• Michele Spence

King of Mushrooms




I’m sure you’ve heard of Portobello mushrooms, and some of you may have heard of Shitake. Did you know that there are species that are beneficial to your health? Chaga mushrooms are considered the king of medicinal mushrooms by herbalists.


Found in northern climates growing on birch trees, Chaga mushrooms look like burnt wood, mud, or rocks. They don’t taste like the typical mushroom you purchase in a store. Chaga has a bitter, smoky vanilla flavor to them. Many people use Chaga in their tea, or they take supplements, others use it in tincture form.


Benefits


Inflammation

Chaga Mushrooms are known to have very high antioxidants and fight inflammation. Their antioxidant properties can help decrease inflammation in the gut which can cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). In a study, Chaga helped to fight harmful bacteria. Its antioxidant properties can also help with high blood pressure and arthritis.


Cancer

Many studies have shown the potential for Chaga to slow the growth of cancer cells. Research has shown that it helped prevent the growth of cancer in the liver, lungs, breasts, prostate, and colon.

Blood Sugar

Several studies show as much as a 31% decrease in blood sugar levels.


LDL Cholesterol

There have been studies that show that Chaga reduces LDL and triglyceride cholesterol levels, increases HDL levels, and may help improve your arterial walls.


Risks

Chaga may interact with medicines that you are currently taking. They may also prevent the absorption of some nutrients and are toxic if taken in high doses.


If you have kidney issues, Chagas high oxalate content may put a strain on your system. Oxalates bind minerals such as calcium impacting neurological, connective tissues, and kidney and bladder functions.

If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, skip the Chaga.


If you’re on blood thinners or have a surgery scheduled speak with your doctor as Chaga may prevent blood from clotting.


If you take insulin, Chaga may reduce your sugar levels to the point where you become hypoglycemic.


Chaga may make your immune system more active. If you have an autoimmune disease be careful or steer clear.


If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, speak with your doctor first.


Double processed tincture


I made an alcohol tincture with wild-harvested Chaga mushrooms that I let go for twelve

weeks. I then did a decoction process in water for 24 hours, which heats the chitin releasing more health properties and lowering the alcohol content.


I started slowly, a drop at a time. Now I add a squeeze to my morning coffee each day. I think it makes the coffee taste richer. You could bury it in tea, gravy, dressing, or straight out of the bottle. So far, I think it gives me some additional pep to my step.


Sources

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/chaga-mushroom-benefits/

https://naturopathic.org/news/565437/5-Reasons-to-Consider-Chaga-Mushrooms.html


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