The Truth About Extracted Chaga Powder and Mushroom Capsules
There is a lot of sales and marketing surrounding Chaga and other mushrooms now available in capsule form, easy to take ‘extracted’ powder' or 'instant' chaga. Such products certainly appeal to our desire for an easier way to enjoy the benefits of mushrooms. Used as a natural medicine for centuries, Chaga and other medicinal mushrooms, until recently, have always been viewed as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. When we fall prey to convenience we often overlook or dismiss a harsher truth; are we sacrificing quality for convenience?
"To benefit from the therapeutic effects of chaga and other medicinal mushrooms you need to dissolve or break open the chitin to get at the goodness inside." Discover how chaga capsules are made and why most of them are fake.
It’s a fact, chaga mushroom must be extracted first before our bodies can absorb and recognize the nutrients and bioactive properties within. 1 Traditionally, this has been done with hot water or alcohol to gently extract and preserve the mushrooms innate medicinal qualities. Most natural forest medicines have gained notoriety from being utilized in, as close to, their natural state as possible. More passive extraction methods were used so that bio-active nutrients remained present to be utilized to their full potential.
Manufacturing technologies, normally reserved for pharmaceutical production and high yield, high profit food production, like freeze dried coffee or other non staple foods, were designed for mass production or food preservation and not with nutritional conservation in mind.
The disadvantage of freeze-drying is its high cost, due to the long process times and the energy cost related to the vacuum stage. For this reason, it has only been widely used to obtain products with high value added, as occurs in the pharmaceutical industries as well as in some specific food industries, such as rehydratable coffee. 6
The more we process and stray from the natural biological state of any natural food including mushrooms we run the risk of compromising natures' efficacy. We may render enzymes like Superoxide Dismutase useless by altering its bio-electrical charge which prohibits our body's ability to work with and absorb any benefits. 2
Extracted Chaga Powder and How it's Made
Spray dried chaga powder extraction
- Chaga is boiled at high temperatures for 3 to 4 hours
- Resulting liquid is evaporated into a dry powder in hot air ovens for 72-90 hours
- Resulting extracted ‘Powder’ is then packaged and/or then freeze dried
- Minimum batch size for mass production is 30,000 liters
- Most spray dried extracted chaga powders are manufactured in Korea 2
Freeze dried chaga powder extraction
- Chaga is brewed at 50 celsius for 72 hours
- Resulting liquid is freeze dried and then packaged
- Smaller batch sizes are possible - minimum 30kg
Freeze-drying is a dehydration technique based on the sublimation of the water present in a product, which results in a reduction of water activity and therefore the related deterioration processes to which a food is subjected. 3
Freeze-drying operates at low temperatures, which contributes to preserve characteristics such as taste, colour or appearance and to minimize the degradation of thermolabile compounds, many of them responsible for aroma and nutritional value Thus, the final freeze-dried product is high quality as compared with other techniques of dehydration. 4
On the one hand, the high porosity and the low water content of the freeze-dried products make the interaction between the solutes and the oxygen at the end of the process more accessible. In this way, the oxidation of bioactive compounds, such as vitamins, phenols or carotenoids may be promoted. 5
Despite the improved microbiological stability of the final product, the chemical and physical attributes may be sometimes compromised. 5
Chaga Capsules and Extracted Mushroom Powders - What you want vs. what your body needs
The process of manufacturing extracted chaga powder or mushroom capsules, regardless of the methods used, becomes a delicate balancing act between timed exposure to pressure and temperature in order to ensure bio-active compounds are preserved.
It quickly becomes apparent, giving the processes involved, that there are no nutritional benefits to subjecting an existing hot water extraction to additional drying or processing. Even if one includes the valid concepts of food preservation or re-constitution back into its original state, there still seems to be a disproportionate trade off in efficacy, simply for the sake of convenience.
Chaga, reishi, turkey tail, lions mane and others are quickly growing in popularity and medical use. They too have have fallen prey to the pharmaceutical consumer market.
Mushrooms themselves are one of the most understudied and ignored species on earth with only a mere 8% of all fungal species being described. There is very little hard science that can even begin to determine the bio-active complexity of mushrooms.
Mushrooms still remain to this day, shrouded in magic and mystery. Anthropologically, we know that mushrooms have been used as medicine, to boost immunity, increase energy and remove toxins. What more dare we ask from them when we attempt to bend their will to a consumer culture?
It’s up to each of us to take responsibility for our own health; part of the process of self healing requires us to deal with the truth both within us and the 'truth' which embodies nature.
As it has been shown by studies conducted by the University of Guelph, that one in three supplements we rely on to heal us are in fact, fake. 7
What is the best form of chaga to take?
Nature's Alternative to Mushroom Capsules and Mushroom Powders
The further we stray from the balance of nature, for the sake of convenience, the more out of balance we become. Working with mushrooms in there natural state, making your own mushroom tea, where you control the temperature and take the time, the care and attention to detail.
Only then do we begin to appreciate that we are not just making a healing tonic, but are in fact creating our own modern day version of a healing ritual. A sacred act which, as our ancestors can attest, is the only way we can truly heal ourselves.
Chaga 2 Go - Get your Chaga On Even When Time is a Constraint:
- Brew chaga in larger batches weekly, keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Slow cooker Method- brew overnight / ready the next morning
- Chaga 2 Go - Annanda Chaga powder steep in hot water thermos or portable bodum take with you.
- Annanda Chaga Tincture - Dual hot water / alcohol extraction ready to use liquid
- Chaga Fine powder - 1/2 tsp to 1 cup of boiled water / steep for 10 min
- Annanda Chaga Mushroom Concentrate - Extracted Annanda Chaga tea in ready to serve. Available in 1 - 20 Litre sizes. Store in fridge or deep freezer for long term storage. No more excuses!
Annanda chaga mushrooms are wild harvested from Northwestern Ontario Canada. Offering pure organic chaga milled into chaga tea, chaga powder, or chaga chunks. Learn more about all of our organic medicinal mushrooms including Lions mane, turkey tail and Reishi cultivated with love and respect for nature.
Learn how to properly brew and extract chaga with our complete on-line brewing guide.
Annanda Chaga Mushroom Powder
Certified Organic - Lab Tested - 100% Pure
Mushrooms have a multitude of health benefits - Read More
1. Supplement-Facts.org Bioavailalbly of medicinal mushroom supplements. http://supplement-facts.org/2012-6.php#.WUv7yesrLcf
2. Cass, Ingram - Cure is in the Forest
3. Barbosa-Canovas, G.; Ortega-Rivas, E.; Juliano, P.; Yan, H. Food Powders: Physical Properties, Processing and Functionality; Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publisher: New York, NY, USA, 2005; pp. 271–304
4. Karam, M.C.; Petit, J.; Zimmer, D.; Baudelaire, E. Effects of Drying and Grinding in Production of Fruit and Vegetable Powders. A Review. J. Food Eng. 2016, 188, 32–49.
5. Roos, Y.H. Phase Transitions in Food; Academic Press: San Diego, CA, USA, 1995; pp. 19–47.
6. Martínez-Navarrete, N.; Salvador, A.; Oliva, C.; Camacho, M.M. Influence of Biopolymers and Freeze-Drying Shelf Temperature on the Quality of a Mandarin Snack. LWT 2019, 99, 57–61.
7. Biomed Central, BMC Medicne: DNA bar-coding detected contamination and substitution In North American herbal products