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Giuliana Alfano

Giuliana Alfano

September 1, 2023

Getting to Know Chaga: King of the Fungal Forest

Chaga is packed with enough phytonutrients to be considered one of the most healthful foods on the planet. Discover its rich history and powerful benefits.

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a woody, coal-coloured parasitic fungus with a golden interior. It lives in sync with the birch tree through a symbiotic relationship. Unlike most mushrooms, its texture is dense, coarse and crumbly - making for a more challenging foraging experience. This King of the Fungal Forest has earned a reputation as one of the most healthful foods on the planet, containing 31 times more antioxidants than blueberries! Offering over 200+ phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, it’s no wonder Chaga has become a staple for immune health and beyond in the world of wellness.

Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your health care practitioner before adding any new herbs to your wellness routine.

History of Use

Found predominantly in the boreal forests of the Northern hemisphere, Chaga has been considered a sacred healing tonic and folk medicine by many indigenous and Northern cultures. Cree healers refer to it as pōsākan, the Ojibway call it Cha’a’ihtthi, and the Japanese call it kabanoanatake.

Also known as the “King of Mushrooms”, the use of Chaga dates back thousands of years. In the 12th century in western Siberia, the Khanty peoples would drink this functional mushroom in a tea to aid digestion and detoxification. They also used it topically by creating a soap that soothed any sores on the skin. From the 16th century onward, it was used regularly in Russia to treat cancer and tumors.

By the 1950’s, Chaga was used widely throughout Asia to support immune function, and it was officially recognized as a medical treatment in Russia. Since then, more research has been done to confirm the benefits of this functional mushroom.


The Benefits of Chaga

Strengthen Immune Function

Packed with antioxidants that act as a defense system, Chaga works both preventatively and restoratively to build optimal immune health. Polysaccharides and beta-glucans within Chaga modulate the immune system, reduce inflammation, and help ward off infection and viruses (1).

Repairs Cellular Damage

As we age, our bodies require more help to protect our DNA from damage. Chaga mushroom is especially high in a compound called superoxide dismutase (SOD). This antioxidant-rich enzyme neutralizes free radicals, maintains tissue health, and has been shown to be a promising cancer preventative (2).

Regulates Blood Sugar

Chaga regulates blood sugar levels and can be a beneficial functional food for diabetics. Regular consumption of Chaga can raise glucose levels that are too low, reduce glucose levels that are too high, and lower insulin resistance (3).

Boosts Energy Levels

Many people who consume Chaga tea regularly report a surge in energy and mental clarity after drinking it. Packed with a wealth of nutrients to keep us feeling vital, The King of Mushrooms works to improve the uptake of energy metabolism, allowing our bodies to access the energetic benefits from Chaga’s nutrients (4).

Promotes Skin Health

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chaga is believed to preserve youthfulness, and its antioxidant content helps to slow down the signs of aging (5). Chaga can also shield our skin from ultraviolet (UV) damage by reducing the pro-inflammatory cytokines brought on by UV radiation (6).


How to Add Chaga to Your Routine

Harmonic Arts’ Chaga is grown on living birch trees in a certified organic forest in Siberia. The fruiting body is sustainably and ethically harvested before undergoing dual extraction in alcohol and hot water. This allows for a potent extraction ratio of 9:1. Incorporate this functional mushroom into your wellness routine with our offerings.

Chaga Capsules

Our Chaga Mushroom Capsules are perfect for an on-the-go lifestyle, and easy to add to your current supplement regime.

Chaga Mushroom Capsules - Harmonic Arts
Chaga Mushroom Capsules
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Chaga Mushroom Capsules - Harmonic Arts
Chaga Mushroom Capsules

Chaga Mushroom Capsules

$49.95
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Chaga Mushroom Powder

Sprinkle our water-soluble Chaga Concentrated Mushroom Powder into your coffee, tea, smoothies, and other recipes.

Chaga Concentrated Mushroom Powder - Harmonic Arts
Chaga Concentrated Mushroom Powder - Harmonic Arts
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Chaga Concentrated Mushroom Powder - Harmonic Arts
Chaga Concentrated Mushroom Powder - Harmonic Arts

Chaga Concentrated Mushroom Powder

$69.95
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Chaga Mushroom Tincture

Our Chaga Mushroom Tincture is formulated by Clinical Herbalists and hand-crafted on Vancouver Island to create highly bioavailable medicine.

Chaga Mushroom Tincture
Chaga Mushroom Tincture
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Chaga Mushroom Tincture
Chaga Mushroom Tincture
Chaga Mushroom Tincture - Harmonic Arts

Chaga Mushroom Tincture

$21.95
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Chaga Syrup

Add our antioxidant-rich Chaga Syrup to mocktails, smoothies or tea.

Chaga Syrup
Chaga Syrup
Chaga Syrup - Harmonic Arts
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Chaga Syrup
Chaga Syrup
Chaga Syrup - Harmonic Arts

Chaga Syrup

$23.95
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Elixirs

5 Mushroom Chocolate - Harmonic Arts
5 Mushroom Chocolate - Harmonic Arts
5 Mushroom Chocolate - Harmonic Arts
5 Mushroom Chocolate - Harmonic Arts
5 Mushroom Chocolate - Harmonic Arts
5 Mushroom Chocolate - Harmonic Arts

5 Mushroom Chocolate

$29.95

Cultivate a calming ritual for any time of day with our nutrient-packed 5 Mushroom Chocolate Elixir. Indulge in this nourishing and velvety smooth hot cacao, featuring the world’s top 5 functional mushrooms: Chaga, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Reishi and Turkey Tail. 

