Subscribe Today & Receive 15% Off

Search
< class="article__title title"> Chaga Mushroom Benefits: 13 Unique Reasons for Taking Chaga>
Chaga Mushroom Benefits: 13 Unique Reasons for Taking Chaga
Feb 10, 22
Tags: Chaga
This article has been vetted by the Onnit Advisory Board. Read more about our editorial process.
Author: Sony Sherpa

Chaga Mushroom Benefits: 13 Unique Reasons for Taking Chaga

When it comes to natural remedies, mushrooms are in a class of their own. They come in all shapes and sizes and boast a wide variety of benefits. Out of all the mushrooms out there, Chaga is one of the most beneficial. The Chaga mushroom boasts more than 13 benefits all of which have been scientifically proven. 

However, before you start using the Chaga mushroom, you might wonder: what does Chaga do to your body to be touted as the king mushroom? Or does Chaga have side effects? 

This article will explore Chaga benefits and potential side effects. Let’s dive into it!

What Is Chaga?

Chaga mushroom, crowned as the king of medicinal mushrooms, is a charcoal and rot-like fungus that grows on alder, cherry, maple, rowan, oak, and birch trees. Known by its scientific name, Inonotus obliquus, Chaga is one of the most highly revered medicinal fungi. 

Chaga mushrooms can be found all over the world. However, when it comes to the locations where the Chaga mushrooms are most common, you will find them in the northern hemisphere, particularly in Canada, North America, Alaska, Finland, Siberia, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Chaga mushrooms are also common in Japan. 

Contrary to popular belief, Chaga is not a pure mushroom. It can be considered to be a compact hardened mass of fungal mycelium. When the parasitic fungus, Inonotus obliquus, infects the hardwood trees, they form a sterile canker or conk.

The fungus degrades the three main biological constituents of the tree, lignin hemicellulose, and cellulose. This weakens the structure of the tree, allowing the Chaga to protrude from it.

Nicknamed the diamond of the forest, the Chaga mushrooms certainly do not look like one. The lumpy ash-like mushroom resembles the clinker left behind from burning coal. 

However, when we take a look at its numerous uses—from the Chaga uses for the skin to the Chaga benefits for the dogs—knowing why the mushroom is considered a diamond with its non-appealing appearance becomes easy. 

Chaga mushroom benefits have been touted for centuries.  Currently, there is scientific evidence to confirm the health benefits of the Chaga mushroom. 

Are you ready to see how an ideal Chaga mushroom dosage can benefit you? Read on to learn how this mushroom obtained from birch trees can improve your life. 

What Are The Benefits Of Chaga Mushroom?

    What Are The Benefits Of Chaga Mushroom?

    Many cultures have used Chaga mushrooms and their extracts for many centuries. The following benefits of Chaga mushroom make it a preferred health and wellness supplement around the world:

    • Maintenance of blood sugar levels
    • Improves the health of skin, liver, and stomach
    • Helps combat tiredness
    • Supports heart health
    • Increases energy, stamina, and endurance

    Chaga Mushroom Benefits: A Detailed Guide

    Chaga mushrooms are known for their myriad health benefits! The benefits of Chaga mushrooms include:

    1. Chaga Mushrooms Support Immune Function

    Chaga mushroom has powerful immune-supporting properties. The mushroom contains immune-modulating compounds like beta-glucans. They up-regulate the immune cell-signaling events and potentiate the cells of the immune system like Natural Killer (NK) cells.

    Chaga mushrooms are also known to help the white blood cells perform their duty in the body—these white blood cells help the body fight everything from harmful bacteria to other disease-causing organisms that may enter the human body. While fighting harmful bacteria, the mushroom also helps the body get rid of mutated cells too.  

    Chaga mushrooms enhance the activity of helper T cells which search for and destroy the mutated cells. The xylogalactoglucan polysaccharide in the mushroom induces programmed cell death (1)in infected and cancer-ridden cells.

