Table of Contents
What Are Chaga Mushrooms?
Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) is a kind of fungi that grows mainly on the bark of birch trees in cold environments, 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 development, or conk, which looks similar to a clump of scorched charcoal– approximately 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 medicine in Russia and other Northern European countries, primarily to boost resistance and general health. It has actually likewise been utilized to treat diabetes, specific cancers and heart disease. Typically, chaga was grated into a fine powder and brewed as an organic tea. Nowadays, it’s not just readily available as a tea but also as a powdered or capsuled supplement. The tea may feature chaga alone or in mix with other mushrooms, such as cordyceps. Taking chaga with either warm or cold water is thought to launch its medical homes. Keep in mind that trusted info on chaga’s nutritional material is incredibly limited. That stated, they’re low in calories, really high in fiber and packed with anti-oxidants. (1 )
The History of Chaga Mushroom Use
As unusual as this mushroom is, people have actually been using it for centuries. It was grated into a great powder and brewed as an organic tea by Russians and northern Europeans and has actually been generally utilized as a folk solution to boost resistance and support general health.
Modern research studies acknowledge this conventional use. For example, scientists have actually noted that Sibern folk traditions used Chaga to help with periodic stomach upset, support heart and liver health, assistance ease periodic aches and pains, and support immune health. Now that we have actually 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 fantastic fungus to work in your life. (2 ).
The precise dietary composition of chaga mushrooms is uncertain. However, they are abundant in anti-oxidants and a number of helpful plant substances, including:.
While it is offered as a supplement, individuals also usually utilize chaga mushrooms to make teas and other instilled drinks. This implies that chaga infusions often do not have the same dietary residential or commercial properties as the kinds of mushrooms that people consume whole.
Chaga mushrooms consist of numerous anti-oxidants and substances that may lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called bad cholesterol. High cholesterol is a substantial threat aspect for cardiovascular disease, so chaga mushrooms could be useful to protect versus cardiovascular disease.
Avoiding and slowing cancer
Some research studies have explored the possibility that chaga mushrooms may avoid cancer and slow its development. Chaga is abundant in anti-oxidants. These are chemicals that assist prevent cell damage caused by complimentary radicals or oxidants.
Oxidative tension happens when the body can not produce sufficient anti-oxidants to prevent this damage. Damage from oxidative stress can contribute to the development of lots of health conditions, including cancer.
Supporting the body immune system
Cytokines are the immune system’s chemical messengers. They are proteins that play an essential function in promoting white blood cells, which are the body immune system’s first line of defense versus a series of diseases.
Chaga might help control the production of cytokines, supporting the immune system by assisting cells interact with one another. This might assist combat infections, from small colds to harmful illnesses.
When the body is fighting a health problem, swelling supports the fight. However often, inflammation transitions from a short-term attack to a chronic illness.
Some health problems, particularly chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, are linked to swelling. Recent research study suggests that some conditions that are not considered inflammatory– consisting of anxiety– might be partially due to persistent swelling. Chaga’s function in regulating cytokine production might also assist 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 prejudiced in the belief that Alaska produces the best chaga worldwide. It’s darker than the ranges discovered in places like New York and Maine. I think the color is a reflection of the harsher winter seasons and the fungi’s greater levels of vitamins. If you are an adventurous soul, going for a hike in your regional forest protect may put you on the path to collecting your own chaga. Harvest chaga mid-winter, when the fungi has the greatest nutrient density. Another side-effect is getting exercise and checking out the outdoors during the winter months. (5 ).
Chaga Mushroom Benefits:
Chaga mushrooms are specifically high in a substance called super-oxide dismutase (SOD), this is an enzyme which decreases the damage done to cells by “super-oxide”, the most common complimentary radical in the body. Studies have actually revealed that SOD acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, with researchers now investigating the capacity of it as an anti-aging treatment as it is understood that, as we age, SOD levels drop whilst totally free radicals increase. Super-oxide dismutase likewise assists the body in using zinc, copper and manganese. Naturally synthesised and with a biological power unrivaled, Chaga supplies SOD in a highly bioavailable kind which we can use either topically or internally.
Body Immune System Support
In addition to many other medicinal mushrooms, Chaga is rich in beta-glucans– among the most potent and healing polysaccharides understood. It is renowned for its role in triggering the immune system and reducing the blood sugar level of people who have abnormal blood sugar peaks.
These powerful fungis are one of the most alkaline foods on earth due to their dense mineral content: Calcium, cesium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, rubidium, silicon and sulphur and extremely high in zinc. It is believed that numerous illness are not able to flourish in an alkaline environment.
Chaga is highly considered an adaptogen – adaptogens are a distinct group of phytonutrients which assist your body adjust to stressful situations varying from extreme heat or cold to infections or trauma.
Chaga mushroom benefits 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 = Massive quantities of anti-oxidants and nutrients
You currently know that eating foods abundant in anti-oxidants will assist avoid lots of types of illness and help you feel much better. Anti-oxidant rich tea, such as green tea is an excellent way to keep anti-oxidants circulating in your bloodstream throughout the day. Because of the way chaga grows, it accumulates a massive amount of anti-oxidants in time. Chaga tea is an excellent way to take in extra anti-oxidants without caffeine.
