Table of Contents
What Are Chaga Mushrooms?
Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) is a kind of fungi that grows generally on the bark of birch trees in cold climates, such as Northern Europe, Siberia, Russia, Korea, Northern Canada and Alaska. Chaga is likewise known by other names, such as black mass, clinker polypore, birch canker polypore, cinder conk and the sterile conk trunk rot (of birch). Chaga produces a woody growth, or conk, which looks comparable to a clump of charred charcoal– roughly 10– 15 inches (25– 38 centimeters) in size. Nevertheless, the inside reveals a soft core with an orange color.
For centuries, chaga has actually been utilized as a conventional medicine in Russia and other Northern European countries, generally to boost immunity and overall health. It has actually likewise been utilized to deal with diabetes, particular cancers and heart problem. Generally, chaga was grated into a great powder and brewed as an organic tea. Nowadays, it’s not just offered as a tea but likewise as a powdered or capsuled supplement. The tea may feature chaga alone or in combination with other mushrooms, such as cordyceps. Taking chaga with either warm or cold water is thought to release its medicinal residential or commercial properties. Remember that trusted information on chaga’s dietary material is extremely restricted. That said, they’re low in calories, very high in fiber and loaded with anti-oxidants. (1 )
The History of Chaga Mushroom Usage
As uncommon as this mushroom is, people have been using it for centuries. It was grated into a great powder and brewed as a herbal tea by Russians and northern Europeans and has been typically utilized as a folk solution to enhance immunity and support overall health.
Modern studies acknowledge this traditional usage. For instance, scientists have kept in mind that Sibern folk customs used Chaga to help with periodic indigestion, assistance heart and liver health, assistance reduce occasional aches and discomforts, and assistance immune health. Now that we’ve talked a bit about what the Chaga mushroom is and its history, let’s dive into Chaga mushroom advantages and how you can put this wonderful fungus to work in your life. (2 ).
The specific nutritional structure of chaga mushrooms is unclear. Nevertheless, they are abundant in anti-oxidants and several useful plant compounds, including:.
While it is readily available as a supplement, people also generally use chaga mushrooms to make teas and other instilled beverages. This implies that chaga infusions frequently do not have the same dietary properties as the kinds of mushrooms that individuals take in entire.
Chaga mushrooms include numerous antioxidants and substances that may decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called bad cholesterol. High cholesterol is a substantial danger factor for cardiovascular disease, so chaga mushrooms could be helpful to safeguard against cardiovascular disease.
Preventing and slowing cancer
Some research studies have actually checked out the possibility that chaga mushrooms may avoid cancer and slow its development. Chaga is rich in anti-oxidants. These are chemicals that help avoid cell damage triggered by free radicals or oxidants.
Oxidative tension takes place when the body can not produce enough anti-oxidants to prevent this damage. Damage from oxidative tension can contribute to the advancement of numerous health conditions, consisting of cancer.
Supporting the body immune system
Cytokines are the body immune system’s chemical messengers. They are proteins that play a vital function in promoting white blood cells, which are the immune system’s first line of defense against a series of health problems.
Chaga may help regulate the production of cytokines, supporting the body immune system by helping cells interact with one another. This might assist combat infections, from small colds to harmful diseases.
When the body is combating an illness, swelling supports the fight. However often, swelling shifts from a short-term attack to a persistent health problem.
Some diseases, particularly persistent conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, are linked to swelling. Recent research suggests that some conditions that are ruled out inflammatory– including depression– might be partly due to persistent inflammation. Chaga’s function in managing cytokine production may also help control inflammation. (4 ).
Where to Find Chaga Mushroom
You can discover chaga on birch trees from southern Illinois to Alaska. As a harvester of chaga myself, I’m biased in the belief that Alaska produces the very best chaga on the planet. It’s darker than the varieties discovered in places like New York and Maine. I think the color is a reflection of the harsher winter seasons and the fungus’s greater levels of vitamins. If you are a daring soul, choosing a walking in your regional forest preserve may put you on the path to collecting your own chaga. Harvest chaga mid-winter, when the fungi has the highest nutrient density. Another side-effect is getting exercise and checking out the outdoors throughout the winter months. (5 ).
Chaga Mushroom Benefits:
Chaga mushrooms are especially high in a compound called super-oxide dismutase (SOD), this is an enzyme which decreases the damage done to cells by “super-oxide”, the most typical free radical in the body. Research studies have shown that SOD serves as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, with scientists now investigating the capacity of it as an anti-aging treatment as it is known that, as we age, SOD levels drop whilst complimentary radicals increase. Super-oxide dismutase also aids the body in using zinc, copper and manganese. Naturally synthesised and with a biological power unequaled, Chaga supplies SOD in a highly bioavailable type which we can utilise either topically or internally.
