Chaga is one of the most popular and effective medicinal mushrooms available, used for centuries in Chinese medicine for supporting overall health. Many studies have shown it to be packed with antioxidants that can help boost your immune system and fight inflammation.
However, just like all medicinal mushrooms and natural supplements, Chaga should be approached with caution as it can have some side effects for certain people. These effects are fairly uncommon, but they may affect people with certain pre-existing conditions.
Below, we’ve put together a list of some of the side effects Chaga may have.
If you’re thinking about taking Chaga, make sure you read these first and always consult your GP if you have any concerns whatsoever.
Side Effects Of Chaga Mushroom
Chaga is an incredible medicinal mushroom with benefits that seriously outweigh the risk of the side effects for most people. Again though, these are some of the very rare issues that some people have experienced:
Bleeding & Bruising
One of the most common side effects of Chaga is bleeding and bruising. However, this really only occurs in people that have been prescribed anticoagulants or blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin and aspirin).
So, if you’re currently taking any of this medication or you’ve recently been prescribed it, you shouldn’t take Chaga just to be on the safe side. You should also avoid Chaga if you suffer from haemophilia.
Since Chaga is believed to reduce blood clotting, there is also a chance that it could lead to surgical complications. These include increased blood flow during surgery and taking longer to heal post-surgery.
If you’re currently taking Chaga and you’re scheduled for surgery, you should stop taking it at least two weeks before your operation.
Low Blood Sugar
There are some instances where Chaga may negate the effects of blood sugar medications and insulin. If you suffer from diabetes, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before you start taking Chaga.
If you suffer from Hypoglycemia, you may find that Chaga makes you feel weak, confused, overly thirsty, or irritable. You may also find that you have trouble speaking. Both of these instances are due to the fact that Chaga is believed to help lower blood sugar levels.
Aggravating Auto-Immune Diseases
Since Chaga is believed to stimulate white blood cells and boost the immune system, there’s a chance that it could aggravate the symptoms of certain auto-immune diseases.
These include SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Multiple Sclerosis. If you are currently suffering from any of these auto-immune diseases, it’s best to avoid taking Chaga altogether.
Can Chaga Be Harmful?
For most people, Chaga can be taken with very few side effects. However, there are some instances where it might be harmful.
The first of these is during surgery. Chaga is believed to contain antiaggregant substances including polysaccharides and certain minerals. While this helps to improve circulation, they also thin the blood.
This poses a real risk during surgery as you could bleed excessively. It may also make it harder to recover from surgery as it could prevent the blood from clotting, which is essential for wound healing.
For these reasons, it’s best to stop taking Chaga at least two weeks before you are scheduled for surgery.
People who suffer from diabetes or hypoglycemia may also find that Chaga can have a harmful effect. The reason for this is that Chaga is believed to lower blood sugar levels. It’s so powerful, in fact, that one study found it led to a 31% drop in blood sugar over the course of three weeks.
With this in mind, it could interact negatively with insulin and other blood sugar medications, lowering your blood sugar to a level that is dangerously low. For this reason, it’s best to check with your doctor before you start taking Chaga.
Does Chaga Interact With Medications?
There is a risk that Chaga could interact with several medications, especially those that are designed to help manage blood sugar, auto-immune diseases, and blood clotting. But how does Chaga affect these medications?
Let’s look at blood sugar medications, first of all. Chaga is believed to help lower blood sugar levels. Certain diabetes and hypoglycemia medicines are designed to do the same thing. If you mix the two together, you could bring your blood sugar levels to a dangerously low level.
If you are currently taking any of the following medications, it’s best to avoid using Chaga:
Chaga may also interact negatively with auto-immune disease medications by making the immune system more active. Auto-immune diseases are caused by the immune system attacking itself. Add more power to this and you’re potentially making the problem worse.
Some examples of auto-immune medications that Chaga could interact negatively with include:
Finally, Chaga could interact negatively with blood clotting medications. The reason for this is that it contains certain polysaccharides and minerals that improve circulation by thinning the blood. A result of this, however, is that it makes it much harder for blood to clot.
Blood clotting medications that Chaga may negate include:
These are not definitive lists of medications that chaga can have negative interactions with - again, always check with your GP first before beginning to take chaga.
Does Chaga Tea Help With Constipation?
Chaga is packed with antioxidants. For this reason, a cup of Chaga tea could be exactly what you need to help get things moving again if you’re suffering from constipation.
Unlike some chemical-based constipation medicines, it’s completely natural so there’s a small risk of it upsetting your stomach in the process.
It’s also tasteless and odourless, so you don’t have to worry about drinking something with a foul taste.
That’s not all, though. Chaga tea is also believed to help aid the digestive system in processing food and absorbing nutrients more efficiently.
So, not only will a cup of Chaga tea help to cure constipation, drinking a cup every day could help keep things running smoothly and prevent constipation altogether.
Want to give Chaga tea a try? It’s super easy to make. Here’s what you need to do:
- Take a small ball strainer and fill it with 1-2 teaspoons of ground Chaga.
- Place the strainer into a mug and fill it with boiling water.
- Allow the Chaga to steep for at least ten minutes, but don’t go past the 10-minute mark.
- Remove the strainer, add milk or honey (if required) and enjoy!
That’s all there is to it! In the end, you’ll have a hot cup of Chaga tea that won’t only help ease your constipation but will provide you with loads of other health benefits!
You can also mix Chaga with coffee!
As with all herbal supplements, there are some side effects of Chaga that you need to be aware of. Some of these can be quite serious as well, so it’s incredibly important that you do your research before you start taking any Chaga mushroom supplements or making Chaga tea. Also, it's important to make sure you're not taking too much chaga.
If you suffer from diabetes or an auto-immune disease, you should avoid taking Chaga altogether. You should also stop taking Chaga two weeks before any surgery, as it might cause excessive bleeding during the operation and make it harder for your wounds to heal.
Finally, take a look at the list of medications we’ve listed above. If you’ve been prescribed any of these (or any other medication for blood sugar, blood clotting, or auto-immune diseases), you shouldn’t take Chaga supplements.
To reiterate - we are not medical experts and highly recommend you talk to your doctor or GP before taking any supplements!