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What Are Chaga Mushrooms?

Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) is a type of fungus that grows generally on the bark of birch trees in cold environments, such as Northern Europe, Siberia, Russia, Korea, Northern Canada and Alaska. Chaga is also known by other names, such as black mass, clinker polypore, birch canker polypore, cinder conk and the sterilized conk trunk rot (of birch). Chaga produces a woody growth, or conk, which looks comparable to a clump of scorched charcoal– roughly 10– 15 inches (25– 38 centimeters) in size. However, the within exposes a soft core with an orange color.

For centuries, chaga has been utilized as a conventional medication in Russia and other Northern European nations, mainly to improve resistance and overall health. It has likewise been used to treat diabetes, particular cancers and heart problem. Traditionally, chaga was grated into a great powder and brewed as a natural tea. Nowadays, it’s not only available as a tea but also as a powdered or capsuled supplement. The tea may include chaga alone or in combination with other mushrooms, such as cordyceps. Taking chaga with either warm or cold water is believed to release its medical homes. Remember that reliable info on chaga’s nutritional material is exceptionally restricted. That said, they’re low in calories, extremely high in fiber and loaded with antioxidants. (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 fine powder and brewed as a herbal tea by Russians and northern Europeans and has actually been generally used as a folk solution to improve resistance and support total health.

Modern studies acknowledge this traditional usage. For example, researchers have actually noted that Sibern folk traditions utilized Chaga to assist with periodic stomach upset, support heart and liver health, help relieve occasional aches and pains, and support immune health. Now that we’ve talked a bit about what the Chaga mushroom is and its history, let’s dive into Chaga mushroom benefits and how you can put this fantastic fungus to work in your life. (2 ).

Nutritional value

The exact dietary structure of chaga mushrooms is uncertain. However, they are abundant in anti-oxidants and a number of advantageous plant compounds, consisting of:.

  • triterpenoids
  • melanins
  • polysaccharides
  • polyphenols
  • flavans

While it is offered as a supplement, people likewise generally use chaga mushrooms to make teas and other infused drinks. This means that chaga infusions frequently do not have the very same dietary residential or commercial properties as the kinds of mushrooms that individuals take in entire.

Lowering cholesterol

Chaga mushrooms contain lots of anti-oxidants and compounds that may lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called bad cholesterol. High cholesterol is a considerable danger element for cardiovascular disease, so chaga mushrooms could be useful to secure against cardiovascular disease.

Preventing and slowing cancer

Some studies have checked out the possibility that chaga mushrooms may prevent cancer and slow its growth. Chaga is rich in antioxidants. These are chemicals that help prevent cell damage triggered by complimentary radicals or oxidants.

Oxidative stress happens when the body can not produce enough antioxidants to prevent this damage. Damage from oxidative stress can add to the development of lots of health conditions, consisting of cancer.

Supporting the body immune system

Cytokines are the immune system’s chemical messengers. They are proteins that play a crucial function in stimulating leukocyte, which are the immune system’s very first line of defense versus a variety of diseases.

Chaga might help regulate the production of cytokines, supporting the body immune system by helping cells communicate with one another. This might assist battle infections, from small colds to life threatening health problems.

When the body is fighting a disease, swelling supports the fight. However sometimes, swelling shifts from a short-term attack to a chronic illness.

Some diseases, particularly chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, are connected to inflammation. Current research suggests that some conditions that are ruled out inflammatory– including depression– might be partly due to chronic inflammation. Chaga’s role in regulating cytokine production may also help manage inflammation. (4 ).

Where to Discover Chaga Mushroom

You can find 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 best chaga on the planet. It’s darker than the ranges discovered in places like New York and Maine. I think the color is a reflection of the harsher winters and the fungi’s higher levels of vitamins. If you are a daring soul, opting for a hike in your local forest protect might put you on the path to collecting your own chaga. Harvest chaga mid-winter, when the fungus has the highest nutrient density. Another side-effect is getting workout and checking out the outdoors during the winter months. (5 ).

Chaga Mushroom Benefits:

Antioxidant

Chaga mushrooms are especially high in a substance called super-oxide dismutase (SOD), this is an enzyme which minimizes the damage done to cells by “super-oxide”, the most common totally free radical in the body. Studies have revealed that SOD serves as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, with researchers now investigating the potential of it as an anti-aging treatment as it is known that, as we age, SOD levels drop whilst totally free radicals increase. Super-oxide dismutase also helps the body in using zinc, copper and manganese. Naturally synthesised and with a biological power unrivaled, Chaga offers SOD in an extremely bioavailable kind which we can use either topically or internally.

