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What is chaga and how do you use it?
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In this blog item What is chaga?Superfoods within folk medicineHigh dosage of antioxidantsHealth benefits of chagaChaga as an aid for too much stressScientific research on preventing and fighting cancerChaga supports the immune systemFighting inflammationHelp with diabetesBuy chaga supplement at Sirius
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What is chaga and how do you use it?

Looking for a way to improve your health? There are all kinds of ways you can get your physical body and mental energy levels healthier and more balanced. Fortunately, nature has a lot of medicinal powers that we can use to improve our quality of life.

It's not nice to feel powerless and sick. Chaga can work as medicine for you and help you become fit and vital again. In this blog I will tell you all about chaga.

What is chaga?

This mushroom, or fungus, has been used by humans for hundreds of years as a powerful life elixir. Meanwhile, science has also done a lot of research to prove this folk medicine right. Chaga is a medicinal mushroom that can cure numerous ailments and diseases. 

Chaga grows exclusively in cold regions including Russia, Siberia, northern Europe and northern United States and Canada. It is found in birch forests on old, dying birch trees. Other tree species are also possible, but usually it is birch. This tree species provides the best breeding ground for the spores of the mushroom. Spores can be thought of as the seeds of a mushroom, these are carried away with the wind because they are so light and small and then find a place to settle and form a new mushroom. When the birch weather fungus grows on a birch, it feeds on powerful contents that it obtains through its host. 

Superfoods within folk medicine

Within Russian and Chinese folk medicine, chaga is highly regarded. The mushroom can only be found in the wild and cannot be cultivated. It is therefore valuable to find it in the forest. Harvesting chaga is best done in winter, because then the fungus is most visible and not protected by the green leaves of the birch tree. 

In fact, chaga is a parasite, which slowly kills a dying tree. It grows on damaged and dying birch trees. The fungus is mainly referred to as chaga. The Latin name is Inonotus obliquus.

Chaga is a unique mushroom: the visible part is in fact not the fruiting body of the mushroom, but an extremely compact whole of mycelial threads. Mycelial threads together form a network, usually extended underground, in search of food and a suitable place to ensure the progress of the species. In chaga, therefore, the mycelium is visible and the fruiting body grows hidden under this network. Only when the host, the birch tree, is dead can the fruiting body be observed. 

High dosage of antioxidants

Of all the foods in the world, chaga has the highest value of antioxidants. It is higher than superfoods such as goji berries, acai berries, pomegranate and blueberries. 

Chaga helps lower bad cholesterol. Antioxidants have a protective effect on cells and trap free radicals. In this way, they can help slow down the aging process. Antioxidants also make diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease less likely to surface. As we live in an increasingly polluted world, with more and more pesticides, toxins, and pollution, the importance of a powerful antioxidant is paramount. 

Originally, chaga was mainly used in the form of a tea, where pieces of chaga are boiled for hours and then strained. Today there are several supplements on the market that easily make the medicinal contents of chaga available in capsule form. For this you do not have to go and harvest wild chaga yourself in a birch forest in Siberia. 

Health benefits of chaga

Chaga contains several medicinal substances that provide the body with essential minerals, triterpenes and nutrients. Some examples of these substances are amino acids, dietary fiber, trace minerals (copper, selenium, zinc, iron, magnesium), B vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, vitamin K and vitamin D.

Furthermore, chaga contains the medicinal ingredient betulinic acid, tripeptides and polysaccharides. Research into these substances is ongoing and the results are promising. The medicinal effect of these substances reaches so far that it can combat serious conditions such as cancer. 

Betulin and betulinic acid are unique to chaga and come from the birch trees on which the mushroom grows. These substances have anti-cancer properties that are currently being researched and may be used as part of chemotherapy in the future. Furthermore, betulin has the power to break down cholesterol in the bloodstream. It can also reduce inflammation and pain. 

Chaga is an adaptogen. This means the healing power of the mushroom adapts to the user. Thus, it brings the inner balance back to the right level. Adaptogens have been used for centuries in China and India as a tool to cure diseases and ailments. In the West, this concept of medicine was not explored until the mid-twentieth century when scientists from the Soviet Union investigated its positive effects on stress, immunity and energy. 

Chaga as an aid for too much stress

For example, an adaptogen, such as chaga, can help people who experience too much stress. An adaptogen makes certain bodily functions work better, thus reducing the stress level. Too much stress is bad for blood pressure, mood and energy levels. Chaga works as a regulator and ensures the production of cortisol (the stress hormone) is reduced, the system becomes less exhausted. Mood swings and blood sugar problems are also rebalanced. 

Scientific research on preventing and fighting cancer

Did you know chaga as a medicinal mushroom is interesting as a means of preventing and fighting cancer? Cancer is a disease that many people have to deal with sooner or later. There are ways to keep this disease at bay as much as possible. A healthy lifestyle is crucial here. 

Substances from chaga strengthen the immune system and ensure the body recognizes cancer cells faster and can eliminate them. This allows the body to better protect itself against attacks. For example, certain triterpenes help to destroy tumor cells and build a strong immune response. You can read more about it in this study

Chaga reduces oxidative stress. As a result, chaga helps slow the aging process and reduce inflammation. Further, it lowers the risk of tumor growth.  

Science is focusing on the active ingredients from chaga and the results are promising, although more research is needed. For example, this 2010 study with mice showed the group given a supplement of chaga were 60% less likely to grow a tumor of lung-breast and cervical cancer. 

This 2013 and 2015 study shows that a chaga supplement can reduce the growth of colon cancer. 

Chaga supports the immune system

At a time when diseases of affluence are on the rise and we are also in a pandemic, it is very important to strengthen your immune system. This has a lot to do with your lifestyle. You can change your diet, allow less stress and negativity in your life and exercise more. If you are currently in an unhealthy situation it may take time to move in steps towards a healthier existence. In the Healthshop of Sirius you will find different products that can be used as a tool for this. 

Chaga helps strengthen the immune system and thus fight colds, infections and life-threatening diseases. Chaga increases the production of certain immune cells. This makes the body stronger and more resilient to pathogens and infections. Also, chaga has antiviral properties and can thus fight viruses. In this animal study it is shown that chaga fights the herpes virus so that it does not infect new cells. 

Fighting inflammation

When the body is sick, inflammation helps to promote the healing process. However, inflammation often gets out of control and can have serious consequences such as chronic inflammation. Chaga can help ease these inflammations and also be supportive in people with chronic inflammation such as autoimmune diseases. 

Help with diabetes

One of the diseases of affluence that many people suffer from is diabetes. A poor diet, but also genes have an influence on this. More and more people are overweight and consume high levels of sugar and unhealthy fats. More research is required, but from preliminary research chaga seems to have a beneficial effect on lowering blood sugar levels and thus combat diabetes.

Buy chaga supplement at Sirius

At Sirius, you can find high-quality capsules containing an extract of chaga. Mushrooms for Life manufacture vegan capsules that enjoy the organic label. A chaga supplement helps to strengthen your immune system, fight inflammation. Chaga also helps fight viruses and infections and can be supportive for people with diabetes or obesity.

As you can read, chaga has many applications. Although more research is required and therefore no definitive things can be said, taking a chaga supplement is a good idea to give your body a boost.

Blog photo: Sorting out the tea
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