▷ Benefits of Chaga Mushrooms (2018 Update)
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Benefits of Chaga Mushrooms

Written by Sabrina Wilson and updated on April 24, 2018
The health benefits of Chaga mushrooms

Post Summary

Benefits of Chaga Mushroom:

  • May reduce cancerous tumors
  • Potent anti-inflammatory
  • Immunity boosting
  • Digestive aid
  • May improve physical performance
  • May prevent weight gain
  • Reduces oxidative damage
  • May promote healthy blood sugar levels
  • Contains anti-viral compounds

Learn how to maximize these benefits in this post.

When it comes to all-natural health remedies, mushrooms have long held a place right at the top of the list. Mushrooms are quite unique, because their survival is highly dependent on their ability to excrete potent enzymes.

These enzymes are highly bioactive, in which they help breakdown simple molecules outside of the mushrooms structure into smaller nutrients. These nutrients are then absorbed by the mushroom, where they can be used to promote healthy growth and function.

Interestingly, the human consumption of these potent compounds has been suggested to cause large improvements in health and function across the entire body – which explains why mushrooms have been so well regarded within the health industry for so very long.

And one of the most popular health boosting mushrooms on the planet is the Chaga Mushroom.

What Are Chaga Mushrooms?

The Chaga mushroom (scenically named ‘Inonotus obliquus’) is commonly considered the king of mushrooms because it has long been suggested to have a HUGE impact on health.

This suggestion actually stems back to 980AD, where it was reportedly used by Persian physicians to enhance heath, treat a variety of diseases and illnesses, promote wellbeing and longevity, and even improve endurance and increase energy levels.

This particular mushroom is quite interesting as it is considered a black parasite white rot fungus due to its unique shape and structure. Within this, the Chaga mushroom actually inhabits the living trunks of very mature birch trees that are found growing in very harsh and cold climates

With this in mind, the Chaga mushroom tends to be found in places like Siberia, Canada, Alaska, and some of the northern most areas of the US.

The Chaga mushroom consists of two main parts: The fruiting body of the plant, which is brown in colour and found living inside the tree, and the sclerotium, which is the black growth protruding from within the tree.

Interestingly, the parts of the mushroom that have long been used in traditional medicinal practices include both the wood of the birch tree where the fungus has invaded, and the body of fungus itself.

Chaga mushrooms are thought to provide the body with a number of key adaptogenic compounds known as adaptogens. These adaptogens are considered such because they are thought to improve the body’s ability to adapt to stress and change, enhancing health in the process.

In conjunction with these adaptogens, the Chaga mushroom also exhibits anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties that have further been suggested to impact health in a very positive manner.

What are the Benefits of taking Chaga Mushrooms?

Given the rather unique history surrounding the Chaga mushroom, and the interesting compounds that it does provide the body, it has been suggested to impact health in a number of different ways. As a result, we wanted to take an objective look at the research to determine where the Chaga mushroom is best used, and where it isn’t.

Does Chaga Mushroom Prevent or Treat Cancer?

The Chaga mushroom contains an abundance of anticancer compounds that have been suggested to impact the cells of the body through four key mechanisms: these include, 1) increasing antioxidant activity to prevent cancer formation, 2) slowing the growth of tumorous tissue, 3) promoting the cell death of tumorous cells, and 4) increasing the ability of the immune system to remove cancerous cells within the body [1].

With this in mind, in animal-based studies performed on mice suffering from cancer, the supplementation of Chaga mushroom has been shown to cause significant reductions in tumour size, while also limiting the spread of cancerous cells [2].

Similarly, in laboratory studies performed on human cells, the application of the Chaga mushroom has been shown to prevent cancer cell growth and reproduction [3].

Now it is important to note that while this research certainly suggest some promise in the Chaga mushroom’s ability to prevent and assist in the treatment of cancer, actual human trials are needed to say this with any real certainty.

Does Chaga Mushroom Help with skin issues?

There is laboratory research demonstrating that the application of Chaga mushroom to human skin cells can improve cell health while also protecting against the deterioration of human fibroblasts. Additionally, this same application in mice has also appeared to supress UV induced changes to the skin, such as skin thickening and wrinkle formation [4].