Immune System Support

Together with a lot of other medicinal mushrooms, Chaga is rich in beta-glucans– one of the most potent and healing polysaccharides known. It is renowned for its role in activating the body immune system and reducing the blood glucose of people who have unusual blood sugar level peaks.

Alkalizing

These powerful fungis are one of the most alkaline foods on earth due to their thick mineral material: Calcium, cesium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, rubidium, silicon and sulphur and very high in zinc. It is believed that lots of illness are not able to flourish in an alkaline environment.

Adaptogen

Chaga is highly considered as an adaptogen – adaptogens are an unique group of phytonutrients which help your body adjust to stressful scenarios varying from severe heat or cold to infections or trauma.

Chaga mushroom benefits do not stop there; they are also anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-aging and assist to normalise cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. (5 ).

Chaga tea = Enormous quantities of anti-oxidants and nutrients

You already know that consuming foods rich in anti-oxidants will help avoid numerous types of illness and help you feel better. Anti-oxidant abundant tea, such as green tea is a fantastic way to keep anti-oxidants flowing in your bloodstream throughout the day. Because of the method chaga grows, it collects a massive amount of anti-oxidants in time. Chaga tea is an outstanding method to consume additional anti-oxidants without caffeine.

Let ORAC speak for itself:

ORAC (Or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) determines the totally free oxygen radicals that food or supplement can soak up in your body. Chaga consists of a few of the greatest amounts, but it will vary depending upon when/where is grown to name a few things.

What does Chaga tea taste like?

Chaga mushrooms do not taste like a normal mushroom found in a grocery store. It has a rather earthy taste with a slight bitterness. It also includes a naturally happening form of vanillin, the like what is discovered vanilla bean. You can drink chaga mushroom straight, but the flavor may not be attracting a lot of. But since it is so thick in nutrients and anti-oxidants, the chaga mushroom provides itself to be a perfect component when combined with other herbs and spices. Like cooking with mushrooms, the earthy taste will match numerous other components like ginger, turmeric and honeybush.

How often should you consume Chaga tea?

Chaga tea can be securely consumed in moderate dosages. Consuming it in a blend with other advantageous herbs will decrease the total dosage, however provide you direct exposure to a range of other healthy compounds. Some users will increase dose specifically if they are sick or have an on-going health problem. If you are drinking chaga for this function, make certain you do your research! The “ideal” dose will vary from person to person, however we constantly like the middle way, with moderate dosages. Keep in mind, if you have any underlying medical condition you ought to consult a medical professional. (6 ).

9 Things You Didn’t Learn About Chaga

1. Chaga is not a mushroom

So, exactly what is Chaga, you ask?

Chaga is the common name for a seasonal canker or sterile conk that typically forms on a birch tree (Betula papyrifera, paper birch) after it has been contaminated and colonized by the mycelia of the pathogenic fungus Inonotus obliquus. The part of this fungi that one harvests is the outward symptom of the fungal illness.

Typical names for chaga consist of 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 disease.

2. Chaga is mainly wood fiber and includes Birch substances

Chaga is a slow-growing fungus that primarily grows on birch trees. It is common to discover Chaga in the boreal forest areas of the Northern Hemisphere like in Russia, Korea, Eastern and Northern Europe, Northern locations of the United States and Alaska, Canada, and Northern China.

Usually, one discovers strong Chaga sclerotia on trees over 40 years of age, but the infection starts earlier. The period from preliminary infection to tree death differs with the number of infection websites and tree resistance but is usually around 20 years. After about 3-5 years of development, the Chaga can be harvested.

The harvested dark black conk consists mainly of wood lignans from the host tree and mycelium of the intrusive fungus. Due to this, when Chaga grows on birch, it will likewise consist of birch compounds like betulin and betulinic acid.

After collecting, Chaga can regrow to harvestable size once again in 3 to ten years, and this can be duplicated up until the tree passes away. Slicing off the Chaga does not eliminate the organism and the mycelium is still inside the tree gradually consuming it. Chaga is not technically a seasonal by definition; it might 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 been used considering that the 16th century!

Russians have learnt about Chaga’s health benefits for a long time; the word ‘Chaga’ is a derivative from ‘чага’, which is the old Russian word for mushroom. A healing plant of renowned value throughout the world, Chaga is thought to be a potent immune-stimulating medicinal mushroom.

In fact, the first proven mentions of Chaga were from the early 16th century. Chaga is recorded in folk and botanical medicine throughout Eastern Europe. Traditionally Chaga was utilized as a typical solution for stomach conditions.

