Chaga vs Turkey Tail: Comparing Benefits, Side Effects & More

Chaga vs Turkey Tail: Comparing Benefits, Side Effects & More - Lucid™

Functional mushrooms have taken the wellness-industry spotlight, captivating health enthusiasts with their enticing blend of nutritional benefits and healing properties. Chaga and Turkey Tail, two prominent figures in the traditional medicine, medicinal mushrooms have stood the test of time as natural remedies for an array of health conditions.

As they grace the shelves in various forms—from supplements to wellness beverages—it's essential to understand their distinctive characteristics and contributions to the human body. In this guide, we will embark on a journey to compare Chaga vs Turkey Tail, including a deep dive into their unique benefits, side effects, usage, and more.

Let’s start with the basics:

Key Takeaways

Chaga benefits include boosting skin and hair health, DNA protection, and adaptogenic properties, enhancing the body's resilience to stress.

Turkey Tail benefits include anticancer potential, antioxidant richness, gut health improvement, and energy and strength boost for athletes.

Both mushrooms are available in supplement form, but choosing a high quality mushroom supplement is important.

Chaga vs Turkey Tail: Tradition, Origin, and Appearance

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) and Turkey Tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor) are medicinal mushrooms that hail from diverse worlds, though both have a lengthy history of medicinal use by traditional practitioners.

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a visually distinctive mushroom that resembles a charred mass that clings to birch trees in the northern hemisphere. It grows primarily in the boreal forests of North America, Europe, and Asia. Chaga thrives in cold climates where birch trees, its host, are prevalent.

This fascinating fungus has a rich tradition in traditional medicine, particularly in Siberian and Scandinavian cultures, where it has been used for centuries to brew teas and infusions believed to support overall health and wellness.

Chaga's reputation for health benefits and its unique appearance have earned it the title of "black gold" in the realm of natural remedies.

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor), unlike its dark and charred counterpart Chaga, boasts a vibrant and colorful appearance akin to a turkey's tail, hence its name. This fungus is abundant and widely distributed, found in various wooded areas across North America, Europe, and Asia. It typically flourishes on dead and fallen trees, contributing to the ecosystem's natural decomposition process.

The rich history of Turkey Tail spans centuries, but is deeply rooted in traditional Chinese medicine and Native American healing practices. Turkey Tail is revered for its potential health benefits, particularly in supporting the immune system and potential anticancer properties, and is a popular cancer therapy in many parts of Asia.

Comparing Benefits

Chaga mushrooms, often referred to as "black gold" in the skincare and beauty industry, hold a distinct set of benefits that set them apart. Turkey Tail mushrooms, which are deeply ingrained in traditional Chinese medicine, also bring a unique set of health benefits to the table.

Here, we'll explore the distinctive properties that define the allure of Turkey Tail and the unique properties of Chaga that make them both a standout option in the mushroom kingdom.

Chaga Mushroom Benefits

Supports Youthful, Healthy Skin

Chaga's affinity for the world of skincare is unmatched. The mushroom stands as a crucial ingredient in skincare products, revered for its ability to maintain youthful skin. Rich in melanin, Chaga absorbs harmful UV rays, acting as a natural sunscreen, and betulinic acid supports skin restoration and rejuvenation, bestowing a youthful allure.

Supports Hair growth

Beyond its prowess in enhancing skin health, Chaga may extend its multifaceted benefits to your hair. Research in 2019 showcased Chaga's ability to promote hair follicle growth, surpassing the effectiveness of Minoxidil, a common drug used to treat baldness and hair loss. The melanin content in Chaga supplements may also help in fighting hair pigmentation and retaining your hair's natural color.

Provides Antioxidant Boost

Another reason chaga may be good for your hair and skin (and overall wellness) is because it provides a substantial antioxidant boost. Its high antioxidant content may help protect the body from free radical damage, which is overall beneficial for tissues, organs, immune functions, skin health, and more.

