Doesn’t the word “Chaga” sound like a disease? Some rare disorder! But, hold on! It is by no means a disease! In fact, it is something that saves you from many diseases. Chaga is the latest superfood, which, of late, has created a lot of buzz all around with numerous health blogs recognizing it as an ultimate health food.
Well, chaga is nothing, but a kind of mushroom. It looks like burnt charcoal from the outside and has a reddish-brown appearance from the inside. Chaga is an adaptogen – a food with healing properties heals, which can be used or eaten to naturally support your health and relieve stress.
According to Chaga Headquarters – a website dedicated to this mushroom – it develops as a ‘black, dense mass’ on the birch trees that are infected with some fungus. Chaga develops on other trees too, but While it mostly grows on birch trees in colder regions, but it may develop on other types of trees as well. This mushroom can be used for varied purposes, but it’s most common uses are as tea and supplemental pills, extracts and powders.
Science Behind Chaga
According to David Pilz, a mushroom researcher, chaga begins to grow in a year or two after the birch tree gets infected with parasitic, non-toxic Inonotus obliquus fungus. It grows around the site of the infection and becomes harvestable when grows up to 10-15 inches wide in around 3-5 years.
Chaga can be obtained from the same tree after every few years until the tree dies. The part that is harvested is known as sclerotia, which deposits nutritional stock for the fungus. Chaga is collected from the trees by cutting it off the tree with an axe. It is then dried up properly and then, packaged for end user. Russia is the leading producer of chaga due to its cold climate and abundance of birch trees.
Chaga’s Health Benefits
As already stated, chaga is a healing food or adaptogen, and so, it is a good remedy for relieving stress and anxiety as well as reducing nervousness. The main constituents of chaga are f beta-d-glucans and betulinic acid. The f beta-d-glucan component of chaga helps boosts immunity. Studies show that chaga enhances the activity of immune cells, selectively destroy cancer cells, heals irritation of blood vessels and lowers fatigue. Moreover, its betulinic acid constituent helps dissolve LDL “bad cholesterol” which in turn, stabilizes blood pressure. Not only these, chaga is a great remedy for common cold, certain allergies, gastrointestinal issues and autoimmune disorders. Hence, it is known as a superfood.
Where to Buy Chaga
Chaga is sold in the form of powder, dried chunks and as extracts or pills. You can buy pure chaga online. Sometimes, it is available in large quantities at some specific grocery stores. Chaga products can be bought online and from many health food stores.
How to Use Chaga
Since chaga contains vanillin, it somewhat tastes like vanilla. You can use chaga powder or extract to make tea or you can opt for a cup of chaga-based hot chocolate or coffee. In the powder form, it goes well in smoothies, salad dressings and soups. There are so many ways to include chaga in your daily diet. This superfood is equally good for your taste buds and overall health. Try chaga to know what good it can do to you!