Chaga

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Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)

HEALTH BENEFITS

Using Chaga mushrooms supports your body’s general health and wellness. This unique fungus has been used throughout history to boost immunity thanks to it being full of antioxidants. They’re also high in fiber and low in calories. Full of nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. These benefits have been used for centuries for medicinal purposes and food.

  •  Cancer Treatment and Prevention: Many studies show the potential for Chaga mushrooms to slow the growth of cancer cells.

“One study said that using the Chaga supplement resulted in a 60% reduction in tumor size,” says Czerwony. Other research shows it helped avoid the growth of cancer cells in the liver.“This is really exciting news for those who have liver cancer as a viable treatment, perhaps in the future,” she says. Similar results have been seen in breast, lung, prostate, and colon cancers, but more research is needed.

  •  Lowers blood sugar: For individuals with insulin resistance, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or Type 2 diabetes, using Chaga mushroom may help reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance.

Several studies show the potential of as much as a 31% decrease in blood sugar levels but more research, on humans, is also needed. “Using Chaga mushrooms could be beneficial for those individuals to help reduce their blood sugar,” says Czerwony.

  • Reduce Inflammation: High in antioxidants, Chaga mushrooms have been found to help fight inflammation.

“By having these antioxidants, Chaga mushrooms decrease inflammation in our gut, which can cause problems like irritable bowel syndrome,” says Czerwony. A study shows that Chaga mushrooms can not only help decrease inflammation but can also fight harmful bacteria.

  •   Lowers cholesterol: With its high amounts of antioxidants, chaga mushrooms may also help lower cholesterol, which can decrease your risk of heart disease.

One study shows that Chaga mushrooms reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and overall cholesterol. It also increased antioxidant levels. There’s also evidence that Chaga mushrooms may increase “good” HDL cholesterol. “Chaga mushrooms could protect your cholesterol levels and perhaps aid in improving your arterial walls,” says Czerwony.

  • Increasing Immunity
  • Potent Anti-Viral
  • Improve Physical Endurance
  • Anti-Aging and Skin Benefits (May help treat psoriasis)

*for educational use only. The information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult a qualified physician or health practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any condition. This site is also not to be used as the final word in identification. Never eat anything you haven’t positively identified at least three times before. Please use your common sense and be safe!

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SHORT HISTORY

Termed by many the “King of Medicinal Mushrooms” the Chaga Mushroom is a potent medicinal mushroom that has been around for centuries. Native Russians, known as the Khanty people, living in the Western Siberian Mountains region smoke it, ingested Chaga powder in powder form, smoke it, applied it to the skin, and brewed it to make tea. Soon, Chaga spread around the hunters and foragers of Russia to increase their capacity to work and to promote endurance. In the 12th century, Tzar Vladimir Monamakh attributed the disappearance of his lip tumors to Chaga.

During the 16th century, Chaga was dubbed the ‘King of the Herbs’ by Shen Nung Pen Ts’ao Ching and is now widely used throughout Asia. In 1955, Chaga was acutely studied and recognized as a medical treatment in Russia by the Russian Medical Academy of Science. In 1968, A. Solzhenitsyn, a Russian novelist, and historian published The Cancer Ward making Chaga available to the West. Chaga is used in Europe, the United States, Canada, and Asia for teas, skincare, coffees, and medicinal purposes to reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, enhance liver health, and fight viruses.

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BOTANY & FORAGING

Chaga can be found in the Northern hemisphere in very cold habitats in the birch forests of Russia, Korea, Eastern and Northern Europe, Northern areas of the United States, and in Canada. Harvest from living trees only. Chaga is found on birch trees as a parasite, in forests across central and northern states in the USA.  Chaga can be found year-round on aspen, alder, and elm trees. It is most noticeable in the winter when there are fewer leaves. Chaga does not look like your traditional mushroom it has a rocklike appearance. The burls, the outer black surface are most noticeable of the Chaga sclerotium. Sticking out from the trunk of a birch tree is somewhat gnarly in appearance and has a very tough texture. The stem is buds that can elongate to become shoots, and each of these shoots similarly has buds that can become shoots themselves.

Cut open a burl and instead of straight grain, you find waves and swirls of wood, marbled and feathered wood, perhaps some “eyes” staring back at you. The interior color is amber or a rusty yellow-brown. A fully grown Chaga can reach up to 50 cm (19”) in width and height and it can have an overhang of about 30 cm.

  • Chaga must be broken down into powder form
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*for educational use only. The information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult a qualified physician or health practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any condition. This site is also not to be used as the final word in identification. Never eat anything you haven’t positively identified at least three times before. Please use your common sense and be safe!

References