Guards Your DNA

One of the lesser-known benefits of Chaga lies in its remarkable ability to protect human DNA. Boasting the highest antioxidant concentration among naturally occurring foods, Chaga fights free radical damage with its rich content of melanin and polyphenols, preserving our DNA and maintaining a delicate balance in our bodies.

Adaptogenic (Stress Reducing) Benefits

Among the qualities that make Chaga truly remarkable, its adaptogenic nature stands out. Acting as an adaptogen, Chaga supports the body's ability to withstand stress by regulating stress hormone release. This property is invaluable given the association of stress with various illnesses, making Chaga a vital tool in maintaining overall health.

Boosts Immunity

A 2005 study found that Chaga may stimulate the production of certain cytokines, or beneficial proteins that stimulate immunity. It may also help to prevent the formation of harmful cytokines, which may help prevent the inflammatory response that is triggered by bacteria and viruses.

In a study conducted in 2012, it was affirmed that Chaga extract exhibited the potential to diminish gut inflammation by inhibiting the production of detrimental cytokines.

Lowering Blood Sugar

Multiple animal studies have investigated Chaga’s potential to lower blood sugar, confirming its ability to do so. One study examined Chaga's impact on mice with Type 2 diabetes, revealing that after four weeks of use, the mice had lower blood sugar levels and reduced weight. Another study demonstrated an average 31% reduction in blood sugar after only three weeks of Chaga supplementation.

Although this evidence is promising, further human trials are necessary to understand whether Chaga can indeed have a positive impact on diabetes and blood sugar levels in humans.

Enhances Cancer Prevention and Treatments

Chaga shows promising results in preventing or inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, as demonstrated in in vitro and animal studies. In one animal study, Chaga supplementation reduced tumor size by a remarkable 60%. Additionally, Chaga tea displayed the ability to prevent and slow down the proliferation of human colon cancer cells in a different study.

Test-tube studies revealed that Chaga extract actively hindered cancer growth in human liver cells. Multiple studies across various cancer types, such as liver, lung and breast, prostate, and colon cancer, observed similar encouraging results when using Chaga to combat cancer cells.

Lowers Cholesterol

Chaga extract may help manage cholesterol levels, potentially benefiting heart health, although the evidence is currently limited. Studies have shown that Chaga extract reduces bad cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels while boosting antioxidants. Furthermore, both a 2008 and a 2017 study found that Chaga may also increase good cholesterol levels.

Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits

Turkey Tail: A Bounty of Antioxidants

Antioxidants play a vital role in combating damaging compounds within the body. Turkey Tail mushrooms offer a rich array of antioxidants, including phenols and flavonoids, which actively stimulate the release of protective compounds and reduce inflammation, contributing to a bolstered immune system.

Adjunct Cancer Therapy

The standout feature of Turkey Tail mushrooms lies in their potential to aid in cancer treatment and prevention.

Polysaccharide-K (PSK), a key component of Turkey Tail, has been approved as an adjunct to cancer treatment in Japan, showcasing the ability to increase survival rates for those fighting specific cancers. The mushroom's anticancer properties have been observed across various types of cancer, like breast cancer and prostate cancer, establishing its reputation as a potent natural treatment.

Nurtures Gut Health

Turkey tail mushroom has shown potential in promoting gut health by encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria, which are essential for healthy digestion. It works as a prebiotic, stimulating the development of 'good' bacteria in the gut. A balanced gut is linked to improved digestive health, a strong immune system, and a lower risk of stomach problems.

In a small study, participants receiving a daily dose of turkey tail PSP extract experienced an increase in beneficial bacteria and a decrease in harmful bacteria, showing the mushroom's positive impact on gut health.

As one of the most powerful mushrooms for gut health, Turkey Tail may host a range of related benefits, like improved skin health.

Potential Athletic Performance Boost

Early research suggests that turkey tails may positively impact athletic performance by enhancing stamina and fighting fatigue, potentially improving endurance and strength.

