Chaga is not your ordinary mushroom. To find it, you have to look up instead of down. It grows in northern regions on birch trees. This singular growth habit is what makes Chaga so special. The health benefits that come from Chaga are a direct result of its growth on birch trees.
How Chaga Grows
It can take Chaga as long as twenty years to develop. Its growth often begins inside an injured tree. It develops under the bark and then a mycelium bursts out of the tree at maturity, in the form of a charred looking conk. This is why Chaga is often found on aging birch trees, rather than in young stands. As the fungus grows it concentrates components from the birch tree into a form that can be extracted from the Chaga and ingested by your body. These components include betulinic acid, a variety of antioxidants, and melanin.
Chaga Health Benefits
You cannot eat Chaga directly because it is found in very hard conks. When harvested, they can be broken into chunks. The chunks can be steeped, ground into a powder (which is also steeped for tea), or made into an extract. This preparation of Chaga is what makes the powerful, healthy components bioavailable, or able to be used by the body. Drinking Chaga tea as part of your daily routine will allow you to experience all of the Chaga health benefits.
Chaga is one of the few natural foods containing betulinic acid. Many studies are currently being performed to determine the beneficial effects of betulinic acid. However, it is becoming evident that betulinic acid combats abnormal growth in certain cells, while leaving healthy cells unaffected.
If you are looking for huge amounts of antioxidants, look no further than Chaga. The health benefits of antioxidants, especially from naturally derived sources are numerous. We all know about superfoods such as blueberries, pomegranates, or kale. The amount of antioxidants in Chaga is significantly greater than most foods.
The ORAC test was developed by the USDA to determine the level of antioxidants in various foods.
Superfoodly points out that the ORAC test for Chaga can vary greatly from batch to batch, depending on harvest and processing. The highest tested Chaga had a value of 146,700 μ mol TE/100g. While this number may be significantly more than what most batches of Chaga will test at, it certainly demonstrates the powerful capabilities of Chaga mushrooms.
Beta-D-Glucans are a another component in Chaga that offer healthy benefits. These powerful polysaccharides work to regulate the immune system. When the immune system is overactive or non-responsive your body will not feel well. Function at your best and help ward off common ailments during cold season with the help of Beta-D-Glucans.
Soothing stomachs is also a common use for Chaga tea. It can address indigestion and help regulate the digestive system.
Chaga mushrooms offer a variety of health benefits. They have been used in folk medicine for various ailments throughout history. See how Chaga can improve your overall health and well being when you include it in your daily health routines.