What is Chaga used for, and what are the core benefits of Chaga?
Chaga is a type of mushroom. It has been used as an immunity booster in Siberia and several other parts of Asia for many centuries.
Historically, chaga has been used as a remedy for colds and flu in Russian territories and other northern European countries. It mainly improves your immune system and overall health.
It has also been used to treat:
- Certain cancers
- Heart diseases
It is a fungus that grows on birch trees’ bark in cold climates, like Siberia, Northern Europe, Northern Canada, Russia, Korea, and Alaska.
The Chaga mushroom, also known as clinker polypore or black mass, birch bark canker polypore or cinder conk, and the sterile conk trunks rot, is an edible fungus native to Europe and Asia.
How to use Chaga powder, and what is the best method to use Chaga powder?
Chaga extract powder is used in a variety of beverages and recipes. You can do so either by adding tea made with Chaga Chaga extract powder or by using the extract powder as a principal ingredient in your favourite dishes.
Consider the few examples about how you can use Chaga powder through the best possible recipe ideas like:
- Chaga Chai Tea
- Chaga Smoothie
- Chaga Freezer Pops, With Smoothie Mix or Fruit Juice
- Chaga Pancakes and Muffins
- Chaga Popsicles and Bake Goodies
How long does it take to feel the effects of Chaga?
The effects of chaga start appearing within a few hours after taking it, but you will start feeling stronger and better throughout the day. After a few weeks of consumption you would notice the changes below:
- Better sleep (helps with insomnia)
- Stimulate your immune system by strengthening your body’s ability to fight off infections
- Boosting energy levels
- Helping with digestion
- Reducing pain in joints and muscles
In the video below, the FreshCap Mushrooms channel goes over what Chaga is plus how and why you’d want to use it in the first place.
This is our recommended Chaga supplement (Amazon’s Choice):
How is Chaga mushroom called in Chinese?
Chaga is called in Chinese by its original name 白桦茸 or bai hua rong”, it was actually called “Shagai” but this is no longer accepted because shanghai means ‘wolf’.
In English, it’s known as a berry tree or birch mushroom. In English, it’s said to be the same as a bear or wolf mushroom but this is only true in Russian. In English, it’s often referred to as a “mushroom” which is an error. In German, it’s called a “Baumkornbärte” (berry oak), and in Italian, it’s called “Mucchio di Castagno” (Chestnut Mushroom). There are many other names in different languages.
Nowadays it’s just known as ‘chaga’ although there is no consensus on what the correct pronunciation should be.
How is Chaga mushroom used by the Chinese?
Chaga mushroom is used by the Chinese for various treatments. For thousands of years, the Chinese have used herbs for medicinal purposes. There are already a lot of traditional Chinese medicines in China.
The Chaga mushroom market in China has encountered a massive increase in interest from consumers since 2016. Chaga is a mushroom quite famous in the West, containing many nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants providing health benefits.
According to the research, the trend is part of a broader focus of many Chinese consumers towards healthy living. Many factors can promote the entry of the Chaga mushroom into the Chinese market.
How is Chaga mushroom effective for cancer treatment?
Like many other medicinal mushrooms like turkey tail or reishi mushrooms, Chaga mushrooms are believed to have anti-cancer properties. The antioxidants prevent cell damage, leading to cancer and other health issues. Studies indicate that Chaga slows the growth of cancer cells and can be used as an anti-tumour agent.
Chaga mushroom extracts demonstrate potent anti-tumour activities and have been used to treat cancer in several countries. However, the effect and underlying mechanisms are still unclear.
Oxidative stress can be the cause of cancer and multiple other health problems. Chaga mushrooms are a rich source of antioxidants, preventing cell damage caused by free radicals or oxidative stress. Researchers are exploring how Chaga mushrooms can prevent cancer or slow its growth.
One research found that Chaga extract could slow the growth of lung, breast, and cervical cancer cells in a petri dish. The same study also reports some findings that the extract can also slow the growth of tumours in mice.
Another study found that triterpenes, a compound in Chaga mushrooms, can destroy tumour cells without harming healthy cells. Although these studies have found promising results, more extensive research on humans is necessary before researchers can prove the anti-cancer benefits of Chaga.
What dose of Chaga should be used for the treatment of cancer?
A daily dose of Chaga of about one teaspoon or 2000mg (2g) of whole food mushroom powder with a beta-glucan content of 20% provides 400mg of immune-supporting polysaccharides would be beneficial in the treatment of cancer. The amount is sufficient to initiate a host-mediated immune response that helps to enhance and balance immune functions.
What is the role of Chaga in the treatment of prostate cancer?
Different studies have found that eating Chaga mushrooms blocks PSA increase in some patients, which indicates that prostate cancer growth has slowed down or stopped. PSA increase is an essential marker of prostate cancer progression, especially in patients whose prostate has been surgically removed.
