Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I buy chaga tea?
You can buy our pure chaga exclusive tea blends with raw chaga powder online, right here at SayanChaga.com, or through our Amazon store. You can find other brands online and in health food stores.
How come I’ve never heard of chaga?
Chaga has been used in folk medicine for thousands of years in Asia and Eastern Europe. Only now are people in the West gaining awareness about chaga, and as time passes, you’ll be hearing about chaga more and more. Just recently, it was named the “Anti-Cancer Herb of the Year” in Russia, and its popularity is slowly beginning to grow all over the world.
What are the common uses for chaga?
Chaga has active ingredients that are used as a natural way to strengthen the immune system, detoxify the body, boost energy and stamina, improve metabolism, improve digestion, and enhance bodily functions. People often drink chaga tea to eliminate after-lunch slumps. Others use it to reduce anxiety and nervousness due to common, everyday overwork and fatigue. We encourage our customers to browse our site and do their own research online to learn about the many benefits of the chaga mushroom.*
Where do chaga mushrooms grow?
Chaga mushroom grows in birch forests in Russia, Korea, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, the northern U.S., in the North Carolina mountains, and in Canada. We only use Siberian Chaga, as it has the highest concentration of active ingredients of chaga mushroom growing in all regions.
Why is Siberian Chaga considered to be more potent than Canadian or American Chaga?
Chaga grown in Siberia has a much higher concentration of active ingredients than chaga grown in any other region. Perhaps it is the combination of the purity of the Siberian wilderness and the extremely cold temperatures that makes Siberian Chaga such a great dietary supplement. Research suggests that it is not simply the cold, but the extreme swings in temperature in the Siberian taiga ecoregion that produce the strong antioxidant potency that chaga is famous for.
Is chaga good for the skin?
Yes, chaga is great for the skin! In fact, chaga is becoming a popular active ingredient in many anti-aging skin products, in particular in Japan, due to its strong active component that enhances the vitality of the skin.*
Is chaga good for improving competitive athletics performance (e.g., football, basketball, etc.)
The short answer is yes. Chaga is an adaptogen, and by definition, adaptogens are botanical substances that increase the body’s resistance to stress, trauma, anxiety, and fatigue.* In fact, the first time adaptogens started to be used was during the Cold War era. Soviet athletes were given adaptogenic substances (including chaga) during the Olympic Games, to improve performance.
What is chromogenic complex?
During the chaga extraction process, polyphenols are dissolved in water first (40-45%), and are responsible for giving the extract its dark color. Sometimes they are called chromegenous complex. Chromogenic complex is an old-fashioned Russian term from Russian pharmacopoeia. Chromogenic complex is measured as a percentage.
Polysaccharides, however, do not dissolve in water as easily, and therefore chaga extract contains no more than 10-13% polysaccharides. Chaga researchers typically don’t take into account the amount of polysaccharides, but calculate the composition after combining polyphenols with polysaccharides. Thus, they claim a much higher percentage of polysaccharides, which is not true.
Chromogenic complex used to be the name for the complex of phenolic connections; the chemical structure for the majority of them is now established (such as Caffeic acid, Syringic acid, 2, 5-Dihydroxyterephthalic acid, Hydroxy benzalacetone, and more).
To determine the chromogenic complex, 100 ml of filtrate was placed in a beaker with a capacity of 150 ml, acidified with 25% hydrochloric acid solution (0.5-0.8 ml) to pH 1.0-2.0 by universal indicator paper, mixed, and left for 30 minutes. After deposition, a dark brown precipitate was filtered through a glass lined with a pleated paper filter.
25 ml of the filtrate obtained after precipitation of the chromogenic complex with hydrochloric acid was transferred to dry to a constant weight in a porcelain dish, evaporated in a water bath to dryness, dried at a temperature of 100-105°C for 3 h, then cooled in a desiccator and weighed quickly, determining the mass of solids without a chromogenic complex (m 2).