In an animal study, turkey tail extract increased endurance and strength in mice while reducing physical fatigue and maintaining blood sugar levels. However, further research involving human trials is needed to confirm these benefits for athletes.

Side Effects

When considering the potential side effects of medicinal mushrooms like Chaga and Turkey Tail, it's important to acknowledge that they are generally considered safe for most individuals. However, like any supplement or natural remedy, there are some considerations to keep in mind.

Chaga Mushroom Side Effects

Chaga mushrooms, when consumed in moderate amounts, typically present minimal risk of adverse effects. However, individuals should be cautious and consult a healthcare professional in the following cases:

  • Allergic Reactions: People with known allergies to fungi or birch trees, the host of Chaga, should avoid Chaga consumption as it could trigger allergic reactions.
  • Digestive Issues: Some individuals may experience mild gastrointestinal discomfort such as upset stomach or diarrhea. It is advisable to start with a small amount to gauge tolerance.
  • Blood Clotting: Chaga might have potential blood-thinning effects, so individuals on blood thinners or with bleeding disorders should exercise caution and seek medical advice.

Turkey Tail Mushroom Side Effects

Turkey Tail mushrooms are generally well-tolerated, but certain precautions should be considered:

  • Allergic Reactions: Similar to Chaga, individuals allergic to mushrooms or fungus should avoid using Turkey Tail to prevent allergic responses.
  • Gastrointestinal Discomfort: Some individuals might experience mild digestive issues such as bloating or gas, particularly when consuming higher doses.
  • Interaction with Medications: Turkey Tail could interact with medications, especially those affecting the immune system. It's advisable to consult a healthcare provider, especially if taking medications or undergoing treatment for conditions like cancer.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Information regarding the safety of Turkey Tail during pregnancy or breastfeeding is limited, and therefore, it's recommended to avoid its use during these periods unless under medical supervision.

Always consult a healthcare professional before incorporating Chaga, Turkey Tail, or any supplement into your routine, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are on medication. Monitoring your body's response and adjusting dosage accordingly can help mitigate potential side effects and ensure a safe experience.


Understanding the appropriate dosage for Chaga and Turkey Tail mushrooms is essential to maximize their potential health benefits and ensure safe consumption.

Chaga Mushroom Dosage

The recommended dosage for Chaga mushroom can vary depending on factors such as the form of the supplement (powder, capsules, tea), the individual's health condition, and the intended purpose of use.

However, a general guideline for Chaga mushroom extract in powdered form is typically around 1 to 1.5 grams per day.

This can be consumed by adding the powder to beverages like tea or incorporating it into recipes. It's advisable to start with a lower dose and gradually increase to assess tolerance and effectiveness.

Turkey Tail Mushroom Dosage

The dosage for Turkey Tail mushroom also varies based on factors such as the form of the supplement and individual health considerations.

In general, a common dosage for Turkey Tail mushroom extract is around 1 to 3 grams per day.

As with Chaga, it's prudent to start with a lower dose and monitor the body's response before adjusting the amount. The dosage may be higher or lower based on factors like the individual's overall health, specific health goals, and consultation with a healthcare professional.

It's crucial to consult a healthcare provider or a qualified herbalist before starting any new supplement regimen, ensuring the dosage aligns with your specific health circumstances and needs. Additionally, following the recommended dosage guidelines and listening to your body's response is essential for safe and effective use of these medicinal mushrooms.


The usage and dosing methods for both Chaga and Turkey Tail mushrooms are quite similar, and they can be conveniently incorporated into one's daily routine. These mushrooms are available in various forms, each offering unique benefits and versatility in consumption. The most common dosing methods available for medicinal mushrooms include:

  • Powder: Chaga and Turkey Tail mushrooms are often available in powdered form, making it easy to blend into smoothies, coffee, or tea. The powder can be sprinkled on food or mixed into recipes, allowing for a seamless integration into meals. Mushroom coffee is an excellent choice for those looking for a simple and delicious daily dosing method. 
  • Capsules: For a convenient and precise dosing option, both mushrooms are available in capsule form. This is an ideal choice for individuals who prefer a tasteless and easy-to-manage option, especially for those on the go.
  • Tea: Brewing Chaga or Turkey Tail mushrooms to make a nourishing mushroom tea is a popular traditional method. Simply steep the mushrooms in hot water to extract their beneficial compounds and enjoy a soothing and health-promoting beverage.

