Today Mason and Sage explore the medicinal magic of Chaga mushroom. The gents discuss the use of this potent herb from both a eastern and western perspective. Taking us through the herb's myriad of uses in the traditional and contemporary setting.
In this podcast Mason and Sage chat about:
Who is Sage Dammers?
Fuelled by a passionate desire to help people live the ultimate life and create a better world, Sage studied raw and superfood nutrition and traditional herbal systems, especially Taoist tonic herbalism. He has worked with and trained under the world’s leading master herbalists and nutrition and longevity experts in Costa Rica, Australia, Bali, China, and America.
Sage has developed products internationally and given lectures on peak performance nutrition in Australia, Bali, America, and France. His years of experience in this unique arena have allowed him to cultivate an unparalleled combination of cutting edge nutritional and culinary expertise. Sage has started tonic elixir bars in 5 star luxury hotels in Paris and Sydney serving longevity elixirs disguised as gourmet treats, introducing the novel concept of healthy indulgences to the market of world travellers.
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Check Out The Transcript Here:
Mason: Sage, welcome to come and nerd out with me on chaga mushrooms.
Sage: Mason, always happy to join in on group nerd session.
Mason: Hey, from New York right?
Sage: Yeah, so normally I'm in LA, but I'm in New York at the moment, so, bringing the big city vibes.
Mason: Awesome, man. Yeah, I mean, small city vibes here from Byrom Bay. It's a nice gloomy one, here.
Mason: So, I think, chaga mushrooms... I don't know where you're at with it, but it was basically one of the first mushrooms I got onto. It was probably the one... I loved reishi from the beginning, but chaga had my heart even before reishi. I think we've shared a couple of chaga teas , like right back in the day when we were first meeting.
Mason: What's your history with this mushi?
Sage: Well, starting with the present moment, I'm drinking it right now. Felt like it was the appropriate occasion. LEt's see... I first started drinking chaga maybe... It was probably 8 or 9 years ago, something like that. It was a couple of times when I was living in America, my late teens, I was starting to learn about it but hadn't really gotten high quality stuff or proper potency to experience it. And then I was living in western Australia and I was learning more and more about it, and I was like, jeez, well I got get into this.
Sage: So, I ordered a 5 kilo bag from Mountain Rose Herbs [inaudible 00:01:48] and had a heck of a time trying to get through Australian customs.
Mason: Did you get it into Australia?
Sage: Yeah. I got it through. So I was shipping that through, and somehow that made it. It took months to clear customs. They let it through, which was pretty surprising.
Mason: Well that's weird, because that was the... When I was first getting into this, I was at university in my last year when I was studying herbalism instead of business and chaga was that one... I think you know what it's like. With every tonic herb, you run through the list. We did a national [inaudible 00:02:14] podcast. At the end of it, you kind of go, "Holy shit, this herbs pretty wild. I better be on this one."
Mason: Chaga, for me, when I was reading all those benefits, and really tripping out and kind of having that feeling like, "I need this in my life really quick." And went down that same route. I went and started ordering it from Croatia, Finland, from Canada, from Siberia, and all of them got terminated, because they were raw on entry. THat's why I'm impressed. Maybe because you went from Mountain Rose, that are like actually reputable, and mine had some...
Sage: That's not true. At the same time, I was trying to ship through some Hemp seeds, a bag got through to a friend of mine but mine got stopped. They said they would try to arrest me if I tried to ship it again. But, adventures of Australia, right?
Sage: At the time, I was dealing with a lot of Candida folks who have listened to our Candida interview, who will kind of know this story, so I'll keep it brief, but I had a lot of antibiotics in my teen years dealing with chronic acne. At the time, I didn't know any better, I didn't know how to approach this naturally, you know, balancing hormones, decrease carbohydrate consumption and decrease sugar consumption, and stuff like that.
Sage: So, I had this Candida going on, and I hadn't wizened up to the body ecology diet and cutting sugars out and some of the great anti-fungal herbs [inaudible 00:03:22], and things like that. I was aware of it a little bit, but I hadn't really taken the jump to properly cut out all fruits and sugars and carbs, and really make a big impact in that stage 1 of dealing with Candida.
Sage: But I got this chaga and I'd had a nut milk bag from The Sproutman and I would just put a handful of this in there and then simmer away in a pot of water and make this dark, dark, dark brown drink and then I was just falling in love with it. I was drinking it every day. I was feeling so much better, my skin was better than it had been in a long time. Yeah, there are times in my life where I've been drinking lots of chaga, and some, I cycle on and off of, as we do with most of these herbs.
Sage: Yeah, some of the best feeling times in my life, the most robust feeling in terms of my overall health and vitality and immunity, I would say.
Mason: Yeah, I feel the same. I eventually did get some in. I think I got in Alaskan chaga that I ended up meeting the guy. When I was there, I think for the longevity conference, when you were working. That's the only one I've been to.
Sage: Oh, I think I know who you're talking about. I've met him a couple times.
Mason: Yeah, he's a big wooly Alaskan man that looks like he's [inaudible 00:04:22].
Sage: Yes. Is his Red, something like that?
Mason: He had the highest antioxidant ORAC chaga in the world, as he said. It was chaga and reishi when I started tuning into a little wild crafting and Di Tao conversations. It was chaga when I was trying... I eventually got on the extract sampling of Scandinavia, because the only way you could get into Australia is you say, "It's been pasteurized." And it's just been extracted, which you want anyway. So I was trying a bit from Canada, and from Scandinavia, and then Siberia, and then eventually the Chung Bai Chinese one as well. That was one of the first herbs that kind of tilted me in that direction when I was [inaudible 00:04:59]. So I was like, I'm going to really look at China, because that was by far the one I was getting the best results with.
Mason: Likewise, boiling up that Alaskan chaga and then just pumping it again and again and again, because that's such a delightful taste, and it's so rich. You can see the antioxidant medicine in it and you blend that up with the fats. Maybe make a cappuccino and it's got that vanilla compound in it that little vanilla flavor and you [inaudible 00:05:22] the vanilla, and it's such a delight.
