We’ve all heard that the single biggest contributor to male sexual dysfunction (i.e., erectile dysfunction) are stress, anxiety, and depression—and even though there are many over-the-counter and prescription drugs on the market meant to treat erectile dysfunction, none of them really solve the problem in a long-term manner; they simply make you less aware of your ongoing stress, anxiety, and depression.
So what about natural remedies?
Can chaga mushrooms really help with erectile dysfunction?
Let’s take a look at this question together.
But first, here are a few basics:
What are chaga mushrooms?
The Chaga mushroom, also known as Inonotus obliquus, is a type of fungus that grows on birch trees in cold climates. The name Chaga is derived from a Slavic word meaning mushroom. Similar to other medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi, chaga has been found to possess antioxidant and immune-boosting properties that have been linked to cancer prevention. As well, it may reduce inflammation and help with cardiovascular health.
The chaga mushroom ranges in color from brown to dark black. Chaga looks like charcoal or burnt wood, and the black color comes from melanin produced by the fungal species.
It's common for people to burn Chaga just like they would any other piece of wood because it doesn't produce much smoke or heat. When it's burned, chaga releases a pleasant earthy smell similar to what you might expect when walking through an old forest.
For those seeking sexual enhancement, the real benefits come not from burning the mushroom, but when you consume it functionally as a capsule, powder, tea, or tincture.
These forms provide nutrients like antioxidants which are key for healthy blood flow while also reducing inflammation throughout the body.
How does chaga help with erectile dysfunction?
There’s a lot of claims about various natural ingredients that can help with erectile dysfunction. Most have little or no backing from scientific studies. However, chaga mushrooms show great promise when it comes to supporting men with their erectile dysfunction.
Chaga mushrooms have long been used in traditional medicine as an aphrodisiac. In fact, some medicinal mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years.
In modern times, scientists have found multiple compounds in chaga that help support sexual health and erections, including sterols and triterpenes like betulinic acid.
Check out our complete guide to chaga health benefits here.
It may be surprising to know that many male enhancement supplements are based on herbs which have been around for centuries - long before modern science began studying them!
Understanding scientific studies of chaga for erectile dysfunction
The most widely-referenced study on chaga and its effects on ED, however, was done on rats. There are no studies done on humans and research is still in its infancy.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t try it to see how it works for your situation, but understand that in regards to all medicinal mushrooms, we don’t have an ample amount of conclusive evidence into their effectiveness for certain conditions - that includes ED.
This study analyzed hot water and alcohol extracts of chaga. Currently, it’s the first and only study on erectile dysfunction, but the “The results provide a possible selection of I. obliquus for the treatment of ED.”
Despite a lack of clinical evidence for treating ED, specifically, we have strong evidence supporting the use of chaga for ED for conditions that may lead to erectile dysfunction.
According to mayoclinic, some of the physical causes of ED include:
- heart disease
- high cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- certain prescription medications
Among many others.
The good news is, chaga has been studied as a potential treatment for many of the above conditions.
This is why it's a popular supplement choice for those struggling with ED.
So how does chaga help to treat physical conditions leading to erectile dysfunction?
Let's dive in:
- One scientific review showcases chaga's "therapeutic potential of I. obliquus extracts in counteracting the progression of cancers and diabetes mellitus as well as their antiviral and antiparasitic activities and antioxidant role."
- Another study evaluated the antioxidant and hypolipidemic capacities of chaga mushrooms. They found promising results over the study’s 8-week period
- Chaga also shows strong promise in a study that evaluated chaga extract for microvascular inflammation.
- And for diabetes, chaga shows promise as a functional treatment for those with T2DM.
So, you can see why adding chaga to a functional supplement regime may help with some of the physical causes of ED.
Now that we're familiar with the research supporting chaga as a potential ED treatment, let's talk about why the extraction of chaga mushroom is critical for maximum functional value.
Why chaga extraction is important
The most important thing to know about using chaga for ED is that you’ll want to use a mushroom extract. What you don't want to use is simple chaga mushroom powder (or mushroom powder that hasn't been extracted).
Both hot water and dual extracts were studied in the rat trial for ED above.
In order for you to get the most functional benefit from chaga, it’s critical that the mushroom goes through an extraction process first.
Here's why mushroom extraction is important:
Mushrooms have a very tough cell wall that’s difficult for our bodies to break down. This tough cell wall is called chitin.
Hidden beneath that tough exterior wall are the medicinal compounds.
