Meet the Fungi: Chaga Mushroom
Herbs, fungi and medicinal plants have long been used to optimise overall health and well-being, and in this series we will take a deeper look at some of our favourites for supporting health. Chaga is commonly found growing wild in the forests of Northern Europe, Asia and North America on the bark of the birch tree. The Chaga mushroom harnesses the power of these ancient trees, drawing nutrients from their inner layers. This mushroom is nutrient packed containing antioxidants like betulinic acid, superoxide dismutase and glutathione.
Also known as the ‘diamond of the forest’, Chaga is one of our favourite fungi for its taste and many health benefits. Chaga comes from an old Russian word for mushroom, it has been a traditional medicine in Northern Europe and Russia for hundreds of years. Traditionally it was used in folk medicine in Eastern Russia, boiled to make a tea that was used to support a varied range of conditions such as viral and bacterial infections and gastro-intestinal disorders.
Chaga mushroom is traditionally renowned for increasing vitality and supporting the immune system. It has been known to help those suffering with blood related and digestive health issues. Chaga also features anti-microbial, anti-retroviral, anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is extremely rich in antioxidants and has one of highest ORAC (oxygen radical absorbent capacity) scores of any food, highlighting its ability to protect the body from free radical damage. The antioxidant concentration of Chaga is 45 times higher than acai berries, and 1,300 times higher than blueberries.
Why should you use it?
Chaga is rich in fiber and essential nutrients, including vitamin D, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and calcium. Chaga is one of the most antioxidant rich foods on planet earth, antioxidants are vital for protecting us from the harmful effects of free radical damage. Its antioxidant rich nature means its a great choice for supporting skin health, and several anecdotal reports and studies report its benefits for problem skin conditions like psoriasis. It also shows widespread anti-microbial activity and is useful for supporting digestive health. It has also been shown to have strong anti-viral activity and has traditionally been used for viral conditions. Chaga is also revered for it’s adaptogenic qualities as an overall tonic to help the body deal with everyday stress, as well as protecting it from damage and disease.
Its most important compounds are derived from the bark of the host birch tree on which it grows, including a large number of betulinic acid derivatives and melano-glucan complexes which have wide anti-microbial activity. It is rich in beta-glucans and polysaccharides which balance the response of the immune system. It is also rich in antioxidants like glutathione and superoxide dismutase (SOD), an enzyme which reduces damage done by super-oxide which is the most common free radicals in the body.
How to use?
Our Your Daily blend contains Chaga mushroom alongside an array of fermented herbs for whole body support. Adults take 1-3 capsules per day with or without food, children take 1 capsule a day with or without food.