Siberian Magic Blog > Chaga Mushroom > Chaga Tea Benefits
Chaga Tea Benefits
Latest Tea | April 6, 2020
Chaga is a parasitic fungus characterized by its blacktop crust and brown-orangey, spongy core. Chaga is also known by many by it's lating name - Inonotus, which means 'fibrous ear' and obliquus, which means 'oblique' (spores). It belongs to the Hymenochetaceae family which infects hardwood trees like birches, making them the birch tree the host. The medicinal mushroom was identified and described by Persoon in 1801 but has been around primitively in Eastern Europe since the 12th century. Chaga mushrooms have been used in folk medicine to help treat a variety of health disorders and maintain wellness.
The Health Benefits of Drinking Chaga Tea
During the early 20th century, farmers in the northern hemisphere harvested the chaga mushroom and made their own aromatic hot chaga beverage and consumed it. Chaga is considered an adaptogen and a superfood. Adaptogens are found in medicinal herbs that support the body's natural ability to counteract stress. They possess compounds that both relax and stimulate. Chaga is also a fully-pledged superfood. It is not only fully packed with nutrients but also has a high antioxidant count that help fight free-radicals.
Chaga contains betulin and betulinic acid that are derived from the birch bark which are believe to help subside inflammation and suppress the growth of bacteria, particularly in oral disease by its actions on the lymphocytes. Aqueous extracts of chaga have been found to help decrease inflammation in colitis too. They also inhibit the action of inflammatory cytokines found in rheumatoid arthritis. Prolonged inflammation could cause chronic illnesses. Thus, drinking chaga tea regularly may help with inflammations.
Integr Cancer Ther. 2018 Sep; 17(3): 832–843. Published online 2018 Feb 27. doi: 10.1177/1534735418757912
The anti-tumor property of the chaga mushroom makes it a strong antioxidant. At present, chaga is being studied to see if it could have positive effects in suppressing cancer cells. Some studies in China and Japan have been made surrounding chaga extract and it's effect on tumors found in mice. A 2016 study found that chaga caused significant tumor suppressive effects. It also reduces toxicity and damage to healthy cells associated with chemotherapy and radiation. Chaga contains 3 compounds, namely inotodiol, betulin, and betulinic acid that prevent the proliferation of human free radical cells in skin, liver, ovaries, and lung carcinoma. Many chaga lovers are hoping that further research can be done on chaga to see if some components of this mushroom could be helpful in fighting cancer cells all while boosting the body's immune response.
Oncotarget. 2018 Jun 26; 9(49): 29259–29274. Published online 2018 Jun 26. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.25660
Studies using mice cells show that active compounds found in Chaga have anti-viral activity against viruses pathogenic to humans such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and hepatitis. They are targeting specific pathogens while inhibiting viral replication. Thus, the body's viral load is maintained in a state of hemostasis preventing to go beyond a limit where it suppresses the immune system.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2005 Sep; 2(3): 285–299. Research
Chaga metabolites increase immune response stimulation activity by promoting the production of white blood cells hence, curbing colds and other serious illnesses. Polysaccharides proteins found in the mushroom also modulate the body's immune response. This influences the host's response to specific microbial agents. For instance, the host may increase its immune response to a certain virus or the host may allow its body to utilize specific therapeutic agents like antibiotics. More research needs to be conducted to see if the consumption of chaga mushroom could help protect the body from some types of microbial invasion.
Integr Med (Encinitas). 2014 Feb; 13(1): 32–44. Research
Making Chaga Tea
Chaga mushroom can be purchased online or in natural food shops. They may be sold in chunks, elixir, extract, tea bags, or powdered form. However, if you live in the Northern hemisphere, you could find chaga mushrooms in the wild forests!
There are many methods to prepare wild-harvested chaga. You can divide the conk into medium-sized chunks or shatter them into smaller pieces using a hammer. You can also grind them into powder form using a decent blender. Breaking it more to pieces releases its medicinal properties and will leave you wanting more. Whichever type you may have, put the chaga pieces into a pot and bring to a boil. The longer you boil, the darker it gets. The end product is a deep red-caramel to a black color solvent that has slightly bitter bark taste. You can normally steep the chaga chunks a few more times to make sure you get all of the goodness out.
While there are millions of testimonies from real people who have experienced the powerful use of chaga to their health, the benefits of Chaga mushrooms have been studied clinically but not heavily in human subjects. Further clinical trials and studies are therefore required to confirm these claims. We recommend you follow Health Canada's recommendations for chaga consumption.
Notice to the Public
It does look like chaga mushrooms were given by the nature on purpose. However, mycologists and shroom-enthusiasts are quite worried about the over harvesting of chaga in the forests. Chaga mushrooms take years to decades to mature and fully develop. Therefore, unsustainable and irresponsible harvesting can destroy the ecosystem and the planet! Unlike other mushroom species, chaga is difficult to produce commercially. Remember, when harvesting chaga make sure to properly harvest by not removing the whole chaga growth and be sure to not over harvest or waste this sacred mushroom! Be sure to follow guidelines set forth by land conservation authorities as well your local governments.
Birch Moon Wellness Co.'s views on medicine, fungus and mushrooms may differ from the authors of these articles as well as some of the studies or authors cited herein.
Gery, Antoine, et.al. (2018). Chaga, a future potential medicinal fungus in oncology? A chemical study and a comparison of the cytotoxicity against human lung adenocarcinoma cells (A549) and human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B). Integrative Cancer Therapies.17 (3). https://dx.doi.org/10.1177%2F1534735418757912
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