Superfood: CHAGA MUSHROOM

If you haven’t heard of the medicinal Chaga mushroom, this article is for you. The Inonotus obliquus is a fungus that grows on trees by feeding off the lignins without damaging the integrity of the tree itself. However, it doesn’t look like a typical mushroom with a top and stem. It’s visually similar to a piece of bark with red, brown and black colors.

A superfoods site(1)tells why this fungus is so healthy. It starts with the extremely high level of immune boosting antioxidants such as glucans and betulinic acid. Beta glucans boost the immune system, but is not produced by the body. It is found in grains like oats, wheat, rye, and barley besides certain mushrooms. This immune response protects us from breast, stomach and colorectal cancers. It has been used in Russia as an anticancer drug since 1955.

Betulinic acid is an anti-inflammatory and antiretroviral agent that is also found in the bark of trees. It is thought to inhibit melanoma and has been studied by the National Cancer Institute as a treatment for some cancers. Chaga is also considered one of most powerful adaptogens or compounds that promotes homeostasis in the body.

Its even good for your skin. Chaga has the highest melanin content in any food which acts as a gene protector. Melanin, a pigment produced in the skin of all animals, can protect the skin from sun damage as well as hair and eyes. It prevents UV radiation damage from the sun. We all know how UV damage tends to age the skin prematurely.

Here are the vitamins and minerals(1):

  • vitamin B2
  • vitamin D2
  • calcium
  • iron
  • magnesium
  • phosphorus
  • sulfur
  • potassium
  • rubidium and cesium
  • silicon
  • germanium
  • manganese
  • selenium
  • zinc
  • antimony
  • barium
  • bismuth
  • boron
  • chromium
  • copper

There are different ways to ingest the Chaga mushroom, but it’s mostly ground and used in tea or as an extract in capsule form. I personally enjoy it as a brewed tea, so I buy the ground powder on amazon. I find the taste similar to orange pekoe tea with a bit of an earthy flavor. It’s mild enough that I don’t use sweeteners and my teenage daughter has fallen in love with it.

Side effects: It may increase the effect of anticoagulants like aspirin and warfarin. It may also interact with diabetes medicines like insulin.

(1)Superfoods for Superhealth staff. Changa Mushroom Benefits as an Immune Enhancing Superfood. 2015. Retrieved from www.superfoods-for-superhealth.com/chaga.html on 8-31-15.

by L. Johnson    http://www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

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