Is It Safe To Combine Chaga and Lexapro?

In this post, we will compare Lexapro, a prescription medicine used to treat medical conditions related to mental health, and Chaga, a type of mushroom used in traditional medicine. We will investigate whether it is possible to combine these two. We will explore the nature, usage and potential side effects of both of these substances and compare them.
Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Neuroscientist at the University Of Cambridge.

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What is Chaga?

Chaga is also scientifically known as Inonotus obliquus. It is a type of mushroom which is usually found on birch trees. It has traditionally been used for its medicinal properties in Eastern Europe and Asia including Russia, Poland and Baltic countries. Usually it is consumed in the form of powder or as a tea [1, 2].

Chaga is rich in vitamins (like Folate, B6, C and more), minerals (including potassium, iron and zinc) and nutrients. Reportedly, it has variety of health promoting functions such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer activities [1, 2].

However, while Chaga has been linked to health promoting benefits, its abuse or excessive use may lead to health problems like oxalate nephropathy (a condition which can lead to kidney damage) [3, 4]. Therefore, it is recommended to discuss the intention of taking Chaga with your medical provider.

What is Lexapro?

Lexapro is also known under the name escitalopram. It is a type of antidepressant medication used to treat conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorders, amongst others [5, 6, 7].

It works by increasing the activity of serotonin, helping to regulate your mood [5, 6]. Common side effects of Lexapro include nausea, sleepiness, weight gain, and dry mouth [8].

Lexapro is usually administered orally, being available as an oral tablet or oral liquid solution. The usual dose of Lexapro is 10-20 milligrams a day [5].

What is the difference between Lexapro and Chaga?

Lexapro and Chaga are two different substances used for different purposes.

Lexapro is a scientifically approved medicine used to treat mental health conditions. It works on the principle of serotonin reuptake inhibitor and helps your brain maintain your mood [9, 10]

On the other hand, Chaga is a type of mushroom that is used in traditional medicine. It is not a prescription medication and is not used to treat depression or anxiety. The antidepressant mechanism of Chaga granules is believed to be related to the regulation of purine metabolism and purinergic signaling [3].

Is it beneficial to combine Chaga and Lexapro?

There may not be sufficient evidence to answer exactly whether it is beneficial to combine Chaga and Lexapro. Combining Lexapro with any medication or supplement should be carefully considered and discussed with your healthcare provider as it may potentially alter the expected effects of Lexapro [12]. However, without specific studies or data on the interaction between Chaga and Lexapro, it's not possible to definitively state the benefits or risks of this combination.

What are the possible interaction between Chaga and Lexapro?

Unfortunately, there is not enough scientific evidence to answer exactly whether there are some possible interactions between Chaga and Lexapro.

However, it's important to note that Lexapro, a prescription drug used to treat depression and anxiety, can interact with other medications, supplements, and alcohol [13]. For instance, Lexapro can interact with certain antidepressants, blood thinners, antipsychotic drugs but also with herbal supplements (eg. tryptophan or St. John’s wort). Therefore, it's crucial to discuss with your doctor or pharmacist about any supplements, herbs, and vitamins you take, including Chaga, before starting Lexapro treatment [13, 7]. This is to ensure safety and avoid any potential adverse effects or interactions.

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Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Frederika is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Cambridge, where she investigates new biomarkers for Frontotemporal Dementia and other tauopathies. Her research has been published at prestigious conferences such as the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2023. She obtained her BSc in Biomedical Sciences from UCL, where she worked closely with the UK Dementia Research Institute.