As stated above, the main compounds that can help support sexual health are sterols, triterpenes, and polyssacharides within the chaga mushroom. If we were to eat these mushrooms raw, we wouldn’t be able to absorb these beneficial compounds. That's because our bodies can't break down the chitin to access them.
For that reason, chaga, and other mushrooms, are put through a hot water extraction. Hot water extraction breaks down the cell wall and allows our bodies to absorb those beneficial polysaccharides.
Think of this like making tea except at a much larger scale when it comes to commercial products.
On the other hand, an alcohol extraction is done to make triterpenes bioavailable since they are alcohol-soluble. You’ll most often find that products on the market have gone through both of these extraction methods and are labeled as “dual extraction” which is exactly what the study on mice was conducted with.
Read our guide to learn more about what mushroom extraction is and why it matters.
Without clinical proof, we of course can’t make any claims, but this first test provides a promising future for its use as a treatment for ED.
What to look for in a chaga product for ED
The primary ways to supplement with chaga are with tea, capsule, powder, or tincture.
It really comes down to personal preference.
The bottom line is that you want to see that the product is a chaga extract, rather than just chaga powder. Remember, the extraction is crucial for the benefits that it may provide.
Tea can be a nice way to work chaga into your diet. You could make your own, or you could purchase from a company that offers it. However, most will sell it as a powder that you can just add hot water to. Read our complete guide to making chaga tea using commercial products with this guide.
That’s why chaga powdered extract is one of the most popular forms of supplementation.
You’ll see companies offer it in a capsule to be swallowed easily, or by powder, so you can add it to hot water, or any drink like coffee.
Chaga product recommendations for powder and capsules
Both companies offer extracts, capsules and powders, full lab reports on their products, and have high praise among the medicinal mushroom community. We advocate for both of these brands and their transparency goes a long way for us!
Chaga product recommendations for tinctures
For tinctures, there are a couple brands we stand behind. Check out Rainbo and Cure Mushrooms. Both offer high-quality products and potent liquid extractions you can take directly under the tongue or by adding the liquid to a drink.
Tinctures are highly recommended because of their long history as a medicinal medium, and because of their dual extraction.
Chaga dosage for erectile dysfunction
Until there are more human clinical trials, we can’t say for sure what the appropriate dosage is for chaga and ED. But if you want to try it, we have some idea of how chaga is dosed for other functional benefits.
It’s not a hard and fast rule, but the typical dose you’ll see for chaga extract is around 1000mg per day.
This usually equates to:
- 2 capsules of 500mg each
- ½ teaspoon of chaga powdered extract
- 1 full dropper of liquid extract (tincture)
Chaga is a great, natural remedy for a variety of conditions. While studies are ongoing, the mushroom has shown promise in a variety of ways, including the treatment of ED. For that reason, it’s a great natural product to try.
As with any supplement, it's important to discuss the addition of it with your doctor. While chaga is generally considered safe, there are side effects and potential interactions to consider.
Comparing chaga to traditional treatments for erectile dysfunction
There are of course other popular treatments for ED, including the primary prescription medications, Viagra and Cialis. And while they are known to work well, users are starting to look for natural remedies, as with other health conditions as well. The main issues associated with Viagra and Cialis are side effects that may include:
- Hearing loss
- Temporary vision loss
- Heart attacks
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart palpitations
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Psychological dependency on the drug
Of course, this isn’t the case for all users, but the potential for these relatively serious side effects has users seeking other options with less harsh effects.
What are the side effects of chaga for ED?
As with any supplement, there are certain side effects associated with taking chaga mushrooms. Possible side effects include digestive problems such as upset stomach and diarrhea. Some users have reported mild allergic reactions or skin irritation after use.
If you experience these symptoms while taking chaga mushroom, consult your doctor immediately. Do not attempt to self-diagnose! It is also important to remember that pregnant women should consult or speak to their doctor/physician before any intended supplementation.
The good news is that neither chaga mushrooms nor their extracts have been linked to any major adverse health concerns in either humans or animals, making them very safe for regular consumption.Important note on trying chaga for erectile dysfunction
If you’re thinking about supplementing with chaga, always inform your doctor. Your doctor should also be able to go through your current medications and see if there are any possible interactions.
Chaga is not likely to be a “quick-cure”.
Unlike Viagra and Cialis, medicinal mushrooms, like chaga, tend to work over time and with continued use.
We recommend a month or two of supplementation to gauge the effectiveness for your body. It's possible that it may complement traditional methods with continued use. But more research needs to be done in order to determine the benefits, risk, and dosage of chaga mushrooms for ED.
Reach out to us if you have any further questions. We’re happy to help!