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 also understood 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 burnt charcoal– roughly 10– 15 inches (25– 38 centimeters) in size. However, the within reveals a soft core with an orange color.
For centuries, chaga has actually been utilized as a standard medication in Russia and other Northern European countries, generally to enhance resistance and general health. It has likewise been used to deal with diabetes, particular cancers and heart problem. Typically, chaga was grated into a fine powder and brewed as a natural tea. Nowadays, it’s not just readily available as a tea but likewise as a powdered or capsuled supplement. The tea might include chaga alone or in mix with other mushrooms, such as cordyceps. Taking chaga with either warm or cold water is thought to launch its medicinal homes. Bear in mind that trusted details on chaga’s nutritional content is extremely restricted. That said, they’re low in calories, very high in fiber and filled with anti-oxidants. (1 )
The History of Chaga Mushroom Use
As uncommon 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 been generally utilized as a folk remedy to increase immunity and assistance overall health.
Modern research studies acknowledge this conventional usage. For instance, researchers have actually kept in mind that Sibern folk traditions used Chaga to aid with occasional stomach upset, support heart and liver health, help alleviate periodic pains and pains, and assistance 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 wonderful fungi to work in your life. (2 ).
The precise nutritional structure of chaga mushrooms is uncertain. However, they are abundant in anti-oxidants and several useful plant substances, including:.
While it is available as a supplement, people also generally use chaga mushrooms to make teas and other instilled drinks. This implies that chaga infusions often do not have the same dietary homes as the types of mushrooms that individuals take in whole.
Chaga mushrooms consist of many antioxidants and substances that might lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called bad cholesterol. High cholesterol is a considerable danger aspect for cardiovascular disease, so chaga mushrooms could be helpful to secure against heart disease.
Avoiding and slowing cancer
Some research studies have explored the possibility that chaga mushrooms might prevent cancer and slow its development. Chaga is rich in antioxidants. These are chemicals that assist avoid cell damage triggered by complimentary radicals or oxidants.
Oxidative tension occurs when the body can not produce enough anti-oxidants to prevent this damage. Damage from oxidative stress can add to the development of many health conditions, including cancer.
Supporting the immune system
Cytokines are the body immune system’s chemical messengers. They are proteins that play a vital function in stimulating white blood cells, which are the immune system’s first line of defense against a range of health problems.
Chaga might assist manage the production of cytokines, supporting the immune system by helping cells interact with one another. This might help fight infections, from minor colds to life threatening illnesses.
When the body is combating an illness, swelling supports the battle. However in some cases, inflammation transitions from a short-term attack to a chronic illness.
Some diseases, especially persistent conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, are connected to swelling. Recent research suggests that some conditions that are not considered inflammatory– consisting of anxiety– might be partially due to persistent swelling. Chaga’s function in managing cytokine production may also help control inflammation. (4 ).
Where to Discover 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 best chaga worldwide. It’s darker than the ranges found in places like New York and Maine. I believe the color is a reflection of the harsher winters and the fungi’s greater levels of vitamins. If you are an adventurous soul, choosing a walking in your local forest protect may put you on the path to gathering your own chaga. Harvest chaga mid-winter, when the fungus has the highest nutrient density. Another side-effect is getting exercise and exploring the outdoors throughout the winter months. (5 ).
Chaga Mushroom Advantages:
Chaga mushrooms are specifically high in a compound called super-oxide dismutase (SOD), this is an enzyme which lowers the damage done to cells by “super-oxide”, the most common free radical in the body. Research studies have actually shown that SOD functions as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, with researchers now examining 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 helps the body in using zinc, copper and manganese. Naturally synthesised and with a biological power unmatched, Chaga supplies SOD in an extremely bioavailable form which we can make use of either topically or internally.
Body Immune System Support
Along with a lot of other medical mushrooms, Chaga is abundant in beta-glucans– among the most powerful and healing polysaccharides known. It is renowned for its role in triggering the immune system and lowering the blood sugar level of people who have irregular blood sugar peaks.
These powerful fungi are one of 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 very high in zinc. It is believed that lots of diseases are not able to grow in an alkaline environment.
Chaga is extremely considered an adaptogen – adaptogens are an unique group of phytonutrients which assist your body adjust to difficult scenarios ranging from severe heat or cold to infections or injury.
Chaga mushroom benefits do not stop there; they are likewise anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-aging and assist to normalise cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. (5 ).
