Chaga Mushroom: The ancient mycelial marvel on the frontlines of modern-day medicine

Chaga Mushroom: The ancient mycelial marvel on the frontlines of modern-day medicine

Author: Shreya R


Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a medicinal mushroom found growing inconspicuously on Birch trees, yet becoming increasingly recognized in the world of modern medicine and wellness. While strolling through a forest, most of us might overlook this marvel as it resembles a clump of dirt more than your ordinary mushroom, owing its appearance to its nutrient-rich makeup.  While we may assume Chaga has only taken center stage in recent years, the truth is that it has been an integral part of folk medicine in occidental countries like Siberia and Russia since the 16th century AD. Now, it grows naturally in the regions of northern Europe, Canada, Asia, and the northeastern region of the USA, where it’s harvested for commercial use. 

Chaga is referred to as Birch Canker, Black Mass, Cinder Conk, Clinker, Conk Rot, and other endearing names. However, the most interesting one is ‘kreftkjuke’ in Norwegian, which translates to “cancer fungus” due to its potent anti-cancerous properties. This mushroom strain has a distinct hard texture, making it convenient to be dried, powdered, and sold as teas, extracts, or in tinctures for easy consumption and absorption of its revered health benefits. Let’s dive into why this medicinal mushroom, after all these years, still stands as a healing force to be reckoned with.


chaga mushrrom benefits


What are the health benefits of Chaga?

Chaga’s benefits span a wide range, primarily arising from its ability to deliver essential nutrients like Vitamin D, Calcium, Potassium, Manganese, Iron, antioxidants, and more. In this article, we’ll shed light on its notable anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, immunity-boosting, cancer-fighting, and blood-sugar-regulating properties to illustrate just how potent and widespread its medicinal benefits are.  

Chaga helps preserve your youth by slowing down the skin’s aging process

With the skin being the largest organ in our body, anything that enriches it is nothing short of a treasure. And the multi-faceted Chaga promises this without the caveat of a lengthy list of side effects if any at all.  Like most foods that benefit our skin, Chaga delivers because of the high levels of antioxidants it holds. It’s no secret that constant exposure to the sun, and pollution, leads to a rise in free radicals in the body — more than it can neutralize, resulting in oxidative stress. This subsequently causes the quality of the skin to atrophy irreversibly by increasing the presence of wrinkles and sagging skin. Chaga, replete with essential antioxidants, reverses these effects and decreases those pesky visible signs of aging. Additionally, Melanin, an antioxidant with one of the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scores is highly concentrated in Chaga. Consuming Chaga deposits natural melanin, which further fortifies your skin against UV damage and skin cancer

Chaga can fight inflammation & boost your immune system

Inflammation is nothing but a protection mechanism our bodies deploy against diseases. But, the problems arise when inflammation persists, becoming chronic and ultimately leading to more serious illnesses like heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. Thankfully, recent studies show that Chaga has the potential to decrease long-term inflammation effectively and combat the modern world’s most common enemy — a compromised immune system.  It strengthens immunity by promoting the formation of beneficial cytokines which are proteins that regulate the immune system. Moreover, cytokines stimulate the production of White Blood Cells whose primary function is to patrol the body and fight off harmful bacteria and viruses. It’s safe to say that from minor colds to serious illnesses, Chaga mushrooms are unquestionably direct and impactful in their pursuit to protect and heal you. 

Chaga has Cancer-fighting properties

It doesn’t end there. As a natural extension of Chaga’s ability to boost the immune system and ensure the body is protected, studies show that Chaga successfully wards off lung cancer cells. This was demonstrated by a series of studies conducted using an alcohol extract of Chaga on lung cancer cells, and it was observed to have triggered “programmed cell death”. Another study conducted on mice with lung Cancer in Japan backed the success of these results. That is, when a continuous dose of Chaga was delivered to the mice over three weeks via IV, treated mice showed a 25% reduction as compared to the untreated mice. These anti-cancerous effects of Chaga can be attributed to a high antioxidant concentration responsible for protecting cells from damage. While these studies show promising results, it’s crucial to note that there is still a lack of human subject research to back the same. 

Chaga lowers blood sugar

Furthermore, several animal studies have found a strong correlation between the consumption of Chaga and the lowering of blood sugar levels, making it an excellent natural option to manage diabetes. A recent study conducted on obese mice backs this hypothesis. When Chaga extract was delivered to diabetic mice, it significantly reduced blood sugar levels and insulin resistance compared to the control group of mice that did not receive this supplement. In a similar study, Chaga supplements resulted in a 31% decrease in blood sugar levels over 3 weeks in diabetic mice, cementing the belief that Chaga is a reliable supplement to manage blood sugar levels. 


chaga mushroom suppliments


What are some notable side effects of Chaga?

Although there is still limited research on its long-term side effects, it’s generally known to be well-tolerated and compatible with most individuals. However, some side effects are worth mentioning. 

The biggest concern, when it comes to side effects, arises from the presence of the substance Oxalate. This compound may be harmful to the kidneys and so, the overuse of Chaga is linked to the formation of kidney stones. 

Additionally, those consuming anti-diabetes drugs like insulin need to regulate their Chaga intake as it’s possible to overdo it, and in this case, may lead to hypoglycemia. 

Chaga is also best avoided in people with bleeding disorders and must be used with caution in those who are consuming any blood thinners for health purposes. The ideal approach to making Chaga intake a part of your routine is to consult your doctor to understand if and how compatible Chaga is with your body. 

How can Chaga be consumed?

Chaga is available as a natural food supplement and is mostly sold as Chaga powder so it’s ready to be sprinkled into teas, your food, or in decoctions — whatever fits seamlessly into your routine consumption. That said, Chaga mushroom tea is one of the most traditional and simple ways to consume it. If coffee is your preferred beverage, the powder can also be added to your morning cuppa to give you that extra nutritional boost. Chaga is best absorbed by the intestines when it’s dissolved in a liquid such as hot water, alcohol, or a fermented extract, allowing the body to absorb it more readily. 

When you buy Chaga powder or Chaga tea, ensure you read the product label to see if it includes the species' name and has minimal to no additives or chemicals.  Additionally, ensure you check the color as Chaga ranges only from orange to dark brown; avoid darker Chaga.

The benefits you absorb from Chaga tea stand as the most potent, so the best way to start your journey with Chaga is in this form. Add some honey or lemon if you’re not big on the earthy taste and you’re good to start your journey with Chaga and let it lead you down the roads of good health.

Elevate your wellness routine with our Chaga Mushroom Supplements, available in versatile forms—tinctures, capsules, powders, and premium dried mushrooms. Harness the full spectrum of Chaga benefits for a healthier, balanced lifestyle.

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