Chaga Mushroom, referred to in Japan as “the diamond in the forest”, is one of natures powerful anti-oxidants and has been used for its believed medicinal properties since the 16th century with key benefits promoting immune support, longevity and health.
What is Chaga Mushroom?
Chaga Mushroom also known as Inonotus obliquus, is a fungus that is formed slowly over time as it takes in the nutrients on birch trees. It has an appearance of burnt charcoal due to the presence of massive amounts of Melanin.
Once the mushroom has matured, it is filled with phytochemicals and nutrients that are considered to be the most potent antioxidants available in nature, even topping green tea.
It is found in the birch forests of Korea, Russia, Siberia, Northern Europe, Alaska and even Canada and the United States. It has been used in Russia for centuries as a folklore medicine to treat cancer.
In Norwegian, the name for this mushroom is called kreftkjuke and actually translates to “cancer polypore” due to its appearance or medicinal properties. In Japan and China, it is referred to as a diamond in the forest and the king of all plants.
It is also considered an adaptogen, which is thought to protect the body from the effects of stress.
Benefits of Chaga Mushroom As an Antioxidant
Chaga Mushroom still needs more research to support its uses in Western medicine however it is thought to contain many health benefits. In regards to immune support and as an antioxidant, it is thought to be superior.
Although research is still ongoing, it is observed that Chaga Mushroom contains powerful antioxidants due to its high content of SOD (superoxide dismutase) which is also important for cleansing the liver.
This is an enzyme that is found in all living cells and is used by the body to break down potentially damaging oxygenated molecules that may damage tissues. These molecules are called free radicals and they may be one of the primary causes of the aging process.
Also, it is currently being researched as to whether SOD can prevent the advancement of certain diseases that may be caused by free radical damage.
SOD is observed to be used for removing wrinkles and supporting cellular regeneration which may extend the length of your life.
SOD potency is measured by something called the S-ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity). Chaga Mushroom also contains high levels of Melanin, another powerful antioxidant and immune supporter and that gives Chaga the highest ORAC score for antioxidants ever found in a food from nature.
Although SOD can be found in supplements on their own, there is no evidence that it is absorbed easily in the body. Taking Chaga Mushroom may help boost SOD levels, especially in Chaga extract form or as a tea, where it is noted to be much more concentrated and easily absorbed by the body. It can also be taken in tablets.
Benefits of Chaga Mushroom For the Immune System
Chaga is thought to contain high levels of Beta-D-Glucans which are not produced in the body. These are considered weapons for keeping you healthy by boosting the immune systems’ response to infections and diseases including cancer.
Although more research is needed to be done on its effectiveness and relation to Chaga, it is thought that these compounds warrant further investigation.
Chaga is also thought to contain Polysaccharides, these are common sources of stored energy that we get from food and is also used by the body to improve cell structure.
Polysaccharides support cardiovascular health, immunity health, liver health and healthy blood sugar levels. Also, they improve energy levels and reduce fatigue and may even improve your mood since they increase feel good chemicals in the brain.
Benefits of Chaga Mushroom For Stress Support
Chaga is considered an adaptogen, a natural substance that calms the nervous system by supporting the body in combating stress and restoring balance. Chronic stress, puts you at risk for developing diseases that may be preventable.
The phytochemicals including various minerals, phenols, flavonoids and certain B complex vitamins such as B2, B3 and B5 found in this mushroom are thought to have adaptogenic functions.
When stress levels are out of control, the body needs to have a defense mechanism to potentially prevent damage. In Russia, they consider Chaga a powerful adaptogen and it is believed to be used by soldiers and astronauts and others who are under pressure to potentially gain physical and mental advantages.
Chaga Mushroom For Cognitive Functions
Chaga Mushroom extract may have beneficial effects on cognition in regards to chemically induced cognitive dysfunction, based on animal studies. It may help to restore Acetylcholine during oxidative stress.
Side Effects of Chaga Mushroom
Chaga Mushroom is considered well tolerated by most and side effects have not been reported as far as we have researched.
However, there is some reported evidence that it may interact with certain medications. If you are taking any medications associated with reducing blood clotting such as aspirin or warfarin or any blood thinning medications, you should not take Chaga Mushroom.
Also, if you are taking insulin or medications that balance blood sugar levels, you should not take Chaga Mushroom. It is also not recommended for pregnant or breast feeding women.
It is always best to consult your doctor first if you are taking other medications or have chronic diseases before taking Chaga Mushroom supplementation.
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