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Chaga Mushroom Side Effects - What You Need To Know

Key Takeaways

  • Chaga mushrooms, rich in antioxidants, boost immunity and reduce inflammation.
  • Caution is needed as Chaga can cause bleeding, especially with blood thinners like warfarin.
  • Chaga may complicate surgeries by increasing bleeding and slowing healing.
  • It can lower blood sugar levels, affecting those on diabetes medications.
  • Chaga potentially aggravates auto-immune diseases like Lupus, Arthritis, and MS.
  • Rarely, excessive Chaga use can lead to reversible oxalate nephropathy.
  • Chaga might interfere with medications for diabetes, auto-immune disorders, and blood clotting.
  • Chaga tea, rich in antioxidants, may alleviate constipation naturally.
  • Avoid Chaga if diabetic, with auto-immune diseases, or pre-surgery.
  • Consult a doctor before combining Chaga with any medications.

Chaga, a fungus that notably grows on birch trees in cold climates, is one of the most sought-after medicinal mushrooms. Revered in Chinese medicine for centuries, it has a reputation for bolstering overall health. Many studies have shown it to be packed with antioxidants that can help boost your immune system and fight inflammation.

Chaga tea

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 potential side effects Chaga may have.

If you’re thinking about taking Chaga supplements, 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.

Surgical Complications

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 mushroom 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.

Chaga Mushroom-Induced Oxalate Nephropathy

A unique, yet rare side effect associated with excessive Chaga mushroom consumption is oxalate nephropathy. This condition arises from the accumulation of oxalate crystals in the kidneys, leading to potential kidney damage. However, it's important to note that such instances are infrequent and often linked to overconsumption.

A study mentions a case where a patient fully recovered from acute kidney injury (AKI) and minimal change disease (MCD) caused by Chaga mushroom-induced oxalate nephropathy. This finding underlines the reversible nature of this condition and emphasizes the need for further research to understand its disease course better.

As always, moderation and medical consultation are essential for safe Chaga consumption​.

Buy Chaga Mushroom

Can Chaga Extract Be Harmful?

For most people, Chaga extract 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.

Ashwagandha powder and capsules

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:

  • Amaryl
  • DiaBeta
  • Glynase
  • PresTab
  • Micronase
  • Actos
  • Avandia
  • Diabinese
  • Glucotrol

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:

  • Imuran
  • Simulect
  • Neoral
  • Sandimmune
  • Zenapax
  • CellCept
  • Prograf
  • Rapamune
  • Deltasone

There's also a consideration for those on high blood pressure medications. Since Chaga might reduce blood pressure, it could potentially amplify the effects of antihypertensive drugs, leading to an unsafe drop in blood pressure. This is particularly important for individuals taking medications like:

  • Lisinopril
  • Losartan
  • Amlodipine
  • Metoprolol

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 and blood thinner medications that Chaga may negate include:

  • Aspirin
  • Plavix
  • Voltaren
  • Cataflam
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naprosyn
  • Fragmin
  • Lovenox
  • Heparin
  • Coumadin

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.

Buy Chaga extract

Does Chaga Tea Help With Constipation?

Chaga is packed with antioxidants. For this reason, a cup of Chaga mushroom 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, its antioxidant effect is 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:

  1. Take a small ball strainer and fill it with 1-2 teaspoons of ground Chaga.
  2. Place the strainer into a mug and fill it with boiling water.
  3. Allow the Chaga to steep for at least ten minutes, but don’t go past the 10-minute mark.
  4. 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

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What does chaga do to your body?

Chaga mushrooms have several health benefits. They are high in antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation. Chaga has shown potential in fighting cancer, lowering blood sugar, and reducing cholesterol levels, but more research is needed to fully understand these impacts​.

Q2. Is it safe to take chaga everyday?

While there is no specific guidance on daily consumption, chaga is generally considered safe when used in moderation. However, due to potential interactions with certain medications (like blood thinners and diabetes medications), and the presence of compounds like oxalic acid, which could affect kidneys, it's advised to consult a healthcare provider before regular use, especially for individuals with certain health conditions.

Q3. Can chaga affect the liver?

Some studies indicate chaga's potential in preventing the growth of cancer cells in the liver, but this research is preliminary and more human-based studies are required. 

Q4. Can you take chaga long term?

The long-term effects of chaga are still under research, and there's limited information available about its safety over extended periods. Given its potential interactions and effects on blood sugar and cholesterol, as well as the presence of compounds that may affect kidney health, it's important to use chaga cautiously and under medical guidance for long-term use​.


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 or mushroom extract.

To reiterate - we are not medical experts and highly recommend you talk to your doctor or GP before taking any supplements!

Darcy Ogdon-Nolan

Holding a Bachelor Of Science (Hons.) combined with close to a decade now in the health food and wellness industry, I believe I'm uniquely positioned to provide a depth of knowledge and first-hand experience on emerging health products, trends and ideas! From greens powders and medicinal mushrooms through to protein powders and workout nutrition - I'm particularly interested in what modern science can uncover about what human cultures have been using to treat ailments for millennia!

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