There is a 100% chance that you know one or two things about mushrooms in general. However, have you heard of chaga mushroom? To improve your knowledge on this specific type of mushrooms, you may have to look at the nearest birch trees you can find first.
Why? That’s where you are most likely to see this kind of mushroom. That large and black mass growing out of the tree and looks as it has been burnt is chaga mushroom. It does not look like your ordinary mushroom though.
Chaga mushroom’s scientific name is Inonotus obliquus. Mostly, it grows in cold regions such as Siberia, Northern Canada, and Alaska. Worldwide, terms such as “Gift from God” and ‘King of Herbs” are used when talking about it.
It is an ancient part of the Asian and Nordic folk medicine. It was integral in maintaining health life-energy balance, or “Chi”. Its other uses by healers include promoting longevity, preserving youthfulness, and boosting the immune system in the human body.
For thousands of years, its users have taken it in their tea or in its powdery form. Others opted to inhale it as smoke or apply it to their skin. Feel free to choose one of these ways of ingesting chaga mushroom. Today, it is mostly available in herbal teas and as a supplement.
It is one of the most effective adaptogenic herbs. What this means is that the mushroom gives the body the ability to adapt to stress. The mushroom not only helps in balancing but also restoring and protecting the body.
Other than that, forestry workers and hunters love the Chaga mushroom. Their love for the plant is because of its ability not only to alleviate hunger but also to boost energy levels. It helps to alleviate symptoms of gastric ulcers, gastritis, intestinal pain, stomach upsets, eczema and psoriasis.
The health benefits the mushroom offers are all traceable to its antioxidant properties. Experts who measure antioxidant potency have discovered that Chaga mushroom’s ORAC score currently ranks highest.
Chaga mushroom is nutrient-rich. A true superfood. Chaga is rich in Vitamin D, potassium, cesium, amino acids, copper, zinc, and iron among others. Chaga mushroom also works well when used for detoxification. It slows down the aging process too. Chaga helps to regulate cholestrol level, blood pressure and blood sugar level due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Chaga is a potent immune potentiator. Like other functional mushrooms, it doesn’t fight any diseases on its own. It’s the beta-glucan in the fruiting body that is able to help our body moderate our immune system. It boosts immune system if the host defense is low, and suppresses immune system when it is overwhelmed (in cases like autoimmune diseases). Chaga’s anti-tumor property also comes from its polysaccharides and triterpenes, they seem to boost our body’s ability to fight free-radicals.
Due to its immunomodulating properties and its ability to regulate blood sugar, people who are taking antibiotics or blood sugar/pressure lowering medicine should consult physicians before including chaga in their daily routine.