With this in mind, this early research does suggest that the Chaga mushroom may have a positive impact on skin health by inhibiting the effect of harmful oxidation, but more human research is needed.

Does Chaga Mushroom help psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic and systemic inflammatory disease that often leads to elevated and itchy sections of skin, which, in more severe cases, can become covered in thick silvery scales.

Given that the Chaga mushroom has been shown to possess extremely potent anti-inflammatory properties, it may have the ability to reduce the systemic inflammation considered to act as a precursor to psoriasis, therefore reducing the severity of the disease [5] – although again, early research has only been performed in lab-based cell studies, and more real world human research is needed.

Does Chaga Mushroom help with wrinkles?

As previously mentioned, animal studies have shown that the supplementation of the Chaga mushroom has the ability to reduce the development wrinkles cause by harmful oxidative damage within the cells of the skin [4].

As a result, this research suggests that the Chaga mushroom may provide a way to prevent the formation of wrinkles, but there is little evidence to suggest that it can treat or cure them once they are already established.

Can Chaga Mushroom Cure Herpes?

Herpes is a type of viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (or HSV for short). This particular virus affects the external genitalia, the anal region, and certain mucosal surfaces, among a number of other part son the body. With this comes blisters, ulcers, pain while urinating, cold sores, and even vaginal discharge.

Cell based research performed in the laboratory as shown that the anti-viral compounds found within the Chaga mushroom can significantly reduce the severity of the herpes virus [6], although there is no human research to demonstrate whether this treatment method will transfer across to real world scenarios.

Does Chaga Mushroom Help the Immune System?

While there is no solid human research in this area, there has been plenty of studies performed on both human cells and animals that have shown some extremely promising results. In these studies, the Chaga mushroom has been shown enhance the function of key immune cells known as Interleukin-6 and T-lymphocytes – both of which modulate and enhance immune system function [7].

This early research does suggest that the Chaga mushroom may have the capacity to boost immune health in humans, while also assisting the immune system stave off any number of nasty diseases and illnesses.

Is Chaga Mushroom good for colds?

Now considering that the Chaga mushroom has shown some promise at improving the function of the immune system in its entirety, there is also reason to suggest that it may also help prevent and treat the common cold [7].

Although we should note that more thorough human research is needed before this can be said with any real certainty.

Does Chaga Mushroom Reduce Inflammation?

There is both animal and cell-based research that has shown that many of the anti-inflammatory compounds found within the Chaga mushroom have some capacity to cause significant declines in inflammation [8, 9].

While we would like to see some more human research into this area, the early signs are incredibly promising, suggesting that the Chaga mushroom may have the ability to reduce inflammation within the body while also reducing the risk of developing a number of inflammatory diseases in a big way.

Does Chaga Mushroom Help with Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is an infectious issue caused by a unique strain of bacteria known as Borrelia. This bacterium is transferred into the body when bitten by a carrier of that bacteria (most commonly, a tick). Interestingly, this bacterial infection can lead to cold and flu like symptoms, combined with joint inflammation and arthritis.

Given that the Chaga mushroom does exhibit anti-inflammatory and immune boosting effects [7,8], it may have the ability reduce the severity of Lyme disease, although there is currently no real evidence to suggest that this is the case.

Is Chaga Mushroom good for digestion?

There has been some interesting animal research demonstrating that the supplementation of Chaga mushroom in mice has the ability to supress oedema, reduce levels of digestive inflammation, and enhance the state of the gut microbiota [10, 11].

Through these interactions, it is highly likely that the Chaga mushroom will have some capacity to enhance digestive health and function in humans, although more research is needed.

Does Chaga Mushroom Help with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

MS is a neural condition that occurs when scars begin to develop within the central nervous system, interfering with the transmission of nerve impulses from the brain to the rest of the body.

The symptoms of MS are highly unpredictable as it depends entirely upon where scars form within the central nervous system, but it is likely to result in one of the following issues: a loss of motor control, excessive fatigue, vertigo, pins and needles, continence issues, and neuropsychological symptoms (such as memory loss, depression, and cognitive decline).

Unfortunately, even despite the healing properties of the Chaga mushroom, there is no research to suggest that it can help people with MS.

