3 Reasons to Eat Chaga Mushroom
Are you looking for a way to fire-up your immune system? If so, Chaga is your answer.
The first time I heard about Chaga, I was at a talk hosted by David Wolfe. David Wolfe is a health, nutrition, eco and natural beauty expert. He’s a raw foodist that has an encyclopedic knowledge about every vitamin, supplement, herb, mineral and superfood on the planet. His knowledge is simply amazing.
David is a huge proponent of Chaga — he’s written a book all about it. And he inspired me to go on my first Chaga hunt.
What is Chaga?
Chaga is a medicinal mushroom that grows mainly on birch trees. So, if you live near a forest that grows birch trees, you will definitely find Chaga growing wild. Lucky you!
Chaga doesn’t look like a typical mushroom. It has a hard, black, woody exterior, and its caramel brown interior is dry and fibrous. To divide a large chunk of Chaga into smaller pieces, you need a small hatchet — it’s incredibly solid.
Some hikers and campers like to use it as kindling for a fire because it’s very dry and catches a flame fast. But I wouldn’t suggest doing this because Chaga is one of the most expensive medicinal mushrooms on the market! Don’t set it aflame…just drink it!
The most popular way to consume Chaga is in the form of a tea. Stay tuned for this week’s recipe! I will show you how to make a Coconut Chaga Shake! Yummy!
What are the health benefits of Chaga?
1. Chaga is an immune system modulator:
The primary active ingredients in Chaga are the 27 different types of beta-glucans.
Beta-glucans stimulate the production of macrophages: an immune system cell that devours harmful, invading pathogens. Macrophages secret cytokines: a type of chemical that increases the communication between immune cells.
The beta-glucans also stimulate the production of white blood cells that attack viruses and tumor cells.
Amazingly, Chaga is a dual directional immune system modulator. If the immune system requires a kick in the ass, Chaga sends in the troops. If, however, an autoimmune situation arises, and the immune system goes haywire, for example during an allergic reaction or asthma, Chaga can sooth the immune system and calm the turmoil down.
2. Chaga is the most powerful antioxidant:
Chaga contains the highest concentration of Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) than any other food on the planet.
Superoxide Dismutase is an enzyme that protects and repairs cells from the damage inflicted by free radicals.
Free radicals are bad news! They cause cellular DNA and structural damage, which can cause cancer and heart disease.
Free radicals are naturally produced in the body during metabolism, and white blood cells produce them in order to combat viruses and bacteria. But the main source of free radical production is exposure to radiation, smoke, pesticides, herbicides and pollution.
The only way to neutralize free-radicals is with antioxidants. And Chaga contains more antioxidants than antioxidant rich foods like blueberries, acai berries and pomegranate seeds.
3. Chaga protects the body against infection:
Chaga contains a long list of substances that prevent the growth of bacteria, viruses, fungi, microbes, and the ever troublesome, candida.
How can I get my hands on some Chaga?
You can buy Chaga powder or tinctures online or at a healthfood store. I, however, prefer to go on a Chaga hunt!
The first time I found a wild Chaga I was ecstatic! I felt like I found a long, lost treasure. And I’m all about treasure!
My Love and I were vacationing, at a cottage, north of Toronto. Since there were so many birch trees growing in the area, we thought we would find a Chaga for sure. And we were right!
The Chaga mushroom I found grew about 2 feet from the bottom of a birch tree. I ended up kicking it off the tree with the heel of my boot. It was surprisingly heavy.
We hacked the Chaga into chunks with a hatchet, and set the pieces out to dry in the sun.
We have been enjoying Chaga tea all year long. And it was free! Woo!