Chaga ended up being 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 individuals saved money on tea by brewing Chaga.

As early as 1955, a Chaga extract referred to as Befungin (Russian translation) has been sold in Russia to treat stomach and digestive ailments. Genuine Mushrooms ChagaSmaller pieces of chaga cut from a bigger piece.

4. Chaga’s outer crust includes melanin.

Chaga also includes melanin, focused in the black external crust, which is an intricate 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 promotes melanocytes to produce melanin. Considered a powerful source of melanin, Chaga might help secure the skin and hair from sun damage. Melanins have a function in DNA repair work, mitochondria health, cell metabolism, and security from light and radiation. In particular, melanins from mushrooms exhibit a high anti-inflammatory result based upon their antioxidant and gene-protecting residential or commercial properties. Melanins can decrease oxidation of fats and damage of membranes developing lots of potential for skin health.

5. Chaga was a Finnish coffee alternative in WW2

Typically, Chaga is compared to coffee with its robust taste and dark color. It’s earthy, a little bitter, and has a small hint of forest sweetness. Thankfully, if you are sensitive to caffeine Chaga is an excellent alternative to coffee as it’s caffeine-free so it won’t keep you awake and it’s just as yummy!

In Finland, during WW2 there was a coffee shortage and substitutes started appearing, many based on roasted rye3. It was then that Chaga emerged as an ideal coffee alternative known as Tikka Te.

Chaga coffee (which is actually more like a tea) is a fantastic and simple method to consume Chaga. You can buy the wild chunks from a trustworthy source to brew your own magical concoction.

However if you’re just looking for a quick and easy method to include Chaga to your diet plan, we have actually made it easier for you to consume with our incredible Chaga capsules. We use a warm water extraction made from our pure source of wild-harvested Chaga from Siberia. Take 2 of these capsules daily over a 3 month duration to feel the complete health advantages.

6. Chaga Harvesting is Sustainable!

Lots of argue that wild harvesting of Chaga is not sustainable and we require to be careful of overconsumption of this fungis.

In 2004, David Pilz, Forestry Mycologist at Oregon State University, went to Russia to report on whether Chaga harvesting in Russia was sustainable or not.5 This is the most comprehensive report of Chaga harvesting currently offered. The report figured out that the “biological Chaga resource is immense, and not likely to be over-harvested to the hinderance of the types Inonotus obliquus at any time in the future.” According to the report, Chaga is exceedingly plentiful, even with over-harvesting quotes.

The report states that Chaga contaminates upwards of 20% of all birch trees in Russia. This is in stark contrast to some claims on the internet that Chaga is extremely uncommon and just found on 1 in every 10,000-20,000 birch trees. Similar to Russia, Scandinavia has huge boreal forests. Luke, The Natural Resources Institute Finland, approximates that Chaga contaminates 6-30% of all birch in Sweden and Finland.

Provided comparable estimates between Russia, Finland, and Sweden, it would be safe to assume that Canada also has large quantities of Chaga in its boreal forest regions. The Pilz report did make an essential note about distance to chaga. While the resource is vastly plentiful, how far harvesters need to take a trip in order to discover chaga will have a direct influence on the market price. Popular harvesting areas might get over-harvested and lead people to believe that this fungus is threatened.

7. We seldom see the Chaga “Mushroom”

Because the gathered part of the Chaga is in fact a woody canker and not a mushroom in the standard sense, it begs the question: Does Chaga have a fruiting body?

Yes, it does however we seldom see it.

The real mushroom (fruiting body) types under the bark on dead standing or fallen trees. After the tree passes away, the bark slowly separates from the tree, exposing the sporocarp (fruiting body). This fruiting body is a greyish, flat thin layered permeable mass with downward cascading pores. When the conditions are appropriate, the pore layer will begin to release spores which will get blown around in the wind and eventually wind up on a weakened birch tree and the infection process will start over. Insects likewise like to consume the mushroom which assists to transfer the spores to new areas.

8. Lab grown Chaga is not Chaga!

Cultivated Chaga can and will have a various structure and restorative residential or commercial properties, depending on the conditions under which it grows (different kinds of substrate, environmental conditions, etc).

This is since a laboratory can just cultivate the mycelium and not cultivate the canker or sclerotium itself.

Wild Chaga takes three to 5 years before it can be harvested and much of the special substances in Chaga, like betulin and betulinic acid, originated from the birch tree. If no birch tree is included, like a lab-grown process, then none of these important birch compounds will exist. No black outer layer, no melanin. Not to mention that lab-grown Chaga is myceliated grain so there will be a large concentration of grain in the end product instead of the real Chaga canker.