Mason: I've been doing it all this week. I had Connecticut wild chaga. So I've been putting that on the boil with a heap of ginger, because it's been flu season all around here. I've had a hectic couple of months. I'm not feeling as robust with alone time with the toddler and looking after my mum and the business, and then down for funerals. It's just been full on. So I'm not feeling as robust as normal. I've just been hitting ginger and chaga and [inaudible 00:05:51]. That's one of my favorite teas, man, I've ever had. Then I'll layer in the chaga extract over on top of that and blend that up into my little elixirs before I leave the house [inaudible 00:06:02] all day.
Mason: I agree with you. It's one of those ones that you get onto it longterm, and I've been cycling over the years and I'm back on hard now. It's such a magic herb for annihilating cold and flu viruses and bacteria as well. That's what I like about it. It's a real good preventative herb. It's a really aggressive one on coming infection stages as well as leaving late infection stages. At those times in my life when I've been doing chaga consistently, I feel like that's where I've been the most solid in my health, you know what I mean?
Sage: Absolutely. Solid is a great word to describe it. I mean, you talk about being antiviral, they've even shown in animal studies that it's very effective against Hepatitis C. Just a spectacular thing.
Mason: I think clinically, there's a couple of good books now coming out about medicinal mushrooms and clinical usage. It's been years now that they've been coming out, but consistently, HIV keeps on coming up. I mean, HIV is a huge conversation. I don't think it's as black and white as everyone thinks it is, in terms of actually isolating that virus, but the effectiveness of eliminating the supposed HIV which makes sense, since what we're looking at is viral infection, or retrovirus infection and then absolutely no gutocology an absolutely no immunity, which of course is going to lead to a suppressed immune system.
Mason: Chaga, I don't know if you think I'm being too fanciable by saying this, but in terms of an immunological herb or mushroom, I think chaga is absolutely one of the best. I know on the internet, it's like, this is the best and this is the best and this is the best. I think chaga is absolutely one of the best things you can do for your body if you have a suppressed immune system.
Sage: I think it's right up there. It depends on the individual and what's going on with them. But I think it's right up there with agaricus, maitaki defraction, reishi... Astragalus is definitely one of the top ones, if not the best. And of course, it's also is going to depend on where it's coming from, how it's being grown, is it wild crafted in an environment with extreme cold weather that's going to cause the chaga to produce certain compounds as defense mechanisms against the cold that end up being [inaudible 00:08:03] tools for you. Or, is it chaga that's being grown on grain in a laboratory where it's not really getting those kinds of extreme temperatures, it's not getting the compounds that it's really evolved to have out of the birch tree. So, there's many levels.
Sage: Some people may have tried chaga capsules that they've got down at the health foods store, or just grown on grain in a lab that, one, it could just be primarily grain that they're actually getting on the capsule and even the chaga that's in there is not the chaga nature has designed.
Mason: Well, that's because I don't think the technology exists to grow chaga di dao. The di dao chaga of the world is wild. It's only wild harvested. They don't have the technology to grow it's duanwood. On like the birch or whatever.
Mason: [crosstalk 00:08:47]
Mason: Yeah, if it's not wild, it's going to be grown on the grain of some kind. I think that's a good point. So as you said, the birch is it's preferred food or growing medium, quite symbiotic. I mean, it can be parasitic longterm to a birch tree, but there's birch out there that's been sitting... I know, talking to the guy, who harvests Chung Bai Mountain, I think what [crosstalk 00:09:09]
Sage: Are these coming from Siberia? I don't know how you pronounce this one, egoosk-sabela. My Russian is not happening right now. But Egoosk, I think it's called, the province there. But anyhow, yeah. One of the most important things is that it's grown on birch and then number, that the temperature is getting as low as possible. Harvested at the right time of year, well, if you're getting it at the wrong time of year, before the weather has gotten cold, then it's not going to have the same potency, either.
Mason: And also, just making sure that you're working with wild harvesters that just know their shit. I mean, the guy I was walking around with, he was saying, "the trees are either going to be 20 years old, but a lot of the trees that he's growing are 80 years old and got conks on there that have been on there for a lot of that time. I know, Susun Weed, the herbalist, brought up in an interview she had with Tahnee, she heard we were doing chaga in the middle of the interview and she went on a little bit of a rant about how much of an unsustainable industry it is, harvesting chaga. And Tahnee explained to her, kind of like a little bit of the difference between how the harvesting is happening in America, in Canada, because that's something I've been watching for a long time, and by a long time I mean 8 years.
Mason: It's why I kind of chose... There's not much regulation, but it's coming through right now. I have a friend whose chaga harvesting business was shut down by his local government, just because they were like, "We're not giving permits out for this anymore." But there are a lot of people out there in the Canadian shield when there's a lot of [inaudible 00:10:26] businesses coming up. And they just go out there, and they start harvesting chaga. There's a very particular way to ensure that you're taking off a certain amount of that spore to a certain extent, not almost like de-rooting, but you're going to leave the birch and the mushroom.
Sage: So it'll be able to grow back.
Mason: Yeah. You're going to get it growing back. I thought it was obvious back in the day, but it's not. In China, the regulations, and I'm not sure what it's like in Siberia, but I know Siberia, like that's my backup plan, if I feel Chung Bai Mountain gets not sustainable, which I'm confident it is now. But looking into Siberia, it seems to be one of the more well-regulated chaga harvesting operations. It's got law. It's just young men with scraggly beards, wearing Earth runners, running around Canada, going and harvesting with their unique, trendy little harvesting knives. Rather than the guys that have been doing it and passing it down in their family. That's true across the board, because there's all these wonderful people who are holding the tradition in America as well.
Sage: I know a really awesome guy with a scraggly beard who does that, and he knows what he's doing in terms of sustainability, but there's definitely one's with scraggly beards who are not.
Mason: Exactly. And look, I have a scraggly beard as well, so all the love. But that's kind of the thing in China, the regulations of the local governments are so gnarly and they govern with an iron fist around the national park out there in Chang Bai Mountain. I just feel like that's worth putting out there, because it's still a wild west with wild harvesting of herbs, a lot of the time, and a lot of it's hearsay. I think in America it's real hearsay in terms of it being sustainably wild harvested. Susun Weed definitely thought the harvesting in America had a lot to answer for, but I just thought I'd put that out there.
Mason: As you said, getting it from those areas where the weather is gnarly and getting huge negative temperatures when it comes to the winter is going to create real robust birch, real robust chaga.
