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What is Chaga Mushroom, and What does it do to your body & mind?

Chaga mushroom is a fungus that grows as a parasite on the trunks of Birch Trees and others and is primarily black in colour. Chaga belongs to the “Agaricomycetes” class and the family of “Hymenochaetaceae.”

The effects of Chaga mushroom on the body include stimulating the body’s immune function, reducing blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and helping with cancer and blood pressure.

The effects of Chaga on the mind include improving the brain’s functionalities and improving the memorizing and learning capacity of the brain.

This article is about Chaga mushrooms and their effects on your body and mind. It further discusses the benefits of Chaga mushrooms, Chaga recipes and different supplements.

What is Chaga Mushroom?

What is Chaga Mushroom?

Chaga is a type of fungus that grows as a parasite on the trunks of Birch Trees and soaks the nutrients from the wood of the trunk. Chaga is mainly found in the northern part of the world, including Canada, the United States of America, Serbia, and Russia.

Chaga mushrooms have been used medicinally in Siberia, other northern European countries, and Asian countries for centuries in order to boost immunity and improve overall health.

Chaga has a combination of two colours: the outer layer consists of coal black, while the inner part consists of gold and brown.

Chaga Mushroom Identification

Chaga mushrooms have a distinctive appearance, making them fairly easy to identify:

Exterior:

  • Colour: Hard, black, charcoal-like surface, often cracked and irregular, resembling burnt wood.
  • Texture: Rough, sometimes scaly, not soft or squishy like typical mushrooms.

Interior:

  • Colour: Golden-orange, cork-like interior, unlike the dark wood of tree burls.
  • Texture: Woody, crumbly, requires some force to cut.

Location:

  • Grows primarily on birch trees, especially in cold climates.
  • Appears as a lump or mass protruding from the trunk or branches.

Its colour varies as it grows; for example, when it is very young, brown takes up the maximum portion of the inner part, while the golden colour is in small amounts. As it grows, the maximum portion of the inner part shifts towards the golden colour, and the brown colour becomes smaller in terms of the portion covered. 

Note: Identifying wild mushrooms accurately is crucial for safety. While these features point towards chaga, double-checking with a field guide or experienced forager is highly recommended before consuming any wild mushroom.

Detailed Scientific Classification of Chaga Mushroom

Detailed Scientific Classification of Chaga Mushroom
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  • Kingdom: Fungi
  • Division: Basidiomycota
  • Class: Agaricomycetes
  • Order: Hymenochaetales
  • Family: Hymenochaetaceae
  • Genus: Innotus
  • Binomial Name: Inonotus obliquus

Common names

Some common names of Chaga mushrooms are Cinder conk, black mass, Clinker Polypore and birch Canker Polypore. In Canada, it is mainly called the Sterile conk trunk rot of birch.

Find similar guides here: Ultimate Guide on Golden Teacher Mushrooms and Lion’s Mane Mushrooms.

Chaga Mushroom Effects on Body

Chaga has positive impacts on our body, including boosting the immune system and improving the blood regulatory systems.

According to an article by Medical News Today, Chaga consists of highly valuable proteins, vitamins and minerals. The article also suggests that Chaga also has antioxidant agents such as selenium, vitamin C, and choline. All these nutrients help regulate blood pressure, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

According to an article by Wellgard, Chaga is a stimulant and is often used in place of morning coffee. It helps regulate the body’s stress system and provides a spark of energy in the morning after sleep. Thus, it is more impactful and natural than caffeine.

According to an article by Healthline, Chaga mushrooms help fight and reduce cancer growth and boost the body’s immune system.

Effect of Chaga in your brain

The effects of Chaga on your brain include improved memory and learning ability. It has nutrients and chemicals that regulate blood flow smoothly to the brain, thus helping to increase memory. Chaga can reduce amyloid protein in the human brain if found in excess and reduce the risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s.

According to an article by Dr Will Cole, Chaga mushrooms are able to improve the learning and memory capacity of the people facing the problem of Amnesia. Memory is improved due to the ability of Chaga to reduce oxidative stress in the brain.

Chaga Mushroom Benefits

Benefits of Chaga Mushroom

The benefits of the Chaga mushroom include antioxidant effects in our body, lowered blood sugar levels, inhibited cancer growth, boosted immune system, and reduced inflammation.

Antioxidant effects

In naturally occurring mushrooms, the Chaga has the highest concentration of antioxidants, which shows that it is highly rich in antioxidants.

Consuming Chaga mushrooms helps us maintain a balance of oxidants and free radicals in our bodies.

The level of antioxidants in our body can be measured with the help of the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbancy Capacity) score. A person consuming Chaga mushrooms has an ORAC score of 146700, which is 1300 times more than the ORAC score of blueberries and 80 times higher than pomegranates.

Lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels

Chaga mushroom consists of various bioactive compounds such as lanosterol, inotodiol, betulinic acid, and botulin that help minimize the risk of lower HDL cholesterol levels.

Chaga mushrooms improve the health of people suffering from pre-diabetes, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. It increases the storage level of glucose instead of regulating the blood. This is done by increasing the hepatic glycogen levels.

A person suffering from bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and malondialdehyde can consume the mushroom and increase the good cholesterol in the body.

Supports the Immune System 

Chaga mushrooms have a strong ability to support the human body’s immune system. It contains immune-modulating chemicals such as beta-glucans, which help maintain the white cells and regulate the immune cell-signalling events in the body.

It also manages the T cells’ activities, which specialize in finding and destroying the mutated cells. These mutated cells are eliminated by fighting harmful bacteria, and this fighting ability is provided by the xylogalactoglucan and polysaccharide compounds present in the mushroom.

Prevents and slows cancer growth

Chaga is capable of handling and reducing the effects of almost every type of cancer, such as liver cancer, human colon cancer, and lung cancer.

Chaga is successful in slowing the growth of cancer cells in the breast, cervix and lung. This is mainly done with the help of the mushroom’s ergosterol and peroxide.

Traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation result in harming non-cancerous cells and causing extreme problems to the body, such as loss of hair. Chaga mushrooms are the best choice to overcome this problem as they do not harm healthy, non-cancerous cells.

Reduce inflammation

Chaga mushroom is the ultimate solution to reduce inflammation as Chaga produces cytokines. These cytokines are crucial molecules that help in reducing inflammation.

Chronic inflammation is a type of long-term inflammation that is mainly related to heat-based diseases such as cancer. Chaga provides a protection and fighting spirit to the body to cure long-term inflammation.

Chaga medicinal mushrooms have the unique property of anti-inflammatory, which is important in reducing the symptoms of psoriasis, which is a long-term inflammation skin disease.

Chaga Mushroom Side Effects

Risks and side effects of Chaga

Risks and side effects of Chaga include the following.

  • Excessive use of chaga can cause digestive diseases like diarrhea.
  • Chaga has high oxalate content, which can lead to the building of kidney stones in the body.
  • For high blood sugar levels, Chaga is highly recommended. However, people who have lower blood sugar levels should not consume Chaga because it increases the effects of insulin, and this can put your body at risk of hypoglycemia.
  • Some blood thinning medications may interact with it. Additionally, chaga has the potential to influence blood clotting. So avoid dietary supplements with Chaga Fungus if you are taking any blood thinning medication.
  • Mixing chaga with alcohol and any other drug can infect the bloodstream, which is deadly.

How to take Chaga safely

To take Chaga safely, consider the following precautions while consuming Chaga, according to HealthLine.

  • Do not consume during Pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • Your body is suffering from autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Chaga is highly active and thus leads to an increase in the symptoms of autoimmune diseases.
  • You take anti-diabetic medicines, and consuming Chaga while suffering from diabetes is highly risky as it lowers blood sugar levels and can interfere with your medicine, thus putting your body in danger.
  • You are on medicines that help in regulating the blood.
  • Suffered or currently suffering from kidney stones.
  • Do not consume Chaga if you have any upcoming surgery. Chaga affects blood sugar levels and increases the risk of bleeding during and after surgery.

