What Are The Benefits of Chaga?
Chaga has been used since ancient times as an herbal remedy and tonic. But what are the benefits of chaga?
It grows wild on birch trees in the boreal forests of the northern hemisphere, from Siberia to Canada, and its blessings have been known to indigenous communities around the world for a long time. It has been used for medicinal, ceremonial and even recreational purposes for hundreds of years.
What's in a name?
It is known by many names around the world. In Norway, it is called kreftkjuke. This translates to "cancer fungus" and is due to its purported health properties.
In Eastern Europe, it is known as tschaga, the Germans call it the Tschagapilz, in Finland tikkatee.
Closer to home, Cree healers call it posahkan or wisakecahk omikih.
According to Cree lore, Wisakecahk is a mythological character who threw a scab, which he had mistaken for a piece of dried meat and tried to eat, against a birch tree. To its day, it remains on the tree to benefit humanity.
Where do Chaga mushrooms grow?
Here in Canada, chaga grows in our boreal forests, typically on birch trees. Chaga has long been considered parasitic, although the latest research is questioning this. It grows for 10–20 years, hard and woody on the outside, a burnt orange colour on the inside.
All of the chaga we use in our drinks is sustainably sourced from the pristine wilderness of Canada’s northern forests. Our foragers never take more than can be sustained and tag trees to ensure that future generations can benefit from this amazing mushroom.
Chaga is also known as
- Birch canker
- Black mass
- Cinder conk
- Conk rot
It is a nutritional powerhouse
That's because is packed to the gills with nutrients, containing:
- B-complex vitamins
- vitamin D
- amino acids
It contains more potassium than bananas (great news if you’re working out) and more rubidium than even green tea. Chaga energizes similar to coffee but without the jitteriness and without inhibiting your sleep cycle. In Finland, it has long been used as a coffee substitute.
What does Chaga taste like?
Chaga, when properly extracted, has a flavour that resembles a mix of coffee, stout beer and notes of toffee. There's a hint of bitterness, tempered by woodsy and even caramel top notes. It's complex, it's interesting, it's delicious.
We use this extraction as the base flavour and ingredient in our brewing process, tempering it with notes of blueberry and spruce
We extract our Chaga at strictly controlled temperatures and for a period of time that is designed to get as much flavour and goodness as possible out of the Chaga mushroom and into our drinks.
The result? A crisp and refreshing drink with complex flavours and 0% alcohol. Because Chaga is a mild stimulant, it will help you tackle your day or night with maximum energy but without interrupting your sleep patterns.
What about caffeine?
No, there is no caffeine in chaga and it won’t keep you awake. Chaga is considered an adaptogen which means that it can support your body delivering a healthy and resilient response to stress. We drink chaga at any time of the day or night when we need a natural lift.
It is packed full of antioxidants
Chaga is an antioxidant and beta-glucan powerhouse. Beta-glucans boost the body's immune function, supporting it with healing illness and combating cancerous cells. Chaga contains more antioxidants than blueberries, which comes with a long list of benefits, including the prevention of heart disease, regulation of blood pressure and even diabetes prevention. Because of this, Chaga is considered a superfood.
Chaga fights inflammation
Chaga mushrooms contain nutrients that work with the body to decrease inflammation. While inflammation is a normal part of the body’s healing process, chronic inflammation can cause serious health conditions, from heart disease to arthritis. A study published in BioMed Research International concluded that rats that consumed Chaga mushrooms had lower levels of inflammation. Other animal studies have shown that Chaga helped to inhibit inflammatory agents in the body.
Supports immune health support
A study published in Mycobiology found that Chaga helped to encourage the production of white blood cells, an integral part of the body’s defence system.
Fights premature ageing
Oxidative stress has been linked to a host of health problems. This includes premature ageing and a higher risk of certain types of cancer. Research shows that the antioxidant properties of Chaga may help to decrease the size of tumours which has been connected to the presence of triterpenes. Please note that research on Chaga’s anti-tumour activity has only been conducted in laboratories and on animals. We don’t know yet if the same results are true in humans.
The antioxidants delivered by Chaga may also offer anti-ageing benefits. These compounds support the body to eliminate free radicals, which are highly reactive cells that can cause deterioration in cellular processes, including the production of collagen.
For even more information, watch this video produced by Superfood Evolution.