(Reposted from: RiseEarth:
by Elisha McFarland; My Health Maven
Superfoods is the buzzword across the internet. You can’t talk about
superfoods without thinking of medicinal mushrooms such as Chaga
(inonotus obliquus). Chaga mushrooms are making news with their amazing
health benefits including treatment for cancer. Chaga has been
traditionally used for treating gastrointestinal cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in Russia, Poland and most of the Baltic countries.
What are Chaga mushrooms?
Chaga doesn’t look like a typical mushroom, in fact many people might
mistake it for a knot or even a burned spot on the tree. Typically it
grows on the on the exterior of birch trees and can grow in a variety of
shapes and sizes.
Chaga grows on hardwood trees in Alaska, Canada, Japan, Korea, Russia,
the U.S. and Northern Scandinavia. Chaga is typically found on white
birch trees, however a more potent version is found on black birch trees
The ORAC value of Chaga mushroom
According to testing by the USDA and Tufts University in Boston, MA.
Chaga has the highest ORAC score for any food currently known to man.
Why are ORAC scale numbers important? They are linked to the ability of a
food to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals contribute to some
cancers, degeneration, disease and inflammation.
Top ORAC fruits and vegetables per 100 g ~ Tufts University
FOOD ORAC VALUE
Chaga 365,570 <***WOW!!!***
Acai berry, freeze dried 41,000
Cacao, raw (also contains caffeine) 26,000
Tibetan Goji Berries 25,310
Purple cabbage 4,200
12 health benefits of chaga
Listing all of the benefits of chaga would require pages of information, but let’s look at a few amazing benefits:
Anti-cancer effects - In this study mice implanted with B16F10-melanoma, showed an increased survival rate when given a compound isolated from the chaga mushroom
Anti-fungal - Protects against fungal infections such as athletes foot and other systemic conditions.
Antimicrobial – This study shows the high antioxidant and high antimicrobial activities of chaga.
Anti-oxidant - Chaga has strong geno-protective and antioxidant properties.
Cancer Fighter – Research shows that chaga activates the immune cells responsible for fighting cancer initiation.
Diabetes – Chaga has anti-hyperglycemic properties, making it a popular diabetes treatment.
DNA protection - In this study
chaga extract was used to pretreat cells for its protective benefits
and the calls were then treated with hydrogen peroxide to induce
oxidative stress. The cells pretreated with chaga showed less damage
than untreated cells.
Heart disease – Betulinic acid present in chaga helps to breakdown LDL cholesterol in the blood stream and normalize blood pressure.
Inflammatory bowel disease - Chaga inhibits oxidative stress in IBD patients.
Inhibits tumor cells - Chaga mushroom extract can inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells
Pain relief - Chagas ability to support blood vessels is helpful for those who deal with diabetes, neuropathy and pain.
Supports immune system – Chaga has a high amount of
Beta-D-Glucans which helps balance the body’s immune system response.
The balance chaga offers means that it gives the body an immune system
response when it needs it and slows it down when the immune system
doesn’t need the additional boost.
6 ingredients that make chaga healthy
Antioxidants - Chaga is high in melanin. Melanin has very high antioxidant levels due to the high amount of polyphenols it contains.
Beta D-Glucans - Help to modulate the immune system as well as helping to normalize blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels.
Betulin & Betulinic Acid - These therapeutic triterpenes are
being studied for their role in supporting healthy cholesterol levels,
as well as their role in fighting malignant tumors, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and viruses.
Polysaccarides - Within the chitin walls of chaga are
polysaccharides which promote healthy blood sugar levels, provide
energy, and improve intestinal, liver and cardiovascular health.
Phytosterols - There are several phytosterols in chaga mushrooms, including Lanosterol 45%, Inotodiols 25% and the remaining 30% consists of Ergosterol, Fecosterol, and several others. Tests show a direct and positive effect of these phytosterols on cancer cells.
SODs – Super oxide dismutase is an enzyme with powerful
antioxidant properties. While SODs naturally occur in human tissue, they
decline as we age, especially after the age of thirty. Chagas’s SOD
can be taken internally or topically. These enzymes also play a
critical role in protecting our body against the damaging effects of
oxidation and free radicals.
5 ways to incorporate chaga into your routine
Chaga has an earthy, slightly bitter taste, with a hint of vanilla. Many
people add chaga tea to other foods or simply add a sweetener and milk
Chaga skin care - Companies value the medicinal benefits of chaga
in topical applications. Due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial
and anti-oxidant properties you can find chaga in many lotions, creams,
soaps and skin scrubs.
Chaga tincture - If you don’t like the taste of chaga you can purchase (or make your own) tincture.
Chaga tea - Place a few small chaga chunks (1/4 cup) and simmer
in a covered pan with a quart of water for about 8 hours. Strain, store
in the refrigerator and enjoy with your favorite sweetener or plant
based milk. Chaga also blends well with chai spices.
Add chaga to foods - You can make chaga tea (available in tea
bags and packets) and incorporate the tea into your smoothie, juice, hot
oatmeal or pudding.
Chaga powder - Simply add to your favorite soups, smoothies, coffee, cocoa, or milk.
Where to find chaga
Chaga is available at herb stores, online and many health food stores.
We also carry it at Willow Moon Herbals. Please contact us if you'd like to purchase some!