Sage: More like Whimhoff chaga.
Mason: Whim Hoff chaga. I gave him some chaga, actually, when he was in Mullumbimby. I don't know... Because his partner is from Australia, and they were down here. One of the things I realized, I just dropped a bunch of herb on them just to be like, Go on your way, happy to support that. If I got her contact details, I'd have to write to her and make sure Whim knows that chaga is the Whim Hoff mushroom.
Sage: He loves the cold, yes.
Mason: I think we'd kind of have to point a little bit to his growing conditions, where it grows, especially [inaudible 00:12:48], Baltic countries, right up through northern Europe, through the Scandinavia countries, through the Canadian shield. It's a huge tradition of usage going on, which points us in the direction-
Sage: Going back 5,000 years in China. European use going back 2,600, 2,700 years, I think, in terms of written record of these things. This is not something that's just been discovered or has no historical use. This is no flax seed, which was turned from a clothing crop into a food crop just a decade ago.
Mason: Yeah, that's it. This is no kale that is just a hybrid from [inaudible 00:13:22]. This is no celery, which is a human hybridized food in itself. This is an ancient wild-
Sage: It's a whole different [crosstalk 00:13:30] thing to be consuming.
Mason: It's a different kettle of fish. A lot of the traditional usage comes from, I think it's the Chanty, the C-H-A-N-T-Y, populations. It's the Siberian, Russian, they really hold it down. I think in terms of folklore treatment, it really comes and shines with tuberculosis, because I think it was always one of those bacteria infections that was annihilating a lot of people. Once chaga really started settling into the apothecary there, the word spread right around about its use against tuberculosis. It was really affective as an anti-bacterial in that sense.
Mason: And then stomach disorders, and stomach infections, and parasites. This the thing. When you see a superstar emerge in traditional and indigenous populations, the reason these things become the super herbs and super foods of the times is because you have a higher chance of dying, and remaining sick, if you didn't have this medicine in your life, that happened to be insanely effective and then preventative. That's why chaga... It was so revered. And then as soon as you see Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's book, The Cancer Ward, come out in 1967, or something like that. I've got the quote here to read, but I think that's really when it really bloomed out from being passed along the traditional-
Sage: Yeah, that's when it became a whole global phenomenon of people really understanding... And during the wars, it was often consumed as a coffee replacement in Europe, interestingly.
Mason: I love that fact. How good is that? You-
Sage: In people's greatest time of need, chaga was there.
Mason: Absolutely. Chaga was there. In the trenches, literally with humanity, which is absolutely what you want if you're in the trenches, and it's cold, and you're packed in like sardines and infection is jumping from one human to the other, you don't want to be on coffee, you want to be on chaga.
Mason: What do they have access to? So many different things they would have access to in an industrial way, but chaga was what they chose to replace coffee. That dark, rich, Turpin, polysaccharide rich elixir. Solzhenitsyn's, I don't know if I'm pronouncing his name right, but as you said, Jordan Peterson would be proud, us having these quotes rumbling.
Mason: The quotes, it's really poetic. "He could not imagine any greater joy than to go away into the woods for months on end, to break off the chaga, crumble it, boil it up on a campfire, drink it and get well like an animal. To walk through the forest for months, to know no other care than to get better, just as a dog goes to search for some mysterious grass that will save him."
Mason: That kind of shows that there's this combination when it comes to herbal medicine, that one, it is the herb itself. I know, in a semi-autobiography in the book, The Cancer Ward, Alexander's book, there, the quote before this, talking about how hard it was for him to get the information, because everyone he knew who he'd be able to ask died, or moved away. So he couldn't get this knowledge.
Mason: Makes me really, really grateful we're living in this information age. We might not earn it as much sometimes. We may earn it in different ways, our connection with the herb, rather than try and find those people like little pockets holding the whiskey.
Sage: Right? It becomes so accessible, we don't have to go into the forest anymore, which has its upsides and downsides. We can get it more easily and more often, and more people can get it who never would have gone and found it, but there's something to be said for that journey and that pilgrimage to get to it.
Mason: Absolutely, because then the placebo is activated, because you have so much belief and you've gone... That's what I count as the reality of, you've thrown your hat in the ring with your healing intentions and your willingness to respond-
Sage: You're invested.
Mason: You're invested, rather than just pure speculation because we've got too much to choose from these days. Right? And we don't know... Back then, obviously in his world, chaga rose to the top in the whispers behind the scene of how you could naturally heal cancer. Chaga has risen to be the top whisper and the one that carries the weight in the people he trusted, so he intuitively knew that and went found it and invested himself. He's combined the healing of the chaga with being out there in ensconced in nature, which is what a lot of people on healing journeys today need to replicate.
Mason: That's getting the chaga... You've got it in chocolate. I've got it sitting here in a miron jar, like an extract of ball chaga from Chang Bai Mountain. It's so easy for you to get it that you need to replicate how you're going to throw your hat in the ring and really invest with creating a relationship with this herb and also making sure that your lifestyle is ensconced with getting into nature and having that experience, that primal experience of getting out there and discovering what healing is for you. To go out there, like some animla, just try and search for this mysterious grass that will save you. Is the grass the chaga or is it the experience of being in nature? Is it a combination of all these things? Is it the outcome of your lifestyle? That's what people need, I feel like.
Mason: I think we talk about these herbs... I think I get a little more excited about these herbs, like, "Chaga for everyone!" A little bit more so than you. But these caveats need to be thrown in for me, so consistently, not only because it's responsible, but that's how you're going to get the best results of the chaga, of these herbs, and chaga, because you know, it's got a particular place and it's got an appropriate usage to get the effectiveness.
Sage: Absolutely, and it's so interesting to see... There's a [inaudible 00:18:51] dynamic, what you mentioned about going out and walking in nature. It's a journey to get the chaga and it's interesting how chaga also supports physical body and endurance so much, like they've shown in studies with mice. A common way they'll test animal endurance in studies is they'll see how long they can swim for, which I hope they're plucking them out of the water once they can't swim anymore, that would be what I hope. But they do show that, in studies with mice, when they've had chaga, they're able to stay swimming significantly longer, and they've also found that it improves liver glycogen, which is really pure fuel for the cells and for the muscles, and is also decreasing lactic acid, so in terms of an endurance food for athletes, but also for hikers and backpackers, it's so on point.
Mason: Or a mum that has more than two children.
Sage: That, too. That, too.
Mason: Yeah, it doesn't have that, to put it into a business thing, it doesn't have that branding around it when I think about it, or my connection with it hasn't been there, but what I was saying before, when I've been taking it longterm and I feel solid, and robust, far out. Exactly what you're saying. Recovery time increases.
Sage: Yeah, yeah. Just so everybody knows, we didn't talk about that before this podcast. We landed on the same description without any previous conversation or practice, which is pretty cool.
Mason: It's always fun jumping in, because I don't think we ever really prepare. I trust that you've got a relationship, I know that you've got a relationship and experience with eh herb. And it's nice to kind of dance around and see where our experiences meet.
Mason: So, I'm going to get a little bit back into the traditional usage. The usage around colitis inflammatory bowels, digestive issues of all kinds, it seems to... Even to an extent, stomach cancers. It seems to consistently comes up in a traditional sense for these issues. Looking at all the clinical guides, that's consistently what their... whether it's Chron's, whether it's colitis, whether it's leaky guy, whether it's IBS, chaga is one of these one's that has been used in protocols consistently. I think a lot of that has to do, of course all these beta-glucans are always going to be really magic, to the indigenous bacteria populations. But I feel like it all comes down, with chaga, not all of it but a lot of it, and I'd like to get your two cents of course... Antioxidant and super oxide dismutase content, which has got like, I don't know, 25% more super oxide dismutase than any other medicinal mushroom. Really high on that antioxidant score.
Mason: In fact, what was the score, again? 52,000 on the ORAC value score for chaga?
Sage: I had it pulled up earlier. I'm going to have to go find that again, just so we can get the exact number.
Mason: I've got one source here, 52,000, but I'm always a bit skeptical about ORAC values, because they can be used for branding. But I know that across many different testing sources, chaga remains... It's up there with the dragon blood clove, with being the highest antioxidant content.
Sage: In terms of other super food things, like Acai just blows me away.
Mason: Acai, please. Please. Please.
Sage: I still love a good acai ice cream. [crosstalk 00:21:51]
Mason: Hey, one of the best days of my life was stepping Ipanema Beach and having an Acai bar, back in 2009 and going, "Gosh, I think this would go off Bondi." I think I was one of a thousand people having that thought at that time.
Mason: But I can really feel... Whether it's reducing the lactic acid as well, getting an amount of free radical and antiviral, antioxidants coming through the system, as well as the immune modulation. We've already through the fact that it's one of the most adapt... well, it's a heavily adaptogenic substance that's going to dramatically affect your endurance. I don't have the data on this, but talking to a lot of herbalists over the years, I see it as being up there with gynostemma, in terms of the most adaptogenic substance. I don't know if you've had that conversation before. I definitely feel that for myself. I feel the most adaptable when I'm taking chaga consistently, on so many different levels, that then, when you look at it's regulatory capacity and it's modulating capacity for the immune system, especially because it's not purely relying on the beta-glucan fraction, that poly-saccharide fraction, it's so much immunologically going on within the betulinic acid and the tritopines, more so than the others.
Mason: In all the clinical guides, it's like yeah, immunologically we really want... I know we don't necessarily agree with this, I know I now nothing. I've heard you speak about it before with reishi and all these kinds of things. We really just want that polysaccharide count to be up really high or just a water extract in order to get that immunological benefit. With reishi, it seems important, but maybe not as important clinically, to get the alcohol and tritopines, to affect the immune system modulator. Although, I think it is and I think you do, as well.
Sage: The water soluble fraction that gets the beta-glucans, which are way more water soluble, then you get the tritopine and things that are going to have more of the adaptogenic effect, [crosstalk 00:23:42], which will have a secondary benefit of immunity, because obviously stress and health don't go together well.
Mason: Yeah, exactly right. You're going to be working on the nervous system, adapting the nervous system, that's going to take stress off the body, so the immune system can work well. Whereas with the chaga, the ethanol extract is bringing out compounds that are highly immunological. A lot of the anti-tumor activity in studies have been purely using alcohol extracts, not that that's where it's ended up clinically, but it's been shows that the tritopine fractions and the betulinic acid in chaga is having a lot of a direct effect on the apoptosis of cancer cells, stopping in the spreading, separating, so on and so forth.
Mason: Also, where they've seen on contact with tumor cells, somewhat of a reduction, they're attributing that, a lot of the time, to the alcohol fraction. It seems to be one of the more important mushrooms to get the dual extract, in order to get direct, if you're looking to get direct immunological upgrades or healing if you're dealing with something gnarly.
Sage: Yeah, I think you have to look at all the different compounds that are active in there, and figure out which ones are going to be strategic for your application and what you're dealing with.
Sage: What's interesting with betulinic acid, is it's actually not nearly as high in the chaga as it is in the birch bark. If you really want to go hardcore on the betulinic acid, you can get betulinic acid extracted from birch bark at a much higher level than you would get it from the chaga. Usually in chaga, it's around 1%, but it just speaks to the potency of it that at that level, it's able to be so advocatus. There are some chaga products out there that will be do the chaga, and then add, and I think this is really cool, the birch bark extract in additionally for the extra synergy of the betulinic casted together.
Sage: And then you also have these vito sterols and these are a lot of the antimicrobial compounds. You mentioned the super oxide dismutate's super high, melanin really high, which is actually one of the biggest and primary antioxidants there, and this is really unique to find in a mushroom or a food of any kind.
Mason: And then if you go down the route, not that I like talking about it too much, but the melanin connection with melatonin and the connection with the pineal gland. If you type in "chaga" and "melanin," you get all these, "How to activate your pineal gland" blog posts just smashing your feed.
Mason: Which there is an association with increasing the efficacy of the pineal glands. I just thought I'd throw that out there as well, because it's always a fun one to talk about and all, especially here in Byrom. You do a talk on all these magical things about chaga and nobody's listening. You're like, "It's got an association with assisting pineal." And they're, "Oh shit," and start writing it down.
Sage: There is so much that is still left to be confirmed in terms of the pharmacokinetics of chaga and exactly how it's working in the body. It's still in the early days of scientific research. We know it's immune system activating, it's increased [inaudible 00:26:19]. You mentioned earlier that it's beneficial for ulcerative colitis, that's been shown in research, and for bringing down inflammation. It's one of those ones that it's going to be super exciting to see light get shown on it a little more over the next 10 or 20 years.
Mason: Well, psoriasis keeps coming up in the research. I think it was first back in the 50s when it had inhuman trials, with about 50 people. Since then, they've taken that and proven its efficacy in the pathways it's working on with psoriasis. It had something insane, like 35 out of 50 people went into remission. Seven people were completely cleared of any signs.
Mason: They said about 9 to 12 weeks was the treatment. That was at the point where you were going to know whether it was going to be working, and whether it's going to be effective or not. However, then you start seeing on the cancer side of things, it's shown quite significantly, that you need about 12 months usage at least before you're going to start seeing real tumor reduction size if it's effective for you.
Mason: I don't really feel the call to go into it, because there is a particular extracts type, particular cancers that it has efficacy for in different dosage. We can talk a little bit about it, but-
Sage: It's specifically shown, I believe, [inaudible 00:27:27] that most research area is for liver cell cancer, it's been shown to really help stop the growth of the cancer cells. I think that's the one that the research has primarily been on.
Mason: Yeah, and prostate and colon are coming through, and the mammary glands, as well, has been researched quite heavily, and I think up and coming, especially various types of lung cancers, but that's varied quite a lot. I think it's an important one to get your [inaudible 00:27:50] practitioner aware of chaga and pulling the data up. I think with the psoriasis, being such an anti-inflammatory herb, it's working on T-cell regulation, so regulating the T helper cell balance, which as it comes and shows yes with most inflammatory conditions and then leading on to autoimmune conditions. You're always going to see medicinal mushrooms are going to generally work on that pathway in order to get those results. And they're attributing to a lot of the psoriasis action as well.
Sage: And it's coming at it in two directions. It's working on [inaudible 00:28:16] and it's working on the immune system at the same time.
Mason: Begot! The caveat I needed to put in there was with the psoriasis. IT was conditions where there was a gastro intestinal illness going on at the same time in conjunction with the psoriasis. That's that caveat that was like constipation or diarrhea or reflux or something happening in combination with that psoriasis when it gets really effective.
Mason: I don't know if we talked about it too much when we backed into the gut podcast but if I could back, I'd be talking a lot about chaga in there. Just on the potentiation of the immune system, is there much you want to jump into there? Any fun, cool little facts?
Sage: As I mentioned, it's increasing the [inaudible 00:28:52]. It's got these long chain polysaccharides, these beta-glucans that you've probably heard us talk about reishi and astragalus and so many other of these great medicinal mushrooms that are basically education for your immune system. They're giving your immune system more tools to work with. It's like an operating system upgrade for your immunity. So this is great.
Sage: Now, you always want to be cautious dealing with... Like, if you're an autoimmune patient, a lot of people benefit from things like reishi and things like chaga in a lot of these situations, but not everybody. If you're dealing with some form of autoimmunity, and you're interested in experimenting with medicinal mushrooms, you're better do that closely observed by a practitioner.
Mason: And that's one of the cool things. If you can get a practitioner working with you, especially if you've got a full time of jobs of kids, or something like that, and your full time job isn't healing yourself and responsibly regulating yourself. People get confused about why some people can go and take it into their hands, it's because they have time.
Mason: But if you're working with someone that can measure your antibodies, as you start including something like this in a clinical setting... I think we've spoken about it quite a bit, it's one of the reasons I'm quite comfortable talking about mushrooms and autoimmunity now, but there was like four years where I wasn't. I had so many practitioners coming to me and finding me to talk about the fact that they'd used herbs, like [inaudible 00:30:04], and reishi specifically, in Turkey Tao, in autoimmune conditions.
Mason: Across the board, in just these examples, I know it does exist, though I assume it exists, is they never had it cause any more damage. They'd only seen it not work. That was the worst.
Sage: So it's either going to nothing or it's going to be beneficial, in their experience.
Mason: I've probably had a conversation with about 100 practitioners now, whether they'd measured the antibodies or not. A much smaller amount measured the antibodies, but a lot of them were just observing their patient. That's across the board. I've never had anyone say anything... And this is with responsible dosing from an extract perspective, starting at quarter teaspoon. If you go up quarter teaspoon morning and afternoon and very, very, very slowly increasing in that sense.
Mason: I mean, if you start getting into the areas of the immune system that you start seeing modulated, you start seeing enhanced, you basically rattling off most of the immune system from what I can get to.
Sage: Real quickly, while we're on the areas to be careful around. With diabetes and if you're also taking blood thinners, it can improve those situations too much. It can lower your blood sugar to where your diabetic medication would then end up taking you too low. Same with blood thinners, your blood an get too thing. So, you got to be really careful there as well, and either have a pestilent allergy or if you are taking penicillin-based drugs, there can be a bad interaction with chaga.
Sage: There are rare cases we just got to cover. You're in Australia, I don't know how it is there. Here, in America, everybody's got their lawyer on speed dial. I just like to make sure we always cover this.
Mason: We don't have lawyers on speed dial, but we try and talk people off the ledge more so than try and talk them into taking more. It's one of those interesting things... Actually, I won't use that example. Let's just keep it on chaga. It might get a little too convoluted. But chaga, there in diabetes, you can see, "Ah, yeah." People come, they're like, "I have diabetes. Which herb is going to help?"
Mason: It's like, all right, before we go into that and say, clinically you're going to be using chaga for blood sugar regulation and also as a pancreas-spleen toner. We'll get into this a little bit in terms of what it's toning in the Chinese perspective. It's very effective as well as if you are on blood thinners, but you want to start doing it naturally, so you start taking fish oils, or you start taking ginkgo to get some circulation, or reishi, or whatever it is, or purifying with chaga mushroom.
Mason: You need to be ready to adapt. That's one of the great things if you're going to be getting into taking adaptogens, you need to get ready to have your finger on the pulse and adapt your lifestyle and your medications and your other supplements and all those things, because these things don't muck around. They do work. It's an interesting one with tonic herbs, as you know, medicinal mushrooms, because the western branding around them is, "These are herbs you can take every day." And they are gentle, and traditionally, 2000 years ago, they are classified as those that are gentle enough when you're in the preventative world and you're just trying to enhance your life. You can include them in your diet. Nowhere does it say you have to take them every day. You don't take kale every day. You don't necessarily take quinoa every day. They're a part of your diet.
