A big, black fungus known as the chaga mushroom, or Inonotus obliquus, is believed by many to offer medical benefits. The Chaga mushroom is primarily found on birch trees and is indigenous to northern parts of Asia, Europe, and some regions of the USA.
Chaga has an extremely high melanin concentration, which causes it to turn deep black on the outside while remaining brilliant orange on the interior when exposed to sunlight. When viewed in the wild, the mushrooms may appear similar to clumps of mud rather than like a fungus because of how dark it is.
Despite being rarely consumed due to its bitterness, powdered and dried chaga has become more and more common as a component in coffee and tea products due to chaga mushroom benefits. The mushroom has received extensive marketing for its purported antioxidant and anti-cancer benefits. The powder is frequently packed and offered as a nutritional supplement in pill form.
How to identify chaga mushrooms?
In frigid climates, chaga mushrooms usually develop on birch trees and resemble rocks. They don’t have the flavour of regular mushrooms. Additionally, they provide a high fiber content and few calories.
It’s not like the typical mushrooms you would get in supermarkets. In order to get it, you might have to go to a specialty store, a health food shop, or place an online order.
Most chaga mushrooms are found in tea, where they have been crushed into a powder, but they are also widely used as a supplement and an ingredient in beauty products.
Chaga mushrooms or cordyceps supplements have already been discovered to help combat inflammation since they are high in antioxidants. Chaga mushrooms reduce inflammation in our stomach, which can lead to issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, by containing these antioxidants. According to a study, chaga mushrooms can both fight harmful microorganisms and reduce inflammation.
Chaga mushrooms may have the ability to prevent the cells from causing cancer, according to numerous research. According to one study, using chaga supplements reduced tumour size by 60%, said Czerwony. According to additional studies, it aided in halting the development of liver cancer cells.
For patients who have liver cancer, she says, “this is incredibly encouraging news as a potentially effective treatment in the future.” Although further research is required, similar outcomes have been observed in colon, breast, prostate, and lung cancer cases.
Lowers sugar levels
Using chaga mushrooms may assist people in fighting insulin resistance, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or Type 2 diabetes, lower blood sugar and enhance insulin sensitivity. About 31% reduction in levels of blood sugar has been reported in a few studies, but further research is required, particularly on humans. According to Czerwony, using chaga mushrooms may be helpful for those people to lower their blood sugar.
Chaga mushrooms’ high antioxidant content might even reduce cholesterol, which can minimise your chance of developing heart disease.
As concluded by a study, chaga mushrooms have the ability to lower total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Additionally, antioxidant levels rose. Additionally, evidence suggests that these mushrooms can raise “good” HDL cholesterol. According to Czerwony, chaga mushrooms may help to lower cholesterol levels and maybe strengthen artery walls.
Being rich in antioxidants, chaga mushrooms benefit health in various different ways. Many studies indicate that chaga mushrooms are helpful for lowering cholesterol, preventing the spread of cancer, boosting the immune system, and lowering blood pressure, though additional studies are required.
This mushroom type is a common ingredient in supplements or herbal drinks. Before taking chaga supplements, a person should speak to their doctor because they may interact with some drugs and cause adverse effects or allergic responses in some individuals.