The Chaga mushroom grows wild in places like Alaska, Northern Canada, Siberia, and some northern areas of the continental United States. It is a type of fungus that mainly grows on the outside of birch trees in very cold climates. Also, they can be found in hornbeam trees, chestnut, alder, and beech. The Chaga mushroom identification is not too difficult since they have such a distinct appearance. The Chaga mushroom tends to be lumpy with an exterior that looks similar to burnt charcoal with a softer, squishy yellow-orange core. The name Chaga mushroom comes from a Russian word for mushrooms.
Also, these mushrooms are known as black gold. The Chaga mushroom has been used as a traditional medicine in the Northern European countries, as well as Russia for hundreds of years. They have been used in traditional medicine to treat diabetes and gastrointestinal cancer, along with heart disease, in these areas of the world. The Chaga mushroom can make the immune system more active, which could lead to increased symptoms of autoimmune disease. The Chaga mushroom can decrease the blood sugar levels in diabetics. The Chaga mushroom can raise the risk of bleeding, so it is best not to use it if you have a bleeding disorder. Here are some health benefits of Chaga mushroom:
Improve physical endurance
In some animal studies, the Chaga mushroom has significantly improved physical endurance. In one study published in 2015 was found that mice were given Chaga mushroom polysaccharides, the mice were able to swim longer, the lactic acid levels in the bloodstream decreased the glycogen content of both muscles and liver increased. When you put all of the mentioned things together, you get a recipe for less fatigue and better endurance.
It has been shown that the Chaga mushroom can help to reduce inflammation. One animal study was shown that Chaga extract can help to reduce the inflammation due to ulcerative colitis in animal subjects. In some studies are found that the anti-inflammatory properties of this extract in the colon were due to the ability to suppress the expression of the chemical mediators of inflammation. This is very important because the chemical mediators released during the inflammation make the inflammation that much more intense and also promotes a continuation of the inflammatory response.
The Chaga mushroom appears to have antiviral abilities when it comes to quite a few viruses. In some scientific studies was shown that in one study done in 2015 the extracts of Chaga had an antiviral effect on HIV type 1. Also, in some animal studies is shown that the Chaga mushroom has antiviral effects when it comes to hepatitis C virus. Using animal cells, the researchers have found that the Chaga mushroom extract is able to decrease the ineffective properties of the hepatitis C virus by 100 – fold in just 10 minutes. A lot of studies need to be done in the future, but it seems that the Chaga mushroom is a worthy candidate for use in the development of new antiviral drugs.
Supports immune health
A healthy immune system is a cornerstone for a healthy body. The Chaga mushroom is well–known for its benefits to support healthy immune function. The Chaga mushroom has compounds called polysaccharides which can give this health benefit. These are long chains of carbohydrate molecules that can help to support the body’s conversion of food into energy for a caffeine-free energy booster.
Rich in antioxidants
The Chaga mushrooms have one of the highest ORAC scores of any food. It is 31 times higher than blueberries. ORAC is oxygen radical absorbent capacity and it measures the antioxidant activity of a food. The higher the score is, the better is the food’s ability to support the body against the harmful effects of free radicals and oxidative stress.
Supports a healthy stress response
The Chaga mushroom is part of the category of plants called adaptogens. They have unique properties which can help to support the body’s ability to cope with the effects of physical and emotional stress. When it is taken consistently over a period of weeks or months, then it can help to support healthy responses and promote feelings of calm and balance.