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Lyme Disease and Benefits of Chaga Medicinal Mushrooms

posted in: Healing 25

Teri DluznieskiBefore we can appreciate and understand the various benefits of Chaga medicinal mushrooms for helping treatment and symptoms of Lyme, it is important to understand the basic functions and impact of Lyme disease itself. As anyone who has encountered Lyme, or lives with it knows- it is a very sneaky and insidious and invasive condition that affects a wide range of body functions.

First- a brief summary of what Lyme IS.  It is not a single organism; rather, it is actually a “family” of organisms: or Lyme and related diseases. There is also ehrlicea, babesia, bartonella, etc…  Overall, though, it is a very basic organism.  It is single-minded in its function:  it breaks down collagen to survive.  As such, in its simplicity, it is also extremely effective, or intelligent.  Generally, the less someone or something has to do- the better it can be at that function.  In Industry we think of this as specialization. Oh great, the spirochetes have become experts.  Isn’t that just what we all wanted to hear…?

Lyme disease spirochete has been around for quite a while.  It lives in deer- but somehow the deer have a symbiotic relationship with the spirochete.  From what I understand, the deer are able to replenish their collagen effectively so that the Lyme doesn’t have damaging impact.

In some regards I find this extremely interesting, because that would-should indicate that healthy hosts in natural environments- should-could evolve and adapt.  And yet our pets are also extremely susceptible to Lyme disease now, as well.  So perhaps there is something unique about the deer, and it isn’t just based on the idea that “ healthy hosts don’t get sick.”

Regardless, the debates about where Lyme originated, its authenticity and exact what-ness, will probably be debated and argued over for some time to come.  That’s all well and good, for the theorists.  It does little to nothing for those who wrestle with it in daily life.

One thing understood about Lyme, from those who work with it, or live with it: its tenacity and its sneakiness.  Okay, that’s two things. Lyme is referred to as the great mimic.  It tends NOT to have any one set of symptoms of its own.  Rather, it tends to mimic other diseases and conditions.  It is equally hard to accurately test for. Often, even expert doctors need to rely on a combination of test results and anecdotal-symptomatic information in making a diagnosis. This is interesting, given that a friend explained something to me about Lyme, from a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) perspective.  He said that Lyme was the only thing that was neither Yin, nor Yang (the two basic forces/ types of energy in the universe).  It hid “inbetween.” It lurks in the shadows, in a sort of quantum indeterminate phase/ stage/ place.  This corresponds to what scientists know and understand about Lyme, and the many ways it has of withstanding treatment, hiding, and phase-changing or literal shape-shifting, to remain impervious to medication and the immune system.  As noted: sneaky, even diabolical.

These two things are actually the same thing, a sort of yin and yang aspect of the same function. As well as being clever, it can dig in deep, literally, and hang on for dear life.. yours!

Anyway- a little bit about the impact of Lyme on the body and why- how Chaga medicinal mushrooms can be beneficial for working with Lyme. In future articles, I will go into each topic with greater specifics, but here is an overview of aspects of Lyme disease and chaga’s support.


This seems perfect for the Lyme!  I used to wonder, from my own experiences: if Lyme is immune deficiency, or more auto-immune. In some regards I always feel a little less “vital,” and able to withstand stress, fatigue, whatever is going around.  I live a few steps closer to be run-down than I ever did prior to being sick. On the other hand, I also experience things like allergies, a faux-asthma/ breathing difficulty and stiff-sore joints that are indicative of an over-active immune system. Again, with the in-between and the mimicry. I Do find that drinking chaga daily- in place of coffee/ caffeine etc has been a HUGE support.  At one point I was not sure of this, thinking perhaps  it was aggravating my immune system.  So I stopped drinking the chaga completely.  Within about 3 or 4 days I felt a huge drain.  I was dong barn chores (I have a small farm in VT), and I suddenly felt lightheaded, wobbly and wonky.  This is what I have been feeling more and more consistently over the last several years.  What I then noted, I had NOT felt this in the preceding year while drinking the chaga tea! Wow! Huge confirmation there.  At that point, I didn’t care if it would be detrimental- it was DEFINITELY keeping me more functional!

The chaga is definitely helping the immune system and/ or inflammation.  I am not sure what mechanism is at work there- but it is helping.  I would be very interested to get someone to do some lab tests to find out WHAT the chaga is doing in regards to the Lyme.  I would also be interested to know if there is a connection to the body’s PH and Lyme, and if the chaga helps to change the PH- thereby making a less inviting environment for the little buggers to thrive!  This might be a followup article on the specifics.


