Welcome to week six of our seven-week immunity series, where we take an in-depth look at an immune-boosting vitamin or herb.
For week five of our seven-week immunity series, check out our article: Enhance immune function with Reishi mushroom.
This week we are covering the super mushroom Chaga and why it is one of the healthiest mushroom supplements for immunity.
Should you believe the super mushroom hype around Chaga? Read on to learn more.
Jump ahead to
What is Chaga?
Chaga is a mushroom that grows on birch trees in the cold climates of Finland, Russia, North America and Canada. Chaga is also referred to as Inonotus Obliquus — its scientific name.
Chaga has an unusual appearance resembling burnt charcoal. When introduced to sick birch trees, it has been shown to help the sick tree recover to health.
Chaga has been widely used as a folk medicine in Russia, Poland, and most of the Baltic countries for centuries to treat a range of diseases, including liver and heart problems, pain relief, skin issues, blood purification, and even cancers.
Traditionally it is grated into a mushroom powder form, and consumed as a medicinal tea.
Today, scientific research into Chaga has been centered around its common folk uses. Chaga contains a number of bioactive compounds such as triterpenoid saponins and beta-glucans. Lab studies suggest that these compounds have antioxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-tumor properties.
Why is Chaga mushroom powder good for boosting immunity?
Chaga mushroom is one of the most widely researched medicinal mushrooms and has become well known for its ability to boost immune function.
Chaga’s immune enhancing properties are linked to its antioxidant effect. Studies have already proven Chaga’s ability to effectively scavenge free radicals — abnormal cells that cause damage to other healthy cells.
Chaga provides cells a strong support against oxidative stress — a state where too many free radicals accumulate in the body.
It is believed that Chaga’s high content of polysaccharides are responsible for the immune-boosting benefits observed in some studies.
Research in animal cells has shown that Chaga may also help suppress bacteria and viruses, making it a promising candidate for further study as a potential immune enhancer during cancer treatment.
Additional research conducted on mice indicates that Chaga is able to effectively combat inflammation by reducing inflammatory TNF cells while also promoting the formation of white blood cells known as cytokines which are instrumental in fighting off harmful bacteria.
Although we still have much to learn about this super mushroom, the research to date shows encouraging results.
Chaga vs. Reishi: which is the better super mushroom?
Chaga and Reishi are both powerful medicinal mushrooms with a whole host of health benefits ranging from reducing inflammation to immune support.
Related reading: Enhance immune function with Reishi mushroom.
Depending on your unique profile and health goals, one of these super mushrooms might be better suited to your needs.
It is important to note that Chaga is not recommended for those taking blood thinners, while Reishi is not advised to those taking blood pressure medication. Both mushrooms are also not recommended for those with autoimmune conditions.
In our 5-minute quiz, we pre-screen all your medications for you so you don’t have to. Take the quiz to see which of these super mushrooms is better suited for your unique health needs.
What are the healthiest mushrooms?
Some of the healthiest mushroom varieties include:
- Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)
- Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
- Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)
- Almond mushroom (Agaricus blazei)
- Hen-of-the-woods (Grifola frondosa)
- Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)
Mushrooms like Chaga are also classified as adaptogens, meaning they work to help your body combat daily stressors and restore homeostasis.
Related reading: Confused about adaptogens? How to select the right one.
Did you know that mushrooms also happen to be an excellent source of vegan Vitamin D?
Related reading: The importance of Vitamin D3 and K2 when you’re stuck inside.
Where is Chaga mushroom for sale?
You can buy Chaga mushroom powder online or at your local vitamin store, but be wary of the provider you choose. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) doesn’t monitor the quality of herbal supplements such as Chaga.
Many producers add synthetic fillers or harmful additives to their herbal supplements.
At hundred, our Chaga mushroom powder is 100% organic certified and sourced from farms with the highest possible safety standards.
The bottom line
Looking for the best super mushroom to support your immune system during these tough times? Our 100% Organic Chaga mushroom powder is safe and non-toxic.
Chaga is not recommended for people taking certain drugs. Take our 5-minute quiz and we’ll pre-screen all your medications for you.
If you still have questions, your dedicated Nutrition Expert will be glad to help you.