Because of its close association with birch trees, chaga is often referred to as the "Birch mushroom". Unlike most mushrooms, chaga is a polypore, a fungus with pores instead of gills. It has the appearance of a black, irregular, cracked mass, grows on tree trunks and is most often sterile.
In ancient Slavic language chaga was called "Gaga", so this might be the reason for its current name. This is a mushroom that commonly grows in northern regions on birch, alder and beech trees. However for medicinal purposes only birch chaga can be used. Using chaga grown on other trees or using fake chaga-like mushrooms might be harmful or even dangerous to human health. So this is very important to be able to correctly identify the real chaga before consuming it.
Chaga is a fungal parasite which draws its nutrients out of living trees, rather than from the ground. Fungi digest food outside their bodies by releasing enzymes into the surrounding environment, breaking down organic matter into a form the fungus can then absorb. A look at the research on chaga shows a similar pattern with respect to its effect on tumors.
Chaga is a primary adaptogen, cancer fighter, immune system modulator, antitumor agent, gastrointestinal tonifier, longevity tonic and genoprotective agent (DNA-shielding).
Chaga's purifying and healing properties have been known in Russia since 16th century. Nowadays many people in Siberia brew and drink a tea with Chaga instead of black tea or coffee. Russian scientists have noticed that in areas where people regularly drink chaga tea, the rate of cancerous diseases among folk is much lower than in other places and ailments connected with stomach are not present at all. Many people in Siberia who drink chaga daily, usually live very long,some even over 100 years.
Birch slice showing chaga development.*
|The Chaga spore has nested itself in the heartwood of the tree and starts spreading
||Close-up of the fungus pushing towards outside of the tree.
||The first traces of what we call "Chaga" are started to show on outside of the tree pushing the bark out of the way.
||A massive "canker" is now appearing on the tree. The tree will keep on trying to fight off the fungus but usually without success.
*The above pictures are the cortesy of Oriveda.
Chaga's main distinction from other medicinal mushrooms is that it is composed of a complex of antioxidant pigments ( chromogens). Russian Pharmacopea's primary requirement for chaga quality is a Chromogenic complex content of not less than 10%. If the content is lower such chaga is not considered as healing and is not allowed to be used for medicinal application. Our Siberian chaga has as much as 14-18% of Chromogenic complex. However, there are much more biologically active substances in chaga that make chaga so powerful. These are polysaccharids, alkalines, phytonutrients, organic acids and many important minerals and microelements such as calcium, zinc, magnesium, chrom and others. Various substances found in chaga possess powerful anticancer and antitumor properties. Many of anticancer properties are now being attributed to beta glucans and melanin. Chaga has a high level of melanin that protects DNA and fights radiation by activating a pineal gland.
According to the Russian Medical Academy, chaga:
In Russia,chaga was approved for public use against cancer by the Medical Academy of Science in Moscow in 1955.
- has a positive effect against lung and liver cancer
- calms the nervous system
- is proven to positively affect various stomach diseases and ulcers
- stimulates the immune system
Preparations from chaga can be applied as an active biogenic stimulators, which increase protective forces of organism, stimulate the central nervous and neurohumoral (they increase the activity of estrogens) systems of organism, improve metabolism including activation of metabolism in cerebral tissue, regulate the activity of cardiovascular and respiratory systems, stimulate the homogeny (increase the level of leukocytes), act as the over-all strengthening means, increase the resistibility of organism to the infectious diseases, possess antipyretic properties during the internal and local application, strengthen the cytostatic activity of antitumorigenic preparations, detains tumor growth, causes their gradual regression and slows down the development of metastases, i.e. they themselves possess cytostatic action.
There is a predicted trend to artificial cultivation of Chaga similar to Lingzhi, Agaricus, Maitake and other well known medicinal mushrooms. But luckily not in Russia. Here, in Siberia, we have so large forest reserves that it allows us to enjoy all natural products that a forest can offer for many years to come, including chaga.
However, not all Russian chaga is totally of premium healing grade. In fact, the area for the growth of such chaga is quite limited even in Siberia and covers just its three main areas: Irkutian region, Kamchatka region and Northern part of Altai mountains. In these big areas grows the most potent Chaga. This is mainly because of a very favorable for chaga climate (harsh and long winters with freezing temperatures as low as -45-50 degrees Celcius).
About Antioxidants and Free Radicals
Our bodies are made up of cells and the integrity of these cells is vital for our health. Substances that damage cell structure or integrity are the cause of many disease conditions and symptoms. Breakdown of cell structure is also one of the hallmarks of the aging process.
Like everything else in the universe, our cells are made of molecules, groups of atoms joined by electro-chemical bonds. The outer layers of atoms, electrons, are the key player in this bonding process. These electron layers seek a state of balance by forming pairs or even-numbered groups. If these bonds are split, atoms with unpaired electrons are formed, and these unstable atoms are called free radicals.