Lyme causes inflammation.  It might affect the joints, muscles, create asthmatic related conditions.  The inflammation may be a result of the Lyme itself, a result of the toxins it is creating, or it might be the body’s immune system being on over-drive trying to search-and-destroy something it can’t actually FIND, and wreaking havoc in the process… Chaga helps with inflammation.  It is used to treat arthritis.

Stamina and energy:

Lyme is depleting- on just about every level. The day to day stress and drain is like carrying around an extra person or added weight.  It depletes the resources and reserves.  It also seems to deplete the metabolism: the body’s ability and desire to burn calories and create energy that will feel-good.  This is one reason that getting exercise and fresh air is sooo crucial for Lyme patients.  Often it feels very counter-intuitive.  When you feel like crap, getting out and exercising sounds like the worst advice.  Reserves feel low.  And you’re supposed to use up the little that is there?  Are you CRAZY? Yep.  Probably.  BUT, exercise creates energy.  I learned this directly, many years ago when I would be wide awake at midnight; therefore deciding to go for a run.  The logic being that I would then be tired and be able to go to sleep.  Not so much.  Wide awake at 3 and 4 AM. Years later, I learned/ understood that exercise “wakes the body up.”.. and in relation to Lyme, this is what we WANT!  I think that the Lyme wants to trick the body into going dormant, so it can do whatever the hell it wants, without anyone saying NO. And more often than not- it wins! Find that fine line between exercising and depleting.. and keep pushing that line back a little further.  Think of it as trench-warfare, and you are slowly reclaiming ground from the enemy.  Chaga- helps the body create energy.  It helps to oxygenate cells, and it also bolsters the actual metabolism.

The Liver:

Lyme seems to like the liver. I recall the doctor giving me a better technical explanation and description.  My succinct translation was Lyme likes the liver. So Lyme definitely impacts the liver.  I know this from having had inflammation of the liver at one point.  I thought I had coughed a rib out of alignment, until the chiropractor said… oooh.. I shouldn’t be able to palpate your liver from here.   Well, THAT didn’t sound good.  Needless to say, yes, that has been brought under better control- but I am fairly certain this is the byproduct of several years of the Lyme chomping away at it, and then the liver being additionally stressed by a severe bronchial infection. In addition to Lyme liking the liver for its own sake.. the problem is two-fold.  The liver is a HUGE player in the body. In TCM it is referred to as “ the General on the Battlefield.”  Interesting coincidence that Lyme lays down siege there?  I think not!  Anyway- the liver is vital for supporting the rest of the functions of the body.  It is also crucial for removing toxins from the body.  This may be even more important in regards to combating the Lyme.  The byproducts and toxins of billions of micro-organisms breaking down the body’s healthy stuff, and essentially poo-ing into the body… is added stress on the whole-system.  It’s like having a sudden onslaught of frat boys having a party in your home.

Chaga helps to detox and repair the liver.

Stress and the Nervous System:

Yeah- try living with a frat party long term.  Plenty of the stress builds up.  Note: essentially, the body does not differentiate between sources when coping with stress.  Physical emotional and energetic stress… it doesn’t really matter to the body where it came from.  It’s still there.  A hard day’s work may have a certain number of stress points.  An argument with a family member, same deal.  Getting over-tired, ditto.  Lyme… yep… more stress.  Stress is stress is stress… at least to the body.  So it is imperative to have a good stress-reduction program.  Find SOMETHING that works.  Tai-chi, yoga, meditation of some sort, exercise, quiet time, rest and good healthy whole food (processed crap and sugars stress the body, they do not feed-nourish it). Vitamins, supplements etc.  Work with or study up on nutritional needs.

Chaga is an adaptogen.  It soothes and tones the central Nervous system.  That helps the body at the cellular level to release stress and toxins (toxins are a form of stress).

As previously noted- I intend to go into greater depth on individual topics and specific actions.  But this is a good overview of the ways Chaga supports the body and helps it cope with Lyme Disease and its many varied symptoms.   There are many resources for locating chaga, and if you live in the northern woods, you can try wildcrafting it yourself. Chaga is also available for sale and please add your experiences with chaga, or specific questions!



