Chaga

29 mins read

What Are Chaga Mushrooms?

Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) is a type of fungus that grows primarily on the bark of birch trees in cold climates, 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 development, or conk, which looks similar to a clump of scorched charcoal– roughly 10– 15 inches (25– 38 centimeters) in size. However, the inside reveals a soft core with an orange color.

For centuries, chaga has been used as a traditional medicine in Russia and other Northern European countries, primarily to enhance resistance and overall health. It has actually likewise been used to deal with diabetes, specific cancers and heart disease. Traditionally, chaga was grated into a fine powder and brewed as a natural tea. Nowadays, it’s not just available as a tea but likewise as a powdered or capsuled supplement. The tea may include chaga alone or in mix with other mushrooms, such as cordyceps. Taking chaga with either warm or cold water is believed to launch its medical homes. Keep in mind that dependable info on chaga’s nutritional material is incredibly limited. That said, they’re low in calories, extremely high in fiber and packed with antioxidants. (1 )

The History of Chaga Mushroom Use

As unusual as this mushroom is, people have actually been using it for hundreds of years. 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 treatment to increase resistance and support overall health.

Modern studies acknowledge this standard use. For instance, researchers have actually noted that Sibern folk traditions utilized Chaga to aid with periodic stomach upset, support heart and liver health, assistance alleviate occasional pains and discomforts, 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 benefits and how you can put this fantastic fungus to work in your life. (2 ).

Nutritional worth

The precise dietary composition of chaga mushrooms is unclear. Nevertheless, they are abundant in antioxidants and several helpful plant compounds, consisting of:.

  • triterpenoids
  • melanins
  • polysaccharides
  • polyphenols
  • flavans

While it is available as a supplement, individuals also generally use chaga mushrooms to make teas and other infused beverages. This implies that chaga infusions often do not have the exact same nutritional properties as the types of mushrooms that individuals consume whole.

Lowering cholesterol

Chaga mushrooms contain numerous anti-oxidants and compounds that may lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called bad cholesterol. High cholesterol is a significant danger factor for heart problem, so chaga mushrooms could be useful to secure versus cardiovascular disease.

Preventing and slowing cancer

Some studies have explored the possibility that chaga mushrooms may prevent cancer and slow its development. Chaga is abundant in anti-oxidants. These are chemicals that help avoid cell damage triggered by complimentary radicals or oxidants.

Oxidative stress happens when the body can not produce sufficient anti-oxidants to prevent this damage. Damage from oxidative tension can add to the advancement of numerous health conditions, consisting of cancer.

Supporting the immune system

Cytokines are the immune system’s chemical messengers. They are proteins that play an important function in stimulating white blood cells, which are the immune system’s first line of defense versus a variety of diseases.

Chaga might assist 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 harmful health problems.

When the body is fighting a health problem, swelling supports the fight. However sometimes, swelling shifts from a short-term attack to a persistent health problem.

Some health problems, particularly persistent conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, are connected to swelling. Recent research suggests that some conditions that are ruled out inflammatory– including depression– may be partly due to persistent inflammation. Chaga’s role in managing cytokine production may also assist control swelling. (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 very best chaga on the planet. It’s darker than the varieties found in places like New York and Maine. I believe the color is a reflection of the harsher winter seasons and the fungus’s higher levels of vitamins. If you are an adventurous soul, going for a hike in your local forest protect might 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 during the winter season. (5 ).

Chaga Mushroom Benefits:

Antioxidant

Chaga mushrooms are particularly 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 typical free radical in the body. Studies have actually revealed that SOD serves 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 free 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 an extremely bioavailable form which we can utilise either topically or internally.

Immune System Support

Along with most other medical mushrooms, Chaga is rich in beta-glucans– among the most potent and healing polysaccharides known. It is renowned for its role in triggering the immune system and minimizing the blood sugar of people who have abnormal blood sugar peaks.

Alkalizing

These effective fungis are one of one of the most alkaline foods in the world due to their dense mineral content: Calcium, cesium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, rubidium, silicon and sulphur and exceptionally high in zinc. It is believed that many illness are not able to thrive in an alkaline environment.

Adaptogen

Chaga is highly considered an adaptogen – adaptogens are an unique group of phytonutrients which assist your body get used to stressful scenarios 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 assist to normalise cholesterol levels and blood pressure. (5 ).

Chaga tea = Huge quantities of anti-oxidants and nutrients

You already know that eating foods abundant in anti-oxidants will assist avoid many forms of illness and assist 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 method chaga grows, it builds up a huge 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 absorb in your body. Chaga contains a few of the highest amounts, however it will differ depending on when/where is grown among other things.

