CHAGA MUSHROOM PRODUCTS COME IN MANY FORMS!
Many customers have asked us about the differences between raw chaga and chaga extract. We should start by saying that raw chaga should not be consumed. Chaga, like most other mushrooms, cannot be digested by the human body in its raw form. The mycochitin composition of mushroom cell walls, as opposed to cellulose walls of plant cells, is difficult for humans to digest. Our stomachs resent indigestible items, and often forcibly reject them without absorbing any nutrients. The brewing process helps break down fungal cell walls, rendering the mushroom flesh not only more readily digestible, but also releasing significant nutritional value contained within the cells. So, in order to get any health benefits from raw chaga, it needs to be brewed, or you could also consume water soluble chaga extract powder. Today chaga mushroom is available in many forms: teas, extracts, raw powder or chunks,capsules, creams and liquid. Many manufacturers offer dietary supplements which contain other components and additives, but only a small percentage of chaga. At Sayan, we believe that only pure, wild harvested forms of chaga are most beneficial to health, thus we offer our customers the most pure and potent Siberian chaga extract and raw chaga products. Our dietary supplements and teas are produced with no additives, preservatives, flavor enhancers, or coloring agents. All our products are caffeine-free and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
RAW CHAGA VERSUS CHAGA EXTRACT
Raw chaga chunks/pieces and powder – Raw chaga is a dried, shredded, and purified form of chaga, available in chunks or powder. Raw chaga is not water soluble, and you need to brew it to enjoy its health benefits. Chaga extract – Sayan chaga extract is a concentrated extract of biologically active substances from chaga. Our chaga extract is produced via a low temperature water extraction, followed by a freeze drying process. Avoiding high heat treatment preserves the potency of the active ingredients present in chaga. Finally, chaga extract can be easily dissolved in any liquid and does not need to be brewed. Sayan offers an extract of biologically active substances from chaga mushroom which contains a much higher concentration of active ingredients than raw ground chaga. Our extraction rate is 16%, so ration is about 6:1.
THE SAYAN CHAGA TEA DIFFERENCE
Sayan is proud to offer our own custom tea blend – a combination of raw chaga and chaga extract, bringing together these ingredients in one convenient package. Conventional chaga tea is made of raw chaga only, whereas our Sayan tea also contains a chaga extract, thus allowing our customers to get the most benefits from this powerful combination. We offer the most potent, premium quality, all-natural, wild-harvested chaga tea on the market!
WHICH IS MOST BENEFICIAL TO YOUR HEALTH: RAW CHAGA, CHAGA EXTRACT, OR CHAGA TEA?
CHAGA EXTRACTION PROCESS AND OTHER FACTORS TO CONSIDER
Today, chaga extract is a popular dietary supplement. Manufacturers are seeking to improve chaga extract products by using high-quality raw materials, as well as by improving the technical process of extraction. The geographic origin of chaga plays an important role in the quality of the chaga extract. A study conducted by Zubr T.P. , Vasilev I., Khoroshutin P.P. and Aksenova G. I. 2010, titled “Comparative evaluation of the quality of raw chaga, used in the manufacture of dry extract” found that chaga gathered in the forests of Siberia is more potent compared to chaga grown in others regions of the world. Furthermore, a significant factor in the production of high-quality chaga extract is the actual method of drying of the water extract of chaga. Today, manufacturers of chaga extract use the following methods of drying:
- thermal spray drying (extract is dried according to the principle of the centrifuge and hot air)
- infrared thermal drying (extract is dried in infrared ovens)
- freeze drying (sublimation or lyophilization)
Drying chaga extract in infrared and thermal spray driers requires the application of heat, which negatively impacts the effectiveness of the product. Note that during heat drying (infrared or spray), chaga extract is often overcooked, which increases the ash content and unpleasant odor of the finished product, and destroys the natural nutrients. There is a common misconception among chaga consumers that chaga extract of a dark brown color signifies a quality product. Of course, the dark color of the extract indicates high quality, however, you must be careful, since the heat-drying method can burn the extract and also result in an unnatural dark brown color. This is atypical for extracts produced by freeze drying process. How can you distinguish chaga extract produced by freeze drying from its counterpart dried the thermal spray method? As seen in the photograph to the right, the external difference is obvious: The picture of the right shows two types of chaga extract. Click on the picture to enlarge it. The extract on top – brown in color, shows chaga extract dried via thermal spray. This extract is not burnt – in fact, it has the natural color of the extract when dried in this manner. The extract on the bottom – chaga extract dried via freeze drying. This extract is darker, and never overcooked. Although both are water-soluble extracts, chaga extract produced via freeze drying is dissolved in water of any temperature instantly and completely, while the other extract has a flour-like consistency, floats on the surface of a liquid and will dissolve only after mixing, forming a precipitate.
SAYAN CHAGA FREEZE DRYING EXTRACT BENEFITS
The technology for producing our extract includes extraction of bioactive substances from chaga by evaporating hot water in a vacuum, followed by freeze drying (sublimation), a gentle drying process that preserves the beneficial active ingredients in chaga. In contrast to other drying processes, freeze drying preserves the consistency, color, shape, and potent flavor of the original product. Because the product is warmed only slightly, the vitamins and minerals are preserved as much as possible. Within seconds, freeze-dried ingredients rehydrate and are restored to their original, freshly harvested condition. Contact with water restores their original color, aroma, and flavor. Chaga extract produced by Sayan using freeze drying technology offers many advantages over chaga extract obtained by heat drying. We are the only manufacturer of chaga products that use this technology, as heat drying is the most conventional technique used in the chaga industry. Heat drying involves the use of high temperatures, which undoubtedly leads to partial damage of the molecules of chaga’s biological substances, and a reduction in effectiveness. Chaga extract produced using our method has a pleasant aroma and a pronounced taste. Freeze-dried chaga extract can be stored over a long period of time without losing its beneficial properties.
FREEZE DRYING SUBLIMATION
Freeze drying (sublimation or lyophilization) is the process of removing the solvent from the frozen solutions, gels, suspensions, and biological objects, based on sublimation of the solidified solvent (ice) without the formation of macroscopic liquid phase. The sublimation process (lyophilization) is shown in the picture to the right. Interestingly, the word lyophilization is translated from Greek as “dissolve” and “love”. Hence, our chaga extract, dried in a freeze dryer (lyophilization) has been dried with love. Freeze drying is more difficult and expensive than other methods. Freeze drying requires:
- careful preparation of liquid chaga extract before drying, in order to release the maximum active ingredients from the insoluble impurities and ballast substances
- providing a vacuum for complete drying of the chaga extract
- carrying out a long process of drying
Careful release of the liquid form of chaga extract from the ballast and insoluble particles prior to drying allows us to produce a dry chaga extract with high solubility; using such an extract as a dietary supplement is much easier and much more pleasant. Only our extraction process yields a dry chaga extract with an acceptable level of moisture. Products that have been freeze dried retain their organoleptic properties, are readily soluble, weigh very little, and have a long shelf life. All their vitamins are preserved, proteins are hardly denaturized at all, and thus their nutritional value is retained.
If you have questions about the differences between raw chaga and chaga extract, please e-mail or call us, we are always happy to talk to our customers!