Does Chaga Mushroom Improve Physical Performance?

As the Chaga mushroom does contain potent adaptogenic properties (as discussed above in more detail), it has been hypothesised to improve tolerance to the stress placed on the body during exercise, and therefore enhance physical performance.

Interestingly, animal-based research has shown that mice provided with Chaga mushroom supplements can swim for much longer duration than those who are not, while also reducing lactic acid accumulation within their blood stream [12].

This suggest that the supplementation of Chaga mushroom may enhance endurance exercise performance by improving your capacity to buffer lactate within the body – although more research is needed to demonstrate this effect in humans.

Does Chaga Mushroom Help with Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a specific skin disease that results in the skin losing its colour in small sections, in which it can become quite blotchy in appearance. Vitiligo is quite unpredictable, as it can affect any part of the body and vary in severity from person to person.

Interestingly, there is lab based research to suggest that the Chaga mushroom may improve the health and quality of skin cells, reversing some unwanted pigmentation [13]. While this is only a small step in the right direction, it does indicate that this mushroom may have the potential to improve vitiligo, although again, more human research is needed.

Does Chaga Mushroom Help with Thyroid issues?

Thyroid issues are quite common throughout the population, resulting in large alterations to human metabolism, and subsequently, metabolic health. Unfortunately, there is no research to suggest that the Chaga mushroom can impact thyroid health at this time.

Does Chaga Mushroom Help with Diabetes?

Type II diabetes is a disease typified by large and chronic increases in resting blood sugar and resting blood cholesterol, combined with a developed resistance to the hormone insulin. Additionally, an accumulation of oxidative stress is also thought to contribute to the onset of diabetes.

With this in mind, studies performed in mice have shown that the supplementation of Chaga mushroom can lead to significant reductions in resting blood sugar and blood cholesterol, both of which are known contributors to the onset of diabetes [14].

Additionally, the Chaga mushroom also contains a key molecule known as PPARy that has been shown to reduce insulin resistance in a very big way, thus improving the body’s ability to manage blood sugar levels [15].

Through this research there is evidence to suggest that the Chaga mushroom may have the ability to help treat diabetes, but human research is still needed to demonstrate this with any real clarity.

Are Chaga Mushrooms an Antioxidant?

Chaga mushrooms have been shown to have some of the most potent antioxidant properties of all mushrooms.

Within this, cell research performed in the laboratory has shown that the Chaga mushroom can cause huge reductions in oxidative damage caused by harmful chemicals, while also protecting from the harmful damage caused by free radicals (further protecting the cells from oxidative damage) [16].

Will Chaga Mushrooms Help with Hair Loss?

Despite many people suggesting that the consumption of the Chaga mushroom does have the potential to promote hair growth and increase hair quality, there is no research to suggest that this is the case in any capacity.

Does Chaga Mushroom Help with Weight Loss?

While there is no human evidence to support the use of Chaga mushroom for weight loss, there is one animal based study that has shown some promising results.

This study showed that mice who were both fed an extremely high energy diet and provided Chaga mushroom limited the amount of weight they gained significantly in comparison to those mice who were fed the same diet without the addition of the mushroom. This also came with significantly lower levels of blood cholesterol levels [17].

This suggest that the Chaga mushroom may have the ability to prevent weight gain, and maybe promote weight loss – although human research is needed in this area.

Does Chaga Mushroom Help with Candida?

Candida is a common type of yeast infection that can affect the mouth, intestinal tract, and vagina. Candida itself is a type of fungus that actually assists with nutrient absorption within the gut, but unfortunately, when it begins to overproduce it can break down the walls of the intestine and penetrate the bloodstream, leading to illness and digestive dysfunction (among a host of other issues).

While the Chaga mushroom does contain some potent anti-microbial properties, there is no research to suggest that it can help treat candida.

Does Chaga Mushroom help with Migraines?

While many individuals have suggested that the Chaga mushroom can even help treat and improve migraines, there is no research to suggest that is the case.

How can I take Chaga Mushrooms?

Chaga mushroom is commonly provided in powdered form, which is hands down the easiest way to take the product.  Within this, it can be taken via a capsule, or mixed into hot liquid (it will not dissolve in cold liquids).