    Hot water extracts of Chaga improve the underperforming immune system. It has also been shown to down-regulate (2) an overacting immune response.

    Research information shows that one of the Chaga mushrooms' benefits is their ability to produce cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that regulate the immune system by acting as chemical messengers. 

    Effective communication between the cells of the immune system leads to its strengthening. These cytokines also stimulate the production of white blood cells which combats inflammation and infections thus supporting good immune health and functions.

    2. Chaga Combats Inflammation

    One of the best herbal supplements, Chaga is a good holistic solution for combating inflammation. We now know that  Chaga produces beneficial cytokines, which are vital molecules that help control inflammation

    Hence, Chaga plays a key role in the inflammatory process. This anti-inflammatory property (3) of the mushroom is also vital in reducing the symptoms of psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease.

    In animal studies, the mushroom has shown its effectiveness in inhibiting inflammatory cytokines. This goes a step further to show how effective the Chaga ingredients and compounds are when it comes to preventing inflammation.  

    Long term inflammation (chronic inflammation) has been linked to a variety of health conditions that range from rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease to even cancer. This means that by just taking Chaga for its inflammation protection benefits, you could be avoiding a large number of health problems. 

    As noted above inflammation is often linked to a group of complicated health conditions. This means that the Chaga anti inflammatory effects play a significant role in protecting users from diseases that can worsen their lives significantly. If you are trying to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health, taking Chaga for just its anti inflammatory effects might be a good idea. 

    3. Chaga Mushroom Protects From Stress

    One of the lesser-known benefits of Chaga mushroom powder is that it can fight stress. 

    Chaga belongs to the adaptogen mushroom family. Adaptogen supports the body’s homeostasis and helps the body to respond to stress.

    Chaga pairs well with other mushrooms that tend to help with depression and anxiety. For example, human research shows that you can use Lion's mane for depression. Also, you can use Lion's mane for anxiety. What's even better, you can combine Lion's mane and Chaga to get maximum stress-relieving benefits. 

    4. Chaga Improves Heart Health

    Chaga Improves Heart Health

    When incorporated into a healthy diet, one benefit of Chaga tea is protecting the heart against ailments. 

    The bioactive compounds in Chaga like betulin, betulinic acid, inotodiol, lanosterol, and trametonolic acid lower blood cholesterol levels (4). The mushroom lowers cholesterol, triglycerides, and malondialdehyde and increases the good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood.

    The mushroom knows how to create a distinction between good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol). The medicinal properties of the Chaga mushroom allow it to reduce LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol.  These cholesterol-balancing effects of Chaga mushrooms reduce the risk of heart disease

    An effective solution for people dealing with excessive body weight, Chaga tea helps with weight loss. The mushroom enhances cholesterol transportation into the liver, lowering the body and fat mass weight.

    Chaga helps lower blood pressure. Its powerful anti-oxidant property plays a key role in blood pressure management. 

    High blood pressure makes you prone to heart attack, heart disease, stroke, and other serious cardiovascular problems. A lowered blood pressure, therefore, benefits cardiovascular health.

    5. Chaga Balances The Thyroid

    Researchers studying the Chaga extract benefits have shown that this medicinal mushroom has a positive impact on the thyroid gland. Chaga helps in restoring the balance of the thyroid by activating the immune system, increasing NK cells, and reducing the thyroid antibodies.

    6. Chaga Supports Gastrointestinal Health

    For people dealing with gut health issues, one of the Chaga powder benefits makes the mushroom an ideal solution. 

    Chaga contains melano-glucan complexes which have anti-microbial (5)potential. These complexes along with melanin in the mushroom help boost the beneficial gut bacteria. Chaga mushroom can therefore help in balancing out the gut flora preventing dysbiosis.

    7. Chaga Improves Brain Function

    One of the best mushrooms for brain health, the Chaga mushroom has been shown to protect against chemically-induced cognitive decline in study subjects. This has confirmed that improving brain function is one of the many Chaga tea health benefits.

