for the consumer with many extracts being of very questionable quality, potency and ethics, as well as often contaminated with moulds, toxins and heavy metals!
Tried, tested and thoroughly vetted, this article will take you through who I’ve found to be the best suppliers of Chaga mushroom extract in Australia ... and the world!
What Is Chaga Mushroom?:
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a type of medicinal mushroom that is typically found as a growth on birch trees in colder climate regions of the world. It is ‘symbiotic’ with the birch bark, growing as a mesh of woody and fibrous mycelium - leading to many calling it a ‘pseudo-mushroom’.
Fun and crazy Chaga facts - it actually shares more DNA with humans than plants (about 30% more), has been known to heal the birch on which it grows and is also one of the richest sources of the antioxidant superoxide dismutase (SOD), known for cell repair and regeneration.
With these super high levels of SOD as well as other healing compounds such as beta-glucans, betulinic acid and polysaccharides, Chaga is known and used widely for strengthening the immune system, reducing inflammation, helping to regulate blood sugar and boosting overall nutrition. It is also a potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic with numerous studies indicating it’s potential for anti-cancer and anti-tumour properties as well.
Many people take Chaga daily in conjunction with other antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory powerhouses (e.g. Nigella Seeds) to give their body the best chance at fighting off disease.
Health Benefits and Potential Side Effects of Chaga Mushrooms:
Chaga mushrooms are an incredibly potent, powerhouse of a mushroom, in fact, it is so powerful it has been known to heal the birch tree on which it is growing if it is dying - a testimony to its incredible medicinal strength.
The overall health benefits of chaga extract are wide-ranging in everything from immune system support and maintaining blood sugar levels to helping reduce inflammation and even attacking cancer cells.
When taken daily, chaga may help with:
- Anti-cancer, anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory - Chaga is one of the best natural sources of superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant that repairs cells and reduces cellular damage caused by free radicals - meaning that chaga is amazing for reducing internal inflammation, regenerating skin and other tissues in the body and lessening pain associated with conditions such as arthritis. Concentrated extracts of chaga have shown very promising results in killing many different types of cancer cells as well.
- Boosts the immune system - rich in beta glucans, Chaga helps balance the body's immune system responses.
- Regulates blood sugar levels - the types of beta-D-glucans found in Chaga have also been shown to help lower blood sugar levels. Animal studies have shown chaga's benefits for reversing Type 2 diabetes in 90% of mice.
- Aids gut health - Chaga has been shown to protect the intestines, reducing digestive inflammation making it great for those suffering from ulcers, gastritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and colitis. Chaga is also antiparasitic and antiviral, helping keep the digestive system in the best possible condition.
- Nutrient rich - super high in triterpenoids, botulin, trace minerals (copper, chromium, selenium, zinc and more), major minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and more), vitamins (B2, D2), amino acid complexes and many more.
While chaga mushrooms generally are beneficial, some things to be aware of are that, due to its impact on blood sugar, chaga mushrooms could potentially pose a risk to people with diabetes. Chaga also contains a protein that can prevent blood from clotting, so if you are on blood thinning medicine then speak to a doctor for medical advice before taking chaga mushroom.
Mason Taylor from SuperFeast gives an excellent breakdown of some of Chaga's key health benefits in the video below:
Who Are The Best Producers Of Chaga Mushrooms In Australia?:
Primarily due to its powerful immune-boosting properties, using chaga to boost overall health has recently become extremely popular - and as such, the number of suppliers and producers has also increased.
As with all medicinal mushrooms and natural extracts though, for every high-quality extract on the market, there are 100 you shouldn't anywhere near!
Not only are many extracts low-potency and packed with extra 'filler', but also grown and harvested unethically and often contaminated with heavy metals, toxins and mould.
Below you’ll find my 4 favourite suppliers of Chaga mushroom available here in Australia ... and the world!
All of these extracts are independently tested for potency and contamination and all companies are completely transparent with their growing, sourcing and harvesting processes.
I often cycle between all 4 extracts due to subtle differences in their nature, as well as stock availability.
|Click here for Superfeast Chaga
SuperFeast is fast becoming one of Australia’s most respected and reputable producers of medicinal mushrooms and tonic herbs, now also shipping all over the globe. This isn’t by accident though, there are a number of reasons why people are flocking to this brand:
- Customer Service - with some of the best customer service I've experienced from any online retailer, SuperFeast have become quite well-known for having a brilliant buyer experience. Postage is quick, the team is super-friendly and every order comes with a personal hand-written note!
- Sourcing Standards - SuperFeast goes to extremes to uphold the Di Tao philosophy, meaning all products are sourced wild or wild-crafted in their home regions. In alignment with their 'Earth First' policy, SuperFeast's Chaga is grown wild on the break of select birch trees, and only harvested at the correct time to ensure maximum potency and sustainability.
- Complete Transparency - As a 100% family-owned business, SuperFeast put it all on the table. From internal and independent pesticide, heavy metal & microbiological testing through to regular audits and supplier visits, they are always working to operate to the highest standard. You can view all these practices in detail here.
- Uniquely Processed for Super High-Potency -SuperFeast's Chaga Extract Mushroom powder is dual-extracted in a 10:1 ratio, meaning that 10kg of mushroom is processed down to 1kg of powder. They work with the ‘sclerotia’ which is the complete woody mycelium mix to make sure they retain all medicinal aspects (such as betulinic acid).