I am an Education Specialist, Health Coach and Author. I work with aspects of the teachings I have learned from Andean shamanic and cosmology, to health, nutrition and education.  Everything is energy. Energy must flow. Like water, when it does not flow, it stagnates and is not healthy. These techniques help your life to flow. I have been initiated into many of the ancient lineages and learned ceremonies, rites of passage and healing techniques.  I have worked as a healer and done workshops and taught some of these aspects – passing the teachings on.

Author of:
Dancing in Your Bubble : ancient teaching, modern healing
Natural Support for Alzheimer’s
Getting a Handle on Happy : find and fix causes of stress and depression
The Naturally Smarter Kid : a parent’s guide to helping kids succeed in school and life
Cafe of the Hungry Ghosts : behind the veil of ordinary – a paranormal-ish fiction book





25 Responses

  1. Avatar
    | Reply

    Wow! Thank you.

  2. Avatar
    | Reply

    Does it help to take away the joint pain? My shoulders and knees are constantly in pain. I live on 800 mg of motrin every 6 hours, and that hardly works.

  3. Teri J. Dluznieski
    Teri J. Dluznieski
    | Reply

    Hi Danielle,

    the aches and pains that come from lyme or other chronic conditions can have various sources. My first suggestion/question will be– do you take magnesium? I take 1000mg/daily… and that has made the world of difference in my joint pain and muscle aches. Prior to that, waking up, and getting out of bed, it was like walking on broken glass. Now, it is very nominal achiness. Additionally- remove all the oxalyates from the diet. I find that even drinking decaffinated coffee, 1-2 cups in a day is enough to cause flairs of intense pain. Why- I have no idea. I suspect the liver is sluggish and is not removing the toxins quickly enough.

    ANYway- to answer the question re lyme pain and chaga. Yes, probably. It does have some anti-inflammatory properties, but it also helps to remove the toxins from the body, and support the liver. Ultimately, with lyme, the only way to know is a trial run. it is easy to make and very drinkable. And I think you would know within a few days if it was making a difference.

    You may find a round of burdock root tea may also helps, as it is good for pulling toxins out of joints. The best thing is to pinpoint all the things– not lyme- that may be contributing to the pain.. either the body is getting too much of something (ie inflammatory foods, or oxalytes etc– or is making the toxins, ie the lyme).. or it isn’t able to get them OUT of the body efficiently, and they build up/ back up etc.. causing distress.

    Also, and these are all things you may already know, so please don’t take offence if you are a seasoned self-care person.. repair and rebuild the gut…. as it is directly linked to mental and physical pain… and is compromised by living with lyme spirochetes and the lyme family diseases.

    I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, please ask.



  4. […] Laura Bruno’s Blog – Healing Lyme Disease Lyme Disease Education Resources – Medicinal Mushrooms for Lyme Disease Soulfully Connected – Lyme Disease and Benefits of Chaga […]

  5. Avatar
    Steve C
    | Reply

    I have been taking this companies reishi product (Oriveda) and was impressed with its effect on my lyme symptoms raising my energy levels. Their products are expensive, but very strong, and of much higher quality than we have anywhere in the USA. I have put links to their literature below.

    I received this note from one of the principles when I asked what they would recommend for lyme disease, the appropriate dosages and the results people were attaining:

    Hello Steve,

    We have excellent feedback re. keeping Lyme’s disease at bay using e.g. Chaga and PSP-50. No need for anything else, except a good diet and a healthy life style in general. he feedback we got mentioned having less fatigue / more energy / feeling more vital in general, basically feeling able to break out of the negative loop of stress, resulting from the after effects of Lyme disease. These people still take the extracts and feel good.
    I don’t think you should expect a definitive cure from taking mushroom extracts, but it for sure can help the body to cure itself (by normalising the immune function) and to improve the overall quality of life.

    A dosage is always difficult to give, because every person and every health issue is unique. We usually recommend to start with 2 to 3 grams of extract daily (6 -10 capsules) and monitor the effects. After a week you should be able to notice some effects, if any. If desired the dosage can then be adjusted. No side effects are to be expected.

    There is trial and error involved, and be prepared that the outcome can also be disappointing. As said, every person is unique and what works for some might not work for others.

    I hope our products can help you to improve your quality of life as well as it did with others!

