Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) also known as White rot fungus grows on the trunk of a live mature birch tree. These mushrooms are traditionally used as medicine for cancer, liver disease, viral and bacterial infections, diseases related to stomach and as a functional food in Russia, China, Korea, Japan, and Eastern Europe.
9 Benefits of Chaga mushrooms and Chaga Tea
Chaga mushrooms and Chaga tea both have medicinal properties due to the presence of many active ingredients like high phenolic content, ergosterol peroxides, and other components.
Due to rich in phenols Chaga mushrooms are known to have high antioxidant activity, therefore, possesses anti-cancer properties (1).
2. Act as a Probiotic
Chaga mushrooms are rich in many types of polysaccharides containing sugars like glucose, galactose, xylose, and mannose. This polysaccharide helps in the regulation of gut microbiota. In a study on mice gut showed that Chaga mushrooms can act as a probiotic (3).
Studies (4) done for the anti-inflammatory properties of Chaga mushroom showed that mushrooms especially grown on germinated brown rice showed maximum activity. It’s effective in the case of chronic inflammatory diseases including arthritis, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, neurodegeneration, and early aging.
Chaga mushrooms reduce type 2 diabetes level, during experiments conducted on mice (5). Reduction in Diabetes level thus can be attributed to polyphenols and polysaccharides found in Chaga mushrooms.
5. Immunity Booster
Chaga mushroom enhances the body’s innate immune system also known as inborn immunity system (6).
6. Weight Loss
A conclusive study done on mice concluded that consumption of Chaga mushrooms leads to the reduction in weight and therefore prevents other metabolic abnormalities (5)
7. Colon cancer prevention
In a study done on human colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines it was concluded that Chaga mushroom extract acts against cancerous cells associated with colon cancer due to the presence of Ergosterol peroxide (2).
Research (7) done in the Institute of Virology, Russia showed 100 fold decrease in Hepatitis C virus effect within 10 mins. Another study shows that water extract of Chaga mushrooms helps in preventing herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection (8).
9. Prevents Premature Aging
It’s found effective against neurodegeneration and removing early aging symptoms, this can also be attributed to the anti-inflammatory property of Chaga mushrooms.
4 Side Effects of Chaga Mushrooms
1. Kidney failure
Excessive consuming of Chaga mushroom contains a very high amount of oxalate. Therefore excessive consumption leads to oxalate nephropathy. A severe condition of kidney disorder. Kidney failure occurs due to oxalate deposition in the tubular lumina and urinary sediments (9).
2. Risk of Bleeding
Chaga mushroom should not be taken with anticoagulant and antiplatelet medicines because it increases the risk of bleeding (10).
3. Safety due to lack of human trials
The beneficial effect of Chaga mushrooms on human are although widely acclaimed. In spite of this, there are still very few researches that prove its effect on human cells. Maximum studies are especially based on the animal model. Therefore medical advice is mandatory before using Chaga mushrooms.
4. Authentic Chaga mushroom
Many cultures consider Chaga mushroom as medicine. Before purchasing Chaga mushrooms you should keep in mind that the grown purely in wild conditions. Cultivated mushrooms lack important active compound, therefore, may be less effective.
How to make Chaga tea?
The Chaga mushroom can be consumed as a beverage just like tea and coffee. Simple steps involved in preparing Chaga tea for a single serving (1 Cup) are as follows.
1 – Soak the mushroom(5 Grams) or powder( 1 Tbsp) overnight in 200 ml of water.
2 – Strain the water after 12 hours of soaking.
3 – Heat mushroom extract for 2.5 Minutes.
4 – Add sugar or cinnamon finally as per your taste.
Caution – please avoid Chaga mushroom tea consumption during pregnancy as there is no study that supports its consumption during pregnancy. Please consult your physician before considering regular consumption during pregnancy.