Why to consume Chaga, how to determine the quality of Chaga and how to best consume it?
The recent years have made us all think more about our health and what we can do to maintain and improve it. Natural remedies and folk medicine are in the center of interest in particular, especially those that have the potential to enhance the immune system's ability to defend against viruses in general. It's no wonder, then, that the demand for chaga has grown exponentially over the last years.
The chaga mushroom (lat. Inonotus obliquus) is considered the most important medical mushroom. In folk medicine, it is praised for its high level of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory components, and immunity boosting compounds. Which is why, it is sometimes referred to as the “king of medicinal mushrooms.” It grows on birch trees and has a rocklike appearance. Chaga doesn’t taste like traditional mushrooms. Instead, Chaga has a bitter, yet vanilla taste and is used as a food supplement in form of powder, chunks, extracts and elixirs.
Chaga mushroom clearly holds promising therapeutic and potentially significant medical value. In recent in-vitro studies, chaga has shown anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-diabetic, and anti-inflammatory effects. So, the initial studies come very close to the Chaga use cases in folk medicine, where it has been used to reduce inflammation, fighting cancer, strengthening immune system as well as lowering blood sugar and cholesterol. It is recommended to consume Chaga in the mornings, as it gives a great energetic push and helps you focus.
5 illnesses which Chaga is claimed to be beneficial for:
Cancer. Studies suggest that chaga has therapeutic effects on brain, gastric, breast, cervical, liver and bone cancers.
One of the studies concludes: "...for those who are in the process of chemotherapy administration of the fungus will not only chemosensitize the tumor cells and thereby increasing the chemotherapeutic effects, but also help to restore the compromised immunity and protect against ulcerative GI tract damage and other side-effects induced by chemotherapy."
Diabetes. Chaga promotes hypoglycemic activity and could serve as a novel drug candidate for type 2 diabetes.
Liver diseases. Promising studies show that chaga could treat fatty liver disease, liver cancer as well as regulate metabolism.
Inflammation. Scientists believe that chaga may be able to help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions related to chronic inflammation.
Viral diseases. Compounds in chaga could be protective against COVID, flu and HIV.
The above mentioned information is a summary based on the recent researches published in PubMed. Here you can find all the research papers which have been included in writing this article.
How to find good quality Chaga?
Firstly, always prefer wild Chaga over lab grown Chaga, as wild Chaga contains twice as many antioxidants than lab grown. Wild Chaga also contains highly beneficial betulinic acid, as it derives it from the birch bark it grows on. Furthermore, Chaga “breathes". Which is why it is important to buy Chaga that grows in areas with excellent air and soil quality. Good air = good chaga.
Our Nordic Chaga is harvested from organic certified Estonian forests and as it so happens, Estonia has the some of the cleanest air in the world according to WHO.
How to consume Chaga?
In folk medicine, Chaga is mostly consumed as a tea and it is still the most popular way.
For that you need raw Chaga as chunks or in a powder form.To brew the tea, add 2-3 chunks (or 1-2 teaspoons of powder) into 1 litre (33 oz) of hot water and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes. Optionally, if you have a good thermos, just let the tea brew in there up to 8 hours. The longer you let it simmer, the more antioxidants and other beneficial compounds will be set free and so the more beneficial the brew.
From that simple Chaga tea, you can also make Chaga latte or Chaga coffee. Get more recipe inspiration in our complementary e-book which is delivered with every order!