Chaga isn’t called the “King of Mushrooms” for any old reason.
A potent source of antioxidants, the chaga mushroom benefits are bountiful and impressive. It’s long been used in China and Russia to boost immunity, aid digestion, fight inflammation and promote radiant skin.
But let’s be honest, the chaga mushroom wasn’t blessed with good looks. It grows out of the bark of birch trees, disguising itself as a clump of burnt charcoal. But when you break it open… well, that’s when the magic happens. It has a bright, golden orange interior, which is packed with a whole lot of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
So, What Are The Chaga Mushroom Benefits?
As with many other medicinal mushrooms, science has turned a blind eye to the health benefits of chaga. But finally, we're starting to see some promising research emerge...
Most notably, chaga is loaded with hundreds of phytonutrients, melanin, antioxidants and betulinic acid, which benefit the body in more ways that one.
Let's take a look...
- Chaga can relieve stress and support immunity
Today’s world is a stressful one: Time-pressures, commitments and loaded schedules. And when our stress response is constantly firing, our health and immunity can pay the price. Chaga, like many mushrooms, is a powerful adaptogen. Adaptogens help to counteract the harmful effects of stress and bring our body back into balance.
Chaga also has a rich concentration of polysaccharides and beta-glucans. These compounds help to activate your immune response when it's needed, and increase the activity of Natural Killer cells. (NK cells). NK cells are also important in rejecting cancer and tumours.
And have you heard of cytokines? They’re modules that regulate immunity and inflammation. A study on mice found that chaga mushroom might help to produce more cytokines in immune cells. How good is that?
- Chaga for a glowing complexion
Our skin is often a reflection of internal health. When we’re exposed to stress and pollutants, it'll often show.
Thankfully, the antioxidants in chaga help to prevent oxidative stress, which work to prevent wrinkles, uneven skin tone and acne (ahem, sign us up). And while wrinkles and ageing is nothing to be ashamed of… If there were a natural way to keep it from happening prematurely, wouldn’t we all want that?
Oh, and the antioxidants in chaga do so much more than look after our skin (but sit tight, we’ll get to that in a minute).
Chaga is also considered a powerful source of melanin, which is a compound that gives our skin and hair its unique colour. There are ample benefits of having a good amount of melanin, which includes an even complexion, protection against UV rays and it may even reduce the risk of skin cancer (watch this space).
- Chaga is incredibly rich in antioxidants (which is good for, well, everything)
Turns out, chaga is one of the most powerful sources of antioxidants there is. And while the term is often thrown around in our day-to-day lives – few people realise how antioxidants actually work.
So, what better time to explain antioxidants than an article on chaga – the antioxidant powerhouse?
Antioxidants help to fight off free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage our cells and lead to poor health. You see, our body needs a nice balance of antioxidants and free radicals in order to function well. If it’s off balance (having too many free radicals), that’s when oxidative stress occurs. And oxidative stress is not a nice place to be… It’s known to contribute to a number of health problems including heart disease, cancer, arthritis and inflammatory conditions.
A petri dish study found that chaga could slow the growth of lung, breast and cervical cancer. Sure, the findings of this study still have a long way to go (you know, from petri dishes to real humans). But we can’t help but feel optimistic about the potential for chaga to be used alongside traditional medicine.
As you can see, the science is rooting for chaga. It’s phenomenal health benefits are coming to light… And at Natura Mushroms, we’re here for it.
Oh, and this article is only scratching the surface. There are so many health benefits of chaga we haven’t even touched on, like its ability to lower cholesterol, assist digestion and lower blood sugar. A simple Google Scholar search will bring up some promising research for those who want to hear more.
Looking For Chaga Mushrooms?
Sorry to say, but if you’re based in Australia you won’t find chaga mushrooms in the wild. If you want to see them, well, you’d better be prepared to board a long flight to Russia, Canada or Alaska. You might want to bring a jacket, too, because chaga thrives in negative temperatures (or you could always visit our shop where we source Siberian Chaga for you).
What’s particularly fascinating about chaga is its symbiotic relationship with Birch trees. Chaga draws out nutrients from the birch tree, and in turn, it helps the tree heal and repair itself. It’s a bit of a tit for tat type deal. It’s also widely believed that its ability to draw nutrients from the tree is the reason why it has such great value for human health (thank you, oh sweet symbiosis).
How To Take Chaga Mushroom
Chaga is enjoyed in a variety of ways… From tea to powder to liquid extracts. Here at Natura Mushrooms, we offer both Chaga Powder and Chaga Dual Liquid Extract. Not sure which is better for you? We recently wrote an article on mushroom powders vs extracts that will point you in the right direction. We recommend taking:
- ½ a teaspoon of Chaga powder daily, or
- 2ml of Chaga liquid extract per day
As always, we recommend chatting with your doctor before taking chaga as a supplement.
While we grow many of our mushrooms on our 100% off-grid farm in Gippsland, Victoria. Unfortunately, chaga doesn’t love our climate. For this reason, we choose to sustainably source our wild chaga from mushroom foragers in Siberia. Then, we lovingly extract it and package it right here on our farm.
Written by Shane and Ash, the scientists and mushrooms farmers behind Natura Mushrooms.