The Best Chaga Supplement in Canada – Our Top 3 Choices

Last Updated on November 6, 2022

If you’re looking to incorporate the many health benefits of Chaga into your life it’s likely that you’ve considered buying a Chaga mushroom supplement. In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know when choosing a Chaga supplement as well as our recommendations of the best Chaga mushroom powder supplements in Canada. Chaga is one of many medicinal mushrooms that is being used for complimentary health.

There are dozens of Chaga supplements available to buy in Canada, but not all are the same. There are many low-quality products marketed toward misinformed consumers who don’t know how to identify the difference between products. Thankfully discerning between products can actually be as simple as knowing what to look for in the product label. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know to choose high-quality and effective Chaga supplements.

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Are you in Australia? Check out our recommendations for the Chaga supplements in Australia

What is Chaga?

Chaga mushrooms, Inonotus obliquus, are a type of medicinal mushroom that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Russian medicine. These mushrooms are typically found growing on birch trees in cold, northern climates such as Russia, Siberia, Canada, Alaska, and many Circumboreal cultures. Chaga is produced by a fungus called Inonotus obliquus which parasitizes mostly on Birch trees. Although rare, Chaga has been reported from Alder, Beech, and Maple amongst others. It is estimated that Chaga only grows on less than 0.1% of Birch trees.

Image source: Freshcap

Health benefits of Chaga

Chaga mushrooms traditionally used for many different purposes, including digestive issues, cancer, viral infections, and skin problems. Today it has become popularized for its high antioxidant content, immuno-modulatory effects, and the potential treatment/prevention of cancer. Studies also suggest it could help with diabetes and other chronic health conditions. The main health benefits of Chaga include:

The best Chaga mushroom supplements in Canada

Before you purchase from these brands, we firmly recommend that you read our Chaga buying below . Our main goal here at World Mushroom Society is to help consumers understand how to choose a top quality medicinal mushroom product to get the full health benefits.

Our top 3 picks for the best Chaga mushroom powders and supplements in Canada are:

  1. Real Mushrooms Chaga
  2. FreshCap Chaga
  3. NooTropics Depot Chaga

#1. Real Mushrooms Organic Chaga (Powder and Capsules)

Our findings

  • Ingredients: 100% Siberian Chaga
  • Extraction Method & Extraction Ratio: Hot water extraction
  • Mycelium or Filler: No added starch, mycelium, or grain of any kind
  • Contains Fruiting Bodies? Yes
  • Beta Glucans: >8%
  • Other ingredients mentioned: Hypromellose (vegetable capsule), silicon dioxide, microcrystalline cellulose, may contain stearic acid
  • Non GMO: Yes
  • Organic: Yes
  • Vegan: Yes
  • Country + Location Grown: China
  • Number of servings: 60 servings; 150 serving

Pros – What we like

  • Real Mushrooms is the most experienced medicinal mushroom company in all of North America. Skye Chilton is the founder of Real Mushrooms. He is also the son of Jeff Chilton, the founder of Nammex with over 40 years of experience in medicinal mushrooms!
  • High amount of 8% beta-glucans mentioned on the label
  • Made from 100% organic Siberian Chaga mushrooms
  • Improves cognitive function, mental clarity and focus
  • Also available in powder form
  • Health benefits: immune system support, cardiovascular support, antioxidant properties, ant-inflammatory, metabolic function.


#2. FreshCap Organic Chaga (Powder and Capsules)

Our findings

  • Ingredients: Organic Chaga Extract
  • Extraction Method & Extraction Ratio: Dual extraction; 4:1 extraction ratio
  • Beta Glucans: 15%
  • Triterpenes: 1%
  • Non GMO: Yes
  • Contains Mycelium or Grain? No
  • Contains Fruiting Bodies? Yes
  • Organic: Yes
  • Vegan: Yes
  • Country + Location Grown: Southeast China
  • Number of servings: 60 servings
  • Serving suggestion or serving size 1 scoop (1g)

Pros – What we like

  • Extracted from mushroom fruiting bodies
  • Dual-extracted for increased bioavailability
  • Does not contain any grain filler
  • Potent amount of 1% Triterpenes and 15% beta-glucan amount specified on the label
  • FreshCap founder, Teagan, has a degree in nutrition and food science
  • Health benefits include immune support, antioxidant support and digestive health


#3. Nootropics Depot Organic Chaga (Powder and Capsules)

