The chaga mushroom is a powerhouse fungus with a wide array of health benefits.
Check them out—and consider taking chaga to reap the rewards for yourself.
What are Chaga Mushrooms?
The chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) is a medicinal fungus that grows on birch trees. It prefers cold climates and mostly grows in northern Europe, Asia, and Canada.
Chaga mushrooms have been a staple in alternative medicine for centuries. Certain regions of Siberia have long relied on these adaptogenic mushrooms to treat various issues, and they’re still incredibly popular, especially in skin care.
Chaga Mushroom Health Benefits
Chaga mushrooms can improve your health and prevent various illnesses. This fungus reduces inflammation, aids in weight loss and weight management, keeps your hair and skin healthy, can lower cholesterol levels, and is even known for slowing cancer spread in the body. The potential health benefits of chaga mushrooms include:
Chaga Benefits for Skin
Chaga mushrooms could be a great addition to your skin care regimen. Chaga is known to reduce skin sensitivity and may fight acne thanks to the high concentration of kojic acid in the fungus.
Anecdotal evidence and human studies suggest that this acid can improve the appearance of skin by reducing the severity of acne and lightning any acne-related discoloration or scars.
A 2013 Korean study examined the effects of a methanol Inonotus obliquus extract as a skin care agent. Results suggest that this fungus protects the skin against environmental damage, acts as an antioxidant, and lightens dark spots caused by the sun or scarring.
Thus, it’s highly beneficial to include chaga in your diet if you want to reduce the severity of your acne and reduce the scarring without using harsh chemicals.
Chaga Mushroom for Inflammation
Inflammation can affect all parts of your body and lead to various autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Luckily, one of the many benefits of the chaga mushroom is its ability to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in your body.
In a 2019 animal study, compounds found in chaga fruiting bodies were found to attenuate histamine-induced microvascular inflammation. On a microvascular level, inflammation can negatively impact cell-to-cell communication and even cause cardiovascular illnesses if prolonged.
The chaga mushroom contains several compounds that appear to alleviate microvascular inflammation. These results are promising and warrant further research into the exact mechanisms of chaga and its effects on inflammation.
Chaga Benefits for Hair
Inonotus obliquus spores have been used as traditional hair shampoo in Mongolia for centuries and seem to provide incredible benefits for your hair. A 2019 study examined whether the fungus truly had a positive effect on hair growth and health.
Researchers applied triterpenes found in chaga to human hair follicles. The results suggest that four out of five of these compounds had an anti-alopecia effect. Although further research is needed, chaga mushrooms appear to have a stimulative effect on hair growth.
Chaga Mushroom Cancer Benefits
Another benefit seems to be chaga’s ability to fight cancer. Chaga mushrooms cause apoptosis (the process of programmed cell death) of cancer cells and have great potential when it comes to slowing the growth of cancer cells.
A 2010 test-tube study looked at the antitumor activity of Inonotus obliquus in human and animal cells. Results show that chaga extract has the potential to slow cancer growth in animals and humans.
The research on chaga and specific types of cancer is also promising, particularly for breast cancer and lung cancer.
Chaga Benefits for Diabetes
According to animal studies, chaga mushrooms appear to lower blood sugar levels. A 2017 animal study examined the effects of Inonotus obliquus polysaccharides in streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetes in diabetic mice and the potential mechanisms of its antidiabetic effects.
The mice were fed a high-fat diet and given 900 mg of chaga extract. The researchers examined the effect of Inonotus obliquus polysaccharide on resting blood glucose levels, which reduced significantly after taking chaga.
Although further research is needed, activation of the PI3K-Akt pathway could be the mechanism behind the antidiabetic effects of chaga. This pathway promotes metabolism and cell growth, and its damage is closely associated with type 2 diabetes.
Chaga Mushroom for Anxiety
Many medicinal mushrooms are known to alleviate symptoms of mental health conditions, such as anxiety, PTSD, and depression. For example, the lion’s mane mushroom has incredible anxiolytic properties.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that taking a chaga mushroom supplement could be immensely beneficial for people with anxiety. People report feeling less anxious and experiencing fewer effects of chronic stress after taking Inonotus obliquus.
Research done on animals, as well as test-tube studies, support the anecdotal evidence that chaga is a fungus to include in your diet if you are battling anxiety and chronic stress.