Sage: You have met the health food population of California yet.
Mason: THat's true. The kale chip phenomena is still going strong. I still never forget when I was driving up the 5, and there was a drought, 5 years ago in California, and there was this green... it was like this oasis of green.
Sage: Kale as far as the eye can see.
Mason: What is that? And it was kale with all these sprinklers going in the middle of the worst drought that California had seen in years. I was like, screw you, kale. People got to realize, these herbs are going to work.
Mason: If you don't have the time, or to put it bluntly, if you don't have the skill to watch and measure the effect that these are taking... If you're in that position where you just happen to be taking what your doctor is giving you or what your naturopath is giving you, and not really investing, then if you are all of a sudden going to turn around and start bringing it upon yourself to bring on herbs and supplements into your diet, you need to get invested, then, in understanding and observing, all it takes is observation, it's pure science, the changes that its making, and then cross-correlating over to the other things that you're taking, and learning when it's time to adjust. You only have so much of a cup and you start filling it up, it's going to start running over, you need to know what's causing the holes, what's causing it to fill up too much, too fast.
Mason: Basically, what you said, if you're taking blood thinners, make sure you're watching because chaga work. These herbs bloody-
Sage: If you combine powerful herbs with drugs that are not dual directional, they're moving things in one direction only, and your doctor has calculated that dose based on where your blood glucose regulation was, and that is going to change, well then, the drugs need to change. So you got to be really in communication with your doctor about these things. They may need to monitor you more closely.
Mason: The doctors aren't really counting on those markers ever going down.
Sage: As far as they know, nothing can change it.
Mason: Nothing can change it. They'll even preventative put you on these things. You definitely got to make sure you're keeping your finger on the pulse of that.
Mason: Anything else you want to immunologically talk about?
Sage: Just briefly, you mentioned it can be classified as a spleen-tonic, and that's another area where it kind of correlates with modern science in that it's been found to increase spleen lymph sites. That's activating immunity within the spleen as well, so that's very cool to see. IT's always great to see these awesome alignments between the traditional knowledge and wisdom, and who knows how they figured out some of this stuff out back in the day-
Mason: I know, it's so good.
Sage: And what they could find out now with the highest technologies.
Mason: Going through it, just so everyone can get an understanding in terms of the efficiencies that are occurring with chaga mushrooms, remembering we're talking about beta-glucans and very unique fungal beta-glucans and so we're working on those receptors in the body, like dectin-1, the compliment receptor, toll-like receptors, and this is the turning the lights of the immune system, in both the adaptive and innate immunity.
Mason: So, as you were saying, we're working on the spleen. The spleen can go through a range, then, whether it's spleen, whether it's lymph, whether it's glandular. We look at, specifically with chaga, we've got interlockings, natural killer cells, interferon, macrophages, [inaudible 00:36:02], t-lymphocytes, tumor... Why am I having a mind blank?
Mason: But just down the line-
Sage: Necrosis factor?
Mason: Yeah, tumor necrosis factor, that's it. When you look at the betulinic acid having a direct effect on the immune system and tumor, when you look at the other side of chaga, with it's beta-glucan, we're looking at... It's got an upstream effect on these tumor necrosis factor on the lymphocytes. On the granulocytes, these kinds of infection fighting cells, even getting in there, tumor [inaudible 00:36:31] infiltrating lymphocytes. These kinds of things, we're looking at an upstream effect, as well as then heating and alcohol extracted substance, which is directly working on the outside of getting in and heating that tumor.
Mason: That's why we start seeing, across the board, that conk, that sclerotium, the chaga mushroom... In fact, there's a study to show that the sclerotium's not the fruiting body, what emerges from the tree, it's not like reishi, that's the fruiting body. With chaga, there's really only 10% that they can purely identify as fungal DNA, and the rest of it's a bit of a mystery to them, which I find very exciting.
Mason: And as you were saying-
Sage: As you mentioned, it's also worth mentioning real quick that chaga has layers to it. The [inaudible 00:37:13] that you find in chaga is concentrated in that outer black layer which is the worst tasting. It's the more intensely bitter and slightly acrid in that black section there. That's where you're getting verwechslung and as I said, it's also concentrated in the bark of the birch tree.
Sage: A lot of people sell chaga that does not contain that black section because it's going to taste gentler, but that's where some of the real good stuff's at.
Mason: Some of you people will be watching this video, but most of you will just be listening. So, you can go to the show notes, or you can go to the Superfeast's Instagram, I'll have pictures of chaga up. Sage has got a video on his Instagram TV, making chaga tea. We'll put that in the show notes as well.
Mason: You can see that on the underside, we're going to see that core of the mushroom conk, the sclerotium, and then that black, burnt, charcoally, bark on the outside. As you were saying, or maybe I know the reason, when you're trying to create a specific chemical ratio that is more correlated to your product, your market, or you're trying to create a product that's more specifically high in a particularly compound, whatever the intention, I don't get into that kind of convoluted world when it comes to product.
Mason: I want the whole mushroom, and I want to crumble the whole thing up, and that includes the bark. It includes everything in there that can possibly be beautifully preventative and potentiating for the system, and then high pressure cook that in both water and, this is the thing, if you get chaga raw and you just infuse that when you just put it in hot water, you'll get some pigment, you're not getting, this has clinically been shown, you're not getting any of the anti-cancer compounds.
Mason: You're not getting anything that's going to get in there and really help you become super adaptable. You need to [inaudible 00:38:49] and cook that chaga. We've spoken a lot about that process. You can then get that chaga after you've cooked it five hours, pour off that water, take the mark mushroom there in the little bit of water, put that in the freezer, freeze it, water expands within the cells, cracks open that mushroom, you get it back and you're going to start making other tea, you're going to start getting a lot more pigment coming out so that you know you're getting medicine out.
