You may have heard of chaga mushroom as the latest superfood trend, but did you know that this humble fungus has been used for centuries as a powerful natural remedy? Chaga Mushroom or Inonotus obliquus is a parasitic fungus that grows primarily on birch trees. The name “chaga” is derived from the Russian word for fungus, which was in turn borrowed from the word “mushroom” in Komi, the language of the indigenous peoples of the Kama River Basin, west of the Ural Mountains. The sterile conk is irregular in shape and looks like burned charcoal on the outside and is a deep golden orange on the inside. The medicinal properties of the this fungi are found in the sclerotium or mass of mycelium, which is mostly black because of its high concentration of melanin. This mushroom is most commonly found on birch trees in cold climates of the Northern Hemisphere such as Northern Europe, Siberia, Russia, Korea, Northern Canada and Alaska.
Chaga Mushroom has been used medicinally in Russia and other Northern European countries for centuries to boost immunity and improve overall health. This powerful mushroom or conk boosts immunity by reducing long-term inflammation and fighting harmful bacteria and viruses. Chaga promotes the formation of beneficial cytokines, which are specialized proteins that help to regulate the immune system and stimulate white blood cells—meaning that this mushroom helps fight infections from minor colds to serious illnesses.
Furthermore, studies have shown that this fungi can prevent and slow the growth of cancer, including a 60% reduction of tumor size. In another study, Chaga extract prevented the growth of cancer in human liver cells and similar results were found in cancer cells of the lung, breast, prostate, and colon. Scientists believe that the anti-cancer benefits of this mushroom are due to its high content of antioxidants, specifically from the antioxidant triterpene, which can help kill cancer cells.
Not only is Chaga is a powerful immune boosting and anti-cancer mushroom, but it also helps to lower blood sugar and cholesterol. Studies have demonstrated this mushroom’s ability to reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance, including up to a 31% reduction in overall blood sugar levels— massive benefits to those with diabetes. Additionally, this sterile conk lowers “bad” cholesterol and raises “good” cholesterol, improving cardiovascular health and reducing the risk for heart disease.
Are you ready to bring the power of Chaga Mushroom into your wellness routine? Here are our favorite products containing this medicinal mushroom: