The chaga mushroom, which is scientifically known as inonotusobliquus, is a fungus that belongs to the Hymenochaetaceae family. You can find this fungal parasite growing on birch trees and feeding on them. Due to the huge amount of melanin present in this mushroom, it has a black color. It looks like a cracked mass resembling a burnt piece of wood clinging to the tree whose size can almost be same as that of a human head. Like any medicinal mushroom, even this variety needs to be treated with either alcohol or water to break its tough wall and make it ready for human consumption. This change mushroom was in use ever since World Wars I and II as an alternate of coffee. Recently, you can see that mushroom tea and coffee have gained huge popularity.
The list of benefits
The chaga powder has a huge range of benefits:
Supports the immunity system–Due to the presence of
quantity of Beta-D-Glucans,
mushroom helps in balancing the response of the body’s immunity system. It activates the cells responsible for developing immunity and fighting against the cells which can initiate cancer.
·Soothing properties – It helps in soothing the blood vessels at times of irritation. It proves to be helpful in case of diabetes, pain and even neuropathy.
·Gastritis and ulcers –Due to its power of boosting the immunity system, it is also used to support the gastrointestinal health. Also the root cause of most ulcers is some type of bacteria like Helicobacter pylori. So if you have a well-functioning immune system then you can fight it easily.
·Normalizes the cholesterol level and blood pressure –Studies say, the betulinic acid present in chaga helps in breaking down the bad cholesterol in your bloodstream.
·Antimicrobial activity–The chemical activity of the ingredients of chaga reflects high level of antimicrobial and antioxidant activity.
·Protection against DNA damage –As per the studies, to induce oxidative stress, some cells were pretreated with chaga mushroom extract and then next treated with H202. It was noticed, that the pretreated cells were less damaged.
·Displays antiviral properties –Chaga mushrooms are seen to be protective against tough skin blemishes.
Where to find
Chaga mushrooms are a rare variety and not found easily. You will find them growing on birch trees, hence they are sometimes also known as birch mushroom. Since they prefer cold weather, you will find them normally growing in wet areas near the rivers or streams. Chaga mushrooms are found in northern parts of countries like Poland, Russia, Scandinavia, Canada etc. You can spot them easily in winters when there are no leaves on the trees.
How to use
Chaga powder is available in a fine powdery form which can be easily added to your favorite drink. Add it to your drink like juices, tea, coffee and smoothies. You can also add it to soups, sauces, salad dressings or even sprinkle on other dishes. Take half or one teaspoon of the powder and mix it to warm water then add some coconut milk or almond with a pinch of cinnamon to enjoy a creamy delicious tea.