Chaga tea = Massive quantities of anti-oxidants and nutrients
You already understand that consuming foods abundant in anti-oxidants will assist prevent lots of forms of illness and assist you feel better. Anti-oxidant abundant tea, such as green tea is a fantastic method to keep anti-oxidants flowing in your blood stream throughout the day. Because of the method chaga grows, it accumulates a massive amount 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 Capacity) determines the complimentary oxygen radicals that food or supplement can absorb in your body. Chaga consists of a few of the greatest quantities, 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 supermarket. It has a rather earthy flavor with a slight bitterness. It likewise consists of a naturally taking place kind of vanillin, the same as what is discovered vanilla bean. You can consume chaga mushroom straight, however the flavor might not be appealing to the majority of. But due to the fact that it is so thick in nutrients and anti-oxidants, the chaga mushroom provides itself to be an ideal component when blended with other herbs and spices. Like cooking with mushrooms, the earthy taste will match lots of other active ingredients like ginger, turmeric and honeybush.
How frequently should you consume Chaga tea?
Chaga tea can be securely consumed in moderate doses. Drinking it in a mix with other helpful herbs will decrease the general dose, however offer you exposure to a range of other healthy compounds. Some users will increase dose especially if they are sick or have an on-going health issue. If you are drinking chaga for this function, ensure you do your research study! The “ideal” dosage will differ from person to person, but we constantly like the middle way, with moderate doses. Remember, if you have any underlying medical condition you need to seek advice from a doctor. (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 typical name for a seasonal canker or sterilized conk that typically forms on a birch tree (Betula papyrifera, paper birch) after it has been infected and colonized by the mycelia of the pathogenic fungi 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 categorized as a tree illness.
2. Chaga is primarily wood fiber and contains Birch substances
Chaga is a slow-growing fungi that mainly 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 areas of the United States and Alaska, Canada, and Northern China.
Normally, one discovers well-developed Chaga sclerotia on trees over 40 years of age, but the infection starts earlier. The duration from initial infection to tree death differs with the variety of infection websites and tree resistance but is usually around twenty years. After about 3-5 years of development, the Chaga can be gathered.
The harvested dark black conk consists primarily of wood lignans from the host tree and mycelium of the intrusive fungi. Due to this, when Chaga grows on birch, it will likewise contain birch compounds like betulin and betulinic acid.
After collecting, Chaga can grow back to harvestable size once again in 3 to 10 years, and this can be repeated up until the tree passes away. Chopping off the Chaga does not kill 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 given that the 16th century!
Russians have known about Chaga’s health advantages for a long period of time; the word ‘Chaga’ is a derivative from ‘чага’, which is the old Russian word for mushroom. A recovery plant of distinguished worth throughout the world, Chaga is believed to be a powerful immune-stimulating medical mushroom.
In fact, the very first proven discusses of Chaga were from the early 16th century. Chaga is documented in folk and botanical medication throughout Eastern Europe. Typically Chaga was utilized as a common treatment for stomach disorders.
Chaga became popular in the West after it was mentioned in the book, Cancer Ward, by Nobel Prize-winning Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. In the book, he keeps in mind that poorer people saved cash on tea by brewing Chaga.
As early as 1955, a Chaga extract called Befungin (Russian translation) has actually been offered in Russia to deal with stomach and intestinal ailments. Real Mushrooms ChagaSmaller portions of chaga cut from a bigger piece.
4. Chaga’s external crust includes melanin.
Chaga also includes melanin, focused in the black outer 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 stimulates melanocytes to produce melanin. Thought about a potent source of melanin, Chaga might assist secure the skin and hair from sun damage. Melanins have a function in DNA repair work, mitochondria health, cell metabolism, and defense from light and radiation. In particular, melanins from mushrooms display a high anti-inflammatory result based upon their antioxidant and gene-protecting homes. Melanins can decrease oxidation of fats and damage of membranes creating great deals of capacity for skin health.
5. Chaga was a Finnish coffee replacement in WW2
Frequently, Chaga is compared to coffee with its robust taste and dark color. It’s earthy, slightly bitter, and has a small tip of forest sweet taste. Thankfully, if you are sensitive to caffeine Chaga is a terrific 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 shortage and substitutes begun turning up, numerous based upon roasted rye3. It was then that Chaga emerged as a perfect coffee alternative referred to as Tikka Te.
Chaga Coffee (which is actually more like a tea) is an excellent and simple method to take in Chaga. You can buy the wild chunks from a trusted source to brew your own magical mixture.
But if you’re simply trying to find a quick and simple way to include Chaga to your diet, we’ve made it easier for you to consume with our fantastic Chaga pills. We use a warm water extraction made from our pure source of wild-harvested Chaga from Siberia. Take 2 of these pills daily over a three 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 cautious of overconsumption of this fungi.
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 detailed report of Chaga harvesting currently readily available. The report identified that the “biological Chaga resource is immense, and unlikely to be over-harvested to the detriment of the species Inonotus obliquus whenever in the near future.” According to the report, Chaga is excessively abundant, even with over-harvesting estimates.