The content of the chromogenic complex as a percentage (X) in terms of absolutely dry raw material is calculated by the formula:
where m 1 = mass of solids to the deposition of hydrochloric acid in grams; m 2 = mass of dry residue after precipitation with hydrochloric acid, in grams; m = mass in grams of raw materials; W = loss in weight on drying of raw materials as a percentage.
Chromogenic complex does not contain β (1,3) D-glucan and betulinic acid.
Is it true that chaga extract with polysaccharide content of 40 – 60% can be considered good quality, whereas chaga extract with a very low polysaccharide content of 10 – 20% qualifies as average quality?
Unfortunately, the Internet is full of misinformation about the exact composition of water-based chaga extract.
During the extraction process, polyphenols are dissolved in water first (40-45%), and are responsible for giving the extract its dark color. Sometimes they are called chromegenous complex. Polysaccharides, however, do not dissolve in water as easily, and therefore, chaga extract contains no more than 10-13% polysaccharides. Researchers typically don’t take into account the amount of polysaccharides, but calculate the composition after combining polyphenols with polysaccharides.
Sayan Health chaga extract contains:
44-50% polyphenols (chromogenic complex)
1.5% β (1,3) D-glucan
<1% betulinic acid
It must be noted that polysaccharides are polymeric carbohydrate structures.
Measurements of the extract must be done using special spectrophotometry methods for carbohydrates (i.e., polysaccharides) detection, as opposed to the more common methods used by most labs, which typically do not have the markers needed for precise measurement. This is because such labs specialize in identifying parameters present in food substances, so ingredients such as proteins and minerals are identified, while everything else is classified as carbohydrates (namely, polysaccharides). Therefore, a laboratory calculation of the amount of polysaccharides (i.e., carbohydrates) in chaga can reach levels of 50-60%.
Thus, typical measurement of the ingredients in chaga extract is not entirely accurate. Our findings are based on calculating the presence of polysaccharides using highly specialized methods. Note that if you add the results of our analysis of carbohydrates (12-13%) and the polyphenols (40-45%), the resulting sum coincides with what other sources report: 52-58%. Keep in mind that this result is an aggregate of all the organic elements that dissolved in water during the extraction process.
In addition, there is no standardized polysaccharide testing that is used by all laboratories. So when you see a high percentage of polysaccharides advertised in chaga products, you need to ask how exactly the test was done, how it was used as a base to compare polysaccharide fracture. It is possible to get different results in different labs even when using the same chaga mushroom sample. This is one of biggest problems on the market right now, and our company, along with other medicinal mushroom manufacturers, is trying to standardize polysaccharide testing, so every manufacturer will use the same test.
In sum, we recommend that you examine the ingredient list on chaga extract (in %), as well as pay special attention to the components listed, instead of merely glancing at the percentage of polysaccharides.
What is the ratio in your extract? How many pounds of raw chaga does it take to make a pound of your extract?
The ratio of our extract is 16%, so from 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of raw chaga we produce 160 grams (5.64 oz) of chaga extract powder. To produce 1 lb of chaga extract powder, we need to process 6.25 lbs of raw chaga.
Is Siberian Chaga safe?
Yes. Chaga is a natural food supplement To date, there are no known interactions or adverse side effects when taking chaga at the recommended dosage. Although no allergic reactions have been documented thus far, please consult your doctor prior to using chaga products if you have a hypersensitivity to mushrooms.
For use by those with any serious health concerns, please consult a qualified medical practitioner, licensed herbalist, or nutritionist. No adverse reactions to chaga have been recorded thus far, but we recommend exercising caution whenever introducing new foods to your diet.
Who should NOT consume chaga?
Chaga is non-toxic. We have tested our chaga extract extensively, and have not yet seen any adverse reactions to it. However, this does not mean that chaga is safe for everyone. Since it is a mushroom, people who are allergic to mushrooms should not take chaga. Likewise, if you notice that you are experiencing an adverse reaction to chaga, please stop taking it immediately and contact your doctor.