Chemicals in mushrooms have been found to slow down the production of estrogen and DHT. According to the latest research, intake of mushrooms was also found to reduce one type of negative regulation of our immune function.
By the latter mechanism, mushroom intake improves our immune function to fight cancer.
Different animal and test-tube studies show that Chaga can prevent and slow cancer growth in human liver cells in a test-tube study. Similar results were observed with lung, breast, prostate, and colon cancer cells.
It is thought that the anticancer effect of Chaga is partly due to its high content of antioxidants, which protect cells from damage by free radicals.
In particular, Chaga contains the antioxidant triterpene. Triterpenes extracted from cannabis plants can kill cancer cells in a test tube.
Does Chaga give you energy?
Chaga can give you a boost in energy, but it is different from caffeine. Many people get jitters, caffeine withdrawal headaches, and even ulcers or other stomach problems when they drink excess caffeine.
Chaga tea has been used for centuries to boost energy levels. It’s an excellent source of antioxidants and can help you feel better throughout the day.
A Chaga mushroom is a rare plant species known as an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens help your body adapt, adjust and recalibrate itself depending on your environment. So, for example, they can help calm you in stressful situations, or they can give you a surge of energy when you’re tired.
What is the nutritional index of Chaga?
Chaga mushrooms are packed with vitamins, minerals, and other healthful compounds that can bring many benefits, including:
- B vitamins
- Vitamin D
For example, they can help you relax in stressful situations, or give you a boost of energy when you’re tired.
What are the Chaga benefits for hair?
One of the surprising health benefits of the Chaga mushroom is its ability to support healthy hair growth. Research shows that Chagas is routinely used as shampoo in Mongolia to maintain healthy hair. In a 2019 study, scientists concluded that Chagas did indeed have the potential to boost hair growth naturally.
Various tests showed that certain compounds in Chagas mushrooms stimulate hair follicle cells and are more effective than minoxidil, a common hair growth medication for male-pattern alopecia.
Can we use Chaga mushroom for psoriasis treatment?
Without any additional treatment, only a continued regular intake of Chaga can lead to a complete disappearance of psoriatic lesions. A study found that effective psoriasis treatments were evident after nine to twelve months over continuous treatment. Of the 50 patients with different forms of psoriasis treated, 38 were completely cured, a further eight showed improvements, and only four did not show improvement.
A recent study found that psoriasis therapy with Chaga is incredibly successful when psoriasis occurs in combination with chronic inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, liver and biliary system. There were no noticeable side effects being noticed during and after using Chaga treatments.
What are the side effects of Chaga?
Common side effects of Chaga include gastrointestinal problems such as:
- Stomach pain
These side effects rarely cause permanent damage and usually go away within a few weeks. However, you should contact your doctor immediately if you notice signs of liver injury, kidney failure or abnormal bleeding. Symptoms such as these are not necessarily caused by Chaga. You should consult your doctor before using this product.
Can Chaga help with allergies?
Scientists have studied the effects of an extract from Chaga mushrooms and its three different fractions using a mouse model for food allergies
It is not clear whether the Chaga mushroom has an anti-allergic effect. However, there is some evidence that it may be effective against allergies.
What is the role of Chaga in the treatment of eczema?
Chaga can be helpful in the treatment of eczema as well. This herbal remedy is known to contain anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the symptoms of eczema.
Chaga can be used as part of a holistic approach to treating skin conditions. For example:
Chaga is used as a remedy for eczema because it contains various substances including polysaccharides, triterpenes, flavonoids, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. These ingredients are believed to have beneficial effects on the body.
However, scientific studies have shown mixed results regarding the effectiveness of Chaga as a treatment for eczema
Can we use Chaga as an antifungal to treat fungal infections?
The extract of Chaga is active in vitro (in a test tube) against Candida albicans (an opportunistic pathogenic fungus), whereas the water fraction was ineffective. The butanol fraction produced significant inhibition of fungal infection in vitro while being less toxic than the ethanol compounds.
This research study has shown that the Chaga mushroom contains strong antibacterial and antifungal properties. Numerous studies have indicated that the Chaga mushroom might assist the immune system.
Can Chaga be used to treat Lyme disease?
Due to the chance of excess unwanted cytokines, patients with Lyme disease are recommended to take adaptogens, like Chaga, to prevent causes of inflammation and negative immunomodulation. It, along with restful sleep, meditation, exercise, stress management and anti-inflammatory foods, are the optimal combination to avoid flare-ups and promote homeostasis, or balance, in the body.
What is the role of Chaga towards weight loss?
Chaga plays a vital role in weight loss, for instance:
- It increases your metabolic rate by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes and hormones that help break down food more effectively.
- Stimulates the secretion of insulin which helps regulate sugar levels
The best way to consume Chaga tea is to drink 2-3 cups a day with water. If you are going to drink this tea as an alternative to regular coffee – use 1 tablespoon per cup. We recommend starting with one cup once or twice a week and then continuing to increase the intake every two weeks until you reach 3 cups or 10 teaspoons daily. This is an effective method for weight loss.