Fortunately, our Siberian Chaga is wild-harvested and tested by 3rd party laboratories for the active substances like beta-D-glucans that are essential nutrients for the immune system. This wild Chaga has been growing for upwards of 20 years in the cold and wild boreal forests. Siberian Chaga consists of lots of polysaccharides, triterpenoids, and melanin which is a pigment we require throughout the human body.

We care deeply about sourcing the highest quality mushrooms which contain the most medicinal substances to support your health over long term use. It is recommended that adults take 2 capsules of our organic Chaga daily.

9. Chaga can be utilized to begin fires

The bushcraft and survivalist neighborhoods use Chaga as a fire starter. As soon as dried, the inner brown area of chaga can take a trigger and it is extremely slow burning making it perfect as beginning coal for your fire. Fire pistons, which compresses air to create heat to ignite your starting coal, can also use Chaga. (7 ).

 

The Future of Chaga

In the future, there may be a tipping point at which the expense of gathering becomes too expensive for supplements but offered the vast quantities of Chaga available, this turning point would be well prior to there was any hazard to the types itself.

A crucial note is that harvesting 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 begin to produce the mushroom (fruiting body) so that spores can be launched and the organism can reproduce. Chaga harvesting does not impact the organism’s capability to recreate.

How to Utilize Chaga Supplements

  • Take three pills per day with a glass of water for ideal assistance.
  • Add one teaspoon (2 grams) of our mushroom powder blend daily to tea, coffee, smoothies, or dishes. (8 )

SIDE IMPACTS OF CHAGA MUSHROOM

Chaga is an unbelievable medical mushroom with advantages that seriously surpass the danger of the side effects for the majority of people. Once again though, these are a few of the extremely uncommon concerns that some people have experienced:.

Bleeding & & Bruising Among the most typical negative effects of Chaga is bleeding and bruising. However, this really only takes place in individuals that have been prescribed anticoagulants or blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin and aspirin).

So, if you’re currently taking any of this medication or you’ve recently been prescribed it, you should not take Chaga just to be on the safe side. You should also avoid Chaga if you struggle with haemophilia.

Surgical Complications

Given that Chaga is thought to reduce blood clot, there is likewise a possibility that it might cause surgical issues. These include increased blood flow during surgical treatment and taking longer to heal post-surgery.

If you’re presently taking Chaga and you’re scheduled for surgery, you must stop taking it at least two weeks before your operation.

Low Blood Sugar

There are some circumstances where Chaga may negate the results of blood glucose medications and insulin. If you experience diabetes, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor before you start taking Chaga.

If you suffer from Hypoglycemia, you may find that Chaga makes you feel weak, baffled, extremely thirsty, or irritable. You may also find that you have difficulty speaking. Both of these circumstances are due to the reality that Chaga is thought to assist lower blood glucose levels.

Annoying Auto-Immune Diseases

Given that Chaga is believed to stimulate leukocyte and enhance the body immune system, there’s a chance that it could exacerbate the signs of particular auto-immune diseases.

These consist of SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Numerous Sclerosis. If you are presently struggling with any of these auto-immune diseases, it’s finest to prevent taking Chaga completely. (9 ).

In Conclusion

The chaga mushroom has a prolonged history as an alternative medicine used throughout Asia, Russia and Northern Europe. However, modern-day research into its prospective health advantages is still in the early stages. While the current research studies reveal that chaga may have benefits for the immune system, cellular health and basic wellbeing, there isn’t yet sufficient data to reach any company conclusions. (10 ).

References

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/chaga-mushroom#what-it-is
  2. https://www.gaiaherbs.com/blogs/seeds-of-knowledge/chaga-mushroom-benefits
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318527#risks
  4. https://wildwesttrail.co/what-is-chaga-mushroom-benefits-harvesting-and-side-effects/
  5. https://www.indigo-herbs.co.uk/natural-health-guide/benefits/chaga-mushroom
  6. https://www.thewhistlingkettle.com/a/info/blog/chaga-tea
  7. https://www.realmushrooms.com/what-is-chaga/
  8. https://ommushrooms.com/blogs/blog/what-is-chaga-mushroom-m2
  9. https://www.thebircherbar.com.au/blogs/musings-muesli/side-effects-of-chaga-mushrooms
  10. https://www.forhers.com/blog/chaga-mushroom-benefits#:~:text=In%20Conclusion,still%20in%20the%20early%20stages