What does Chaga tea taste like?

Chaga mushrooms do not taste like a normal mushroom found in a supermarket. It has a rather earthy taste with a minor bitterness. It also consists of a naturally taking place form of vanillin, the same as what is found vanilla bean. You can drink chaga mushroom directly, but the flavor might not be interesting most. However because it is so thick in nutrients and anti-oxidants, the chaga mushroom lends itself to be a perfect part when combined with other herbs and spices. Like cooking with mushrooms, the earthy flavor will complement lots of other components like ginger, turmeric and honeybush.

How often should you consume Chaga tea?

Chaga tea can be securely consumed in moderate doses. Drinking it in a mix with other useful herbs will reduce the overall dosage, but provide you exposure to a range of other healthy substances. Some users will increase dose especially if they are sick or have an on-going health problem. If you are drinking chaga for this purpose, make certain you do your research! The “perfect” dosage 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 speak with a doctor. (6 ).

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Chaga

1. Chaga is not a mushroom

So, exactly what is Chaga, you ask?

Chaga is the common name for a perennial canker or sterile conk that frequently forms on a birch tree (Betula papyrifera, paper birch) after it has actually been contaminated and colonized by the mycelia of the pathogenic fungus Inonotus obliquus. The part of this fungus that one harvests is the outside 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 consists of Birch substances

Chaga is a slow-growing fungus that primarily grows on birch trees. It is common to discover 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.

Generally, one finds strong Chaga sclerotia on trees over 40 years of age, but the infection begins earlier. The period from initial infection to tree death differs with the variety of infection websites and tree resistance but is typically around 20 years. After about 3-5 years of growth, the Chaga can be harvested.

The gathered 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 also contain birch substances like betulin and betulinic acid.

After collecting, Chaga can grow back to harvestable size again in three to 10 years, and this can be duplicated till the tree dies. Chopping off the Chaga does not eliminate the organism and the mycelium is still inside the tree gradually consuming it. Chaga is not technically a perennial by definition; it might live for many years as it consumes its food source, but once that source is exhausted, it will then crave lack of nutrients.

3. Chaga has actually been used because the 16th century!

Russians have actually learnt about Chaga’s health benefits for a long period of time; the word ‘Chaga’ is a derivative from ‘чага’, which is the old Russian word for mushroom. A healing plant of popular worth throughout the world, Chaga is thought to be a powerful immune-stimulating medical mushroom.

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

Chaga became 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 conserved money on tea by brewing Chaga.

As early as 1955, a Chaga extract referred to as Befungin (Russian translation) has actually been offered in Russia to deal with stomach and intestinal conditions. Real Mushrooms ChagaSmaller pieces of chaga cut from a larger piece.

4. Chaga’s outer crust consists of melanin.

Chaga also contains melanin, concentrated in the black external crust, which is a complicated substance that gives the skin, hair and the iris (colored part of the eye) their color. Our skin naturally darkens in action to sun direct exposure which stimulates melanocytes to produce melanin. Thought about a potent source of melanin, Chaga may help safeguard 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 show a high anti-inflammatory impact based on their antioxidant and gene-protecting properties. Melanins can reduce oxidation of fats and damage of membranes producing great deals of capacity for skin health.

5. Chaga was a Finnish coffee replacement in WW2

Typically, 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. Luckily, 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 tasty!

In Finland, throughout WW2 there was a coffee lack and replaces begun appearing, numerous based upon roasted rye3. It was then that Chaga emerged as a perfect coffee substitute called Tikka Te.

Chaga Coffee (which is actually more like a tea) is a fantastic and easy method to take in Chaga. You can purchase the wild portions from a reputable source to brew your own magical concoction.

But if you’re just looking for a quick and easy way to add Chaga to your diet plan, we have actually made it easier for you to take in with our remarkable Chaga capsules. We utilize a hot water extraction made from our pure source of wild-harvested Chaga from Siberia. Take 2 of these pills daily over a three month period to feel the complete health benefits.

6. Chaga Harvesting is Sustainable!

Lots of 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 gathering in Russia was sustainable or not.5 This is the most detailed report of Chaga harvesting presently offered. The report identified that the “biological Chaga resource is enormous, and unlikely to be over-harvested to the detriment of the species Inonotus obliquus at any time in the future.” According to the report, Chaga is excessively plentiful, even with over-harvesting estimates.

