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Chaga

AKA Inonotus obliquus

Known as the “king of medicinal mushrooms”, Chaga is a potent antioxidant used for immune support, digestive health, and getting your body back in balance*.

History

Chaga grows naturally on dead or dying trees, and is widely distributed throughout the forests of Canada, Russia, and Northern Europe. Traditional use involved harvesting wild birch-grown Chaga and making a tea for treatment of certain types of cancers*. It has also been used for digestive disorders and skin health*.

Today, true Chaga is still wild harvested, since the beneficial compounds that make this mushroom so powerful depend on a complex relationship between the mushroom and the birch trees that it grows on.

chaga mushroom on birch

Chaga the champion

Like other functional mushrooms, Chaga is packed with powerful beta-glucans to support immune health*. But this do-it-all mushroom is also bursting with triterpenoids, antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals to support true whole-body wellness*.

Chaga mushroom on a table

The King Of Medicinal Mushrooms

On the outside, this “mushroom” doesn’t look all that impressive. But as the saying goes, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. And boy is there a lot on the inside of this one.

The King of Medicinal Mushrooms

Although it is often referred to as a mushroom, Chaga is technically a “sclerotia” – a mix of Inonotus obliquus mycelium and birch wood that forms a hardened black mass. Chaga is not a fast growing fungus, with the “sclerotia” taking between 3-5 years to fully form.

This relationship between the fungus and the tree is important for forming specific beneficial compounds that give Chaga its superpowers.

Technically, Chaga does have a true “fruiting body” but it is extremely rare, and it was a mystery of mycology for a long time!

Like all other medicinal mushrooms, Chaga is packed with fungal beta-glucans that support immunity*.

But Chaga also contains betulinic acid, an alcohol soluble triterpenoid with anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and potential anti-cancer properties*. [1]  

Chaga is also high in phenolic compounds, making it a powerful antioxidant*.[2]

Some of these compounds are water-soluble, and some are soluble in alcohol, which is why it is important for Chaga to be dual extracted in order to make all the beneficial compounds bio-available and reap the most benefit.

Research has shown that Chaga mushroom is a potent immune system modulator, due to the potentiation of the host immune system through regulation of cytokines*. [3]

In other words, when the immune system is over-reacting, Chaga is able to calm it down and attenuate the response*. On the flipside, if the immune system is underperforming, Chaga can help kick it into gear and more easily fight off bacteria or viruses*. Double bonus!

The immune-boosting effects of Chaga mushrooms are due to the presence of beta-glucans, a water-soluble compound found within the cell walls of the mushroom.

A well functioning immune system is a cornerstone of overall health, so it’s worthwhile to consider how Chaga might help*.

The black outer layer of the Chaga “sclerotium” contains a massively high concentration of melanin. [4] 

Because of this, extracts which include this part of the mushroom are powerful antioxidants, helping to protect the cells of the body from harmful free-radicals*.

These extracts may also help protect the body from other “oxidative” processes in general, which is why it has been used for anti-aging*.

Chaga has long been used as an aid to digestion, and may be useful in the settling of IBS*. [5]

Polysaccharides in Chaga have been found to be able to induce changes in the gut bacteria and promote a healthy gut bacterial profile*. [6]

One study of an alcohol extract of Chaga looked at patients with psoriasis that was exacerbated through gastrointestinal disorders. In a study of 50 patients, “Extensive psoriasis with massive plaques was completely cured in 14 patients, and improvements were mentioned for 2 patients*. Extensive psoriasis with localized plaques was completely cured in 16 patients, and improvements were mentioned for 3 patients*. Limited psoriasis lesions and erythrodermic lesions were completely cured in 5 and 3 patients, respectively*. Psoriasis-therapy with Chaga was especially successful where psoriasis occurred in combination with chronic inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, liver and biliary system*.” [7]

Where and how Chaga grows has a significant impact on the medicinal value of the mushroom. 

Efforts to cultivate the mushroom have mostly fallen short in an attempt to replicate the benefits of wild harvested Chaga.

“Cultivated” Chaga is typically just a culture of the mycelium grown on grain or on some other nutrified media, which is ineffective for Chaga.

That’s because many of the beneficial compounds within the mushroom are a result of the parasitic relationship between the Chaga and the host tree.

For example, betulinic acid is a medicinal compound found in wild harvested Chaga that has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties*. [8] It also is showing promise as a powerful anti-cancer agent, able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells*. The betulinic acid found in Chaga is actually a derivative of betulin, a compound found in birch trees, and is completely absent in cultivated Chaga which is not growing on birch.

Quality

Looking for the benefits of Chaga? You deserve the best. That’s why we craft our products from wild grown, organic Chaga, dual extracted to make the beneficial compounds available to you.

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Wild Grown Organic Chaga
Dual Extracted For Maximum Benefit
Tested For Quality and Safety
No Grain or Fillers