Best Budget Option
Nootropics Depot Organic Chaga Capsules
5.0
$19.99

Also available in powder form and various sizes

Check Availability

Our findings

  • Ingredients: Chaga Extract (Inonotus obliquus)
  • Extraction Method & Extraction Ratio: Hot Water extraction, 1:1 extraction ratio
  • Polysaccharides: ≤ 5%
  • Beta Glucans: ≥ 8%
  • Other active ingredients mentioned Magnesium Stearate (flow agent), Vegetable Cellulose (capsules)
  • Non GMO: Yes
  • Organic: Yes
  • Vegan: Yes
  • Country + Location Grown: China
  • Number of servings: 60 servings or 180 servings
  • Contains Mycelium or Grain? No
  • Contains Fruiting Bodies? Yes
  • Serving suggestion or serving size 1-2 times daily

Pros – What we like

  • Contains 100% mushroom fruiting bodies
  • Does not contain any grain filler or additives
  • Manufactured in cGMP certified facility and iso17025 certified
  • Health benefits: May support inflammation, metabolic function, cardiovascular function and the immune system


Our selection process for highly potent Chaga mushroom supplements

Throughout our research, we have a certain criteria that we follow to identify a highly potent Chaga mushroom supplement. If you are unsure about what to look for when buying Chaga supplements, we are here to help you. Considering this article your buying guide!

There are several vital things we look for when evaluating the quality of a Chaga mushroom supplement. Here are the important ones that will help you determine the safety and purity of your desired product.

1. Ideal extraction method

Most chaga supplements are made from extracts that concentrate medicinal components and make them bioavailable. Extraction is important because in its raw form Chaga cannot be broken down by your body and much of its medicinal properties will not be absorbed. Extraction methods usually involve pulverizing, heating, and using simple solvents like water and alcohol. 

Dual extraction is the best

If you’ve scoped out some supplements you’ve probably seen the term “dual extraction” mentioned on the product labels. These types of extractions are typically considered the most effective for medicinal mushroom products.

These types of extracts are considered “dual” because they use both water and alcohol as solvents. This is important because certain types of compounds found within Chaga are water soluble while others are non-water soluble. In order to ensure that both of these are present a dual extraction is necessary. 

  • When water is used as a solvent it is primarily done to extract beta-glucans and other polysaccharides.
    • Beta-glucans are immunomodulating and anti-cancer compounds present in many medicinal mushrooms. Chaga also has high-antioxidant compounds like melanin that are extracted in water. Water extractions typically take place by heating the mushrooms in hot water for several hours. 
  • Alcohol is important for the extraction process in Chaga because it removes medicinal compounds known as triterpenes. These are compounds that are not consumed when someone makes a simple Chaga tea.
    • Betulin is a triterpene that also occurs within the bark of Birch, Chagas host tree. It has been shown to have various anti-cancer properties. 
    • Betulinic Acid is a triterpenoid derived from Betulin that is produced by the Chaga fungus. It has been shown to have a number of properties including being anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and a good source of antioxidants.
    • Lupeol is another compound that originates from the Birch shown to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.

Extraction ratios 

Extraction ratios are used to help determine potency of the product. A 10:1 extract for example suggests that 10kg of Chaga were used to produce 1kg of extract. While this is a good general indicator, the ratio may not always directly reflect the potency of the product. Original potency of the Chaga and the efficiency of extraction methods may affect the potency. It should also be mentioned that higher potency extracts may not always be more effective. 

Many powdered supplements are 1:1 extracts and are often referred to as activated powders. In these cases the liquid extracts are typically dried and reintegrated into the original fungal biomass from which they were extracted.

Regardless of the extraction method, the most important markers of quality we look for is beta-glucans. “With any extraction method, you need to verify your results. We’ve seen reishi mushroom hot water extracts with more triterpenes than reishi mushroom dual extracts. If you’re not analyzing for the important compounds then it’s basically marketing speak.” says Skye Chilton, the founder of Real Mushrooms.

2. Importance of origins: Where is the best Chaga from?

Like almost all medicinal products, knowing where the original materials come from is crucial to understanding the quality of the product. This is the case for Chaga which supplement producers will often use as part of their marketing strategy. 

While many claim that wild Siberian chaga is the best this may not always be the case. Some studies suggest that Chaga from northern latitudes are generally better but there is still more research needed. China, Finland, Canada, and the United States also produce Chaga of good quality. 

While almost all Chaga is harvested from remote natural places, contamination can be an issue with various medicinal mushroom products. This can be due to their growth occurring in contaminated environments or products can be contaminated during the production/distribution process. Some producers may perform tests on contaminants and will mention this in their product label.