It is also quite common for people to make Chaga mushroom tea, where chunks of dried Chaga mushroom are brewed with hot water to create a warm Chaga tea. While this is the preference for some individuals, it important to note that it may not be quite as potent as some of the Chaga extract observed in various supplements.

With this in mind, supplement forms tend to be both more potent and more effective.

How much Chaga mushroom should I take?

For supplement products, anywhere between 200mg and 1000mg of Chaga mushroom extract appears to be suitable for a single serving, as this has demonstrated the capacity to boost health. For those interested is preparing Chaga tea, using approximately 10 grams worth of Chaga chunks should be more than enough to brew a potent cup that contains an abundance of health boosting properties.

Product reviews

Given the rather unique health profile of the Chaga mushroom, and its obvious benefits for health, we wanted to offer some options that you can start implementing into your lives immediately. Each of these products offer us with an excellent option, in which they collectively make up what we believe to be the best three Chaga mushroom supplements available on the market today.

Host Defence Chaga Mushroom Capsules

Host defence are a company that have really been leading the charge when it comes to all-natural health products. They use high quality ingredients that have scientific evidence to support their use, combined with excellent production processes.

And their Chaga mushroom supplement is a fine example of this.

Host Defense - Chaga Mushroom Capsules, Antioxidant and DNA Support for Protection Against Free Radical Damage, Non-GMO, Vegan, Organic, 60 Count

Providing 1000mg of Chaga mushroom extract per serve in an easy to take capsule, this is both one of the most potent and convenient options on this list. An excellent choice.

Sayan Chaga Extract Capsules

This Chaga mushroom extract by Sayan is an excellent choice. This particular option provides you with 420mg of pure Siberian Chaga extract per capsule, giving you everything you need to enhance health quickly and efficiently.

Sayan Siberian Chaga Mushroom Extract Supplement 90 Vegetarian Capsules 420mg each – Wild-Harvested Dietary Supplement for Immune System Support + Natural Energy Boost - Non-GMO, Gluten Free

As an added bonus, this option has 90 capsules per container, and comes in at a very affordable price point. This makes ideal for those individuals who are looking for a long-term option that won’t break the bank.

​​​​Maine USA Chaga Mushroom Tea Chunks

These Chaga mushroom chunks by Maine are designed with the sole intent of making Chaga mushroom tea. These have been locally sourced within the US and offer us some of the highest quality chunks on the market.,

Maine USA Chaga Mushroom Premium Tea Chunks, 4oz, Wild Harvested, 34-50 Servings

For those looking to supplement Chaga through tea, this is hands down the best option available at the moment.

Does have the Chaga mushroom have any known side effects?

For the most part, the Chaga mushroom is quite safe for regular consumption in those individuals who have no issues to speak of and are not currently taking any medication.

But there are some circumstances where its consumption can be inherently dangerous.

Firstly, the Chaga mushroom is known to magnify the effects of anticoagulant medications such as aspirin and warfarin, which can lead to thinning of the blood, greatly increasing your risk of both bleeding and bruising.

Secondly, many of the compounds found within the Chaga mushroom have also been shown to interact with many diabetes medications, in which they can cause blood sugar to drop too low, resulting in an issue known as hypoglycaemia.

Furthermore, due to the limited research performed on the Chaga mushroom in both infants and pregnant women, we recommend you avoid its use in these populations. Given much of the research surrounding the use of the Chaga mushroom in animal populations, we can assume it is safe for animal consumption, although cannot be 100% certain.

Conclusion

When it comes to health boosting fungus, the Chaga mushroom truly is king. Demonstrating the ability to reduce the risk of developing diabetes, improve skin health and function, increase the effectiveness of the immune system, and even prevent the development and formation of cancerous tissue, it is one of the most potent natural remedies on the planet.

If you have had any experience using the Chaga mushroom to boost health, we would love to hear about it – so please drop us a comment ad we will get back to you as soon as we can!

References

About the author

Sabrina Wilson

Sabrina Wilson is an author and homemaker who is passionate about a holistic approach to health. When she is not writing she can be found tooling around in her garden with the help of her appropriately named dog Digby, bicycling in the park, and occasionally rock climbing…badly. Sabrina is a staff writer for the Organic Daily Post.

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