Immune System Assistance
Together with many other medical mushrooms, Chaga is rich in beta-glucans– one of the most powerful and recovery polysaccharides understood. It is renowned for its role in triggering the body immune system and decreasing the blood glucose of people who have abnormal blood sugar peaks.
These effective fungi are among the most alkaline foods in the world due to their dense mineral content: Calcium, cesium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, rubidium, silicon and sulphur and incredibly high in zinc. It is thought that numerous diseases are unable to grow in an alkaline environment.
Chaga is extremely considered an adaptogen – adaptogens are a distinct group of phytonutrients which help your body adapt to demanding scenarios varying from extreme heat or cold to infections or trauma.
Chaga mushroom advantages do not stop there; they are likewise anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-aging and help to normalise cholesterol levels and blood pressure. (5 ).
Chaga tea = Huge quantities of anti-oxidants and nutrients
You already know that consuming foods abundant in anti-oxidants will help avoid numerous kinds of disease and assist you feel better. Anti-oxidant abundant tea, such as green tea is a great method to keep anti-oxidants circulating in your bloodstream throughout the day. Because of the way chaga grows, it accumulates a massive quantity of anti-oxidants with time. Chaga tea is an outstanding way to consume additional anti-oxidants without caffeine.
Let ORAC speak for itself:
ORAC (Or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capability) determines the free oxygen radicals that food or supplement can soak up in your body. Chaga includes a few of the highest amounts, but it will vary depending upon when/where is grown among other things.
What does Chaga tea taste like?
Chaga mushrooms do not taste like a common mushroom discovered in a grocery store. It has a somewhat earthy flavor with a small bitterness. It also includes a naturally taking place form of vanillin, the same as what is found vanilla bean. You can drink chaga mushroom straight, however the taste might not be appealing to a lot of. But due to the fact that it is so thick in nutrients and anti-oxidants, the chaga mushroom lends itself to be an ideal element when mixed with other herbs and spices. Like cooking with mushrooms, the earthy flavor will complement numerous other active ingredients like ginger, turmeric and honeybush.
How typically should you drink Chaga tea?
Chaga tea can be safely consumed in moderate doses. Drinking it in a mix with other helpful herbs will reduce the general dose, however provide you direct exposure to a variety of other healthy compounds. Some users will increase dose particularly if they are sick or have an on-going health problem. If you are drinking chaga for this purpose, ensure you do your research study! The “perfect” dose will vary from person to person, however we constantly like the middle way, with moderate doses. Remember, if you have any underlying medical condition you ought to consult a medical professional. (6 ).
9 Things You Didn’t Know About Chaga
1. Chaga is not a mushroom
So, what exactly is Chaga, you ask?
Chaga is the common name for a perennial canker or sterilized conk that frequently forms on a birch tree (Betula papyrifera, paper birch) after it has been infected and colonized by the mycelia of the pathogenic fungus Inonotus obliquus. The part of this fungus that one harvests is the outward manifestation of the fungal disease.
Typical names for chaga include clinker polypore, cinder conk or birch canker polypore (not to be puzzled with birch polypore– Fomitopsis betulina). In British Columbia, Inonotus obliquus is classified as a tree illness.
2. Chaga is mainly wood fiber and consists of Birch compounds
Chaga is a slow-growing fungi that mainly grows on birch trees. It prevails to find Chaga in the boreal forest areas of the Northern Hemisphere like in Russia, Korea, Eastern and Northern Europe, Northern areas of the United States and Alaska, Canada, and Northern China.
Normally, one finds well-developed Chaga sclerotia on trees over 40 years of age, but the infection begins earlier. The duration from initial infection to tree death varies with the number of infection sites and tree resistance however is normally around 20 years. After about 3-5 years of growth, the Chaga can be gathered.
The collected dark black conk consists mainly of wood lignans from the host tree and mycelium of the invasive fungi. Due to this, when Chaga grows on birch, it will also consist of birch compounds like betulin and betulinic acid.
After gathering, Chaga can grow back to harvestable size once again in three to ten years, and this can be duplicated until the tree passes away. Chopping off the Chaga does not kill the organism and the mycelium is still inside the tree slowly consuming it. Chaga is not technically a perennial by definition; it may live for many years as it consumes its food source, once that source is tired, it will then die for absence of nutrients.