Chaga has also been shown to support a healthy endocrine hormone system, essential to any weight loss journey.
Can Chaga be used for the treatment of nerve pain?
Many herbs contain natural anti-inflammatory compounds. Fungi do too. Chaga can be used in the treatment of nerve pain for instance Chaga has been sold as a health food and taken by itself, and anecdotally seems to help with certain symptoms such as diabetic neuropathy or needle sensation in the skin. However, there is not enough research available at this time to make a determination about its efficacy.
Is Chaga effective for the management of Alzheimer’s disease?
Chaga is useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. It is a natural nootropic that boosts the brain’s functions when consumed. Their nootropic benefits make them apt to help manage symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Chaga is effective for the management and treatment of cognitive impairment in a number of neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). It improves memory and cognition and has been shown to be safe when used at recommended doses over periods ranging from months to years. The exact mode of action remains unknown
How much Betulinic Acid is found in Chaga, and what are its beneficial effects?
Betulinic acid is a pentacyclic triterpene sterol naturally occurring in the Chaga mushroom. Chaga converts betulin from its birch tree host into betulinic acid, more biologically active in humans and other mammals.
Betulinic acid may be the most crucial triterpene sterol found in Chaga. It helps support the healthy function of the immune system, healthy cell division, and healthy inflammation response.
Is Chaga mushroom harmful? What are the dangers or adverse effects of Chaga?
It’s generally safe to take Chaga. However, Chaga may interact with certain medications, causing potentially harmful side effects.
Chaga also contains an ingredient called polysaccharide which helps prevent blood clots. Consult with your doctor before taking chaga if you’re on blood-thinning medications, have a bleeding condition, or prepare for surgery
There are some studies showing that Chaga may help decrease inflammation, but it may increase your immune system activity too. Therefore, people with autoimmune diseases who want to take Chaga should seek medical advice first.
Remember to buy supplements from reputable sources, as the FDA does not monitor Chaga.
Can someone use Chaga while breastfeeding? Does it have any adverse effects if used during breastfeeding?
There is no research on the safety of Chaga for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Therefore, the safest option is to avoid use.
- Balandaykin ME, Zmitrovich IV. Review on Chaga Medicinal Mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (higher Basidiomycetes): Realm of Medicinal Applications and Approaches on Estimating its Resource Potential. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2015;17(2):95-104. doi:10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.v17.i2.10
- Wang C, Chen Z, Pan Y, Gao X, Chen H. Anti-diabetic effects of Inonotus obliquus polysaccharides-chromium (III) complex in type 2 diabetic mice and its sub-acute toxicity evaluation in normal mice. Food Chem Toxicol. 2017;108(Pt B):498-509. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2017.01.007
- Lee SH, Hwang HS, Yun JW. Antitumor activity of water extract of a mushroom, Inonotus obliquus, against HT-29 human colon cancer cells. Phytother Res. 2009;23(12):1784-1789. doi:10.1002/ptr.2836
- Youn MJ, Kim JK, Park SY, et al. Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) induces G0/G1 arrest and apoptosis in human hepatoma HepG2 cells. World J Gastroenterol. 2008;14(4):511-517. doi:10.3748/wjg.14.511
- Lee HS, Kim EJ, Kim SH. Ethanol extract of Innotus obliquus (Chaga mushroom) induces G1 cell cycle arrest in HT-29 human colon cancer cells. Nutr Res Pract. 2015;9(2):111-116. doi:10.4162/nrp.2015.9.2.111
- Zhao F, Xia G, Chen L, et al. Chemical constituents from Inonotus obliquus and their antitumor activities. J Nat Med. 2016;70(4):721-730. doi:10.1007/s11418-016-1002-4
- Sagayama K, Tanaka N, Fukumoto T, Kashiwada Y. Lanostane-type triterpenes from the sclerotium of Inonotus obliquus (Chaga mushrooms) as pro-proliferative agents on human follicle dermal papilla cells. J Nat Med. 2019;73(3):597-601. doi:10.1007/s11418-019-01280-0
- Li Z, Mei J, Jiang L, et al. Chaga Medicinal Mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (Agaricomycetes) Polysaccharides Suppress Tacrine-induced Apoptosis by ROS-scavenging and Mitochondrial Pathway in HepG2 Cells. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2019;21(6):583-593. doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2019030857
- Hyun KW, Jeong SC, Lee DH, Park JS, Lee JS. Isolation and characterisation of a novel platelet aggregation inhibitory peptide from the medicinal mushroom, Inonotus obliquus. Peptides. 2006;27(6):1173-1178. doi:10.1016/j.peptides.2005.10.005
- Zhong XH, Ren K, Lu SJ, Yang SY, Sun DZ. Progress of research on Inonotus obliquus. Chin J Integr Med. 2009;15(2):156-160. doi:10.1007/s11655-009-0156-2