Let ORAC speak for itself:
ORAC (Or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) determines the complimentary oxygen radicals that food or supplement can absorb in your body. Chaga contains a few of the highest quantities, however 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 normal mushroom discovered in a supermarket. It has a somewhat earthy flavor with a slight bitterness. It likewise includes a naturally occurring type of vanillin, the like what is discovered vanilla bean. You can consume chaga mushroom directly, but the flavor might not be appealing to a lot of. However due to the fact that it is so thick in nutrients and anti-oxidants, the chaga mushroom lends itself to be a perfect component when blended with other herbs and spices. Like cooking with mushrooms, the earthy taste will match numerous other components like ginger, turmeric and honeybush.
How typically should you consume Chaga tea?
Chaga tea can be safely consumed in moderate dosages. Consuming it in a blend with other advantageous herbs will decrease the general dose, however provide you exposure to a variety of other healthy substances. Some users will increase dose particularly if they are sick or have an on-going health problem. If you are drinking chaga for this function, make sure you do your research study! The “perfect” dosage will differ from person to person, but we always like the middle way, with moderate dosages. Remember, if you have any hidden medical condition you need to seek advice from a physician. (6 ).
9 Things You Didn’t Understand About Chaga
1. Chaga is not a mushroom
So, just what 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 contaminated and colonized by the mycelia of the pathogenic fungus Inonotus obliquus. The part of this fungus that one harvests is the outward symptom of the fungal illness.
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 primarily wood fiber and includes Birch compounds
Chaga is a slow-growing fungi that primarily grows on birch trees. It prevails to find Chaga in the boreal forest regions of the Northern Hemisphere like in Russia, Korea, Eastern and Northern Europe, Northern areas of the United States and Alaska, Canada, and Northern China.
Usually, one discovers well-developed Chaga sclerotia on trees over 40 years of age, however the infection starts earlier. The period from preliminary infection to tree death differs with the variety of infection sites and tree resistance however is generally around twenty years. After about 3-5 years of growth, the Chaga can be gathered.
The harvested 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 likewise consist of birch substances like betulin and betulinic acid.
After collecting, Chaga can grow back to harvestable size again in 3 to ten years, and this can be duplicated till the tree passes away. Slicing off the Chaga does not kill the organism and the mycelium is still inside the tree gradually consuming it. Chaga is not technically a perennial by definition; it may live for years as it consumes its food source, once that source is exhausted, it will then crave lack of nutrients.
3. Chaga has been used since the 16th century!
Russians have actually known 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 recovery plant of prominent value throughout the world, Chaga is thought to be a potent immune-stimulating medical mushroom.
In fact, the very first proven mentions of Chaga were from the early 16th century. Chaga is documented in folk and botanical medicine throughout Eastern Europe. Traditionally Chaga was used as a typical remedy for stomach conditions.
Chaga ended up being popular in the West after it was discussed 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 brewing Chaga.
As early as 1955, a Chaga extract called Befungin (Russian translation) has actually been sold in Russia to deal with stomach and intestinal ailments. Genuine Mushrooms ChagaSmaller chunks of chaga cut from a larger piece.
4. Chaga’s outer crust contains melanin.
Chaga also consists of melanin, concentrated in the black outer crust, which is an intricate compound that offers the skin, hair and the iris (colored part of the eye) their color. Our skin naturally darkens in action to sun exposure which stimulates melanocytes to produce melanin. Considered a powerful source of melanin, Chaga may help protect the skin and hair from sun damage. Melanins have a function in DNA repair work, mitochondria health, cell metabolism, and protection from light and radiation. In particular, melanins from mushrooms exhibit a high anti-inflammatory result based on their antioxidant and gene-protecting residential or commercial properties. Melanins can decrease oxidation of fats and damage of membranes creating lots of capacity for skin health.
5. Chaga was a Finnish coffee substitute in WW2
Often, Chaga is compared to coffee with its robust taste and dark color. It’s earthy, a little bitter, and has a little tip of forest sweetness. Thankfully, if you are sensitive to caffeine Chaga is a great alternative to coffee as it’s caffeine-free so it will not keep you awake and it’s just as tasty!
In Finland, during WW2 there was a coffee scarcity and substitutes started appearing, lots of based on roasted rye3. It was then that Chaga emerged as an ideal coffee alternative called Tikka Te.
Chaga Coffee (which is actually more like a tea) is a terrific and simple method to take in Chaga. You can buy the wild chunks from a respectable source to brew your own magical concoction.
However if you’re just searching for a quick and simple method to add Chaga to your diet plan, we have actually made it simpler for you to take in with our fantastic Chaga capsules. We utilize a hot water extraction made from our pure source of wild-harvested Chaga from Siberia. Take two of these capsules daily over a 3 month period to feel the complete health advantages.
