Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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.