Lately perhaps the most buzzed about mushroom, the Chaga Mushroom has taken the stage as the “it” fungi of the health and healing community-and rightfully so. This mushroom we call Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus). Technically, the part we name chaga is a highly-concentrated black mass that protrudes from the trees infected with parasitic, non-toxic fungus. Cute right?
Where do we find it?
Typically you can find this in the colder climates of the Northern Hemisphere (think Canada) growing on birch trees. If you come upon them it doesn’t resemble a mushroom at all, it takes on the appearance of burnt charcoal, with a dark, hard, cracked exterior called the sclerotium. The interior is a rusty brown color.
What’s the main benefits?
In a few words they are highly immune boosting and supply us with many antioxidant components. Components Chaga contains include; Antioxidants, Polysaccharides, Beta-D-Glucans, Phytosterols, Triterpenes (Betulin and Betulinic Acid), and Super Oxide Dismutase.Let’s go through a few areas where they truly support our bodies.
Immune System Support
With an abundance of Beta-D-Glucans Chaga can help to balance the body’s immune system. It helps to boost our immune systems when necessary and help to slow it down when it is being over-reactive (think an allergy or asthmatic response). Researchers have found that Chaga activates immune cells responsible for combating cancer cells initiation in the body. It has been shown to be effective in supporting cancer treatments such as; chemotherapy, by balancing out the harmful effects.
Since chaga contains high antioxidant properties it has been shown to boost antimicrobial activity in the body, possibly defending us against infection.
Chaga can support the integrity of blood vessels and provides soothing properties when our bodies become irritated or inflamed. This can be helpful when we experience pain in the body, ulcers, gastritis (think immune support)and has even been shown to improve diabetes. Chaga has shown to help aide the body in battling oxidative stress as well. They contain the enzyme SODs (Super Oxide Dismutase)
Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Levels
Chaga has been studied and found to help break down bad LDL Cholesterol in the blood stream because of the acid it contains called betulinic. The polysaccharides in chaga help within the chitin walls, which provide energy, promote healthy blood sugar levels, cardiovascular health, intestinal and liver health.
Chaga sclerotium contains a massive amount of black pigment known as melanin, which holds a high antioxidant level due to the polyphenols it contains. Interestingly, chaga has the highest measure of antioxidant potency of any super-food. They also contain SOD another important antioxidant referring to a group of enzymes called Super Oxide Dismutase. These enzymes play a crucial role in portecting our body against the destructive effects of oxidation and free radicals within the body.
How do we best consume Chaga?
If you are in any capacity of the hype around mushroom in the wellness community you already know Chaga Tea is a good way to implement more Chaga into your diet. You can find Chaga Tea online and research the most potent and credible brands to make sure the Chaga you consume is of the highest quality.