    If you are wondering what is Chaga mushroom good for when it comes to brain health, you should know that in research studies, the fungus significantly improved memory and learning. The mushroom is also known to reduce (6)amyloid protein deposition in the brain. 

    The amyloid protein increases the risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s. When this protein is reduced, the risk of Alzheimer’s reduces too. 

    8. Chaga Helps Lower Blood Sugar Levels

    When it comes to diabetes, the main underlying issue is just the body's inability to maintain an ideal blood sugar level. Among the health benefits of the Chaga mushroom is that it helps people with diabetes regulate their blood sugar levels. 

    This means that people with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, and even gestation diabetes may be able to leverage the benefits of Chaga mushrooms to improve their overall health

    The mushroom has been shown to lower sugar levels in the blood of mouse models (7). The mushroom polysaccharides have significant anti-hyperglycemic effects. They reduce fasting glucose levels and insulin resistance and improve glucose tolerance. 

    Chaga also increases the hepatic glycogen levels, increasing the storage levels of glucose rather than circulating it in the blood. In animal studies, Chaga mushrooms reduced the blood glucose in diabetic rats, resulting in healthier overall blood sugar levels. 

    This shows that the mushroom may have the ability to reduce insulin resistance in humans and help them avoid constantly high blood sugar levels which could cause long-term diabetes complications. 

    If you already know how to use Chaga, you may not have to worry about the best way to enjoy the mushroom's potential health benefits on high blood sugar levels. However, if you are new to using Chaga mushrooms, a nice Chaga mushroom tea lowers blood sugar.  

    Keep in mind that if you are already using anti-diabetic medications, talking to your doctor before adding Chaga chunks to your diet may be a good idea. Keep in mind that while Chaga will also boost immunity and immune cells, it will also work independently to help you lower blood sugar. 

    Therefore, if you are using anti-diabetic meds, taking Chaga will add a new compound with a blood-sugar lowering effect. This can result in hypoglycemia, which is a situation where your blood sugar levels drop down below healthy levels. 

    Hypoglycemia can be fatal as it disorients you and makes you unable to operate normally. In cases where hypoglycemia is not treated immediately, it can make you unconscious and may even put you in a comma. 

    9. Chaga Protects Our DNA!

    One of the least known benefits of Chaga is that the mushroom can protect human DNA. 

    Chaga mushroom is rich in antioxidants. The antioxidant concentration of Chaga is the highest (8) among naturally occurring foods, as measured by the ORAC score.

    Oxygen Radical Absorbancy Capacity or ORAC score determines the antioxidant strength of food. With an ORAC score of 146700, the antioxidant support of Chaga is 1300 times more than that of blueberries and 80 times higher than pomegranates. This high ORAC value is due to melanin and polyphenols in Chaga.

    A healthy body requires a balance of free radicals and oxidants. Free radicals are unstable molecules that destroy the cellular DNA accelerating aging. Disruption of free radical-antioxidant balance can lead to oxidative stress. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) scavenges the free radicals in the body. Chaga benefits the DNA by combating free radical damage (9) using its high SOD content.

    10. Chaga Boosts Energy

    For people struggling with performing to their maximum capacity, one of the Chaga mushroom powder benefits is increased energy. 

    The long-chain polysaccharide in Chaga mushroom can be converted into usable energy. The mushroom energy is natural, more enduring, and sustained.

    11. Chaga Activates The Pineal Gland

    A good night's sleep is one of the benefits Chaga mushroom. Like other Chaga mushroom benefits which start in different glands in the human body, the sleep benefit starts in the pineal gland. 

    The pineal gland is a pea-sized gland located deeply in our brain. This endocrine gland produces melatonin and regulates reproductive hormones. Melatonin promotes a good night’s sleep by regulating the circadian rhythm. This “go to sleep now” hormone is derived from melanin.

    Chaga mushroom has the highest food source of melanin. Consumption of the mushroom activates the pineal gland by supporting the production of melatonin. Another benefit of melanin-rich food is that it prevents the age-associated buildup of calcium, phosphorus, and fluoride in the pineal gland.

