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Getting to Know Chaga: The King of the Fungal Forest
Posted By: Giuliana Alfano
Known as “The King of Medicinal Mushrooms”, the medicinal and ceremonial use of Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) dates back to the 12th century in western Siberia. 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 - kabanoanatake.
Chaga is a woody, coal-coloured parasitic fungus with a golden interior that lives in sync with the birch tree. Unlike most mushrooms, its texture is dense, coarse and crumbly - making for a more challenging foraging experience.
These days, Chaga 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 more in the world of wellness.
Here are 5 ways Chaga supports health:
Strengthens Immune Function
When we think of Chaga, immunity is the first thought that comes to mind. 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 antioxidants to protect our DNA from damage caused by oxidative stress. 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
Lowers Blood Sugar
Chaga regulates blood sugar levels, and can be an appropriate 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 and uplifted, Chaga can boost mood and energy level-a wonderful alternative for anyone trying to kick a caffeine habit.
Promotes Skin Health
As we age, harmful UV exposure can damage the integrity of our skin. In TCM, Chaga is believed to preserve youthfulness. Melanin- a skin-loving pigment within Chaga- shields our skin from UV damage and can reduce damaged skin over time, helping us glow from the inside out.
There are endless ways of adding Chaga to your healing routine to fortify immune health and give your body a helpful boost of nutrients! Try adding our Chaga Concentrated Powder to your favourite recipes, or take convenient Chaga Tincture on the go! We love adding ¼ teaspoon of our Chaga Concentrated Mushroom Powder to teas and smoothies in the morning for an energetic boost!
What are your favourite ways to work Chaga into your daily routine?
- 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.
- 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.
- Shashkina, M Ya, et al. “Chemical and Medicobiological Properties of Chaga.” Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal, vol. 40, Oct. 2006, pp. 560–568.