Our Elixirs are good for you, and good for the planet. They feature compostable packaging, and through our partnership with 1% For the Planet, 1% of every Elixir sale is donated directly to the Cumberland Community Forest Society to support forest conservation. 

  • 100% Organic Ingredients
  • Ethical Sourcing
  • Fruiting Body Mushrooms
  • Compostable Packaging
  • $1.49 Per Cup

    To effectively control moisture within the package the use of a desiccant is recommended. It is included in the 5 Mushroom Chocolate canister and should be kept with the product while stored, tightly closed when the product is not in use.

    How To Make An Elixir

    Hot Elixir:
    1TB (8G) 5 Mushroom Blend + 1TSP Coconut Oil + 8OZ (236ML) Hot Water, Tea or Nut Mylk.
    Combine in blender, makes 1 serving.

    Cold Elixir:
    1TB (8G) 5 Mushroom Blend + 8OZ (236ML) Nut Mylk + 1TSP Honey
    Combine in blender, makes 1 serving. Add ice cubes.

    Servings per container:
    160g = 20
    480g = 60

    Ingredients

    *Cacao Powder, *Coconut Sugar, and *5 Mushroom Concentrate (Reishi, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Chaga and Lion's Mane)

    *Certified Organic by EcoCert
    Contains 100% organic ingredients

    Nutritional Information

    5 Mushroom Chocolate Nutrifacts

    How to Recycle our Packaging

    Learn our planet-friendly tips for upcycling, recycling, composting and disposing of all Harmonic Arts packaging here.

    View Details
    Kickstart - Harmonic Arts
    Kickstart - Harmonic Arts
    Kickstart - Harmonic Arts
    Kickstart - Harmonic Arts
    Kickstart - Harmonic Arts
    Kickstart - Harmonic Arts

    Kickstart

    $29.95

    Satisfy your coffee craving while avoiding the afternoon crash with our Kickstart Elixir. Robust and earthy, this revitalizing blend features Chaga, Roasted Dandelion Root, Yerba Mate and rich, heirloom Cacao. 

    Our Elixirs are good for you, and good for the planet. They feature compostable packaging, and through our partnership with 1% For the Planet, 1% of every Elixir sale is donated directly to the Cumberland Community Forest Society to support forest conservation. 

    • 100% Organic Ingredients 
    • Ethical Sourcing 
    • Fruiting Body Mushrooms 
    • Compostable Packaging 
    • $1.29 Per Cup 

      To effectively control moisture within the package, the use of a desiccant is recommended. It is included in the finished good and should be kept with the product while stored, tightly closed when the product is not in use.

      How To Make An Elixir

      Hot Elixir:
      2TSP (6g) Kickstart + 1TSP Coconut Oil + 1TSP Honey + 8OZ (236ML) Hot Water, Tea or Nut Mylk.
      Combine in blender, makes 1 serving.

      Cold Elixir:
      2TSP (6g) Kickstart + 8OZ (236ML) Nut Mylk + 1TSP Honey
      Combine in blender, makes 1 serving. Add ice cubes.

      Servings per container:
      140g = 23
      420g = 70

      Ingredients

      *Cacao Powder, *Ramon Nut, *Maca, *Chaga Mushroom Extract, *Roasted Yerba Mate, *Indian Sarsaparilla, *Roasted Dandelion Root, and *Guarana

      *Certified Organic by EcoCert
      Made with 100% organic ingredients.

      Nutritional Information

      Kickstart Elixir Nutrifacts

      How to Recycle our Packaging

      Learn our planet-friendly tips for upcycling, recycling, composting and disposing of all Harmonic Arts packaging here.

      View Details

      Curious to Learn More?

      Watch the recording of our most recent webinar: Medicinal Mushrooms for Everyday Wellness. Our Co-Founder, Yarrow Willard (Cl.H) provides a deep dive into the many benefits of these funtional fungi and how to add them to your daily routine.

      Watch Now

      References

      1. Seo, Hye-Kyung, and Seung-Cheol Lee. “Antioxidant Activity of Subcritical Water Extracts from Chaga Mushroom (Inonotus Obliquus).” Separation Science and Technology, vol. 45, no. 2, 21 Jan. 2010, pp. 198–203., doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/01496390903423899.

      2. Wen, Jake J, and Nisha Jain Garg. “Manganese Superoxide Dismutase Deficiency Exacerbates the Mitochondrial ROS Production and Oxidative Damage in Chagas Disease.” PLoS Negl Trop Dis 12(7): e0006687., vol. 12, no. 7, 25 July 2018, doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0006687.

      3. Shashkina, M Ya, et al. “Chemical and Medicobiological Properties of Chaga.” Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal, vol. 40, Oct. 2006, pp. 560–568.

      4. Arata, S., Watanabe, J., Maeda, M., Yamamoto, M., Matsuhashi, H., Mochizuki, M., Kagami, N., Honda, K., & Inagaki, M. (2016). Continuous intake of the Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) aqueous extract suppresses cancer progression and maintains body temperature in mice. Heliyon, 2(5), e00111. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2016.e00111

      5. Park, J., Nguyen, T. M. N., Park, H., Nguyen, M. T. T., Lee, N., Ban, S., Park, K., Lee, C., Kim, J., & Park, J. (2023). Protective Effects of Lanostane Triterpenoids from Chaga Mushroom in Human Keratinocytes, HaCaT Cells, against Inflammatory and Oxidative Stresses. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 24(16), 12803. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241612803

      6. Softa, M., Percoco, G., Lati, E., & Bony, P. (2019). Birch Sap (Betula alba) and Chaga Mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) Extracts Show Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Inflammatory and DNA Protection/Repair Activity <i>In Vitro</i> Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, 09(02), 188–205. https://doi.org/10.4236/jcdsa.2019.92016

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