    Kind regards,

    Syds Marra, ORIVeDA bv


    • Admin
      | Reply

      Many thanks for your recommendation Steve. We’ll make sure Teri sees your comment. 🙂

    • Teri J. Dluznieski
      Teri J. Dluznieski
      | Reply

      Hi Steve,

      Yes, I am familiar with the benefits of reishi– although to be honest, I am far more familiar with the chaga mushroom… I seem to have better luck wildcrafting the chaga, than I had with the reishi. I’m not sure why that would be. Although, as most chaga crafters will tell you, and you probably know.. chaga is getting harder to locate. Each year, I find I have to go deeper into the woods and off the beaten paths to find good sources of it:) I find enough to provide it in small amounts to a handful of customers and clients…

      but I really should refresh my knowledge re the reishi, esp regarding its use for lyme treatments:) Thanks for providing the links. I will take a look! I believe reishi can actually be cultivated, too– so maybe I should just try to get some spores and see if I can get it to grow:) One way to know where to find it– is to plant it lol:)


    • Avatar
      | Reply

      I stopped using Reishi because of the price but then recently found that mountain rose herbs (one of the most reputable herb companies) offers the mushroom for pretty cheap!

  6. Avatar
    Chaga Chad
    | Reply

    Thank’s Teri Dulznieski for this wonderful article. I help the people you speak of here by climbing trees and riding horses bareback looking for Chaga. Then I make capsules out of it and sell it online at canadianchaga.com Cheers to your health

  7. Teri J. Dluznieski
    Teri J. Dluznieski
    | Reply

    Hi Chad,

    yes, I think I am envious. I have long thought about how wonderful it would be to horse-pack up into the mountains so I could wildcraft… a combination of the best things, horses, the outdoors, and wildcrafting:)…

    btw- not sure i would do capsules of the chaga though, as it absorbs better when turned into a tea… but then I suppose for some people, swallowing a pill, is easier, and also– people carry the perception that pills are more potent as a medicine– it’s a weird unconscious thing:P)


  8. Avatar
    John Bradley
    | Reply

    Like your write up on Chaga and lyme but there is a mistake, it’s not the deer that transmits the Lyme but the “deer mouse” .

    Somebody years ago heard the word deer and everyone decided to assume it was the 150 lb. creature.

    Deer have deer ticks.\

    Deer mice have Lyme Ticks which are so small you see them when they start sucking blood.



    • Admin
      | Reply

      Thanks John, we appreciate your clarification on this. Good to know. 🙂

      • Teri Dluznieski
        Teri Dluznieski
        | Reply


        yes- that is correct, absolutely. I don’t know precisely what the connection is– but if I remember correctly, there is some direct correlation between the deer and the mouse…white foot mouse(?)… re the depopulating of the deer — I believe– that gives the mouse and the lyme-tick an advantage, or overpopulating the deer, starves the mouse, giving the lyme-tick/s a needed host(?)…. I am not sure if the deer-tick is the same and it travels via the whitefoot mouse… I will look that up… I haven’t been as interested in the transmission and geographical factors as I have re dealing with long term and chronic health issues:)

  9. Avatar
    | Reply

    I have harvested Chaga in its natural form from a birch tree and are starting to treat our 1700lb Percheron horse with it as he was bitten by a tic and we think he has Lyme (waiting for the results) he also has a tumor and that is another reason why we are treating him with Chaga and other natural rememdies such as Dandelion, Olive Leaf and Turmeric…How much Chaga do you recommend giving him we use just started out with small amounts but I want to be sure to give him the right amount…We made a tea from it and froze it as a big popsicle for him which he gobbled up…

    Thank you,


    • Admin
      | Reply

      Hi Julie – thanks for your comment. I have forwarded your question on to Teri. 🙂

      • Teri Dluznieski
        Teri Dluznieski
        | Reply


        apologies on the delayed response. I have known several people who used it on their horses. I would say dosing probably depends on strength, as I have always recommended a tea-decoction of the chaga. You can either offer it freely, next to a water bucket, or do 1-2 cups daily mixed with a bit of grain. with my goats, I make a chaga, yoghurt (or raw milk) and herb blend (depending on what is going on)..sweetened with a touch of honey or molasses, and they devour it:)…if you free-choice it, then your horse will probably decide how much she wants/ needs=– and you could put the other things in with it, plus a touch of local honey or maple syrup— both of which have a lot of really good health benefits. You can’t really overdose on chaga (not that I have ever heard), the worst “drank way too much” reaction I have ever heard is a bout of diarrhoea as the body detoxed a little more rapidly than anticipated;)

  10. Avatar
    | Reply

    Chaga should be extracted to be really beneficial !!!