The report mentions that Chaga infects upwards of 20% of all birch trees in Russia. This is in stark contrast to some claims on the internet that Chaga is incredibly uncommon and just 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 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 proximity to chaga. While the resource is greatly plentiful, how far harvesters require to take a trip in order to find chaga will have a direct influence on the market price. Popular collecting locations may 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 becomes too expensive for supplements but offered the huge amounts of Chaga offered, this turning point would be well prior to there was any hazard to the types itself.
A crucial note is that gathering 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 reproduce. Chaga harvesting does not affect the organism’s ability to replicate.
7. We seldom see the Chaga “Mushroom”
Since the collected part of the Chaga is actually a woody canker and not a mushroom in the standard sense, it begs the question: Does Chaga have a fruiting body?
Yes, it does but we rarely see it.
The real mushroom (fruiting body) types under the bark on dead standing or fallen trees. After the tree dies, the bark slowly 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 eventually wind up on a weakened birch tree and the infection process will start over. Insects likewise like to consume the mushroom which helps to carry the spores to brand-new locations.
8. Lab grown Chaga is not Chaga!
Cultivated Chaga can and will have a different structure and therapeutic properties, depending upon the conditions under which it grows (various kinds of substrate, environmental conditions, etc).
This is due to the fact that a laboratory can just cultivate the mycelium and not cultivate the canker or sclerotium itself.
Wild Chaga takes three to five years before it can be collected and many of the special substances in Chaga, like betulin and betulinic acid, come from the birch tree. If no birch tree is involved, like a lab-grown procedure, then none of these essential 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 big concentration of grain in the end product as opposed to the real Chaga canker.
Fortunately, our Siberian Chaga is wild-harvested and evaluated by 3rd celebration labs for the active compounds like beta-D-glucans that are quintessential nutrients for the immune system. This wild Chaga has been developing for upwards of 20 years in the cold and wild boreal forests. Siberian Chaga includes numerous polysaccharides, triterpenoids, and melanin which is a pigment we require throughout the body.
We care deeply about sourcing the highest quality mushrooms that contain the most medical compounds to support your health over long term usage. It is recommended that adults take two capsules of our organic Chaga daily.
9. Chaga can be used to begin fires
The bushcraft and survivalist neighborhoods utilize Chaga as a fire starter. As soon as dried, the inner brown area of chaga can take a trigger and it is very slow burning making it ideal as starting coal for your fire. Fire pistons, which compresses air to produce heat to spark your beginning coal, can likewise use Chaga. (7 ).
How to Use Chaga Supplements
- Take 3 capsules per day with a glass of water for optimum assistance.
- Add one teaspoon (2 grams) of our mushroom powder mix daily to tea, coffee, shakes, or dishes. (8 )
SIDE IMPACTS OF CHAGA MUSHROOM
Chaga is an extraordinary medical mushroom with advantages that seriously exceed the risk of the adverse effects for many people. Once again however, these are a few of the very rare problems that some people have experienced:.
Bleeding & Bruising
One of the most common negative effects of Chaga is bleeding and bruising. Nevertheless, this actually just happens in people that have been recommended anticoagulants or blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin and aspirin).
So, if you’re currently taking any of this medication or you’ve just recently been recommended it, you should not take Chaga just to be on the safe side. You ought to also avoid Chaga if you suffer from haemophilia.
Considering that Chaga is thought to decrease blood clotting, there is likewise a possibility that it might cause surgical issues. These consist of increased blood flow during surgery and taking longer to recover post-surgery.
If you’re currently taking Chaga and you’re scheduled for surgical treatment, you should stop taking it at least two weeks prior to your operation.
Low Blood Glucose
There are some instances where Chaga may negate the effects of blood sugar level medications and insulin. If you struggle with diabetes, it’s an excellent concept to check with your physician prior to you start taking Chaga.
If you suffer from Hypoglycemia, you might find that Chaga makes you feel weak, confused, overly thirsty, or irritable. You might likewise discover that you have trouble speaking. Both of these instances are due to the truth that Chaga is thought to assist lower blood sugar levels.
Annoying Auto-Immune Diseases
Since Chaga is believed to promote white blood cells and enhance the immune system, there’s an opportunity that it could exacerbate the symptoms of certain 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 altogether. (9 ).
The chaga mushroom has a prolonged history as an alternative medicine used throughout Asia, Russia and Northern Europe. Nevertheless, modern research into its prospective health advantages is still in the early stages. While the existing research studies reveal that chaga might have benefits for the immune system, cellular health and basic wellness, there isn’t yet sufficient information to reach any company conclusions. (10 ).