The Chaga mushroom is a powerful fungi with many positive health properties. It's popularity has exploded recently as people come forward with testimonials of it's positive life changing effects on numerous ailments. However, is Chaga right for everyone? The answer is NO!
Chaga has been shown to have adverse health reactions when used by people with certain health conditions or who are taking certain types of medication. Let's take a look at the most common ones...
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding it is recommended to avoid using Chaga. The problem being that no human studies have been done. Play on the safe side and try it later on. You might need it in a few years to keep up with your energetic toddler!
Chaga has been known to lower blood sugar which can be great for some, but dangerous for others. People with Type 2 Diabetes or who suffer from Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and who take insulin should monitor their blood sugar more closely when taking Chaga, and in accordance with their doctor might need to adjust/lower medications. People who are known to suffer from Type 1 Diabetes or who suffer from Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) should not use Chaga. Keep in mind the Chaga can interfere with antidiabetes drugs.
Autoimmune diseases are another area where people need to be watchful. Although Chaga can be beneficial for pain and inflammation, people with autoimmune diseases should advance with caution and inform themselves with their health professional to be certain. One of Chaga's main benefits is its ability to strengthen the immune system, while this is wonderful for most, it can be destructive for those struggling to keep their overactive immune systems at bay. People with autoimmune diseases such as; Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Lupus also known as SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), and other conditions of the same nature should avoid taking Chaga as it may cause the immune system to become more active. An over active immune system could provoke a flare. Chaga may also interfere with certain medications such as NSAIDs and immunosuppressants. If you suffer from one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using Chaga.
Chaga should not be used by people suffering from Kidney Disease. Chaga has a high concentration of oxalate and because of this people who are at risk of Kidney Stones should use it in moderation.
If you suffer from a Bleeding Disorder you should not use Chaga. This is because Chaga is known to have interactions with anticoagulant drugs. Research suggests Chaga extract can inhibit platelet aggregation, which means chaga could increase the risk of bleeding when used alongside an anticoagulant drug. Some of these drugs include; Aspirin, Clopidogrel (Plavix), Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
On a similar note if you are due to have Surgery make sure to stop using chaga at least 2 weeks before, as Chaga could increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery.
Chaga can be a powerful ally in living a healthy style. It has many benefits and powerfuls properties but, as with all medications and natural products, it is not meant for everyone. If you suffer from a health condition or take medication it is always recommended to check with your health care professional before starting to use a natural product.
1. Sun JE, Ao ZH, Lu ZM, Xu HY et al. eroxidative effects of dry matter of culture broth of Inonotus obliquus in submerged culture on normal and alloxan-diabetes mice. J Ethnopharmacol 2008;118(1):7-13.