Those who receive intravenous glucose, take penicillin-based drugs, and/or are allergic to penicillin should not consume chaga. Penicillin type of drugs are natural antagonists to the chaga mushroom, and may also cause an allergic reaction. (Although we have not had a single case of such reactions, safety is always our number one concern.)
Chaga is also not recommended for use in pregnant women, nursing mothers, or children under 2 years of age.
Chaga as an immune-boosting supplement should be used with extreme care, and should be avoided completely in organ transplant patients who take immune-suppressive medicine.
Is chaga safe for children?
No research on using chaga with children currently exists. We will continue to post updates on our website. We recommend that you remain cautious and abstain from giving chaga to kids younger than 2 years of age.
Do Sayan chaga products contain caffeine?
No, none of our products contain caffeine or any other types of stimulants of any kind.
Can I mix chaga with coffee?
We’ve done pretty extensive research in this area, and finally decided that we do not recommend mixing chaga with stimulants such as caffeine (sorry, everyone!). If you think about it, chaga and stimulants could be considered to have completely opposite properties and may negate each other’s effects. So, as much as we hesitate to say this, try to abstain from caffeine when you use chaga – although it is tempting, since coffee masks the strong herbal note almost completely!
Are your products vegan and gluten free?
Yes. There are no animal or wheat products in our products.
If I just want to take chaga to improve my health, but have no specific health conditions to improve, do you recommend I drink chaga tea, or chaga extract?
Generally speaking, there is no single preferred way of adding chaga to your diet. With chaga extract, it is much easier to regulate the dosage, so there is no need to drink tons and tons of tea if you wish to increase the amount of chaga in your diet. It just depends on your taste preference. Some people enjoy the relaxing act of sipping a cup of tea, while others prefer mixing the extract with other flavored drinks. The choice is yours!
Why do you recommend using chaga extract, as opposed to just ground, raw chaga?
You may definitely use ground, raw chaga. However, chances are that it will pass through your digestive system with minimal absorption, since humans lack the digestive enzymes to completely break down the raw, woodsy mushroom. It would take us 8-10 hours to absorb all the active ingredients, but it will pass through our gastrointestinal tract much more quickly than that. Extract is not technically the raw mushroom – it’s a collection of all the active ingredients the chaga mushroom released while we processed it. Chaga extract dissolves in water easily, and is therefore much easier to digest, allowing for much better absorption.
Here’s an example that may help you understand the benefits of using chaga extract powder versus raw chaga. If you like coffee, there are several ways you can get it. You may plant and grow a coffee tree; harvest the coffee berries; extract the coffee beans; wash, dry, roast, grind, and brew your coffee with a sense of deep satisfaction, because you just made everything from scratch! You may also save yourself the time by simply buying coffee at the store and drinking it -a much shorter process, though just as effective.
Processing chaga is not too much different. You could fly to Siberia, harvest chaga, bring it home, wash it, grind it, and brew it. You could also buy already ground chaga, pour hot water over it, and let it brew for 8-10 hours. Or you could buy chaga extract, dissolve it in some liquid, and you have yourself a chaga drink. The end result is the same for any of these methods – the time you put in to get to it is really the only difference.
We must note that based on our observations, the active ingredients in raw chaga mushroom start to degrade after one year (another reason why the extract is better to use: it stays effective for 2 years). Keep in mind that if you buy raw chaga mushrooms, it may be hard to estimate how old they are, so the chances of one buying an old mushroom are pretty unpredictable. We have a stringent quality check process in place that we employ when manufacturing our chaga extract, which helps tremendously to avoid any low-quality or old product. Oddly enough, once in a while we see situations where customers are charged high premium prices for raw chaga mushroom, although the extract is much more potent, and also priced lower.
What is the ORAC value of Sayan chaga extract?
Our chaga extract contains 153,200 micromoles of Trolox Equivalents per 100 gram (molTE per 100 g). This number is the Total ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), which is the sum of H-ORAC ( hydrophilic/water) with 99,700 and L-ORAC ( lipophilic/fat) with 3,000 micromoles of Trolox Equivalents per 100 grams, respectively. Our testing was also done for both H-ORAC with 151,100 and L-ORAC with 2,200 micromoles of Trolox Equivalent per 100 grams.