6. Chaga Harvesting is Sustainable!
Many argue that wild harvesting of Chaga is not sustainable and we require to be careful 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 collecting currently available. The report determined that the “biological Chaga resource is immense, and not likely to be over-harvested to the hinderance of the species Inonotus obliquus at any time in the near future.” According to the report, Chaga is exceedingly plentiful, even with over-harvesting quotes.
The report mentions that Chaga contaminates upwards of 20% of all birch trees in Russia. This remains in plain contrast to some claims on the internet that Chaga is very uncommon and only discovered on 1 in every 10,000-20,000 birch trees. Comparable to Russia, Scandinavia has large boreal forests. Luke, The Natural Resources Institute Finland, estimates that Chaga infects 6-30% of all birch in Sweden and Finland.
Offered comparable estimates between Russia, Finland, and Sweden, it would be safe to presume that Canada also has huge quantities of Chaga in its boreal forest regions. The Pilz report did make an essential note about distance to chaga. While the resource is greatly plentiful, how far harvesters need to travel in order to discover chaga will have a direct impact on the market price. Popular harvesting locations may get over-harvested and lead people to think that this fungi is threatened.
The Future of Chaga
In the future, there might be a tipping point at which the expense of harvesting ends up being too expensive for supplements but provided the huge quantities of Chaga available, this turning point would be well before there was any danger to the types itself.
An important note is that collecting Chaga does not eliminate 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 replicate. Chaga harvesting does not affect the organism’s ability to reproduce.
7. We rarely see the Chaga “Mushroom”
Given that the harvested part of the Chaga is actually a woody canker and not a mushroom in the conventional sense, it begs the question: Does Chaga have a fruiting body?
Yes, it does however 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, revealing the sporocarp (fruiting body). This fruiting body is a greyish, flat thin layered permeable mass with down cascading pores. When the conditions are appropriate, 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. Bugs also like to eat the mushroom which helps to carry the spores to new locations.
8. Lab grown Chaga is not Chaga!
Cultivated Chaga can and will have a different structure and restorative residential or commercial properties, depending upon the conditions under which it grows (various 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 collected and a lot of the unique compounds in Chaga, like betulin and betulinic acid, originated from the birch tree. If no birch tree is involved, like a lab-grown process, then none of these crucial birch substances 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 actual Chaga canker.
Thankfully, our Siberian Chaga is wild-harvested and evaluated by 3rd celebration labs for the active substances like beta-D-glucans that are quintessential nutrients for the body immune system. This wild Chaga has actually been developing for upwards of 20 years in the cold and wild boreal forests. Siberian Chaga contains numerous 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 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 neighborhoods utilize Chaga as a fire starter. When dried, the inner brown area of chaga can take a trigger and it is extremely slow burning making it perfect as starting coal for your fire. Fire pistons, which compresses air to produce heat to ignite your beginning coal, can likewise utilize Chaga. (7 ).
How to Utilize Chaga Supplements
- Take 3 capsules per day with a glass of water for optimum assistance.
- Include one teaspoon (2 grams) of our mushroom powder blend daily to tea, coffee, shakes, or recipes. (8 )
SIDE EFFECTS OF CHAGA MUSHROOM
Chaga is an extraordinary medicinal mushroom with advantages that seriously exceed the threat of the negative effects for the majority of people. Again however, these are a few of the extremely rare problems that some individuals have experienced:.
Bleeding & Bruising
Among the most common negative effects of Chaga is bleeding and bruising. Nevertheless, this really just takes place in people 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 have actually recently been prescribed it, you shouldn’t take Chaga just to be on the safe side. You should likewise avoid Chaga if you experience haemophilia.
Since Chaga is thought to minimize blood clot, there is also an opportunity that it could cause surgical problems. These include increased blood circulation throughout surgery and taking longer to recover post-surgery.
If you’re currently taking Chaga and you’re arranged for surgery, you must stop taking it at least 2 weeks before your operation.
Low Blood Glucose
There are some circumstances where Chaga might negate the impacts of blood glucose medications and insulin. If you suffer from diabetes, it’s a great idea to contact your medical professional before you start taking Chaga.
If you experience Hypoglycemia, you may find that Chaga makes you feel weak, confused, extremely thirsty, or irritable. You may also find that you have difficulty speaking. Both of these circumstances are because of the truth that Chaga is believed to help lower blood sugar level levels.
Aggravating Auto-Immune Illness
Considering that Chaga is believed to stimulate white blood cells and improve the body immune system, there’s a chance that it might worsen the symptoms of certain auto-immune illness.
These include SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Numerous Sclerosis. If you are currently suffering from any of these auto-immune diseases, it’s finest to avoid taking Chaga altogether. (9 ).
The chaga mushroom has a prolonged history as a natural medicine used throughout Asia, Russia and Northern Europe. However, modern-day research study into its possible health benefits is still in the early stages. While the existing research studies reveal that chaga might have benefits for the body immune system, cellular health and basic wellness, there isn’t yet adequate data to reach any firm conclusions. (10 ).