Chaga Mushroom: The “King of Medicinal Mushrooms” – The Strongest Antioxidants Ever! The Immune-Boosting Superfood – Healthy Positive Mind –
Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus), often referred to as the “king of medicinal mushrooms”, looks like a dark black woody mass rather than a mushroom and, in fact, you probably wouldn’t even recognize it as a mycelium species when walking through the forest.
This black tree fungus has long been respected in Northern Europe, Canada, China, Finland and Russia for its immune boosting qualities. The mushroom used exclusively for medicinal use, usually comes from the birch tree only. Higher quality mushroom harvests are usually wild crafted from birch tree forests growing in Eastern Europe and Northern Russia, especially Siberia.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine it was used as a special mushroom for balancing “Chi”, preserving youth and maintaining a strong immune response. Today it is also considered a Chi, kidney and Shen tonic in Asian culture.
The fungi became popular here in the West in 1968 when the Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn published the book, “The Cancer Ward”, in which he speaks about “The Tea from The Birch Tree Mushroom”, its healing components and potential benefits to cancer patients.
CHAGA MUSHROOM – NUTRITIONAL VALUES
Chaga mushroom is one of the most powerful adaptogens and superfoods on the planet, exhibiting immune supporting complex polysaccharides that are considerably more potent than most any other medicinal mushroom.
In addition to sterols, polyphenols and polysaccharides, the mushroom also contains a host of other superhealthy antioxidant constituents including melanin and superoxide dismutase as well as triterpenes, like betulin, inotodiol and lupeol.
Contains Beta Glucan Polysaccharides
In addition to a full spectrum of phytonutrients, chaga mushroom also contains 29 long-chain polysaccharides, protein-bound xylogalactoglucans and beta glucan derivatives.
The beta glucans help to activate our immune cells or macrophage defense systems, working on both the surface immune system as well as stimulating stem cells deep within the bone marrow reserve. This further “supercharges” and activates various other immune cells such as natural killer cells (NK cells) and T cells.
Highest sources of SOD (Superoxide Dismutase)
Superoxide dismutase, also called SOD, is a natural antioxidant enzyme produced within the body that plays a significant role as a free radical scavenger. It acts as a “bodyguard” that essentially protects against DNA damage and helps to reduce the work load placed on the immune system. Chaga is one of the highest sources of this nutrient, offered in an easily utilized bio-available form.
In a lab test sponsored by Dove Health Alliance the following mass-based comparison of SOD showed the following results:
- Reishi – 1400 units/gram
- Agaricus – 1500 units/gram
- Chaga – 35000units/gram
Chaga is a rich source of the trace mineral Zinc.
Vitamins and Minerals in Chaga mushroom:
Vitamin B2, Vitamin D2, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Sulfur, Potassium, Rubidium And Cesium, Silicon, Germanium, Manganese, Selenium, Zinc, Antimony, Barium, Bismuth, Boron, Chromium, Copper…
CHAGA MUSHROOM HEALTH BENEFITS
Chaga mushroom can be used as a remedy for chronic inflammation, diabetes, hypertension, cancers, stomach illnesses and improving the immune system.
High in Antioxidants – Betulinic Acid and Beta Glucans
There is an exceptional amount of immune boosting antioxidants found in Inonotus obliquus such as beta glucans and betulinic acid, in addition to various other triterpenes and sterols as well as melanin and superoxide dismutase (SOD).
Studies on Betulinic Acid – An Antitumor Compound
The mushroom draws upon and concentrates nutrients out of the birch tree lignins and bark, converting them into a form that is easily digested by humans. One of these nutrients is a triterpene called betulin, which it absorbs specifically from the bark and further converts to betulinic acid. This is one of the active compounds and tumor inhibiting components that are inherent to the chaga mushroom species.
Betulinic acid induces apoptosis (PCD) through its direct effects on the mitochondria and once inside the cancer cells is believed to influence cell death within the tumor itself.
According to Christopher Hobbs, extracts of chaga were approved as an anticancer drug, called Befungin, in Russia as early as 1955 and has been reported successful in treating breast, lung, cervical and stomach cancers (Hobbs 1995).
Mushroom mycologist Paul Stamets writes that the betulin concentrations in Inonotus obliquus have shown promise in treating malignant melanoma, completely inhibiting tumors implanted in mice, causing apoptosis of cancerous cells. The extracts are also beneficial as an antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. In addition, they are a known immune enhancer as well as a liver tonic (Stamets 2005).
Studies on Other Beneficial Sterols and Triterpenes
The triterpenoid element found in the mushroom called inotodiol, which is derived from lanostane compounds, show promising effects as anticancer agents in a study conducted in 2010. “The results suggest that I. obliquus and its compounds in these subfractions isolated from I. obliquus could be used as natural anticancer ingredients in the food and/or pharmaceutical industry.”
In a 2013 study entitled “Anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities of extracts and compounds from the mushroom Inonotus obliquus”, it states that “Compound ergosterol, ergosterol peroxide and trametenolic acid showed anti-inflammatory activities and obvious cytotoxicity on human prostatic carcinoma cell PC3 and breast carcinoma MDA-MB-231 cell. The results obtained in this work might contribute to understanding the biological activity of mushroom I. obliquus for food and drug application.”
Helpful Adjunct to Chemotherapy Treatments
Some medicinal mushrooms, like reishi and chaga, can be particularly supportive adjuncts to chemo and radiation therapies. Chaga’s triterpene lupeol and the sterol trametenolic acid not only display antiviral and antitumor activity but also chemoprotective qualities that may be helpful when undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
Melanin and Beta Glucans – Great for the Skin
Chaga is one of the highest sources of melanin known in any food or herb. This is the same compound that makes up the main pigment in human skin, the retina of the eye and the pigment-bearing neurons within the brain stem. Melanin supplementation via chaga consumption can enhance, beautify and protect the skin from sun damage and is additionally beneficial for the eyes and hair.
Immune System Booster
Chaga is an immune modulator and “double-directional” adaptogen that powerfully balances immune response and helps the body maintain optimal homeostasis. It is a one of the best superfoods for autoimmune disorders, a seemingly common health issue in our modern times.
Many of chaga’s unique complexes such as betulinic acid, lupeol, trametenolic acid, inotodiol, and others act directly to reduce inflammation in the body.
Reduce Risk of:
- Heart Attack,
- High Blood Pressure,
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Gastrointestinal Disorders And
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
HOW TO USE CHAGA MUSHROOM
Chaga Tea and Tinctures
Most all of chaga’s antioxidants and polysaccharides are only extractable in hot water and alcohol solutions.
Bulk chaga pieces can be brewed for many hours in water as a dark rich mushroom tea. Additionally, the chunks can also be tinctured in vodka for a few weeks.
Another chaga tea making method is to simply add the powdered extracts to hot water. The extract powder turns the water a dark brown color that looks similar to a cup of coffee. In fact, because of its slightly bitter nature it is often used as a alternative coffee substitute.
These extracts usually come in capsule form and powder that can be blended with shakes or herbal teas.
Note:Consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
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