Importance of Choosing a High-Quality Supplement

Selecting a high-quality supplement is paramount when incorporating Chaga and Turkey Tail mushrooms into your daily routine. Here's why:

  • Purity and Potency: High-quality supplements ensure purity, free from contaminants or additives. They also maintain optimal potency, delivering the intended health benefits effectively.
  • Effective Absorption: Quality supplements are formulated for optimal absorption by the body, ensuring that you receive the full spectrum of benefits from the mushrooms.
  • Third-Party Testing: Reputable brands often undergo third-party testing to validate the authenticity, quality, and purity of their products, giving you confidence in what you're consuming.
  • Sustainability and Sourcing: Choosing a reputable brand ensures sustainable sourcing practices, promoting ethical and eco-friendly harvesting of the mushrooms.
  • Professional Guidance: Consulting with a healthcare professional or a certified herbalist can guide you in selecting the right supplement based on your individual health needs and goals.

Incorporating high-quality Chaga and Turkey Tail mushroom supplements through various dosing methods ensures a convenient and effective way to tap into the numerous potential health benefits that these mushrooms offer.

How to Choose a High Quality Mushroom Formula

When considering mushroom supplements, it's crucial to discern between options to ensure you receive the full spectrum of benefits. Here are key factors to weigh:

Whole Mushroom Powder vs. Mushroom Extract

  • Whole Mushroom Powder: This form includes the entire mushroom, retaining all its natural nutrients and compounds. While akin to consuming a whole fruit, it may lack the necessary beta glucans that provide therapeutic benefits.
  • Mushroom Extract: Extracts are concentrated and contain specific anxiety-alleviating compounds. The extraction process enhances bioavailability, ensuring consistent and potent results. However, extracts often omit the fiber and other nutritional components found in whole mushroom products.

Fruiting Body Supplements vs. Mycelium Supplements

  • Fruiting Body Supplements: Derived from the mature part of the mushroom, fruiting body supplements are richer in the sought-after therapeutic compounds, making them ideal for addressing health concerns.
  • Mycelium Supplements: Mycelium, the mushroom's root system, may not offer the same anxiety-relief benefits as fruiting body supplements. Some companies use mycelium to reduce costs, but this may compromise the therapeutic potential.

Labeling and Transparency

When choosing a mushroom supplement for anxiety, prioritize transparency and thorough product information:

  • Look for supplements from reputable manufacturers that provide clear details about sourcing, extraction methods, and quality control practices.
  • Ensure the label specifies the mushroom species used, whether it's whole mushroom powder or an extract, and the source (fruiting body or mycelium).
  • Aim for a beta glucan content of around 20% or more for effective anxiety support.
  • Verify third-party testing for purity and potency.

Opting for products with transparent labeling empowers you to make an informed decision and trust the quality of your chosen mushroom supplement.

Conclusion: Is Chaga or Turkey Tail Better?

When comparing chaga vs turkey tail, there’s no clear winner. Both of these magnificent mushrooms have clear benefits for boosting immunity, promoting longevity, and amping up your natural wellness regimen.

While Chaga’s benefits are a bit more well-rounded, Turkey Tail is an immune-boosting powerhouse that’s even used as a cancer therapy in some parts of the world.

Luckily, you don’t have to choose! Stacking medicinal mushrooms together is perfectly okay. In fact, we recommend it! Turkey tail, chaga, and other functional fungi pair together to offer full coverage benefits–just check out our mushroom stack!

