Chaga Mushroom Benefits: The Facts
There are many claims about how the Chaga Mushroom Benefits our health, some of which are true, some of which are questionable. There is also a lot of technical jargon out there which can confuse people.
To keep things relatively simple, we'll go through the top 7 purported uses for chaga and discuss the merits of each one. If you'd like to learn more about the key ingredients that provide the health benefits below, please check out our antioxidants and key ingredients post.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please consult with your doctor and read the latest information provided by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center before taking Chaga for any health condition.
Stimulates and Regulates the Immune System
Chaga stimulated the activity of certain immune cells in laboratory-based experiments. Like many medicinal mushrooms, chaga is rich in Beta-Glucans which help balance the response of the body’s immune system.
This means that Chaga helps stimulate the immune system when needed and slows it down when it’s being overactive. This makes Chaga a natural BRM (BiologicalResponse Modifier).
Clearly, having the immune system well regulated like this, helps with many health issues as you'll read below.
Nutritional support in the fight against cancer
Previous studies have shown that chaga can inhibit the progression of certain cancers and activate subsets of immune cells. Research is in progress to study its full anticancer potential, as more studies are needed to confirm its effects as an anticancer agent in humans.
Although the full potential of Chaga as a cancer treatment is still unclear, it has proven effective in supporting standard cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.
Here, it can compensate for the negative side-effects these treatments have on the body (including; nausea, fatigue, insomnia, poor appetite, etc.) by boosting the immune system (see point 1).
For infomation about chaga and cancer, please check out this post written by Dr. Kevin Curran
Chaga’s ability to reduce inflammations is linked to its immune supporting properties (see point 1 above).
Also, the high level of antioxidants in Chaga can have a positive effect on inflammations.
There is currently no scientific evidence that we're aware of that supports this use.
Anti-aging & Skin
Inherently, the Chaga Mushroom contains a high level of antioxidants, but the amount consumed will vary greatly depending on how/where the chaga was harvested and the extraction method used.
Typically, a high-quality chaga extract will provide a very high level of antioxidants, turning Chaga into a powerful anti-aging tool and thus benefiting your skin.
Antioxidant power can be expressed in an ORAC-value (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity).
Helps with Ulcers and Gastritis
In folk medicine, Chaga was often used to treat gastritis and related gastrointestinal problems.
Again, the immune support, along with the Betulinic acid and Phytosterols present in Chaga, play a key role here, both in treatment and prevention.
Most ulcers are caused by bacteria such as Helicobacter
Normalize Cholesterol levels & Blood Pressure
Research has showed that betulinic acid (a compound found in Chaga) is able to break down “bad cholesterol” in the bloodstream.
In addition, Beta-Glucans have also proven to help with cholesterol levels. By normalizing cholesterol levels, Chaga contributes to lowering high blood pressure and promotes a healthy cardiovascular system.
No clinical trials have assessed chaga’s safety, so there is a lack of information on possible side effects. Do not take if:
- You are using a “blood thinning” drug.
- You are using medications to lower blood sugar (chaga may have additive effects).
Chaga Mushroom Benefits: Summary
Research is underway to determine the full potential of Chaga’s anticancer and immune stimulating effects.
To date, studies show its constituents can kill cancer cells selectively and can stimulate the immune system. However, clinical trials are needed to verify chaga's safety and effectiveness as a cancer treatment in humans.
For more information, please read the research done by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Oriveda. Also, if you're looking for a high quality, dual extract that provides all these health benefits, check out our Chaga Supplements Guide and our Buying Guide.
UPDATE: I've recently discovered a wonderful Chaga article written by
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