The unstable free radical always attempts to return to a stable form, either by getting rid of its extra electrons or bonding with another atom to pair up electrons. Free radicals tend to "attack" the nearest molecule, trying to steal electrons. When that molecule loses electrons, it becomes a free radical itself, and then the whole process starts over again. One free radical can start a chain reaction.
When this kind of chemical activity occurs in the body, the molecules getting attacked are parts of your cells. An abundance of free radicals in the body can disrupt cell structure.
Neutralize Free Radicals with Chaga
While it’s not easy to avoid free radicals and oxidative damage, free radicals can be dealt with. Antioxidants "neutralize" free radicals by donating one of their own electrons, halting the chain reaction. However, antioxidants have the special property of being stable molecules even after donating an electron, so they don't become free radicals themselves. They act as free radical "hunters", thus helping to prevent molecular and cellular damage.
Scientific research (e.g. the study by Cui, Kim, and Park, 2003, see Chaga Science), confirms that Siberian Chaga, with its high antioxidant concentration, possesses the capacity to "search and destroy" free radicals and protects cells against oxidative stress. Sayan Siberian Chaga contains much more antioxidants in one gram than Acai berries do.
ORAC is the acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It was developed as an analytical tool for estimating the antioxidant capacity of substances
and has become a de facto
standard in the natural products industry. As you can observe from the below table, wildcrafted Siberian Chaga demonstrates superior values compared to superior class medicinal mushrooms and other popular anti-oxidant juices available.
Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is one of the most important anti oxidants in our body. SOD decreases as we age. Living well and exercising keep levels up. Chaga has far more SOD than Vitamins C,E and super foods like barley grass, seaweed prunes, fish oils, many aromatherapy essential oils.
SOD are enzymes to keep our cell membranes supple and healthy. Research indicates its use for arthritis and side effects of cancer treatment. SOD is used in skin creams, burns, wounds, inflammatory.
What we offer
There are two basic forms of chaga being produced and offered by our company: dried and crushed raw chaga mushroom ( it is used for tea) and chaga extract (instant powder). The difference is considerable because concentration of the most important substances in extract is much higher than in raw chaga (and so is ORAC value). Raw dried chaga mushroom is good as a healthy tea and has a peculiar woody flavour...It should not have any taste of usual,familiar to most people dried mushroom.This is an important point to know in order not to mix up chaga for " chaga-like" mushrooms.
How to prepare Chaga Tea
We supply chaga in crushed form in small pieces of 1-3mm or more.This size of chaga particles is ideal for chaga tea preparation.
- Prepare a teapot equiped with a sifter and "tablet" candle underneath.
- Add 3-4 teaspoons of dried chaga to the teapot and add hot boiled water (the water temperature should be not higher than 80 degrees Celicious) into the teapot.
- Light the candle underneath teapot and leave the chaga to infuse for minimum 1,5 hours.
- In 1-1,5 hour you will notice that the water in the teapot has become almost black. The chaga tea is ready. Simply pour it in the teacup and enjoy this healthy drink. While drinking the first portion, add some more hot water to the teapot in order to have the teapot always filled with hot and ready decoction(tea). Chaga can be infused several times, but the first portion is most valuable.
- Adding some honey would make the taste a bit smoother...
To order chaga tea (crushed and dried Siberian chaga mushroom), directly from our factory in Siberia minimum order should be 1kg. Find out the price and other order conditions HERE
However, chaga tea is more like a healthy drink, which will support your general health but probably would show no immediate healing effects and thus is more recommended for strengthenning of the immune system and for cancer prophylaxis rather than for treatment.....Drinking just dried chaga mushroom tea may take as long as months or even years to produce noticable health impovements...This is why for those seeking faster results and health improvement we would recommend Chaga Extract instead of (or in addition to) chaga tea: the extract is much more potent, has higher ORAC, is saturated with polysaccharides and chromogenic complex(antioxidants).
How to purchase chaga tea.
We offer three alterantives for ordering chaga tea:
- Chaga tea in bulk directly from our company in Siberia - to order please visit this page.
- Chaga tea in filter bags from our USA partner - to order please visit this page.
- Chaga tea in filter bags from our Netherland partner - to order please visit this page.
Common for all above mentioned teas is that the chaga for these teas was coming from our company.Thus the teas are made from purest,cleanest and very high quality Chaga mushroom gathered in North-Irkutsk region of Russian Siberia. The difference between the teas is just packaging, minimum order quantity and payment methods.
In this video Daniel Vitalis is speaking about healing properies of chaga mushroom and chaga tea.
Visit also THIS great blog with a lot of video materials about chaga mushroom.
We believe in the concept that when a body is in energy balance, with a healthy immune system, which Chaga certainly provides, it has amazing God-given healing powers. And remember: prevention is always better than treatment. Do not wait until it is too late. Care for your health!