Wild Chaga over organic Chaga

chaga mushroom on birch tree
Image source: Ryan T. Bouchard, The Mushroom Hunting Foundation

You may notice that many Chaga supplements are marketed as being wild harvested. This is because Chaga is not a mushroom that can be cultivated like other medicinal mushrooms. It grows with specific host trees to which it forms a plant/fungal canker containing the medicinal properties. While some companies are cultivating Chaga mycelium it is important to note that this is not as medicinally active.

For this reason “Organic” is not really the real deal when it comes to Chaga. Cultivated Chaga is much different than wild harvested Chaga. So if you’re deciding to either buy organic or wild Chaga it is better to go with the wild harvested products. After all, wild Chaga is practically organic (some may argue it’s better than organic) considering it grows naturally in remote places in nature.

One thing to consider is that Chaga is largely a wild harvested product that may be in danger of over-exploitation in certain regions. In order to promote sustainability it may be recommended to find Chaga products that are sustainably extracted. While there are products that are cultivated it is important to note that these may not always be equally effective. 

And of course, a combination of both Wild and Organic Chaga can also be preferred. Look for Chaga supplements that are certified organic and don’t contain herbicides, fungicides or pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Look for the widely recognized stamp of quality and integrity of a Certificate Organic from the regulatory body, the Canadian Organic Certification (ACO) for Canada

3. Importance of beta-glucans on the label

One of the best ways to determine the quality of a Chaga supplement is to see if there is mention of the beta-glucan content on the product label. These are some of the most important medicinal compounds and good indicators of other fungally-derived compounds. 

While beta-glucans are polysaccharides it is important to distinguish between these two when reading a label. Polysaccharide content could be originating from grains or other plant-based sources. It is important that your product contains no more than 5% polysaccharides than beta-glucans. The best quality products contain very low quantities of starches (like alpha-glucans) and higher quantities of beta-glucans. If grains or other plant-based fillers are mentioned in the ingredient label this can be an indicator of an inferior product.  

The best products may also test for and mention other important components of the product. This may include triterpenes, ergothioneine, and other compounds of fungal origins. In some cases they may mention levels of heavy metals and other forms of contamination that are hopefully absent from the product. The more testing and analysis that companies conduct on their products, the more you can trust the contents of the supplement. 

4. Best drying method: Freeze dried, spray Dried, or infrared Dried

Different drying methods can affect the quality of the final product. While all can result in effective products, freeze dried chaga is typically considered the best method. 

  • Infrared Drying usually involves drying with infrared heat. The high quantities of heat used in this process may deteriorate some of the temperature sensitive compounds present within a supplement. 
  • Spray dying is generally considered better than Infra-red drying because it is conducted at lower temperatures. This process involves spraying liquid extracts with heated gasses that promote evaporation. 
  • Freeze drying is often considered the best method because it does not expose the contents to high temperatures. It also may help further break down fungal-materials that then make the medicinal components more bioavailable. 

5. North American grown Chaga vs Chinese grown

There is frequent discussion about the quality of Chaga mushroom supplements coming from China. Yes, some areas of China have high rates of air pollution which can negatively affect the quality of soil with unwanted pollutants and heavy-metals. But this does not mean all Chinese mushroom products are bad.

China has been using mushroom-based medicine for thousands of years, long before it became popular in the west. China is the largest producer of organic Chaga and medicinal mushrooms in the world and grow their products from provincial areas in rural mountain provinces. 

With decades of research and usage, China produces some of the most potent Chaga and medicinal mushroom products on the market, and also has some of the most sophisticated extraction labs in the world.


6. Certificate of analysis

A Certificate of Analysis from a third party lab is important to identify the beneficial compounds (eg. beta-glucans, triterpenes, betulin, lupeol) in the Chaga product, as well as to avoid heavy metals and other foreign contaminants. Heavy metals that are typically tested for range from arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. Quality sellers in Canada should be able to provide this, whether publicly on their website, or by request.


Chaga supplements available for purchase in Canada

Chaga mushroom powder

Chaga dried powders are made from pulverising the mushroom. Activated powders have been processed in a way that all make the medicinal compounds bioavailable. This means it can be placed directly into a smoothie, coffee, or other foods/beverages.

Chaga mushroom extract

Extracts contain the individual medicinal compounds of Chaga without the biomass. This is done via an extraction process with hot water and/or alcohol and solvents (dual extraction). This makes small doses of Chaga highly potent, extremely compact, and have a longer shelf life. With an extract, however, you don’t receive the full benefit of consuming the mushroom as a whole food which can exclude some beneficial components.