3. Chaga has actually been used since the 16th century!
Russians have actually understood about Chaga’s health advantages for a very long time; the word ‘Chaga’ is a derivative from ‘чага’, which is the old Russian word for mushroom. A healing plant of distinguished worth throughout the world, Chaga is believed to be a potent immune-stimulating medical mushroom.
In fact, the very first proven discusses of Chaga were from the early 16th century. Chaga is recorded in folk and botanical medicine throughout Eastern Europe. Typically Chaga was used as a common remedy for stomach disorders.
Chaga became popular in the West after it was pointed out in the book, Cancer Ward, by Nobel Prize-winning Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. In the book, he keeps in mind that poorer people saved money on tea by developing Chaga.
As early as 1955, a Chaga extract known as Befungin (Russian translation) has been sold in Russia to deal with stomach and intestinal disorders. Genuine Mushrooms ChagaSmaller chunks of chaga cut from a larger piece.
4. Chaga’s outer crust includes melanin.
Chaga also consists of melanin, focused in the black outer crust, which is a complex substance that offers the skin, hair and the iris (colored part of the eye) their color. Our skin naturally darkens in response to sun direct exposure which stimulates melanocytes to produce melanin. Considered a potent source of melanin, Chaga might assist protect the skin and hair from sun damage. Melanins have a role in DNA repair, mitochondria health, cell metabolism, and security from light and radiation. In particular, melanins from mushrooms show a high anti-inflammatory effect based on their antioxidant and gene-protecting residential or commercial properties. Melanins can decrease oxidation of fatty acids and damage of membranes producing lots of potential for skin health.
5. Chaga was a Finnish coffee alternative in WW2
Typically, Chaga is compared to coffee with its robust flavor and dark color. It’s earthy, somewhat bitter, and has a little tip of forest sweet taste. Thankfully, if you are sensitive to caffeine Chaga is a great alternative to coffee as it’s caffeine-free so it won’t keep you awake and it’s just as yummy!
In Finland, throughout WW2 there was a coffee scarcity and substitutes begun turning up, numerous based upon roasted rye3. It was then that Chaga became a perfect coffee alternative referred to as Tikka Te.
Chaga Coffee (which is actually more like a tea) is a great and simple method to consume Chaga. You can purchase the wild portions from a reputable source to brew your own magical concoction.
But if you’re just trying to find a fast and easy way to include Chaga to your diet plan, we’ve made it easier for you to take in with our remarkable Chaga capsules. We utilize a warm water extraction made from our pure source of wild-harvested Chaga from Siberia. Take 2 of these pills daily over a 3 month duration to feel the full health advantages.
6. Chaga Harvesting is Sustainable!
Numerous argue that wild harvesting of Chaga is not sustainable and we need to be wary of overconsumption of this fungi.
In 2004, David Pilz, Forestry Mycologist at Oregon State University, went to Russia to report on whether Chaga collecting in Russia was sustainable or not.5 This is the most in-depth report of Chaga harvesting presently readily available. The report determined that the “biological Chaga resource is enormous, and not likely to be over-harvested to the hinderance of the species Inonotus obliquus any time in the near future.” According to the report, Chaga is excessively abundant, even with over-harvesting quotes.
The report states that Chaga infects upwards of 20% of all birch trees in Russia. This is in plain contrast to some claims on the internet that Chaga is extremely rare and only found on 1 in every 10,000-20,000 birch trees. Comparable to Russia, Scandinavia has large boreal forests. Luke, The Natural Resources Institute Finland, approximates that Chaga infects 6-30% of all birch in Sweden and Finland.
Given comparable price quotes in between Russia, Finland, and Sweden, it would be safe to presume that Canada also has vast amounts of Chaga in its boreal forest areas. The Pilz report did make a crucial note about distance to chaga. While the resource is significantly abundant, how far harvesters require to take a trip in order to find chaga will have a direct influence on the asking price. Popular gathering areas might get over-harvested and lead individuals to think that this fungi is threatened.
The Future of Chaga
In the future, there might be a tipping point at which the cost of collecting ends up being too costly for supplements but given the huge quantities of Chaga available, this turning point would be well prior to there was any hazard to the types itself.
An essential note is that gathering Chaga does not kill the organism itself. The mycelium is still inside the tree gradually consuming it. Near or after the tree’s death, the mycelium will start to produce the mushroom (fruiting body) so that spores can be launched and the organism can replicate. Chaga harvesting does not affect the organism’s ability to recreate.