    12. Chaga For A Youthful Skin

    We all hate aging. Luckily enough, one of the benefits Chaga tea is helping us maintain a youthful appearance. Human studies have proven that when one uses Chaga for skin, the results are always amazing. Chaga comes packed with anti-aging benefits

    The mushroom fights oxidative stress which makes it a superior beauty supplement. Harmful UV rays of the sun cause free radical injury to the skin. This leads to features of premature aging like wrinkles, drooping skin, grey hair, and freckles. 

    Chaga benefits skin health by promoting youthful skin. The antioxidant enzymes of the mushroom keep skin hydrated, well-nourished and plump. In addition to helping you maintain youthful skin, Chaga also benefits your hair, helping you avoid grey hair. 

    Chaga mushroom contains melanin, a naturally occurring anti-oxidant. Boasting high antioxidant levels, Chaga leverages melanin to support healthy skin pigmentation

    The beta-glucans of the fungus are a powerful humectant. Topical skincare products enriched with Chaga extracts are more hydrating than the now popular hyaluronic acid. Regular use of Chaga-infused skin products supports healthy skin.

    It is worth noting that the mushroom's ability to control blood sugar levels and also help people with high cholesterol levels enjoy lower cholesterol contributes to anti-aging properties. In most cases, people with uncontrolled blood sugar levels age faster. The same case happens to people with unhealthy low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. 

    13. Chaga Fights Off Cancer Cells

    Research has shown that one of the benefits of Chaga is that it fights cancer. In addition to helping slow cancer growth, the Chaga mushroom has also been shown to help kill mutated cells.  

    The good news is that when it comes to fighting cancer, Chaga handles all types of cancers, from liver cancer to human colon cancer cells and lung cancer. Preventing the growth of cancer, the Chaga extract works extremely well when paired with other cancer treatment methods. 

    One of the most vital health benefits of Chaga, the ability to fight cancer cells is brought about by compounds known as triterpenes. 

    The triterpenes in the mushroom elicit anti-cancer (10) effects by decreasing mutations in cancer cells. Cellular mutations cause the evolution of normal cells into cancer cells. When patients use the Chaga mushroom for cancer, the mushroom induces cell death if the cells are already mutated.

    The Chaga mushrooms potential health benefits for people dealing with cancer have been scientifically proven. 

    A study conducted in 2010 to prove fighting cancer as one of the Chaga benefits observed that Chaga mushrooms slowed the growth of cancer cells in the breast, cervix, and lungs. Unlike traditional treatment modalities like radiation and chemotherapy, the use of Chaga mushroom for cancer does not harm (11) healthy non-cancerous cells.

    The Chaga extract can also elicit anti-tumor effects in prostate and breast carcinomas. This can be attributed to  (12)ergosterol and ergosterol peroxide present in Chaga.

    Who Enjoys Chaga Mushroom Benefits?

    Who Enjoys Chaga Mushroom Benefits?

    Chaga is beneficial in individuals with:

    • High blood sugar levels, diabetes or pre-diabetic
    • High LDL, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels
    • Digestive imbalances or diseases like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS)
    • Insulin resistance or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
    • An increased risk of skin cancer
    • Under excessive stress
    • Liver diseases
    • Allergies or a dysfunctional immune system

    What Makes Chaga So Good?

    Is Chaga good for you? Absolutely! 

    The benefits of the Chaga mushroom are attributed to its bioactive metabolites. There are over 200 different compounds in the mushroom, like Triterpenes, Benzoic acid derivatives, Hispidin, Melanins, Sesquiterpene Ergosterol, ergosterol peroxide, and Polysaccharides, including beta-glucans. 

    Zinc present in Chaga boosts the immune system, sexual functions, wound healing, and skin quality. Chaga mushrooms are also high in germanium, which is an immune enhancer and an anti-viral agent. The polysaccharides are the most active compounds of the Chaga mushroom.