There are two different types of chaga mushroom extracts available in Canada:

  • 1. Chaga tinctures– Chaga tinctures are liquid extracts that most often use water and alcohol solvents. They are a convenient method of consuming Chaga extract.
  • 2. Chaga powdered extracts– Chaga powdered extracts are the dry powdered result of extracting the individual medicinal compounds from the Chaga mushroom. Powdered extracts can be extracted from both the fruiting body and/or the mycelium.

Check out other medicinal mushroom high quality supplements in Canada:

Chaga capsules

Capsules and Tablets are usually either filled with Chaga mushroom powders or extracts. They are the most convenient way to dose and consume Chaga. Buying capsules are in growing demand in Canada as they are an easy option for those already regularly taking supplements or other medications in this form.

Chaga coffee and tea

Chaga powder can be incorporated into hot drinks such as coffee and tea making it easy to incorporate into daily routine and diet.
Chaga Tea can also be purchased as pre-mixed tea bags containing both Chaga powder and dried tea leaves.
Chaga Coffee products are sold as ground coffee beans mixed with Chaga powder.

Fresh Chaga mushrooms

Chaga is a tough and woody mushroom. It cannot be cooked up like the edible mushrooms you may be more familiar with. In most cases, fruiting bodies should be cooked in simmering water for at least 20 minutes, although three to four hours is most recommended. You cannot buy fresh Chaga mushrooms as whole fruiting bodies currently in Canada.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is Chaga Mushroom Legal in Canada? 

Yes, Chaga is legal for purchase and consumption in Canada.
In Canada, all Chaga mushroom supplements must be registered with the Natural Health Products Regulations (NHPR)

Can Chaga be purchased from my doctor?

Although Chaga is considered a Medicinal Mushroom, you cannot buy it from your doctor. You also do not need a prescription for it. It is considered a complementary therapeutic medicine, that can be purchased online or in stores. You may however be able to purchase dried Chaga mushrooms from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner.

Can Chaga be purchased from a naturopath?

Yes, many Canadian naturopaths sell Chaga supplements as part of their treatment for various illnesses.

Where can I purchase fresh Chaga mushrooms?

Due to the scarce nature and unique environment of how they are grown, fresh chaga mushrooms are not sold in Canada. We will update this page if we see any in farmers markets.

How much does Chaga mushrooms cost in?

The price of Chaga mushrooms in Canada can vary, depending on the product type and producer.
Chaga Extracts, powders and capsules can range from $20 CAD per product to over $80 CAD.

Conclusion

Wrapping up everything above, when looking for a Chaga mushroom supplement, make sure it is from a reputable seller who prioritises your health over their wealth. We hope this guide has helped you learn more about buying top quality Chaga in Canada. Chaga should be used as a supplement to a holistic treatment that often includes changes in diet, habits, and daily lifestyles. All the best with your Chaga purchase!

Health journal references

Authors

  • Dr. Sony Sherpa has a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the Guangzhou Medical University and has been studying medicinal mushrooms for more than 7 years. Her knowledge of medicinal mushrooms is backed by a master's degree in Holistic Medicine and contributes to many health articles around the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms.

  • Jason Vergara is the founder of World Mushroom Society and a fungi enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. After suffering from topical steroid withdrawal and eczema for over 20 years, Jason improved his health with Traditional Chinese Medicine and medicinal mushrooms. This sparked the genesis of his obsession and interest in the world of mushrooms - researching medicinal, edible and psychoactive varieties with his team.

  • Timothee Mendez Reneau is an Environmental Science and Mycology Researcher, Author, and Contributor. He graduated from Humboldt State University Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Environmental Science with a focus on Ecological Restoration. A passionate fungi enthusiast, he was the Former President of the Mycology Club at Humboldt State University - a mecca location for mushroom foraging.

We are not a traditional society or club. World Mushroom Society is a collective of fungi enthusiasts and health advocates, sharing information and identifying top producers of high quality medicinal mushroom supplements.

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DISCLAIMER

DISCLAIMER
The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information found here is not meant as a substitute for, or alternative to, information from your doctor for ongoing medical treatment you currently receive. If unsure, please consult with your doctor before using medicinal mushrooms. Any content related to cancer should not be considered as prescriptive medical advice and should not be a substitute for any cancer treatment, unless advised by your doctor first. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by TGA and FDA-approved research. If you are pregnant or on prescription drugs that thin the blood, consult with your medical professional before using medicinal mushrooms.
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