If you want to take full advantage of the "functional" side of functional mushrooms, consider a mushroom super-blend like our Lucid Coffee, Chai, or Matcha powders. It takes full advantage of the benefits of these superfood mushrooms by pairing Cordyceps,  Maitake, Tremella, and Lion's Mane, plus powerful nootropics, like BCAA's, L-Theanine, Alpha-GPC, and more. 

FAQs: Chaga Vs. Turkey Tail

Is chaga the same as turkey tail?

Chaga and Turkey Tail mushrooms are distinct medicinal fungi, each with unique health benefits. Turkey Tail mushrooms are revered for their anticancer properties, while Chaga is highly sought after for its skin and beauty-enhancing effects.

Who should not take chaga mushrooms? What about turkey tail?

While generally considered safe, individuals with kidney issues, osteoporosis, those on blood thinners, and anti-diabetic medication should exercise caution and consult with a healthcare professional before consuming Chaga, turkey tail, or other medicinal mushrooms. .

Can I take chaga and turkey tail together?

Yes, it's generally safe to take chaga and turkey tail mushrooms together. Combining them can provide a broader spectrum of health benefits, but it's important to start with small doses of each and monitor how your body reacts.

Is it safe to take chaga or turkey tail every day?

Both chaga and turkey tail mushrooms are generally safe for daily consumption. However, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance, especially if you have specific health concerns or are taking other medications.

How quickly does turkey tail work? What about chaga?

The effects of turkey tail and chaga mushrooms can vary among individuals. Some people may notice benefits within a few weeks of regular use, while for others, it may take a few months. Patience is key, as long-term, consistent use is often recommended to experience their full potential health benefits.


  1. “Lanostane-type triterpenes from the sclerotium of Inonotus obliquus (Chaga mushrooms) as proproliferative agents on human follicle dermal papilla cells”
  2. “Chemical constituents from Inonotus obliquus and their antitumor activities”
  3. “Immunomodulatory Activity of the Water Extract from Medicinal Mushroom Inonotus obliquus”
  4. “Orally administered aqueous extract of Inonotus obliquus ameliorates acute inflammation in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in mice”
  5. “Anti-diabetic effects of Inonotus obliquus polysaccharides-chromium (III) complex in type 2 diabetic mice and its sub-acute toxicity evaluation in normal mice”
  6. “Antihyperglycemic and antilipidperoxidative effects of dry matter of culture broth of Inonotus obliquus in submerged culture on normal and alloxan-diabetes mice”
  7. “Continuous intake of the Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) aqueous extract suppresses cancer progression and maintains body temperature in mice”
  8. “Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) induces G0/G1 arrest and apoptosis in human hepatoma HepG2 cells”
  9. “Anticancer activity of subfractions containing pure compounds of Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) extract in human cancer cells and in Balbc/c mice bearing Sarcoma-180 cells”
  10. “Anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities of extracts and compounds from the mushroom Inonotus obliquus”
  11. “Ethanol extract of Innotus obliquus (Chaga mushroom) induces G1 cell cycle arrest in HT-29 human colon cancer cells”
  12. “Effect of the Inonotus Obliquus Polysaccharides on Blood Lipid Metabolism and Oxidative Stress of Rats Fed High-Fat Diet In Vivo”
  13. “Antihyperglycemic and antilipidperoxidative effects of dry matter of culture broth of Inonotus obliquus in submerged culture on normal and alloxan-diabetes mice”
  14. “Anti-diabetic effects of Inonotus obliquus polysaccharides in streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetic mice and potential mechanism via PI3K-Akt signal pathway”
  15. “Induction of immunopotentiation activity by a protein-bound polysaccharide, PSK (review)”
  16. “Trametes versicolor (Turkey Tail Mushrooms) and the Treatment of Breast Cancer”
  17. “What is the Healthy Gut Microbiota Composition? A Changing Ecosystem across Age, Environment, Diet, and Diseases”
  18. “Effects of polysaccharopeptide from Trametes Versicolor and amoxicillin on the gut microbiome of healthy volunteers”

“Effect of Coriolus versicolor Mycelia Extract on Exercise Performance and Physical Fatigue in Mice” 

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