The report mentions that Chaga infects upwards of 20% of all birch trees in Russia. This remains in stark contrast to some claims on the internet that Chaga is incredibly uncommon and just discovered on 1 in every 10,000-20,000 birch trees. Similar to Russia, Scandinavia has vast boreal forests. Luke, The Natural Resources Institute Finland, estimates that Chaga infects 6-30% of all birch in Sweden and Finland.

Given comparable 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 important note about distance to chaga. While the resource is significantly plentiful, how far harvesters need to take a trip in order to discover chaga will have a direct influence on the selling price. Popular collecting locations might get over-harvested and lead people to believe that this fungus is threatened.

The Future of Chaga

In the future, there might be a tipping point at which the cost of harvesting ends up being too pricey for supplements however given the large amounts of Chaga readily available, this turning point would be well prior to there was any risk to the species itself.

An important 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 start to produce the mushroom (fruiting body) so that spores can be launched and the organism can recreate. Chaga harvesting does not affect the organism’s capability to replicate.

7. We seldom see the Chaga “Mushroom”

Since 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 but we hardly ever see it.

The real mushroom (fruiting body) forms under the bark on dead standing or fallen trees. After the tree dies, the bark gradually separates from the tree, revealing the sporocarp (fruiting body). This fruiting body is a greyish, flat thin layered porous mass with downward cascading pores. When the conditions are right, the pore layer will start to release 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 likewise like to consume the mushroom which assists to carry the spores to brand-new locations.

8. Laboratory grown Chaga is not Chaga!

Cultivated Chaga can and will have a various structure and restorative properties, depending on the conditions under which it grows (different kinds of substrate, ecological conditions, and so on).

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

Wild Chaga takes 3 to five years before it can be harvested and much of the special substances in Chaga, like betulin and betulinic acid, come from the birch tree. If no birch tree is included, like a lab-grown procedure, 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 rather than the real Chaga canker.

Luckily, our Siberian Chaga is wild-harvested and tested by 3rd celebration labs for the active substances like beta-D-glucans that are quintessential nutrients for the immune system. This wild Chaga has been developing for upwards of twenty years in the cold and wild boreal forests. Siberian Chaga contains lots of 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 medicinal substances to support your health over long term use. It is advised that adults take 2 capsules of our organic Chaga daily.

9. Chaga can be utilized to begin fires

The bushcraft and survivalist communities use Chaga as a fire starter. Once dried, the inner brown section of chaga can take a spark and it is extremely slow burning making it ideal as beginning coal for your fire. Fire pistons, which compresses air to develop heat to spark your starting coal, can also utilize Chaga. (7 ).

How to Utilize Chaga Supplements

  • Take 3 capsules daily with a glass of water for optimum support.
  • Include 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 extraordinary medical mushroom with advantages that seriously surpass the danger of the negative effects for many people. Once again however, these are a few of the extremely unusual concerns that some individuals have experienced:.

Bleeding & Bruising

Among the most common adverse effects of Chaga is bleeding and bruising. Nevertheless, this really just occurs in individuals 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 prescribed it, you should not take Chaga just to be on the safe side. You should likewise prevent Chaga if you experience haemophilia.

Surgical Issues

Since Chaga is thought to reduce blood clot, there is also a chance that it might result in surgical issues. These consist of increased blood circulation throughout surgical treatment and taking longer to recover post-surgery.

If you’re presently taking Chaga and you’re arranged for surgical treatment, you must stop taking it at least two weeks prior to your operation.

Low Blood Sugar Level

There are some circumstances where Chaga may negate the results of blood glucose medications and insulin. If you struggle with diabetes, it’s a good concept to consult your physician prior to you start taking Chaga.

If you struggle with Hypoglycemia, you might find that Chaga makes you feel weak, baffled, excessively thirsty, or irritable. You may also discover that you have trouble speaking. Both of these instances are due to the fact that Chaga is believed to assist lower blood glucose levels.

Annoying Auto-Immune Illness

Given that Chaga is thought to stimulate leukocyte and boost the body immune system, there’s an opportunity that it could aggravate the symptoms of certain auto-immune diseases.

These consist of SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Several Sclerosis. If you are presently suffering from any of these auto-immune diseases, it’s best to avoid taking Chaga entirely. (9 ).

In Conclusion

The chaga mushroom has a prolonged history as a natural medicine utilized throughout Asia, Russia and Northern Europe. Nevertheless, contemporary research study into its possible health benefits is still in the early stages. While the current studies show that chaga might have advantages for the body immune system, cellular health and general wellness, there isn’t yet enough information to reach any company conclusions. (10 ).

Recommendations

  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
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