    When you’re making your own Chaga tea you are also creating a hot water extract, but this is significantly less effective than when you buy a professionally produced extract.

    It does not make any difference if it’s in capsules (but capsules are easier to dose). Loose extract powder can be used to make a ready-to-drink tea – just add hot water. If you are planning to buy a supplement or ‘tea’ make sure it has specifications on the label – it should list at least beta-glucans. If not, you’re probably being fooled and will get dried / grounded Chaga (or something else….)

    Since health gurus started promoting Chaga a tsunami of poor quality products has flooded eBay and Amazon… including countless ‘tinctures’. These tinctures are 95% useless liquid, they’re not ‘liquid chaga’ !!! An extract in powder form is only 4 % moisture, meaning the value for money is much better. A bottle of ‘liquid extract / tincture’ contains maybe 1 gram Chaga, dissolved in liquid – and the quality is never specified. Best avoided in my opinion.

    I am always baffled by those people battling a health condition but still trying to save money although it affects their quality of life… IMO get the best products you can afford, you have only one life, make it as good as you can !!

    • Admin
      | Reply

      Hi Stu – thanks for your comments which I’ve learned a lot from. I also don’t understand why people skimp on money (if they have it of course!) when it comes to their health. All the best, Sue

      • Teri Dluznieski
        Teri Dluznieski
        | Reply


        you are making a very valid and important point. too many companies are trying to make a quick buck. Many of them are buying chaga from less ethical sources– people who are damaging trees to get every last piece, or worse– cutting down the trees to get to chaga they can’t reach! I actually go out into the woods with a hunter’s climbing pole, just in case. That way, no harm to the tree!
        And yes, it is far more effective to find a reliable source, buy in bulk and DIY (do it yourself)… It is not difficult to make a chaga tea or decoction– a large pot, a handful of chaga (ground or chunks) and simmer. In fact, I let a pot sit on my woodstove in the winter– adding water or fresh chaga as needed.

        Additionally, I know fungi perfecti is growing chaga in strata(?), rather than harvesting it from trees. This is definitely a more sustainable approach. I do not know the pro’s and con’s of grown versus wildcrafted, especially re the betulinic acid– which the chaga is taking from the birch tree (and making it bio-available). It is likely rich in everything else, including the beta glucans (I believe), but I have not seen any breakdown comparison of the two methods.

        Ultimately, yes, it is your health– so it is important to do the homework and make smart health decisions rather than budget-based ones:) I know how hard it is so I don’t say that lightly, especially in winter when heating etc becomes expensive:)

        • Avatar
          | Reply

          “it is far more effective to find a reliable source, buy in bulk and DIY (do it yourself)… It is not difficult to make a chaga tea or decoction– a large pot, a handful of chaga (ground or chunks) and simmer. In fact, I let a pot sit on my woodstove in the winter– adding water or fresh chaga as needed.”

          Sounds valid, but it is not. Boiling destroys the main active compound, beta-glucan, unless you’re boiling under pressure. This is science !!

          • Teri

            Hi Don,

            Absolutely. I agree and you are correct regarding boiling and damaging the beta glucans. Note that simmering is -not- bringing the chaga to a boil though…

            verb: simmer; 3rd person present: simmers; past tense: simmered; past participle: simmered; gerund or present participle: simmering
            1.(of water or food) stay just below the boiling point while being heated.

      • Avatar
        | Reply

        Skimping or limited options? I just had my 3rd visit to my Naturopath. $600 out of pocket. Insurance will not reimburse. My last visit, my part of the lab bill was $1100. I won’t even list the herbs, supplements and medicines I’m on- the list is too extensive. I bought Chaga whole. I pound and grind it to powder and boil it for at least 1/2 hour. I reuse the grinds until they have given up all of their precious energy. It’s not high tech- old school. I hold my Chaga in high regard bother medicinally and energetically. It’s a blessing to still be able to work and pay for this treatment. Kind Regards

        • Admin
          | Reply

          Thank you for sharing your experience Juliane.

          All the best


        • Avatar
          | Reply

          “I bought Chaga whole. I pound and grind it to powder and boil it for at least 1/2 hour. I reuse the grinds until they have given up all of their precious energy. It’s not high tech- old school.”

          That’s destroying most of the active compounds. Better boil it under high pressure. If not, the beta-glucan will disintegrate almost completely. Beta-glucan is the most important active compound in Chaga.

          A goog supplement is a better and cheaper option in the end. More and better results.

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