The Health Benefits of Chaga Tea
The chaga mushroom is a star in the fungi field, and for good reason. Commonly used in mushroom coffee and tea, the chaga mushroom is full of numerous awesome health benefits. Considered a powerful superfood and immune-boosting antioxidant, the chaga mushroom (Inonotus Obliquus) can be found growing on birch trees throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Chaga mushrooms have the highest Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity (ORAC) score, which means it has the most antioxidants ever recorded by a natural food. When compared to other foods that are rich in antioxidants (think acai, pomegranates, and blueberries), chaga mushrooms are far and away the most powerful.
What Are Chaga Mushrooms?
The chaga mushroom has been around for centuries and used by people in the East for its many wonderful health benefits. The most common form of chaga mushroom consumed is tea, which is the best way for people to access its benefits. In recent years Western cultures have clued into the wonderfulness that is the chaga mushroom, leading natural health nuts and medical providers alike to boast about its great health properties.
Technically speaking, chaga mushrooms are a highly-concentrated mass of mycelium found on birch trees. Chaga mushrooms are a non-toxic parasitic fungus characterized by their dark, tough, cracked exterior. Many even liken them to a chunk of burnt charcoal. When cracked open, chaga mushrooms feature a yellowish brown color. All things considered, chaga mushrooms are not so easy to find. They are often mistaken for knots in the birch tree or even burnt patches. In some circles chaga is even referred to as birch mushrooms, so if you hear this term thrown around just know they are talking about chaga mushrooms. In most cases, chaga grow on birch trees that are at least 40 years old. However, the fungus infection usually starts much earlier. Once the tree become infected, it will take about 3 to 5 years for the chaga to be at a point where it can be harvested sustainably. After it is harvested, chaga will take about 3 to 10 years until it is at a harvestable size once again. This cycle can repeat as many times as it wishes until the tree dies.
The trained eye can spot them in cold, wet habitats throughout the Northern Hemisphere, namely in northerly parts of Europe, Russia, Korea, Canada, and the United States. In the U.S., chaga can be found near Fairbanks, Alaska during the winter months. Our chaga tea is made from wild, fresh, sustainably-harvested chaga mushrooms picked in small batches, ensuring the highest quality so that you receive all the great benefits. They are easiest to spot in the winter when there are no leaves on the trees to obstruct your view.
Chaga mushrooms contain a many beneficial nutrients, including:
History of Chaga Mushrooms
As mentioned, chaga mushrooms have been highly regarded in the East for their healing powers and strong antioxidant properties. In 1955, Russia approved chaga mushrooms as a cancer-fighting fungi, which shows just how powerful they are considered. Numerous clinical studies have been performed over the last 60+ years regarding the benefits of chaga mushrooms across both Asia and Europe. Over the years there have been more than 1600 studies conducted on the benefits of chaga mushrooms, including research focused on its anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties, immune deficiencies and hormonal imbalance. In 1967 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn published a book called Cancer Ward, which is the first time the West learned about the benefits of chaga.
Chaga Mushroom Facts
Before we dive into the health benefits of adding chaga mushroom tea tot your daily routine, let’s go over a few fun facts about the bountiful power mushroom:
- More than 5,300 years ago the icemen started using chaga as an herbal medicine
- 60 years ago Finns started to use chaga as a replacement for coffee
- 100 years ago Northern Europeans began incorporating chaga into their holistic medicine
- There are 215 phytochemicals identified in chaga mushrooms
- Approximately 46 medicines use chaga
From boosting your immune system to fighting off harmful diseases, there are so many reasons why chaga tea should become a part of your everyday routine.
What Are the Health Benefits of Chaga Mushroom Tea?
Now that we’ve looked at what, exactly, chaga mushrooms are and where they can be found, it’s time to dive into all the great health benefits. We’ve mentioned chaga’s antioxidant superpowers several times already, and we really can’t drive that point home enough. When looked at in comparison to other antioxidant-rich foods like quinoa, avocado, and goji berries, the chaga mushroom is by far the best. So, what’s the big deal? For starters, chaga is an adaptogen, immune system booster, gastrointestinal supporter, DNA-shielding agency, and cancer fighter that is accessible to all, and affordable. It’s many purifying, detoxifying properties have been recognized for centuries, resulting in people throughout Russia and Siberia, namely, to drink chaga tea on a regular basis. According to researchers, chaga mushrooms are said to do the following:
- Calm the nervous system
- Stimulate the immune system
- Reduce blood sugar
- Fight diabetes
- Have a positive impact on ulcers and other gastrointestinal diseases
- Fight lung, cervical, and liver cancer
Let’s now take a closer look at some of the most incredible benefits of chaga mushrooms:
- Provides support for the body’s immune system - One of the top benefits of chaga is that it helps balance and support the immune system. When body is fighting off a cold or other attack, chaga can step in and give it a much-needed boost. Because of this, chaga is considered a natural Biological Response Modifier (BRM) that is powerful enough to activate immune cells that fight off cancer and other unwelcome diseases.
