Mushrooms are one of the frequently used veggies for pasta, spaghetti, and add-ons in mac and cheese. But did you ever know that one of the types of mushrooms has health and medicinal benefits that are unknown? Black gold, as well all know, is rare and has exceptional properties and the same can get said about the Chaga mushroom. Chaga mushroom benefits are galore, and one must keep these tips and benefits handy to keep health conditions at bay.
What is a Chaga Mushroom?
Also commonly known as Inonotus obliquus, Chaga mushroom(1) is a fungus and looks similar to charcoal and has an irregular form. The dark-colored, Chaga mushrooms grow on birch trees and can get spotted in Canada, China, Siberia, and Japan. Although it does look like a dark cluster of dirt, it can be easily identified from other growths, thanks to the orange tissue of chaga.
Read on to know about chaga mushroom benefits, risks, what are Chaga mushrooms used for, recipes, and more!
Chaga Mushroom Health Benefits
1. Chaga Mushroom Benefits – Boosting the Immune System
With daily ongoing activities, our bodies tend to overexert that leads to tiredness. Also, due to the unhealthy and unbalanced eating habits, the body might not get enough nutrients. They are useful to boost the immune system that in turn would help our bodies to get stronger. Therefore, if you’re looking for an immune system booster healthily, then chaga mushroom benefits are there for your specific needs.
Some Important Facts
- Chaga mushroom is an adaptogen that helps in balancing the immune responses and keeps up the homeostasis at an optimal level.
- Effectively slows down the autoimmune responses of our bodies whenever the system is overcharged and shoots it up when otherwise.
- The extract can help to fight with stress and other health issues, which occur due to autoimmune disorders in today’s stressful lives.
- Chaga mushroom benefits also include it being a herbal tonic, which is useful in fighting common health issues such as Chaga mushroom for skin problems, thyroid, and psoriasis.
2. It Acts as an Anti-Aging Tool
With the pollution levels going higher and higher day by day coupled with the harsh and harmful UV rays of the sun, we experience dark spots, early aging signs, and wrinkles around the face and neck. And if you’re skeptical of using any beauty products that contain toxic chemicals, then you can always resort to natural remedies. Chaga mushroom benefits are many, and one can also use it for the skin.
How is Chaga Mushroom Useful for Skin?
- The outer layer of chaga is a rich source of melanin, therefore making Chaga mushroom a useful anti-aging tool beneficial for the skin
- As melanin is known to be a powerful anti-oxidant, it does help in having a significant gene-protective effect on our bodies. It is the same compound that gives the color to our skin tone, hair, and eyes. Therefore, to reduce the pigmentation and dark spots caused due to pollution and aging, these mushrooms are a good source of melanin that can help restore your skin and hair
- Chaga mushroom benefits not only extend to regenerating the hair and skin but also ranges to the protection and revitalization of the surface
- Chaga mushrooms for psoriasis is also one of the standard effective treatments that get widely observed
- The compound that helps protect the skin and hair also aid the neurons in the brain, eyes, other body organs
- Overall, these mushrooms do not only help in maintaining a healthy immune system but also assist in preserving the skin
3. Chaga Mushroom Benefits to Cure Cancer in Some Cases
Researchers all across the globe have been studying about Chaga mushrooms benefits and its properties for being able to prevent cancer and slow down the growth of cancer cells. Chaga mushrooms are high in antioxidants loaded with the right chemicals that aid in preventing the damage of the cells triggered by oxidants and free radicals.
Moreover, when the human body cannot produce antioxidants in the required amount to stop the mentioned damage, oxidative stress is caused. Such stress is known to be a triggering cause of cancer and some other health complications.
There are some studies done on Chaga mushrooms, and the results have shown a host of benefits. Here are some of the studies that found cancer curing as one of the chaga mushroom benefits.
- A study conducted in the year 2010 found that the Chaga mushrooms could slow down the growth of carcinogenic cells in breasts, cervical, and lungs in a petri dish. It got observed in the same study that chaga also was successful in slowing the cancer cell growth in mice.
- There was also a study in the year 2009 that found out about the compound triterpenes, which is present in Chaga mushroom. This compound has been found to cause the cancerous cells to self-destruct. Moreover, they do not cause any harm to healthy cells, unlike other available cancer treatments that destruct the healthy cells as well.
- The lab tests conducted on cancerous cells in lungs observed that Chaga mushroom extract repressed the growth of cancerous cells.