    The mushroom is also packed with Vitamin D and B, amino acids, iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and fibers. It is a powerhouse of nutrients, which makes the mushroom an excellent choice in the health and fitness world.

    How To Use Chaga?

    There are many ways to enjoy the benefits of Chaga. The mushroom has been traditionally consumed as a tea in countries like Finland. 

    The raw chunks of mushroom can be soaked in hot water. This leads to the extraction of water-soluble nutrients from the mushroom.

    Chaga mushroom is also available in the form of powders and supplements. A Chaga dosage of 1000 mg daily is enough to enjoy the Chaga powder benefits. Tinctures of Chaga are made by soaking the mushroom in alcohol. However, these are not a replacement for using high-quality mushroom extract powders.

    Regardless of the form of the mushroom, research shows that the best way to reap Chaga mushroom health benefits is consistency. To experience the benefit of Chaga mushroom, you have to take it regularly. 

    How To Choose Chaga Supplements?

    Not all forms of mushroom supplements are of the same quality. This means that the benefits of Chaga tea vary depending on the quality of the mushroom one is using. 

    Commercially farmed Chaga is cultivated on grain, sawdust, or wood chips. Cultivated Chaga mycelium does not contain the same amount of nutritional dense components as wild Chaga. Extracted wild-crafted Chaga is the best form of mushroom. 

    To enjoy maximum Chaga health benefits, always look for Chaga supplements that are wild-harvested, certified organic, and contain beta-glucans. Keep in mind that the wild Chaga mushroom always offers the most Chaga mushroom powder benefits.

    Does Chaga Have Side Effects?

    Chaga mushroom is generally a safe medicinal fungus and is well tolerated by many people. Although the majority of the studies are based on animal models and only a handful of human studies are available, scientists have determined that most people enjoy Chaga benefit without dealing with side effects

    However, if you are allergic to Chaga, consuming the mushroom may not be a good thing. Therefore, the first thing we would like to note is that you should avoid Chaga—or the edible fungus—if your body is impacted negatively every time you consume the mushroom. 

    If this is the first time you are planning to take advantage of the mushroom Chaga benefits, start using a Chaga supplement after a go-ahead from your doctor. Talking to a health professional before using the mushroom should help you ensure that you are getting Chaga mushroom benefits without risking side effects.

    Some known Chaga side effects and Chaga warnings are: 

    • Tendency to bleed as Chaga may inhibit platelet aggregation. The Chaga mushrooms feature a protein that inhibits blood clotting. For this reason, if you are also on blood thinning medications, taking Chaga without the guidance of a health practitioner may not be a good idea. 
    • May cause digestive problems like diarrhea.
    • It may lower blood sugar (13)levels significantly when used in combination with anti-diabetes medication. Chaga mushroom increases the effect of insulin and combining the two can put you at risk of hypoglycemia, which is low blood sugar.
    • Can lead to kidney stone formation due to high oxalate content (14) in Chaga.
    • Chaga-infused alcohol tinctures should be consumed only after consulting with your healthcare provider. The alcohol in the tincture can enter the bloodstream, which may not be tolerated by some adults.

    It is best to avoid Chaga if:

    • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
    • You have a history of autoimmune diseases.
    • If you are on blood-thinning medications. Blood thinners are medications that prevent blood clotting. These blood thinners are sometimes referred to as anticoagulant drugs.  
    • If you are on anti-diabetes drugs. This includes both pills and insulin. 
    • If you have a surgery scheduled ahead.
    • If you are on medications that regulate the blood pressure.
    • If you have a history of osteoporosis or kidney stones.

    Keep in mind that while taking advantage of Chaga mushroom health benefits is one of the best things you can do, you shouldn't take the mushroom if you already know your risk of suffering from side effects is high. Keep in mind that talking to a doctor can help you figure out an ideal dose that could help you enjoy Chaga mushrooms benefits without suffering from side effects. 

    How Does Chaga Make You Feel?