Chaga Mushroom Tea

Chaga Tea is a special tea that contains Chaga extract as one of the ingredients. Chaga extract can be used to make mushroom coffee as well.

Steps to prepare chaga tea include:

  • 4 tablespoons of Chaga tea
  • Water – 1 litre
  • Keep it on low flame for at least 3 hours. The maximum time that you can keep the water boiling for 4 tablespoons of chaga tea is 5 hours.
  • Boiling kills beta glucans due to high heat, so keep it on a low flame.
  • Chaga tea will be ready to serve. A temperature of 80 degrees Celsius is recommended for the best experience.

Chaga powder

Chaga powder is a powdered version of dried Chaga mushroom, and it is obtained after grinding dried Chaga into finer particles.

Chaga powder can be used for preparing Chaga tea, coffee, iced tea, chai latte, and hot chocolate.

Chaga mushroom supplements

Chaga supplements are another way you can consume Chaga mushrooms safely. Some of the best chaga mushroom supplements by Microdosify are described below.

1. Illuminate Minipack

Illuminate 5000 MG Minipack consists of a variety of functional mushrooms that explore the depth of your mind and help maintain a healthy body. The Illuminate is mainly designed for beginners who want to enjoy the health benefits of chaga mushrooms. The pack cost 65 CAD.

Each Illuminate tablet consists of key ingredients, including 500 mg of Golden Teacher, Lions Mane, Cordyceps, Chaga, and Reishi.

Steps to enjoy Illuminate 5000 MG Minipack include:

  • You should begin consuming Illuminate with a low dose, as this helps you find the correct dose.
  • Have it in calm and comfortable surroundings, as it is important to feel relaxed while having it.
  • The effects of microdose take some time to show their effects on the body, so you have to be patient.

2. Elevate 3500 MG Minipack

Elevate 3500 MG Minipack is a mixture of golden teacher and other functional mushrooms that help increase connection with nature and make the mind wise.

It helps keep the mind and body healthy as it does not have complex protocols; rather, it has pure enlightenment in a small pack. It cost 65 CAD.

The key ingredients in the Elevate 3500 MG Minipack include 350gm of Golden Teacher, Lions Mane, Cordyceps, Chaga, and Reishi.

Steps to enjoy Elevate 3500 MG Minipack include:

  • Begin consuming Illuminate with a low dose and gradually increase the dose as per your requirement.
  • Have the mushroom in a safe and comfortable environment.
  • You should set a goal you will achieve after completing the Elevate 3500 MG Minipack.
  • The effects of the mushroom take at least three weeks to show its effects on the body. Be patient and trust the process of Elevate 3500 MG Minipack.

Chaga mushroom gummies

Chaga mushroom gummies offer a convenient, tasty way to consume Chaga’s health benefits. Infused with potent extracts, they provide antioxidants and immune support in a chewable form.

Chaga mushroom capsules

Chaga mushroom capsules are a discreet, easy method of taking them in small doses. They offer precise dosing and concentrated benefits and are ideal for those preferring traditional supplement forms.

Chaga mushroom powder

Chaga mushroom powder is the most convenient way to take it. You can easily blend them into foods or drinks. It retains the mushroom’s nutritional profile, offering a natural, unprocessed option for health enthusiasts.

Chaga mushroom tincture

Chaga mushroom tinctures are a concentrated liquid form that makes it easy for the body to absorb quickly. For people who want to feel the effects quickly, they offer a strong dosage that is easy to change.

Chaga mushroom recipes

Chaga mushroom is utilized in making a whole lot of recipes. The 2 recipes are described below.

1. Chaga Coffee or Latte Recipe

The major substances in making chaga Coffe or Latte consist of 4 tablespoons of chaga tea, 2 tablespoons of chaga powder, one tablespoon of coconut, and honey or sugar.

Preparation procedure: Use a mixer to combine all the ingredients until all the ingredients turn out to be easy. Once mixed well, serve and revel in a chaga latte.

2. Chaga Mushroom Soup Recipe

The important elements to make chaga mushroom soup include 500mg of Chaga mushroom, two tablespoons of natural coconut oil, one onion, one carrot, cloves of chopped garlic and 4 cups of Chaga tea.

Preparation technique:

  • Pour coconut oil into a pan. Add and fry the Chaga mushrooms.
  • Add salt and pepper based totally on your desire.
  • Then, add greens like carrots, garlic, and onions.
  • After cooking for 10 minutes, add the chaga tea and maintain it on a medium flame for 15 minutes.
  • Mix the whole thing and permit it to mixture nicely. Serve and enjoy your Chaga mushroom soup.

FAQs

What is the Chinese name for chaga?

The Chinese name of Chaga is Bai Hua Rong.

What does chaga mushroom do?

Chaga mushrooms hold promise for boosting immunity, heart health, and brain function. Their antioxidants may fight inflammation, manage blood sugar, and even cancer (more research needed).

What is chaga mushroom good for?

Chaga mushrooms contain a lot of antioxidants. These antioxidants can improve heart health and brain function. They can also fight inflammation and cancer.

Is Chaga a Superfood?

Yes, chaga is a superfood. It has antioxidants and offers various health benefits that make it a superfood.

Is Chaga a real mushroom?

Yes, Chaga is a real mushroom, and it grows on the trunks of the tree such as Birch trees.

Can chaga be eaten raw?

Yes, Chaga can be eaten raw, but it is consumed more as tea and other forms such as coffee, latte, and soup.

What does Chaga taste like?

Chaga has a mild and woody taste, which is slightly more bitter than raw tea.

What does chaga smell like?

Chaga smells like an earthy flavour with a slight bitterness.

How much is Chaga worth?

Chaga mushrooms are trending in Canada, with prices ranging from a budget-friendly CA$13.50 for wild-harvested chunks to over CA$100 for concentrated extracts. Explore options like Tao Tea Leaf’s high-quality Canadian chaga or Nutridom’s convenient liquid mushroom extracts at Healthy Planet.

Compared to pricier European chaga at CA$92.50 per pound, Canadian wild chaga is a steal at CA$29.99! Choose your perfect chaga based on your needs and budget, and brew up some tea or add it to recipes to experience this natural remedy’s potential benefits.

Does chaga help hair growth?

The natural potential present inside the Chaga helps in hair growth.

Can Chaga damage kidneys?

Yes, Chaga can damage kidneys if consumed in excessive amounts due to the formation of kidney stones, which destroys the kidneys.

Final Thoughts

Chaga mushrooms are a special fungus known for their medicinal value, and they grow on the trunks of Birch trees. They offer various medical and therapeutic benefits, including lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, inhibited cancer growth, antioxidants, improved memory and learning ability, reduced inflammation, and improved immune system.

They have a few side effects, including the formation of kidney stones if used excessively, diarrhea, and interference with anti-diabetic medicines.

Sources

  • What are chaga mushrooms? Nutrition, benefits and risks. (2022, March 17)
  • Inonotus obliquus. Wikipedia. (2023, August 12).
  • Can You Use Mushrooms For Brain Health? by (2023, June 28) Cole, W
Author Microdosify

By Rachel Grey

I’m Rachel Grey, a Ph.D. psychologist specializing in psychedelic therapy with psilocybin and natural plant medicines. I obtained my doctorate from the University of Toronto, where I immersed myself in the study of these transformative therapies. With over 10 years of experience, let’s embark on transformative journeys of healing, growth, and self-discovery as we explore the power of psychedelic therapy together.

Updated on November 28, 2023