My Natural Health Blog

Meet CHAGA – the Super Anti-Aging Medicinal Mushroom

Superfeast ChagaCHAGA; 'Inonotus obliquus' traditionally grows wild on Birch trees in the northern hemisphere, and appears as a black mass attached to the trunk. As well as being a potent source of nutrients in its’ own right, some of Chagas actives come from the Birch tree bark from which it draws its’ life force. They exist in a symbiotic relationship, and this allows Chaga to deliver active constituents such as betulin and betulinic acid (from the Birch tree) together with polysaccharides –eg beta glucans, polyphenols and triterpines.

Chaga is a ‘tonic’ herb. The definition of a ‘tonic’ herb; - are those herbs which can be ingested safely and will not harm or stress the body. They are used to heal, support, nourish and restore body systems as well as individual organs.

BENEFITS of CHAGA:

ANTIOXIDANT & ANTI-AGING:
Many of us are aware that our body cells can be and are, damaged by free radicals. Research has shown Chaga to be exceptionally high in antioxidants and these counter the damage that free radicals often do. The most notable being SOD – or superoxide dismutase; an enzyme which forms a very important defence against oxidative stress in the body. It also acts to reduce inflammation and helps to prevent pre-cancerous changes within cells. Our bodys natural levels of SOD decline as we age, leaving us more vulnerable to the damage free radicals can do.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that Chaga exhibits have been shown to play a role in slowing the aging process by protecting our cells and supporting them to function optimally. Also when our ability to cope with daily stressors - both physically and emotionally - is improved, the result is again, better cell function, better energy levels and better vitality!

ADAPTOGEN:
Chaga is classed as a powerful Adaptogen. This means that it supports the bodys’ resilience to stress, it helps the body to cope better, helps calm the nervous system and helps restore balance within. As stress is a significant factor in many health issues today, taking a herb with adaptogenic properties such as this, can be of huge benefit.

INCREASES STAMINA & REDUCES FATIGUE:
Studies done using polysaccharide rich Chaga found that it increased stamina and endurance, and the mice given the Chaga also had decreased lactic acid (a fatigue marker) when compared to those given a placebo. In this same study it was found that glycogen in the muscle and liver of the mice given Chaga was much higher, suggesting Chaga has the ability to slow glycogen utilisation – this plays a key part in exercise endurance.

IMMUNITY:
Chaga & other medicinal mushrooms have a powerful immune-modulating effect on the immune system, - it can be either stimulatory or inhibitory. The extraction method of the actives influences the degree in which either action will be more dominant.

The active chemical constituents in medicinal mushrooms called polysaccharides – especially beta-glucans, play an important role in the activation of the bodys immune response. Beta glucans significantly boost activity of natural killer cells, macrophages, interleukins, interferons, tumour necrosis factor, B & T lymphocytes, tumour infiltrating lymphocytes & granulocytes – the infection fighting cells that form in the bone marrow. This is why the use of medicinal mushrooms can be incredibly beneficial for total immune support.

CHAGA & Candida – a point worth mentioning… a side effect of having a stronger and more capable immune system is that it improves the bodys ability to deal with imbalances, and to bring fungal infections under control. Definitely worth considering as a part of an immune boosting program to treat this.

CHAGA & PSORIASIS:
Our skin is our largest organ of elimination, and as such its’ role in detoxification is often overlooked. Psoriasis is one such immune-mediated inflammatory skin condition, it is an example of when the skin is not dealing effectively with everything being thrown at it. It’s a chronic inflammatory disease in which there is an increase in skin cell growth and turnover. There are usually many factors involved which contribute to this condition, and it is not always straight forward to treat. However, there has been some research done with Chaga which showed a 76% rate of improvement in those on the Chaga in the trial.

The benefits of this amazing medicinal mushroom are many once you start to delve into it – fascinating for sure! For more info see SuperFeast Chaga Extract here, they use Chaga which is:

- Grown fully wild on the bark of Birch trees harvested on birch that is at 20+ years old
- The sclerotia is harvested at 8-10 years of maturity
- Mindfully sourced from Changbai Mountain in China
- Dual-extracted for full-spectrum benefits

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