Mason: That's why we're really happy to be using really high pressure extraction when it comes to chaga, with water and organic ethanol, so that you're getting that whole conk and it's still the process you're using with yours in the Siberian side of things, to make sure that you're not actually selling anyone short. That's the most annoying thing, when someone's like-
Sage: Yeah, the stuff we get from Siberia, it comes so black it's incredible.
Mason: That's great. It's the best thing about chaga. That pitch black... So we start looking a little bit at that TCM approach to it, it's entering the kidneys, it's entering the heart, it's entering the liver, and the spleen, and then having a huge effect on the stomach at the same time. Slightly warming, it's why it's such good winter for medicinal, yet it's not warming in the sense, like astrogasolus-quite warming and has a particular energetic that it can start locking infections in. So it's not necessarily when you have an infection, astrogalosus isn't the real time to take it.
Mason: But with chaga, even though it's a chee tonic, it doesn't have those same effects. In the middle of infection, it seems to be very effective at helping move on a cold and flu. But if you're burning up hot and anything's going to tip you over the line, that's when you wouldn't really be using gingers or garlics.
Sage: In the peak of summer, it's not necessary. There's other options.
Mason: Yeah, and you'll notice that as well. You'll notice that you won't use as much chaga in the middle-
Sage: You'll lose interest.
Mason: Yeah, you'll lose a little bit of interest. Then, the taste, slightly sweet but mostly bitter as well. So that's a little bit of sweetness, you see that you're getting a procurity over to the spleen and digestive function to the stomach better. Heavily working on that liver. Traditionally, and in the modern clinical error, it's blood cleaner. In the traditional sense, nothing cleans the blood in that region better than chaga.
Mason: If you've got blood poisoning, you're generally feeling toxic. If you're sick, if you want to have a clean up, it's why it's so great to use in conjunction with chemotherapy, because it's so immunological as well, it keeps that immune system going. It's like with all these things, ashwagandha, reishi, chaga, talk to your people. That's why you can see there's studies emerging, with turkey tail as well, with the majority of the medicinal mushrooms, in conjunction with chemotherapy being used, because you don't want the chemotherapy to completely annihilate your immune system. You have something just generally, as well you're whole lifestyle and diet should, keeping your immune system aloft.
Mason: At the same time, looking at chaga particularly in the cleanup, after you've been on hardcore medication or chemo and radiotherapy, just as a blood filter, filterer, cleaner, liver tonic, it's beautiful one.
Mason: Genseng, wonderful wei chi tonic, as well, so it's a great preventative tonic. I mean, I'll quickly pull up... I finally found what I should have been looking at before this podcast, but the herbal actions in a clinical setting. So, they're using it these days as an adaptogenic, of course, antioxidant, course, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, immune modulating, and immune enhancer. As a tonic, if you are depleted, it's one of these herbs that's going to actually get in there and build you back up.
Mason: Amazing for the skin, so it's been used as a skin tonic... Do you do much application externally of chaga?
Sage: One thing I do occasionally is if I'm making a pot of chaga tea and I'm doing a clay mask, I'll use the chaga tea as the base of the clay mask, and first of all, it's amazing putting on a warm mask as opposed to a cold one. Feels like a million times better. I'll do it with a mix of bentonite clay, French green clay and Rosalind clay.
Sage: Yeah, I really enjoy using that topically in that way as well. It feels really nice.
Mason: I've had an infusion of a whole lot of cocoa butter, and I've fused a bunch of the chaga into the cocoa butter, and I've still got going and I'll get that up on my face. If anything erupts on me, anywhere, I'll get that out now. I want that anti-fungal, antimicrobial aspect.
Sage: Yeah, it's active topically on you. Getting the chaga extract on is awesome.
Mason: Magic. I don't want to talk about cancer too much, because I'm not every insinuating that if it's present, you should be using chaga as treatment, because that's not what I say. But in terms of it's skin protective ability, and especially through that melanin pigment that we're talking about so fondly when it comes to pineal gland. Also, of course, melanin is what's present in the eyes and the skin. IT's what's giving you that nice tan. It's possibly a correlation of, I haven't looked at it too much, but it's a protector from radiation.
Mason: They say down here in Australia that skin cancer's our national cancer, and I'm like all right, that's such a crock of shit, but at the same time, if that's the case, then chaga mushrooms should become our national mushroom. Even though it's not grown here. But everyone can read through the lines there.
Mason: It's also a magic expectorant as well, which I never really use it for. But it's an anti-mutagenic and anti-diabetic herb, so we've kind of covered that. But just going through a list of general indications, just to make sure everyone's got this down pat, as you probably can hear, Sage and I aren't really using it for this purpose, we're using it for it's potentiating ability. It's in our diet.
Sage: We mainly use it for building this foundation of immunity and endurance and just the fun side of it, rather than-
Mason: Just the fun side. Fun side, because we're fun-gis. But the practitioners listening, or those of you just wanting to have your own traditional usage present, don't go all frontier on us with it. Always be responsible. But it's good to know.
Mason: Cleaning the blood is the first general indication for chaga. Transforming mucus. So if you've got that kind of infection, especially where you're super mucusy, that's where chaga's really beneficial. Whereas, on the other side of it, if you're really dry, something like Trumelo might be a little more appropriate.
Mason: Calming the mind, reducing stress, countering fatigue, supporting surface immunity, wei chi, psoriasis, inflammatory conditions, always for antioxidant support, regulating blood sugar, diabetes, treating fungal infections, basically putting Candida back into balance most of the time, as a potent anti-viral anti-bacterial. And of course, we've got health, IBS, Chron's disease, and the active constituents are still being discovered.
Mason: A lot of focus on the tritopine, and the betulin. I think it was the 1955 in Russia, that that betulinic acid extract was approved as an anti-cancer medicine and it's still being used as an anti-cancer medicine. I'm not exactly sure on the process, but from what I can understand, it's not unusual to be like, "right, you have cancer. First thing, we get you on these chaga petulant extracts, and then maybe chemo at the same time." It's in tandem.
Sage: But so often, people will ask, "Is it safe to have chaga with chemo?" And all indications, of course, review this with your doctor, but all indications point towards a synergistic method.
Mason: It all comes back to these medicinal mushrooms generally being synergistic. Generally is the key word there. But the lanosterol is something I think is being currently researched as an endocrine regulator, because it's something that doesn't really get spoken about much. Remember we did our podcast with Dan? I can't remember which one, actually, but he was saying he sees mushrooms as endocrine regulators.
