Some mushroom history
Chaga has an ever-growing reputation as one of the most health-giving foods on the planet, often referred to as ‘the King of Mushrooms’. In Norway it is called ‘kreftkjuke’, which literally translates to “cancer fungus” and the Russians call it ‘black gold’, due to its health properties —> Chaga contains almost 150 times more antioxidants than blueberries!
It grows mainly on birch trees in northern Europe, Asia, Canada and the northeastern United States and it is actually considered a parasite, leaching nutrients from its host tree. Although it would not fare well in a ‘food beauty’ contest (the conk resembles burnt charcoal stuck to the tree trunk), the inside reveals a soft core with an orange color.
Chaga was traditionally prepared by grating the mushroom down to a fine powder and then brewing it as an herbal tea. Nowadays, it’s not only available as a tea but also as a powdered or capsuled supplement.
Chaga’s miracle compounds
Here are just a few of the health-promoting constituents found in chaga:
This medicinal mushroom has one of the highest ORAC scores of any food. ORAC stands for “oxygen radical absorbent capacity” and it measures the antioxidant activity of a food. The higher the score, the better a food’s ability to support the body against the harmful effects of free radicals and oxidative stress. This is why this fungus is sometimes referred to as an anti-aging herb.
Chaga is part of a category of plants called adaptogens. This means it strengthens the immune system to deal with outside stressors, everything from daily pollution to mental or emotional stress.
Research on mice suggests that chaga may help regulate the production of cytokines, supporting the immune system by helping cells communicate with one another. This could help fight infections, from minor colds to life-threatening illnesses.
The reputation as a cancer treatment goes back hundreds of years, with lots of new research in the last 10 years. It helps prevent metastasis, eases the side effects of chemotherapy / radiation, and has even shown anti-tumor activity by killing cancerous cells themselves.
There is a lot to be said about the benefits of Chaga. It is an antioxidant powerhouse, improves chronic inflammation, blood sugar, cholesterol level and gut-health. For centuries, people have used chaga mushrooms to boost their immunity and overall health. Still, human studies are needed to confirm these benefits and to determine its safety, side effects and optimal dosage. In the meantime, why don’t you help yourself to our C-o(i)munitate liquid meal? Just to make sure you don’t miss the chaga train.