Trend: What Is Chaga?

September 06, 2018

Trend: What Is Chaga?

Medicinal mushrooms like chaga are being used to “elevate” your morning coffee or smoothie and here’s why.


Chaga, one in a class of many medicinal mushrooms such as reishi and cordyceps, has become popular recently for its unique health benefits. Chaga is marketed as being high in antioxidants and beta glucans, both known to protect the immune system and reduce inflammation. It is also believed to increase energy and improve brain health. Here’s what the science says:


Medicinal mushrooms have gained increasing popularity only recently but have been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years.

  • Anti-tumor properties - A number of studies have shown that chaga can have anti-tumor effects. Long term consumption of chaga could even suppress the formation of tumors.

  • Diabetes - One group of researchers found a compound in chaga mushrooms that has a number of positive effects on glucose and lipid metabolism. This chaga extract could be used as an alternative treatment option for hyperglycemia without the adverse side effects of weight gain and increased cardiovascular risk, which most common treatments for diabetes currently have.

  • Antioxidant Effect - Compounds extracted from chaga mushrooms have been shown to have a strong antioxidant effect and protect the body from oxidative stress.


More research is necessary to fully understand the health effects of chaga. Always check with your doctor for possible drug interactions.



References:

  1. Lee, Jung-Han, and Chang-Kee Hyun. "Insulin-Sensitizing and Beneficial Lipid-Metabolic Effects of the Water-Soluble Melanin Complex Extracted FromInonotus Obliquus." Phytotherapy Research28, no. 9 (2014): 1320-328. doi:10.1002/ptr.5131.

  2. Arata, Satoru, Jun Watanabe, Masako Maeda, Masato Yamamoto, Hideto Matsuhashi, Mamiko Mochizuki, Nobuyuki Kagami, Kazuho Honda, and Masahiro Inagaki. "Continuous Intake of the Chaga Mushroom (Inonotus Obliquus) Aqueous Extract Suppresses Cancer Progression and Maintains Body Temperature in Mice."Heliyon 2, no. 5 (2016). doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2016.e00111.

  3. Cui, Yong, Dong-Seok Kim, and Kyoung-Chan Park. "Antioxidant Effect of Inonotus Obliquus."Journal of Ethnopharmacology 96, no. 1-2 (2005): 79-85. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.08.037.


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