    Drinking Chaga tea can help you feel relaxed and calm when you are stressed. The mushroom Chaga can also give you an energy burst when you feel tired.

    Final Thoughts

    Chaga mushrooms are one of the most popular and sought-after mushrooms in the world. Traditional texts describe Chaga as "the gift of God” for its many powerful benefits. 

    So, what are the benefits of Chaga in the body system? 

    The mushroom is known to boost the immune system, fight inflammation and cancerous cells, and protect our heart, skin, and DNA. The mushroom also boosts energy and supports our endocrine glands. In addition, this functional mushroom is important to combat stress in our modern life. 

    Chaga mushroom benefits are endless, and once you start you will fall in love with this medicinal fungus. Try it to experience the benefits of Chaga mushroom powder in your life!

    So, there you have it! Thirteen amazing benefits of Chaga mushrooms that will make you want to add this fungus to your diet right away. 

    How have you tried Chaga mushrooms? Let us know in the comments below and tell us how they’ve made a difference in your life. Thanks for reading!

    We Would Love To Hear Your Comments Leave A Comment

    References

    1. Medicinal mushrooms as a source of antitumor and immunomodulating polysaccharides, (1)https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00253-002-1076-7 
    2. Immunomodulatory Activity of the Water Extract from Medicinal Mushroom Inonotus obliquus, (2)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3774877/ 
    3. Orally administered aqueous extract of Inonotus obliquus ameliorates acute inflammation in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in mice, (3) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874112004771
    4. Phytochemical characteristics and hypoglycaemic activity of fraction from mushroom Inonotus obliquus, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20355042/
    5. Melanins of Inonotus Obliquus: Bifidogenic and Antioxidant Properties, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31238558/
    6. Inonotus obliquus polysaccharides protect against Alzheimer's disease by regulating Nrf2 signaling and exerting antioxidative and antiapoptotic effects, (6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30878614/
    7. Anti-diabetic effects of Inonotus obliquus polysaccharides in streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetic mice and potential mechanism via PI3K-Akt signal pathway, (7)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28954386/
    8. Comparison of antioxidant activity and extraction techniques for commercially and laboratory prepared extracts from six mushroom species(8)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666154321000326
    9. Medicinal Plants of the Russian Pharmacopoeia; their history and applications, (9)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874114002827
    10. Progress on Understanding the Anticancer Mechanisms of Medicinal Mushroom: Inonotus Obliquus,(10) http://www.koreascience.or.kr/article/JAKO201321365237667.page
    11. Anticancer Effects of Fraction Isolated from Fruiting Bodies of Chaga Medicinal Mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (Pers.:Fr.) Pilát (Aphyllophoromycetideae): In Vitro Studies, (11)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22135889/
    12. Anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities of extracts and compounds from the mushroom Inonotus obliquus, (12)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23561137/
    13. An insight into antidiabetic properties of six medicinal and edible mushrooms: Inhibition of α-amylase and α-glucosidase linked to type-2 diabetes, (13)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0254629917314205
    14. Chaga mushroom-induced oxalate nephropathy, (14)https://www.dustri.com/article_response_page.html?artId=10154&doi=10.5414/CN107655&L=0
    ×

    Let Us Know Your Comments

    2 Responses

    Cheryl Weismantel | August 09, 2022

    Hi, I was sick Friday from getting soaking wet in rain then going to Kroger’s. Dried off in 3 1/2 hours. Started taking 1 chagra later SAT. Then forgot to take one, and realized I was not taking full dose and doubled dose yesterday. Slept so well, took another dose this afternoon and really feel good. I’m missing entire spleen, 60 percent of pancreas, just broke bomes again and healing, am bone to bone knee, etc in 70s. What’s best CAPSULES to take and dosage? A miracle from God? Cherie

    Miranda Flow | July 12, 2022

    I enjoyed your article a lot. I was really impressed by the level of detail you went into on all the benefits of chaga. It’s clear that you know a lot about this topic, and I’m now convinced that chaga is worth taking a closer look at. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    Search