A native of Russia, Chaga mushroom is a parasitic fungus growing on the birch tree. It is irregular in shape and appears like a mass of charcoal. Its black colour is due to the massive amounts of melanin. Chaga mushroom is famous in Russia, though its fame is fast spreading worldwide. Besides being powerful adaptogenic, the Chaga mushroom is an immune booster, an excellent digestive aid, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral properties.
Below is a compressive list of Chaga mushroom proven health benefits.
1. Prevention and treatment of cancer
The active compound in the Chaga mushroom has an essential role in prevention and management of cancer, according to research. Betulinic acid, Inotodiol, and Ergosterol peroxide are some of the essential compounds with anticancer properties. Betulinic acid induces cell apoptosis and prevents tumour development while Ergosterol peroxide inhibits colorectal cancer. Moreover, other extracts in Chaga mushroom help the immune system to recognise cancer cells as foreign and invasive; thus prompting the body to fight against them.
2. Immune booster
Chaga extracts boost and modulate the immune system through the production of immune cells Interleukin-6 and Lymphocyte B. Moreover, the extracts promote the immune system’s ability to differentiate between foreign cells and the body’s cells; thus increasing the accuracy of the immune system in responding to invasion by alien cells. Chaga extract plays a vital role in preventing allergic reactions by helping the body to recognise its cells more accurately; thus it cannot fight against its cells. In the event reducing the chances of occurrence of autoimmune disease.
Also, Chaga mushroom extracts are efficient in reduction of immune system hypersensitivity. Immune hypersensitivity result from a severe allergic reaction. Such reaction can lead to cardiac shock. As a biological response modifier, Chaga mushroom boosts the immune system when necessary and lower it when it is hypersensitive.
3. A powerful antiviral and antibiotic
Chaga extracts have potent antiviral and antimicrobial properties. For instance, Chaga extracts are effective against viruses as they inhibit replication of HIV 1 and prevent Herpes virus from infecting new cells. Furthermore, the extracts are effective in reducing infection due to Hepatitis C. The extracts stop the process that bacteria use to activate gene expression (quorum sensing), an essential step in fighting bacterial infection. A cup of Chaga tea is crucial in eliminating the bacteria that may cause ulcers.
4. Fights inflammation
Chaga extracts reduce overactivated immune responses through decreasing expression of molecules that activate inflammatory responses. Besides, the extracts minimise inflammation of the colon through lessening oxidative stress. Note that, low antioxidant levels can lead to inflammatory bowel syndrome, an inflammation of colon cells. Furthermore, methanolic extracts of Chaga extracts reduce pain stemming from inflammations, by blocking the effects of enzymes that take part in inflammatory pathways, nitric oxide synthase, and cyclooxygenase-2.
5. Powerful antioxidant
Antioxidants play a vital role in neutralising free radicles in the body. The free radicles cause oxidative stress. Chaga has the highest amount of antioxidant potency as compared to any other food. The high amounts of antioxidants are due to the high amount of polyphenols in the mushroom. Besides, the high amounts of Super Oxidase Dimutase, protect body cells against destructive effects of uncontrolled oxidation and free radicles. The antioxidative properties, reduce the rate of cell ageing.
6. Alleviates Ulcers and gastritis
One of the causes of ulcers is bacteria. Being a potent antimicrobial, Chaga kills the bacteria that causes ulcers in the digestive tract reducing chances of ulcers. Besides, the extracts of the mushroom are essential in reducing inflammation and boosting immunity. Taking a cup of Chaga tea or a glass of warm water infused with Chaga mushroom powder half an hour before meals alleviate pain, and soothes the ulcers.
7. Physical endurance
Chaga polysaccharides reduce lactic acid concentration in the blood during an exercise. Reducing lactic acid reduces fatigue and enhances the process of energy production. Besides, the polysaccharides increase the glycogen content of muscles and the liver. Moreover, Chaga mushroom extracts, decrease blood urea nitrogen levels, a component that contributes to fatigue.
8. Inhibition of dangerous blood clots
Platelets may aggregate and consequently forming clots within the veins; a condition called thrombosis. A thrombus is potentially fatal as it may lead to diseases such as heart attack and stroke. Chaga extracts reduce the process of aggregation of platelets significantly; thus eliminates the risks of thrombosis. Besides, Chaga is essential in soothing blood vessels in times of irritation. Such property is necessary in cases of pain or conditions such as neuropathy and diabetes.
9. Improves diabetic health
Chaga’s ethanolic compounds significantly reduce high blood glucose level by increasing insulin levels in the liver. Insulin regulates sugar, by stimulating liver cells to convert sugar into glycogen or increase sugar breakdown. One of the causes of insulin resistance is oxidative stress. Insulin resistance leads to accelerated diabetes complications. The antioxidants in Chaga mushroom reduce the risk of oxidative damage. Also, the extracts slow down that rate of carbohydrate absorption; thus decreasing the surges in blood sugar, which would otherwise lead to diabetes complications.
10. Normalising blood pressure and cholesterol levels
Betulinic acid can break down the low-density lipoprotein, bad cholesterol in the blood, while other extracts increase the amount of high-density lipoprotein, good cholesterol in the liver. By eliminating bad cholesterol from blood vessels, as well as eliminating clots from the veins, Chaga mushroom extracts ensure a healthy blood pressure.
11. Skin health
The massive amounts of antioxidant melanin in Chaga mushroom, make it an excellent skin toner. The melanin protects genes and DNA. Naturally, melanin is a part of the skin, that protect it against harmful radiation. Moreover, melanin gives the skin its colour. Chaga’s melanin, enhances the skin’s health, making it supple and protecting the skin from damage by radiation. Mixing Chaga powder in a skin moisturiser and applying it to the skin works well.
12. Digestive Aid
Chaga extracts relieve indigestion and eliminate gastrointestinal pain. Moreover, Chaga mushroom is an excellent source of dietary fibre, thus aiding in peristalsis. Chaga stimulates the production of bile, a necessary salt in the breakdown of fats. Taking 4oo ml of Chaga mushroom powder three times a day, thirty minutes before a meal is essential for a healthy digestive system.
13. Liver detoxifying and hepatoprotective abilities
Chaga extracts clean the liver ridding it of any toxic substances. Moreover, Chaga extracts can protect the liver from damage by chemicals.
14. Relieving feeling of stress
Chaga extracts are essential in balancing hormones in the body. In the event of stress, the body releases stress hormones. The hormones are responsible for the feeling of stress and fatigue. A balance of such hormones, balances the functioning of the body, hence enables one to cope with stress. As a well-known adaptogen, Chaga mushroom, help to stabilise, restore and protect the body. It does so by helping the body respond to the stressor, normalising physiological functioning. Moreover, the extracts increase tolerance of the body to stress.
15. Improves cognitive function
Chaga extracts reduce brain oxidative stress and restore the level of acetylcholine during oxidative stress. Acetylcholine promotes learning and memory. Increasing the levels of acetylcholine improves the cognitive performance of an individual.