The Folk Mushroom That Saves Your Body
Botanical name: Inonotus obliquus
Chaga: The Folk Mushroom That Saves Your Body
Have you ever heard of chaga? Perhaps you’ve heard that it is one of the most medically beneficial mushrooms? Or perhaps you haven’t heard anything at all… Well, either way, you should know why chaga is so important.
What is This Chaga Mushroom?
Inonotus obliquus, commonly known as chaga mushroom, is a fungus in the Hymenochaetaceae family. Its sterile conk is irregularly shaped and has the appearance of charcoal. It is mostly black because of the massive amounts of melanin it has.
This fungus is very rarely found on its own and instead grows on dead trees, or those that have lost branches or been damaged by storms. The chaga mushrooms starts to grow on the open area, as if to heal the wound, and the dark hyphal mass is known as scletoria, intertwines with the tree.
It grows on birch tree forests in Russia, Korea, Eastern and Northern Europe, some northern areas of the United States, Alaska and Canada.
For a long time, this mushroom has been used as a medicinal aid in folk medicine, especially for cancer treatment. It is mostly seen in cold climates, and it grows very slowly.
What Makes Chaga So Special?
Because it is exposed to very rough and cold winters and very hot and dry summers, chaga has been packed with biological compounds that make it stronger. Some of these chemicals are melanin, antioxidant enzymes, triterpenoids, like botulin and betulinic acid, ergosterols, sesquiterpenes, betulinic acid, polysaccharides, and phytosterols.
Ergosterol peroxide is another component of this mushroom and it has been an interesting ingredient for medical reasons. It has shown to have anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and immunosuppressive properties.
Chaga To Save Your Brain
We bet by now you must be very curious as to what possible health benefits this funny-looking mushroom can have on your cognitive health. Well, here are some of the changes chaga can make for your brain:
- Neuroprotection: the highly antioxidant properties of this mushroom make it a very potent neuroprotectant. Consuming it can help your brain fight off free radicals from the environment and slow down aging. On top of it, you will be preventing degenerative diseases like dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s from occurring.
- Parkison’s Disease: this one is closely related to neuroprotection, but reducing oxidative stress is beneficial in diseases such as Parkison’s. Consuming chaga extract protects from chronic inflammation and side effects of degenerative diseases, slowing down progression and giving better quality of life.
- Energy: when you need an energy boost, to exercise, work, or perform better, trying some chaga can do the trick. This mushroom has the ability to reduce accumulation of blood lactate levels, which cause fatigue, but it also reduces blood urea nitrogen that can also make an individual feel more tired.
- Learning: this medicinal mushroom has been proven to increase cognition and focus by restoring the levels of acetylcholine during moments of oxidative stress; this chemical promotes learning and memory. Chaga is a great way to recover from a brain injury and to help children with learning disabilities.
- Stress: the chaga mushroom is considered an adaptogen, which help keep your body balanced. In cases of stress, chaga helps you cope better with it by relieving the wave of stress hormones that cause fatigue and preoccupation, and can also provide a necessary increase of energy to fight off stress.
Chaga Also Saves Your Body
So this wonderful mushroom not only gives you a healthier mind, but can also provide overall health benefits? It’s about time to try it, don’t you think? Here are some benefits for your general health:
- Immune System Health: because chaga is an adaptogen, it can work in two ways with your autoimmune system. First, it can help boost it when suppressed, and second, it can modulate it when it’s causing health problems—as is the case of autoimmune diseases.
- Arthritis: no better way to fight off inflammation and pain that consuming chaga, which is full of betulinic acid and inotodiol, two ingredients that reduce high levels of inflammation in our bodies. In cases of arthritis, reducing this inflammation also lowers pain and allows for better movement.
- Gastrointestinal Health: since it helps the immune system and also reduces inflammation, chaga has been used to treat the GI system for a long time. It can be used as an alternative treatment for conditions such as ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and inflammatory bowel syndrome.
- Cardiovascular Health: thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, chaga can break down the “bad” LDL cholesterol in your body. It can also help reduce and level high blood pressure, which relieves pressure from your blood vessels and allows your heart to work better.
- Cancer: used today as one of the main components of cancer treatment, the betulinic acid in chaga can induce apoptosis—cell death—and prevent tumor from growing or developing. The levels of inotodiol along with ergosterol peroxide, also have anticancer properties that can help slow down cancer progression and even it stop it altogether.
- Skin Health: the high melanin content in chaga is what gives it its distinct black color, but it is also a strong antioxidant that protects genes and DNA. This pigment is present in our skin and using chaga can enhance it, resulting in beautiful skin. Chaga is especially useful in cases of burns and sun damage.
How Do I Try Chaga?
Now that you’re ready to try this medicinal mushroom, you must now that it is not always easy to come by, but it’s becoming more and more popular. You can consume it three ways:
- Tinctures: place some drops under your tongue, and hold it for about one minute.
- Capsules: use about 2-3 grams a day for treatment or maintenance
- Pure dried pieces: use these to make tea with around 10 grams per cup. Grind the pieces and use 2 tablespoons to mix in hot water.
Chaga My New Favorite Mushroom!
Ready to embark on this beautiful journey of health? Start by trying this wonderful mushroom. As with anything, start with minimum doses and see how you feel. Always consult your doctor if you have questions.
What do you think? Let us know if you’ve tried chaga or are ready to do so!