You are probably familiar with buttons and portobellos, the varieties of edible mushrooms we add to soups, pasta, and salads. But there’s a whole other world of mushrooms that are becoming increasingly popular for the health benefits they offer beyond nourishment. These varieties are called medicinal mushrooms.
Reishi, Shiitake, and Lion’s Mane are among the most well-known medicinal mushrooms. A lesser-known but well-loved variety in Asia and Northern Europe is called Chaga (Inonotus obliquus). Chaga is so prized in these parts of the world it’s referred to as “black gold” and “diamond of the forest.” Chaga has been used to boost endurance and help with age-related diseases. However, Chaga is best known for its immune-stimulating ability.
Chaga grows on the bark of birch trees in cold climate regions. But if you wandered into the forest and came across it, it’s unlikely you’d recognize it as a mushroom. You might be fooled into thinking the gnarly black knot on the birch was part of the tree. Chip in to the outer realm, and if you see stunning orange color, you have struck gold.
Immune System Support
Many studies show that Chaga is vastly beneficial for your immune system by stimulating white blood cells essential for fighting off harmful pathogens. (1) As a result, Chaga could help fight infections — from minor colds to severe illnesses.
Studies also demonstrate that Chaga may help prevent the production of harmful cytokines, which trigger chronic inflammation and are associated with various diseases. (2)
One study involving diabetic mice observed that Chaga extract reduced blood sugar levels and insulin resistance compared to untreated diabetic mice. (3) In another study, Chaga decreased blood sugar levels by 31% over three weeks. (4)
Multiple animal studies show that Chaga extract may help cholesterol levels, reducing the risk for heart disease. In several studies, Chaga extracts reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in high-cholesterol rats while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol and antioxidant levels. (3, 4) It seems that Chaga’s rich antioxidant levels may be responsible for its effects on cholesterol.
Chaga is highly regarded as an adaptogen. Adaptogens help your body cope with mental and physical stressors by influencing how your hormones react to stress. Moreover, Chaga contains minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and zinc that support mental health and, by extension, alleviates mental stress.
Supplementing with Chaga
Chaga is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an all-natural supplement to help support your immune system, cardiovascular and overall health. It may also help you better cope with age-related health issues.
So, where do you find Chaga?
Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Mushrooms has blended high-quality Chaga extract, plus four additional medicinal mushrooms – Lion’s Mane, Shiitake, Reishi, and Maitake. A daily dose of Dynamic Mushrooms along with a healthy diet and lifestyle promotes healthy immune function today and for many years to come.
1. “Immunomodulatory Activity Of The Water Extract From Medicinal Mushroominonotus Obliquus”. Mycobiology 33 (3): 158. doi:10.4489/myco.2005.33.3.158. – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3774877/
2. Mishra, Siddhartha Kumar, Ju-Hee Kang, Dong-Kyu Kim, Seung Hyun Oh, and Mi Kyung Kim. 2012. “Orally Administered Aqueous Extract Of Inonotus Obliquus Ameliorates Acute Inflammation In Dextran Sulfate Sodium (DSS)-Induced Colitis In Mice”. Journal Of Ethnopharmacology 143 (2): 524-532. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2012.07.008. – pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22819687/
3. Wang, J., Wang, C., Li, S., Li, W., Yuan, G., Pan, Y. and Chen, H. – Wang, Jia, Cong Wang, Shuqin Li, Weiwei Li, Guoqi Yuan, Yuxiang Pan, and Haixia Chen. 2017. “Anti-Diabetic Effects Of Inonotus Obliquus Polysaccharides In Streptozotocin-Induced Type 2 Diabetic Mice And Potential Mechanism Via PI3K-Akt Signal Pathway”. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy 95: 1669-1677. doi:10.1016/j.biopha.2017.09.104. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28954386/
4. Sun, Jun-En, Zong-Hua Ao, Zhen-Ming Lu, Hong-Yu Xu, Xiao-Mei Zhang, Wen-Fang Dou, and Zheng-Hong Xu. 2008. “Antihyperglycemic And Antilipidperoxidative Effects Of Dry Matter Of Culture Broth Of Inonotus Obliquus In Submerged Culture On Normal And Alloxan-Diabetes Mice”. Journal Of Ethnopharmacology 118 (1): 7-13. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.02.030. – pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18434051/
5. Anti-diabetic effects of Inonotus obliquus polysaccharides in streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetic mice and potential mechanism via PI3K-Akt signal pathway – PubMed (nih.gov)
6. Antihyperglycemic and anti-lipid peroxidative effects of dry matter of culture broth of Inonotus obliquus in submerged culture on normal and alloxan-diabetes mice – PubMed (nih.gov)