7. We seldom see the Chaga “Mushroom”
Considering that the collected part of the Chaga is actually a woody canker and not a mushroom in the traditional sense, it begs the question: Does Chaga have a fruiting body?
Yes, it does but we seldom see it.
The real mushroom (fruiting body) forms under the bark on dead standing or fallen trees. After the tree passes away, the bark gradually separates from the tree, exposing the sporocarp (fruiting body). This fruiting body is a greyish, flat thin layered porous mass with down cascading pores. When the conditions are proper, the pore layer will begin to launch spores which will get blown around in the wind and ultimately wind up on a weakened birch tree and the infection process will start over. Pests also like to consume the mushroom which assists to transport the spores to new areas.
8. Laboratory grown Chaga is not Chaga!
Cultivated Chaga can and will have a different structure and restorative homes, depending upon the conditions under which it grows (various types of substrate, ecological conditions, and so on).
This is due to the fact that a lab can just cultivate the mycelium and not cultivate the canker or sclerotium itself.
Wild Chaga takes 3 to five years prior to it can be gathered and a number of the special compounds in Chaga, like betulin and betulinic acid, originated from the birch tree. If no birch tree is involved, like a lab-grown procedure, then none of these important birch compounds will exist. No black external layer, no melanin. Not to mention that lab-grown Chaga is myceliated grain so there will be a big concentration of grain in the end product rather than the actual Chaga canker.
Fortunately, our Siberian Chaga is wild-harvested and tested by 3rd celebration laboratories for the active compounds like beta-D-glucans that are quintessential nutrients for the body immune system. This wild Chaga has actually been maturing for upwards of 20 years in the cold and wild boreal forests. Siberian Chaga includes many polysaccharides, triterpenoids, and melanin which is a pigment we need throughout the human body.
We care deeply about sourcing the highest quality mushrooms which contain the most medical substances to support your health over long term use. It is suggested that adults take two pills of our natural Chaga daily.
9. Chaga can be utilized to start fires
The bushcraft and survivalist communities use Chaga as a fire starter. As soon as dried, the inner brown section of chaga can take a trigger and it is extremely sluggish burning making it perfect as starting coal for your fire. Fire pistons, which compresses air to develop heat to spark your starting coal, can also make use of Chaga. (7 ).
How to Use Chaga Supplements
- Take 3 pills each day with a glass of water for optimum assistance.
- Include one teaspoon (2 grams) of our mushroom powder blend daily to tea, coffee, healthy smoothies, or dishes. (8 )
SIDE EFFECTS OF CHAGA MUSHROOM
Chaga is an extraordinary medicinal mushroom with advantages that seriously surpass the risk of the side effects for most people. Once again however, these are some of the very uncommon concerns that some individuals have experienced:.
Bleeding & Bruising
One of the most typical adverse effects of Chaga is bleeding and bruising. Nevertheless, this really only happens in people that have actually been recommended anticoagulants or blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin and aspirin).
So, if you’re presently taking any of this medication or you’ve recently been recommended it, you should not take Chaga just to be on the safe side. You ought to likewise prevent Chaga if you suffer from haemophilia.
Since Chaga is believed to lower blood clotting, there is likewise a chance that it might cause surgical complications. These consist of increased blood flow throughout surgery and taking longer to heal post-surgery.
If you’re currently taking Chaga and you’re scheduled for surgical treatment, you should stop taking it a minimum of two weeks before your operation.
Low Blood Sugar
There are some instances where Chaga might negate the impacts of blood glucose medications and insulin. If you experience diabetes, it’s an excellent idea to consult your medical professional before you start taking Chaga.
If you struggle with Hypoglycemia, you might discover that Chaga makes you feel weak, baffled, extremely thirsty, or irritable. You might also discover that you have problem speaking. Both of these instances are because of the fact that Chaga is thought to help lower blood glucose levels.
Annoying Auto-Immune Diseases
Because Chaga is believed to promote leukocyte and boost the immune system, there’s a chance that it could intensify the symptoms of specific auto-immune diseases.
These include SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Several Sclerosis. If you are currently struggling with any of these auto-immune diseases, it’s finest to prevent taking Chaga completely. (9 ).
The chaga mushroom has a prolonged history as an alternative medicine utilized throughout Asia, Russia and Northern Europe. Nevertheless, contemporary research study into its potential health benefits is still in the early stages. While the current studies show that chaga may have benefits for the body immune system, cellular health and general wellness, there isn’t yet sufficient data to reach any company conclusions. (10 ).