Chaga Mushroom for Testosterone
According to a 2020 animal study, Inonotus obliquus could be helpful to men with impaired reproductive function. In this study, chaga extract significantly improved reproductive function caused by Toxoplasma gondii in male mice.
This study shows promising results and warrants further human research to fully examine the effects of Inonotus obliquus on reproductive function and testosterone in men.
Chaga Mushroom Side Effects
There seem to be no studies indicating negative effects of chaga mushrooms, and centuries of use suggest that this mushroom is completely safe. But, if you are allergic to fungi, mold, or yeast, be cautious when taking adaptogenic mushrooms, including chaga, for the first time.
Although there is no evidence that chaga could be unsafe for pregnant or breastfeeding people, many also choose to avoid chaga (and other adaptogenic mushrooms, such as turkey tail, the maitake mushroom, and the reishi mushroom) during pregnancy.
Who Shouldn’t Take Chaga?
The chaga mushroom is completely safe for healthy individuals. However, people on blood thinners or with health conditions that cause excessive bleeding should be cautious when taking Inonotus obliquus. Many medicinal mushrooms, including chaga, slow down the formation of blood clots, which could lead to excess bleeding if you get hurt.
Can You Take Chaga Every Day?
Yes, you can take chaga every day. In fact, taking chaga supplements daily will ensure you reap the most benefits of this amazing fungus. However, make sure not to exceed the recommended daily dosage, as taking too much chaga can induce oxalate nephropathy.
Are You Interested in Taking Chaga Mushrooms?
If you’re battling acne, want to prevent cancer, or reap the overall health benefits of chaga, taking this fungus every day could be immensely beneficial.
With our adaptogenic mushroom granola, you get a daily dose of chaga, as well as the lion’s mane mushroom and the cordyceps mushroom.
The Forij mushroom granola is vegan, gluten-free, and contains organic, high-quality ingredients. What more could you ask for in a delicious bowl of cereal you’ll be excited to eat every morning?
FAQ on Chaga Mushroom Health Benefits
How much chaga is in Forij granola?
Forij granola uses a high-quality chaga extract made from the whole medicinal mushroom. Our dual extraction method extracts both water-soluble beta-glucans as well as alcohol-soluble triterpenes. Our decoction process breaks down indigestible chitin cell walls of the mushroom to get much more of these compounds out than ordinary processes do.
One serving of our granola provides 250 mg of hyperconcentrated chaga extract, which is eight times more concentrated than a regular chaga supplement. Therefore, you get as much chaga potency as you would if you were taking a 2000 mg mushroom powder, all in one bowl of granola.
What does chaga do to your brain?
Chaga is a natural health booster and benefits both your brain and your body. This mushroom helps protect the brain from the effects of oxidative stress and inflammation. With regular use, chaga can also improve your overall mood and alleviate symptoms of anxiety, especially when combined with other adaptogenic fungi.
How does chaga make you feel?
Chaga is an adaptogenic mushroom, which means that it helps your body adapt to physical and mental stress. With regular use, you can expect chaga to make you feel more relaxed and less likely to experience symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
How long does it take for chaga to work?
You need to take chaga every day for about two to three weeks before you start noticing results. Over time and with regular use, its effects will be more pronounced, especially if you’re taking the medicinal mushroom for its ability to prevent cardiovascular disease and slow cancer spread.
What is the best way to consume chaga?
Due to the immense popularity of this mushroom, there is an abundance of ways to consume chaga mushrooms. Some of the most common chaga mushroom products are:
- Chaga mushroom coffee alternatives
- Chaga mushroom powders
- Chaga mushroom tea
- Chaga mushroom extracts
- Chaga mushroom capsules
- Foods fortified with chaga mushrooms
We recommend getting your daily dose of chaga from Forij granola. Who knew a delicious bowl of granola in the morning is enough to reap the many chaga benefits?
What are the two sides of chaga?
Due to its popularity, people are over-harvesting chaga. Unfortunately, overharvesting can lead to the species going extinct. If you don't want to contribute to overharvesting, make sure to buy chaga products from companies that source their chaga mushrooms ethically.
This article was written strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to inform about medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For additional information on chaga mushrooms and their medicinal properties, talk to your doctor.