Now, let’s take one step forward and see what these high ORAC values really mean. There is probably a reason why 10 out of the top 12 products with high ORAC value are spices. We don’t know what the process of manufacturing these spices is or why they have such high ORAC values. But we do know that people don’t use a lot of spices in everyday life, and when we do, we probably use them in milligrams rather grams. Our daily supplement dose of chaga extract powder is 2-3 grams, so it’s almost as high as, and in some cases higher than, the top 10 products. Based on this, we believe our chaga extract powder is the winner.
How is chaga extract prepared, and why is there variation in pricing when compared to other sources of chaga?
Chaga is first washed, dried, and ground. Then the extract powder is produced via a hot water, low-pressure, aqueous solution extraction process. This proprietary process absolutely ensures the maximum preservation of all the active compounds in chaga.
While you may find seemingly similar-quality chaga products for lower prices, rest assured that our hand-picked, wild-harvested chaga extract is prepared according to the highest standards, and with a single goal: to preserve all of chaga’s active ingredients and prepare the extract in a way that allows for maximum absorption. (Also see the question above about using chaga extract vs. ground, raw chaga.)
Preparation of chaga extract somewhat resembles the process of making coffee. We do the hard work, which is harvest and prepare the product, so our customers only need to brew it. Customers do not have to process the fresh chaga mushroom material (which, if not processed, starts losing its healing properties after a year).
Do you sterilize the chaga extract?
No, chaga extract is not sterile, as sterilizing may undermine its effectiveness. But we do have a strict quality control process in place that ensures that we never produce or sell chaga extract powder that has been compromised in any way.
Why does chaga extract powder come in different colors, from black to dark brown?
Dried chaga is pure black in color. During the grinding process, the resulting powder resembles tiny crystals. Bigger grains are black, while smaller ones reflect light differently and therefore look lighter, browner in color. If you were to try grinding the black extract crystals further, you’d see that as the bigger grains are broken down, they will become brown in color.
Do you recommend any specific diets when using chaga?
Yes. For maximum results, we recommend that you maintain a healthy vegetable and dairy diet and limit your intake of fatty food and red meats, including smoked, processed, or fried food. The idea here is to let your body heal itself, without overloading your metabolism. We also recommend that you minimize the amount of caffeine and alcohol, and abstain from smoking – but that’s probably a great habit to build even when you’re not taking chaga.
How much chaga extract should I take?
The normal daily supplement dose is 0.07-0.10 oz (2-3 grams, or about half a teaspoon) of powdered chaga extract mixed with your favorite beverage, to be taken daily (200-250 ml of liquid should be adequate).
While taking chaga, if you find yourself starting off at a smaller dose, try to gradually increase the daily amount to 2-3 grams a day (or 8-10 grams, if a stronger dose is desired).
Chaga extract is an acquired taste. It may even seem bitter, as it has a lot of herbal flavor. Feel free to add some sweetener, such as honey, agave, sugar, or other natural sweetener, to suit your individual preference. We recommend that you take chaga 2-3 times daily, 20-30 minutes before or after meals.
Should I take a break from taking chaga from time to time? Why or why not?
After one month of use initially, we recommend that you to take a 5- to 7-day break from chaga, and then resume taking it again for another 3 to 4 weeks. You may repeat the cycle of 3-4 weeks on, then 5-7 days off, over and over.
On the other hand, we do have customers who tell us they’ve been taking chaga non-stop for years. For example, one of them lives in a Japan and was diagnosed with cancer several years ago. He drinks chaga extract instead of tea every day, and is able to maintain his health, although at some point, the doctors discharged him from the hospital and said he only has 2 months to live. It just goes to show that human bodies are capable of healing themselves – all you need is the proper fuel!
What does chaga taste like?
It is rich and earthy, and while it may be an acquired taste, most of our customers enjoy drinking chaga mixed with just water.
