The Difference Between Chaga Extract and Raw Chaga Powder


The Difference Between Chaga Extract and Raw Chaga Powder

The health benefits of consuming the ancient mushroom – Chaga, have been proven beyond doubt. Yet, there is contention about which form of Chaga mushroom has maximum benefits in our bodies. Should you take raw mushroom products brewed in a cup of Chaga tea? Or would Chaga extract be better? What else should you consider before buying mushroom products? Here’s a quick look at the benefits of Chaga mushroom and the differences between Chaga extract and raw Chaga.


The Health Benefits of Chaga Mushroom

Our ancestors from Siberia and other cool parts of Eurasia consumed the orange inner core of the black mass. They had experienced the goodness of Chaga for centuries. Of course, they didn’t have sophisticated technology back then to decipher exactly what about the mushroom product was great. All they knew was that grated Chaga mushroom, brewed in a cup of tea, worked. And it worked pretty well.

Fast forward to the 21st Century and scientists have shown that Chaga mushroom does wonders for our health. It’s an amazing immune booster, it has been used to treat diabetes as well as heart disease.

Today the wonder mushroom is available on shelves across the country. You can take it as a tea or as a capsule supplement. Also, you can choose between pure Chaga or blended with other medicinal mushroom products.

Unfortunately, the average modern consumer has some lingering traits of our ancestors. Many people assume that, just like medicine, any health-product off the store shelf will straight away work wonders in our bodies. We will often pick and consume. Just like our ancestors.

But, there are unsettled matters concerning the wonder mushroom. For instance, in which form is the Chaga mushroom most effective? Is it the raw Chaga or Chaga extract? Also, what other factors should you consider when purchasing mushroom products?


To Extract or Not to Extract

The term extraction has for some time has been misconstrued to imply wanton stripping of important components found in Chaga mushrooms. But that is not the case. The health-giving components of Chaga are soluble in different solvents and can be perfectly preserved without alteration. Genuine Chaga extracts are obtained through proven solvent extraction methods (hot water, and in some cases ethanol). Through these processes, the bioactive elements in the mushroom are released into the solvent, concentrated and then isolated.

Genuine mushroom products sellers will not only provide details about the extraction process, but also a certificate of analysis (COA). Some of the information you may find on the certificate include terminology like “10:1 Extract.” This is not an indicator of the Chaga extract’s potency. Rather it’s a simple indication of the moisture level. 

Besides having a lower concentration of water, consuming Chaga extract is easier on our tummies and more effective. But, we must understand the biological makeup of our ancestors as well as that of the Chaga mushroom to grasp this.


Why Extract

Raw Chaga, like many other mushroom products, is covered by chitin. That’s a hard outer covering similar to what insects and crustaceans have. On average, a modern adult would take more than eight hours to break down chitin after eating it. Thus, most of us are unable to digest raw Chaga and absorb its health-giving components at all.

Earlier scientists thought that humans lacked an enzyme called chitinase which digests chitin in raw Chaga. However, recent studies show that humans have chitinase. The challenge is, in this part of the world (Western world) the enzyme has evolved into a dormant state. So, unlike our ancestors who regularly ate bugs, and therefore had active chitinase. We are unable to break down and absorb the goodness of raw Chaga.

Fortunately, science makes up for our deficiency in active chitinase. Extraction does the job for us. The process releases the bioactive elements in Chaga into a solvent. This enables concentration and isolation of the rich components into a much more potent and effective consumable mushroom product. Studies also show that extraction improves the antioxidant activity of Chaga.

So, when you consume Chaga extract, you by-pass the chitin barrier and also enhance the potency and concentration of the bioactive elements. 

Extraction Methods

The most common method is hot-water extraction. However, some mushroom products are processed through the more sophisticated ethanol extraction and some through ultrasonic extraction methods. These latter methods enable finer extraction and therefore produce more effective products. But they are complex processes and cannot be compared to sprinkling some raw Chaga powder in your favourite drink.

You stand a better chance of absorbing the goodness of Chaga mushroom, in higher doses and more effective form when you consume Chaga extract.

What else should you consider?

Apart from being less digestible, scientists have also discovered that the ingredients in raw Chaga mushroom begin to deteriorate after one year. On the other hand, extraction extends the period and nearly doubles the time. When you buy raw Chaga mushroom products it’s impossible to tell how old they are. However, genuine processors of Chaga extract will have stringent quality checks when receiving raw products and often avail this information.  The raw Chaga mushroom product you are about to take from the store shelf could have lost all its bioactive components, thus impotent.

To conclude on this, it is clear that Chaga extract is a better buy. When you purchase from genuine processors you will get facts about how much Chaga you are consuming. Also, you will know the extraction process and how it enhances the potency and effectiveness of the mushroom product. Many consumers of mushroom products are not aware of these facts about raw Chaga and Chaga extract. In fact, many will pay a premium price for raw Chaga and shun Chaga extract because of unfounded rumours and sometimes plain ignorance. But the truth is, when you take raw Chaga powder, you will get a minimum benefits compared to properly extracted Chaga

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