There is a growing interest in adaptogenic mushrooms in the health world— and it’s not a coincidence. Many of these adaptogenic mushrooms, like chaga mushrooms, are good for you and have some very surprising benefits! Chaga powder especially is one of the most optimized and nutrient-dense preparations you could possibly extract from this taiga mushroom, though teas, extracts, tinctures, and even topical skin products are powerful healers, too.
More and more people are finding abundant health with help from healing fungi like chaga, just like our ancestors also have for thousands of years. Both traditional use from the past and modern scientific research today support it as being extremely good for you. If you’ve heard about chaga enough times to want to try it yourself— and see if it can strengthen your wellness and wellbeing— read on.
What are chaga mushrooms?
Chaga mushrooms (of the species Inonotus obliquus) are indeed mushrooms, though they might not be the ones you immediately think when you think of a mushroom—such as button mushrooms, toadstools, or Super Mario World. In fact, they look a lot like the culinary black truffles one may find growing in the ground. Only, chaga mushrooms grow on trees instead— and they specifically only grow on birch trees, members of the willow family known for their beautiful bark.
Where do chaga mushrooms grow? All chaga mushrooms grow only in the wild and are found in alpine forest ecosystems or “taiga” landscapes in the northern hemisphere. Chaga has been found in parts of the United States like the Adirondacks and Appalachian Mountains but are especially numerous in the northern temperate forests of Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia, and Siberia. Traditionally, chaga was brewed into a hot tea or decoction and had a very pleasant flavor: earthy and a little sweet, not unlike vanilla or root beer. It was used by Indigenous groups, northern Europeans, and many other peoples in ancient times.
Lovers of, and those curious about, chaga mushroom should know: chaga is a very limited resource in the wild! That is why it is ideal to source things like chaga powder, teas, or extracts from a company that esteems sustainable or organic principles of wildharvesting. This is because it takes a long time for wild chaga to replenish itself in the wild, and thus ensure that we can enjoy the mushroom for our health (and our future generations’ health) for years to come.
What makes chaga and adaptogenic mushrooms good for you?
Along with other adaptogenic mushrooms like cordyceps, maitake, or lion’s mane, chaga tops the ranks of healthy mushrooms and even all natural supplements in general. For all these types of mushrooms, including chaga, there are several compounds that contribute to its wide range of health benefits: polysaccharides, beta glucans, triterpenes, betulin, betulinic acid, antioxidants, and much more (some of these compounds being subcategories for these other compounds).
For chaga in particular, a high quality extracted chaga powder holds the highest amount of all these natural compounds, followed closely behind by a chaga tincture, extract, or double extract. Together, all these compounds contribute to the many benefits of mushrooms for health: adaptogenic healing, immune boosting, antioxidant support, digestive health, and much more. But what are benefits of mushrooms like chaga in particular? Of all mushrooms, chaga very likely has the widest spectrum of possible benefits— benefits that otherwise tend to be found in part in other adaptogenic mushroom species. According to research, you will find more possible benefits in chaga than any other mushroom.
- Antioxidant support
- Immune support
- Digestive and gut health support
- Metabolic and blood sugar support
- Anti-inflammatory benefits
- Autoimmune benefits
- Nootropic or brain and nervous system benefits
- Support for cardiovascular health
- Support for blood pressure and cholesterol
- Support for men’s health
- Support for women’s health
- Support for anxiety and stress
- Holistic depression support
- Improvement of energy, fatigue, and pain
- Support for skin health
- Protection against illness (colds, flu, etc.)
Chaga and nutritional benefits of mushrooms
Chaga mushroom is abundantly healthful and healing in so many ways. Much of this is thanks to a unique and complex richness of compounds, but it’s also in part due to the mushroom’s very simple set of healthy vitamins and minerals! As a tea or supplement (especially in the form of chaga powder), chaga is an incredible nutrient source and on even just a food level, is very good for you and a potent part of a plant based whole food diet. Chaga is also one of many notable mushrooms with vitamin D, which is rare to find in a non-animal food source.
Vitamins and minerals that chaga contain include:
- B vitamins
- Vitamin D2
- Amino acids
- …and more
Are mushrooms keto friendly? Many people overlook the incredible power of mushrooms nutritional value in diets of all sorts. Most don’t realize that edible mushrooms of many types are fantastic choices for practically any diet, including keto. Chaga and other mushrooms are naturally low in fat and carbohydrates but contain good amounts of natural fiber and non-animal protein to meet the requirements of other facets of the diet.
Chaga benefits for skin
Chaga mushroom has been imbibed and enjoyed as both food and tonic for many health purposes, and for many thousands of years— though it is often strictly associated with fighting off illness and weakness, preventing sickness, boosting energy, and being highly nutritive (among many other things). That said, many are being drawn to its potential benefits outside the body: namely, for skin health, appearance, and beauty!
Some natural cosmetic brands have started incorporating chaga powder and extracts for age-fighting and youth-protecting capabilities. This is no doubt thanks to chaga mushroom’s incredible antioxidants: these don’t only fight oxidation inside the body, but also outside in the form of pampering skin, fighting inflammation (such as in acne), and slowing down the formation of wrinkles and lines due to natural oxidation and aging.
Much like vitamin C, chaga mushroom also contains a compound called betulinic acid, which is shown to aid with collagen production in the body. Collagen is a natural protein produced by skin and tissues in the human body that give the face, body, and other cosmetic areas the smoothness and plumpness of youth. In fact, many other healing mushrooms are known to help boost collagen production, not just
chaga. What’s more, the benefits can be found both with application of topical products containing chaga as well as taking it internally as a tonic!
The benefits of mushroom powder from chaga are many, varied, and incredible. In ancient times, a simple hot tea brew of the mushroom would do the trick. Now, thanks to plenty of research on extraction methods, we have the most nutritively optimized extracts (especially in chaga powder) possible, so anyone can reap its healthful abundance to the maximum— even more than our ancestors did!
Instead of doing the hard work of brewing a tea or making a complicated extract, amazing chaga powder can simply be mixed into cold water or juice for a daily, delicious tonic to boost many aspects of health that would be the envy of many other nutrients, herbs, or supplements.