4. Helps in Alleviating Side Effects of Cancer Treatments
We already know Chaga mushrooms are known to stabilize, maintain, and balance the immune system, we also should know about its abilities to improve cancer treatments. When cancer patients undergo aggressive therapies such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, the procedure takes a toll on the immune system and makes the patient weak. Some of the common side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy are fatigue, fever, pain in the stomach, poor or no appetite, to name a few.
In the end, all these side effects lead to a compromised and weak immune system. One of the chaga mushroom benefits is its potential to enhance these side effects of cancer treatment and boosting the immune system. It also helps in alleviating pain, reducing inflammation, and fight against any other side effects of other therapies or medications.
5. Helps in Stabilizing the Blood Pressure
Chaga mushrooms contain betulinic acid. Many research studies have observed that the betulinic acid can break down the bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. Moreover, it also supports the boosting of the good cholesterol, which in turn helps in balancing the blood pressure levels.
As observed in many studies, oxidative stress is one of the primary factors of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the main reasons for heart attacks and strokes, high cholesterol levels, and other cardiovascular problems. Therefore, it is essential to understand these health issues and take the necessary steps.
The polysaccharides present in the Chaga mushroom extract or Chaga mushroom supplements is popularly known to keep the cholesterol levels at normal. Eventually, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels would help in lowering blood sugar level as well and support in keeping a robust cardiovascular system.
6. Might be an Alternative Diabetes Treatment
As per a study conducted in the year 2009, one of the chaga mushroom benefits is its potential to stabilize blood sugar levels in rats. After eight weeks of consuming Chaga mushrooms, the genetically modified diabetes rats were observed to have lower levels of blood sugar.
Although there has been no significant study conducted on humans, Chaga mushrooms can be a potential and alternative treatment for stabilizing and maintain healthy blood sugar levels shortly.
7. Chaga Mushroom Benefits in Fighting Inflammation
Inflammation helps in battling any illness. But in some of the cases, it has been noticed that inflammation converts from being a short-term attack to a continuing health condition.
There are some of the chronic health conditions that are known to get linked with inflammation. Such chronic conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, hepatitis, glomerulonephritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, to name a few.
Also, there have been some researches that talk about other non-inflammatory disorders such as depression to be partly caused due to underlying chronic inflammation. What are chaga mushrooms used for in the case of reducing inflammation – chaga stops the production of cytokines that are one of the leading causes of redness.
The compounds present in Chaga mushroom supplements including the inotodial, betulinic acid, and ergosterol peroxide help in reducing inflammation in the body.
How to use Chaga Mushroom?
You can use Chaga mushroom in 2 scrumptious recipes-
Chaga Mushroom Tea Recipe
- Chaga mushroom
- Vanilla Stevia
- One of the simple Chaga mushroom tea preparation is to add chaga with water
- Simmer it on low, medium heat for about 30 minutes
- Remove it and add a few drops of vanilla stevia and enjoy
Chaga Turmeric Gold Milk
- Chaga mushroom
- Add chaga to water and boil the same
- Strain off the liquid
- Mince turmeric and blend it with milk along with the chaga
- You can also add ginger while combining all the ingredients
Side Effects and Some Precautionary Measures
Some of the Chaga mushroom side effects are:
- Blood disorders
- Might increase the risk of bleeding post-surgery
- Might hyperactivate the immune system, causing auto-immune disorders
To avoid any medical complications from Chaga mushrooms, one must consult the doctor and continue taking prescribed medications.
Mushroom in itself is highly abundant in fiber and are a good source of vitamin B. When it comes to chaga mushroom benefits, there is a host of them that can profit. Whether it is about its benefits for skin or thyroid or, these dark-colored superfoods are nutritious as well as a gold mine for loads of health benefits. One must always consider checking for side effects of chaga, if any, to avoid any unforeseen medical condition.
Frequently asked questions
1. What does Chaga mushroom taste like?
If you consume chaga from the right species of living tree, then it would taste sweet and mild. But one should never eat it from a dead tree. Also, dried Chaga mushroom should get made instantly as mold and yeast might make it poisonous and unhealthy.
2. How long does Chaga tea last?
You can prepare tea using the Chaga mushroom and refrigerate for up to 14 days.
3. Is there caffeine in Chaga?
As every type of tea contains caffeine, it is not the same with Chaga tea. As it is a mushroom, there is no natural source of caffeine present in its tea.