If you prefer to add more flavor to the extract, feel free to mix it with a beverage you enjoy, or perhaps consider adding some honey, agave, sugar, or other natural sweetener to bring a hint of sweetness to the mixture.
Why is there variation in how raw chaga or chaga extract tastes?
Chaga’s active ingredients are a product of the chaga mushroom and birch tree on which it grows. Siberia is home to more than a dozen types of birch trees of various shapes and colors (for instance, some have darker bark than others), which inevitably has an impact on the taste of the chaga mushroom. In fact, chaga mushroom from the Far Eastern region tastes different from its counterpart in the Siberian region, which tends to grow on birch trees with lighter bark color. However, while the taste of the chaga mushroom varies, its effectiveness remains the same, regardless of the type of birch tree it was harvested from.
How long does it take to feel or see any results from taking chaga?
An overall feeling of strength and well-being should be evident within 15-30 days, assuming you’re using it as recommended, and maintaining a healthy diet. But remember, every individual is different. It also depends on how you define a “result”. Is it relief from a symptom? Better sleep? More energy? Some of our customers tell us that they could tell chaga was “working” when they made it through a cold and flu season without getting sick. So be aware of any changes that your body is going through, and celebrate the small victories along the way!*
Is one chaga tea bag enough for two cups of chaga tea? Can I use one chaga tea bag more than once?
For optimal results, we recommend that you steep each tea bag for up 2-3 minutes, no more than 5 minutes, and that you use each tea bag only once. If you do re-use the tea bag, not only will you most likely find that the woody flavor of chaga is much stronger, but the amount of active ingredients released will also be much lower. Each tea bag has the recommended dose of chaga extract, so if possible, please refrain from splitting it into 2 cups, as that will make it less effective.
Can I brew chaga in boiling water?
Chaga extract and chaga tea can be brewed using boiling water, since both are already processed and thus their effectiveness should not be impacted. However, we do not recommend using boiling water with raw chaga, since the hot temperature may corrupt the melanin complex and the polysaccharides, among other active ingredients. We recommend using water below 50 ° C (122 ° F) to brew raw chaga.
What is the shelf life of chaga, and how should I store it?
Chaga extract will remain effective for 24 months (2 years) at about 24 ° C (75 ° F). We suggest keeping it in a cool, dry, and dark place, such as a cupboard, as some of the active ingredients can degrade after exposure to direct sunlight. Also, moisture will undermine the quality of chaga, and may even cause mold, so make sure it’s always dry.
Can you make chaga tinctures by mixing equal parts of chaga extract and alcoholic spirits such as vodka?
We strongly advise against it, since what we have is already a potent chaga extract. Making a tincture from chaga extract is redundant and reduces the amount of ingredients your body could potentially benefit from.
Tinctures are typically made from chaga mushroom, not chaga extract. Furthermore, a tincture of chaga mushroom based on vodka or any other spirit is not as effective as a water-based chaga mushroom extract, as alcohol does not extract nearly as many ingredients from chaga as water.
The only benefit of using alcohol to make a chaga tincture is product sterilization, which is the by-product of this process. However, this is mostly done by pharmacies or other pharmaceutical organizations, seeking to increase the product’s shelf life. In the case of chaga extract powder, you already have a product that is ready to use. You wouldn’t want to mix your instant coffee with alcohol, and this is quite similar.
How far does Siberian Chaga grow from populated regions?
Siberian Chaga practically never grows close to any populated regions, since Siberia is not densely populated to begin with. Only 40 million people live in this immense region that takes up 13.1 million square kilometers, or more than 8 million miles.
Does the birch tree die after the chaga mushroom is harvested?
No, the birch tree does not die. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Chaga can only remain alive as long as the birch tree is alive. If the birch tree dies, the chaga mushroom releases spores into the air to reach other birch trees, after which it dies itself as well.
Does Siberian Chaga come from just one Siberian region or several?
Siberian Chaga comes from several Siberian regions, with the majority of the supply from the Baikal Lake region. We do not harvest chaga from the Altai Mountains region.