Called the “Gift from God” or the “King of Herbs,” the Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) has been respected for hundreds of years throughout Russia, Korea, Eastern and Northern Europe, Northern United States, N . C . mountains and Canada. Considering that the 16th century Chaga has been utilized in folk and botanical medicine throughout Eastern Europe. A birch fungus, Chaga grows on living trunks of mature birch trees in cold climates.
The name Chaga (pronounced “cha-ga”) comes from the Russian word for mushroom (czaga) which is derived from the phrase for fungus. In Norway Chaga (kreftkjuke’) means “cancer polypore” in reference to the fungal appearance and alleged medicinal properties.
Use of reishi spore powder in Chinese medicine extends back many thousands of years where locals inside the mountain region of Siberia drank Chaga tea daily, inhaled Chaga and tried it topically (on the skin). As time passes its popularity spread towards the west from the Urai Mountains and Baltic areas of Eastern Europe.
Medicinal Mushrooms to advertise Health
The International Society for Mushroom Science (ISMS) suggest inside their online article, “Products of medicinal mushrooms as an excellent source of health supplements,” that mushrooms may be useful as nutraceuticals — food or food items that provide health and medical benefits. “These compounds called ‘mushroom nutriceuticals’ exhibit either medicinal and/or tonic qualities and possess immense potential as nutritional supplements… ” writes ISMS.
Research also suggests mushrooms, cultivated molds, chaga mushroom extract and lichens could have antiviral, antimicrobial, anticancer, antihyperglycemic, cardioprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Medicinal mushrooms are classified into two species: edible or extracted. Chaga is an extracted species. The extraction process is important to help make at the very least a few of the active components bioavailable, the extent a nutrient (or medication) can be utilized through the body.
Like several natural materials, whole mushrooms have a great deal of variability in quality and benefit. Single chemicals may have intense responses with that, unwanted side effects.
“Nutriceuticals, which are extracted products, occupy a middle ground between these extremes and possess proved to be very beneficial. However, to obtain a good quality and trustworthy item is of paramount importance.” (ISM).
Potential Health And Fitness Benefits of Chaga
Researchers in Japan and China have studied anticancer properties in the polysaccharides present in some mushrooms, including Chaga, and located the effects much like chemotherapy and radiation, only without side effects. One of the meepqi beneficial properties in Ganoderma Lucidum Extract, the polysaccharides have shown to have strong anti-inflammatory and immune balancing properties which might stimulate the body to generate natural killer (NK) cells. NK cells fight infections and battle tumor growth.
In 1958 researchers in Finland and Russia found Chaga may offer anticancer benefits for breast, liver uterine and gastric cancers in addition to offer use in hypertension and diabetes. The Russian journal Vestnik Dermatologii i Venerologii reported in 1973 about some great benefits of Chaga extract for psoriasis.