5.) Shipping? - Worldwide
|Click here for Life Cykel Chaga
Launched back in 2015, Life Cykel exploded onto the health scene with their super high-quality mushroom extracts and unique enviro-products. They are an excellent company with very high sourcing and operating standards - and as such - are gaining impressive notoriety with celebrities, athletes and high-performers around the word!
Some of the features that make Life Cykel one of my preferred suppliers for Chaga include:
- ‘Circular Economics’ - Life Cykel works tirelessly to create a 'circular economy' - meaning they look to reuse resources & recycle wastage at every step. One of their best examples of this is recovering massive amounts of discarded coffee grounds from local cafes, and using them as the substrate for many of their mushrooms.
- Liquid Extracts - Alongside powdered extracts, Life Cykel also produce potent dual-extracted 1:2 liquid mushroom tinctures. Many people find these much easier to take than powders.
- High-Quality Sourcing - Life Cykel Chaga is sourced and wild-harvested from it’s natural growing regions of the United States. All raw material is extensively and independently tested for moulds, contaminants, metals and toxins, as well as potency!
- Shipping?: Worldwide
|Click here for Teelixer Chaga
The Teelixir philosophy is to use ancient knowledge and healing systems to help people restore balance and increase vitality within the fast pace of the modern world. Through sourcing super high-quality medicinal mushrooms, adaptogenic herbs and natural tonics, they create unique and potent formulas that have quickly made them a highly-sought-after Australian producer.
I use Teelixir powdered extracts for a number of reasons:
1.) ‘Gold Standard’ testing - This is the Teelixir internal benchmarking system that’s been built in accordance with the most stringent testing methods in the industry. This is their commitment to quality and safety in their products - read all about it here.
2.) Complete Transparency - On top of their internal 'Gold Standard', Teelixir is also incredibly diligent regarding the sourcing standards and production processes for all of their products. From start to finish - they are completely committed to the best procedures possible, and transparent with all of their methods too.
3.) Di Tao Sourcing - All Teelixir mushrooms and herbs are sourced according to the Traditional Chinese Medicine 'Di Tao' principles from their natural growing regions and environments for maximum potency and effectiveness.
4.) Shipping? - Worldwide
|Click here for Host Defense Chaga
As the brainchild of the very famous and multi-award-winning mycologist, Paul Stamets, Host Defense is a company that can’t be ignored when it comes to excellent medicinal mushrooms extracts.
There are many reasons to love Host Defense’s Chaga extract:
- Easy Capsules - Host Defense Chaga comes as vegetarian-friendly capsules, making them arguably the easiest to take of any extracts listed here.
- Only Mycelium, No Sclerotia - Host Defense opt to use only the Chaga mycelium, not the sclerotia which is the woody mass of mycelium combined with birch bark. Host Defense claim this increases the potency of the extract, however, there are different viewpoints on the benefits of including or excluding the sclerotia.
- Mushroom Pioneers- With over 40 years of research experience and publishing, there is no denying that the driving force behind Host Defense, Paul Stamets, is as educated and respected as they come. Paul brings a wealth of knowledge to all of the companies procedures and products.
- All-Organic & Grown 'In-House' - All Host Defense mushrooms are certified organic and sustainably grown on their own farm in Washington State, USA. This allows them to maintain a rigorous and well-controlled organic standard, and test everything methodically and extensively.
- Shipping? - Worldwide
This should give you all the options you need to find the right Chaga extract for you, both here in Australia and internationally.
All of the extracts detailed above show some subtle differences but are all potent, ethical, safe and of excellent quality.
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Undoubtedly one of the most fascinating medicinal mushrooms out there - here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the ‘clinker polypore’:
1.) Do Chaga Mushrooms Grow In Australia?
It is highly unlikely that you will find Chaga mushrooms growing here in Australia. It almost exclusively grows on birch trees and generally prefers much colder climates like those found in Northern Europe, Siberia, Russia, Korea, Northern Canada and Alaska.
2.) How To Use Chaga Mushroom Extract?
There are many different ways to use Chaga, mainly depending on whether you prefer a powdered extract, liquid extract or capsule.
Obviously is you prefer capsules it’s as easy as taking it with a glass of water, but if you prefer powder or liquid variants - Chaga works beautifully stirred through coffee, tea, smoothies or even savoury cooking as it isn’t heat sensitive.
3.) Are Chaga Mushrooms Psychedelic?
No, Chaga Mushrooms are not psychedelic. They do not contain psilocybin, the active ingredient in mushrooms that are psychedelic. They are safe to use with out any psychoactive effects.
4.) Is Chaga Mushroom Safe for Dogs?
Yes, Chaga Mushroom is safe for dogs in small doses. It is always worth consulting your vet before using any supplements with you pets.
5.) Are Chaga Mushrooms Low FODMAP?
Yes, Chaga Mushrooms are low FODMAP in small doses.
That's A Wrap:
I hope you've gained some great info and good recommendations from this article, and feel more confident in deciding which Chaga Mushroom supplier you'd prefer to go with!
There is no way we'd be using and promoting any of these companies unless we'd tried, tested and loved their products - I'm confident you'll have the same experience!
Here’s to the ‘Black Mass’!