Sage: That would have been the adrenal podcast, if you wanted to go back.
Mason: And I was talking to him about what is it that you see directly adapting the adrenals? He was like, nothing so much directly. It's just that it's so amazing to the immune system and nervous system. These mushrooms, nothing for him, clinically, comes close as holistic treatment so that the endocrine system can endogenously balance itself.
Sage: It takes the weight off the adrenals, right? It takes the fight or flight and the immediate threats away from an immunological perspective, from an endurance perspective, from your energy expenditure, whether that energy is being used reverted to your immune system to deal with, inflammation to deal with, viruses or microbial issues, or whether you're low on energy and you're having to rely on your adrenals for whatever physical activities you're doing. Chaga will come in and support on both of those adrenals and they get a paid holiday.
Mason: Yeah, paid holiday. How's your worker rights in the US? Do you guys get good... You're dishing them out, you're the owner?
Sage: Well, I run my own business, which means I work double time and get paid marginally,
Mason: Do you guys get good rights for workers? I don't think it is, since I've heard-
Sage: Not as much as Australia.
Mason: No, Australia's rocking, right? We're more chaga than America. Just in terms of lanosterol, I think it's going to be interesting to see what comes out in the next coming years about that. So Thea, who works here, is helping me put together herbal notes and herbal trainings for our team, she was just scratching on the top of the emerging research on lanosterol, especially in the chaga in a very directly endocrine modulator. But was just like, there's not enough data.
Sage: So much of this stuff, we'll know more in five to 20 years, and that will be really exciting. And then we'll be able to say, I told you so.
Mason: We told you so. We knew all along that it was the best ever by far. Trace minerals as well.
Sage: IN terms of, not even trace minerals but almost macro-minerals, like zinc is quite high. Calcium. Bit of magnesium. I believe manganese is [inaudible 00:47:50] if I remember correctly.
Mason: Manganese is [inaudible 00:47:52]? Chromium. Boron.
Sage: The chromium probably plays a role in the [inaudible 00:47:57] balancing effects, too.
Mason: You ever hear, there's always an answer? I think copper as well, none of the high levels. I think you mentioned germanium. I think germanium, reishi and chaga, one of the reason I think they're so magic is because of the germanium content.
Sage: Germanium's an interesting one. It's pretty exotic.
Mason: It is exotic! That's how I feel about it. It has very interesting trace minerals that don't have much of a brand around them. Antimonite? Barium? Bismuf. And I'm not sure what they do.
Sage: What are they doing for you? I have no idea. In 20 years, I'll tell you.
Mason: And that's what it comes down to, a lot of the time. With taking a tonic herb and a medicinal mushroom, there is so much going on and so much unidentified within these herbs, and obviously in a treatment setting... You were talking about particular fractions of polysaccharides, in maitake. You can talk about the same with PSP and PSK in Turkey Tail.
Mason: They're might be particular cancers where it's so beyond doubt that they are the most effective and proven to help with that particular cancer, and in order to also get someone throwing their hat in the ring, and when I say, "Activate the placebo," you need to use those, because there's enough behind it.
Sage: Your mind, when it's thinking positive thoughts, is a good day.
Sage: When the treatment fits into your belief system going in that direction.
Mason: It helps to an extent. That's why it's always nice to say malleable, because you can always get better treatment protocols, I think. But always changing isn't a benefit either. Sometimes it's nice to sit somewhere and double down. But when it comes to potentiating, there's so much going on in these medicinal mushrooms, including chaga, that you're way better off getting the whole conk, the whole mushroom, and getting that extracted.
Mason: Basically, how your ancestors would do it. All the law and the magic has emerged from your ancestors doing this, sure. Modern technologies are helping us extract in more potent ways, and that's really magic, but not getting to heady, keeping the whole holistic nature of all those constituents, especially doing it in a dual extract or you're just doing a tea in the water extract, longtime boil. I think that's one of the key points I want to send everyone away with. Don't overthink it. Remember there's lots that we haven't identified yet, and you're never going to know it all.
Sage: All right. Sounds good to me.
Mason: Anything else you want to leave everyone eon with chaga?
Sage: Maybe one thing is you mentioned earlier briefly is that it contains vanilen, which is also found in vanilla, so that makes a great flavor combination. So if you're making yourself a chaga tea, it's also nice just to have it straight and experience the pure chaga flavor. If you want to make it into a smoothie, but it's also really nice, especially for a first timer, and if you're introducing it to a friend or relative whose not into healthy, early, bitter flavors, to add just a couple drops of a vanilla [inaudible 00:50:25]. IT has a unique flavor profile and those flavors go so well together, it makes it a really easy thing to get somebody started on.
Mason: Yeah, even just a whole vanilla bean and just scrape that straight in there. That alone can be enough to activate that entire pallet. I feel it goes amazing with chocolate, especially when you've got a little bit of vanilla and there and if you get a little pinch of sea salt, as well, you blend that up into a hot chocolate or make a chocolate. That happens to be a magic combo. But with berries, always with berries. Always with blackberries and blueberries, if I was making up little smoothies or mushes, chaga I always felt went better with berries than any other mushroom. And again, especially when you get the vanilla on there.
Mason: But anyway, it's a magic mushi and I hope you all try it and love and have wonderful days. I hope you have a wonderful night there. My day's just starting over here. You have a good night. It's Friday night, in New York?
Sage: Friday night. We are just working.
Mason: You're not clubbing?
Sage: WE're on a mission here, getting herbs and chocolate out to the world. Yeah, we're going full power.
Mason: Awesome, bro. Well, you have fun doing that and thanks for joining me as always.
Sage: Yeah, have a beautiful day. Enjoy the beauty of Byron.
Mason: Everybody, thank you so much for tuning in today. Now, time to take that information, round it into your lifestyle, so you can amplify your health to the next level. You can really help amplify the health of this podcast by going onto iTunes and subscribing and leaving us a review. Really helps us spread this information around tonic herbs, around sovereign health, further out there to the community so we can help more people experience the best out of this life.
Mason: Thanks guys. I'll speak to you next time.
Part III of our series, where we check in on how you are, provide some updates on how the HQ is operating and chat about herbs...