- Can both prevent and treat cancer - Countless studies have uncovered the powerful properties of chaga in regards to fighting and preventing numerous types of cancer, including lung, cervical, and liver. While Russia approved chaga for public use pertaining to treating cancer some 60 years ago, Western scientists are beginning to catch on and take its healing properties more seriously. Because chaga is so rich in antioxidants, it is able to prevent cell damage caused by free radicals and cancer-carrying cells. Furthermore, chaga can also slow the growth of tumors without harming healthy cells.
- Has many soothing, supportive properties - Chaga also works to support the body’s blood vessels and can be extremely helpful in times of stress or for those suffering from pain and neuropathy.
- Helps with gastrointestinal problems and ulcers - Chaga has so many great immune-boosting properties, which is something that allows it to support gastrointestinal health. In Eastern cultures, chaga has been used for centuries to stave off ulcers and provide well-rounded support for the entire digestive system.
- Slows the aging process - Oxidative stress is one of the top contributors to physical signs of aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin, and grey hair. The aging process is often made worse by exposure to the sun, pollution, and other scenarios that allow free radicals to enter the body. Those who drink chaga tea regularly are able to fight off these free radicals and in turn slow the aging process.
- Helps prevent side effects from certain drugs - Another new study indicates that chaga can be effective in preventing side effects associated with drugs and treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation.
- Lowers cholesterol - Similar to other antioxidants, chaga mushrooms can help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol. Furthermore, chaga can help fight cardiovascular disease because of this.
- Fights inflammation - People suffer from inflammation every single day for a host of reasons, whether from stress, sports injury, or illness. In many instances inflammation can result in a chronic health problem, decreasing an individual’s overall quality of life. There are also numerous chronic conditions linked to inflammation, including rheumatoid arthritis. Research indicates chaga can help fight and control inflammation because it is able to regulate cytokine production. This means that chaga not only fights inflammation, but can stop autoimmune conditions from developing.
- Lowers blood sugar and fights diabetes - A relatively recent study found that chaga can help lower blood sugar and, in turn, fight diabetes. While this information is somewhat fresh and we are still learning how chaga can fight diabetes, the research is promising.
- Boasts antiviral properties - A handful of studies have been conducted that indicate chaga mushrooms have antiviral properties. Along these same lines, several studies have shown that chaga can provide support against skin blemishes and other similar conditions.
- Improves physical endurance and energy - Last but certainly not least, chaga has been proven to help with energy levels and improve physical endurance. A study conducted on mice showed they were able to swim longer after taking chaga and were less fatigued after physical exertion.
As you can see, chaga is extremely beneficial and can help in many different aspects of our lives. While some of the studies are still in their infancy, the results are extremely promising and chaga’s antioxidant properties are very well known. Even if you aren’t taking chaga tea to fight cancer, your body will definitely be thanking you for including a cup (or three!) of chaga tea in your daily routine.
Why Chaga Tea?
Chaga comes in several different forms (including tincture, chunks, and tea), but herbal tea is far and away the most popular. Please keep in mind that chaga is not a substitute for other forms of medical care, but it can offer additional support for the body through its many wonderful antioxidant properties. Both mushroom tea and coffee are gaining popularity right now, and for good reason. While many teas include other medicinal mushrooms such as cordyceps, reishi, lion’s mane, and turkey tail, our tea is 100% chaga. Chaga tea can be brewed either hot or cold - the taste remains the same so it’s up to your personal preference!
If you are still on the fence, we encourage you to reach out and inquire about our chaga offerings. We sell chaga tea in both bag and chunk form, allowing you to choose which best fits your needs. We soon expect chaga to become a household name when talking about superfoods and antioxidants, just like acai, matcha, and moringa. Stay one step ahead of the trend and try out chaga tea for yourself today! People have been using chaga mushrooms for centuries in Northern European countries and Russia, and it is about time the West caught on. As we write this blog, research studies are continuing to be conducted in an effort to support what these cultures have known for thousands of years. Right now, the research is incredibly promising in regards to how chaga mushrooms can address a wide range of serious health concerns. We encourage you to check out our chaga selection here and let us know if we can answer any questions about what form of chaga is best for your needs. Happy sipping!