The chaga mushroom is usually found on birch trees, it has also been found on alder, beech, oak and poplar. In species other than birch, the fungus often appears as buried stem cancer, instead of the charcoal like mass found on the birch trees. Chaga mushroom is traditionally grated into a fine powder and used to brew a beverage resembling coffee or tea. Here Dr. Joseph Mercola, Mercola.com, reflects on the many benefits of drinking chaga mushroom tea:
“Are you tired of drinking the same old tea over and over? Chaga mushroom tea may be a good option for you. Chaga tea has been used in Russia and other Baltic countries for hundreds of years to boost immunity and improve overall health.1 It is now gaining popularity in Western countries, as numerous studies are touting the nutritional components of chaga mushrooms. Continue reading this article to learn more about the impressive health benefits of chaga tea and how you can include it in your daily routine.
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What Is Chaga Tea?
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a parasitic fungus commonly found in cold climates, typically in Siberia, Alaska and Northern Canada.2 It is usually attached to birch trees, with the infection eventually killing the tree and the mushroom dying soon after.3
Trees infected with it develop a black growth on their bark reminiscent of charcoal, with a brown interior.4 Chaga mushrooms come irregularly shaped and cracked with a distinct cork-like texture. They typically grow within arms’ reach, making them easily accessible for harvest. However, in some instances the mushrooms may grow at heights of 10 to 30 feet.5
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While chaga may look like something you wouldn’t want anywhere near you or your beloved trees, it is actually popular for its wide array of health benefits. Its high concentration of vitamins, minerals and nutrients paved the way for chaga to be lauded as a superfood.6
After numerous studies showed the benefits of chaga consumption, chaga product availability in the market increased. These products range from raw chaga mushroom chunks to chaga tea, skin cream, lip balm and joint rubs. However, brewing chaga tea may be the easiest way for you to benefit from this mushroom.
The Health Benefits of Chaga Tea
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Before it became widely popular, chaga tea was already being widely utilized in Russia, Poland and other Baltic countries. It is valued for its antioxidant, antimicrobial and tumor-preventive properties.7 In addition to these uses, chaga tea may:
- Boost immune function. In a 2011 animal study from the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, chaga extracts were found to influence the production of cytokines that regulate the production of antibodies in the body.8
- Help regulate blood sugar. A 2017 animal study from Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy shows that the polysaccharides found in chaga may have antihyperglycemic properties due to its effect on the Akt/PKB signaling pathway.9
- Help keep inflammation at bay. In a 2010 study published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, mice were administered chaga extracts to test its effectivity on easing inflammation. Its effectiveness was linked to its effect on the inflammatory cytokines.10
Chaga Tea Nutrition Facts: Does It Contain Caffeine?
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