Chaga Mushroom: 5 Health Benefits to Know!
If medicinal mushrooms have made their way onto your radar, you’ve likely heard of chaga mushroom.
These mushrooms are almost exclusively found growing on birch trees in colder northern climates. At first glance, these mushrooms may look like burls (deformed tree growths). However, its amber-colored interior can be a differentiating factor when it comes to identifying chaga mushrooms.
Chaga can be made into a delicious tea, and many holistic practitioners claim that drinking it holds numerous benefits. Here are five potential health benefits of chaga tea:
1. Chaga may help to slow the aging process.
Wrinkles, drooping skin, and graying hair can be caused by oxidative stress. The aging process can be accelerated by overexposure of free radicals. Coming in contact with free radicals is inevitable-- free radicals occur from exposure to sun, pollution, and other sources of damage.
There is a theory that providing the body with a surplus of antioxidants slows down the aging process, or even reverses visible signs of aging. Chaga is abundant in antioxidants .
2. It may lower cholesterol.
A major risk factor for heart disease is high cholesterol. Chaga tea may be useful in the fight against cardiovascular disease considering that it contains antioxidants that may reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-- aka: the “bad” cholesterol .
3. Chaga could potentially help fight and prevent cancer.
Researchers are seriously considering the possibility that chaga mushrooms may be able to help prevent cancer and slow its growth .
In a 2010 study, researchers discovered that the growth of lung, breast, and cervical cancer cells slowed down after being exposed to chaga mushrooms. The same study also found that chaga inhibited the growth of tumors in mice.
A 2009 study found that compounds in the chaga mushroom, called triterpenes, cause malignant cells to deteriorate . Unlike traditional cancer treatments, like chemotherapy or radiation, chaga does not appear to harm healthy cells 
4. It is thought to support the immune system.
Some research suggests that chaga may help regulate the production of cytokines, proteins that act as the immune system’s chemical messenger . The better the cells in the immune system communicate with each other, the better the immune system can be supported when fighting against infections-- anything from minor colds to life-threatening illnesses.
5. Chaga may reduce inflammation.
Illnesses, particularly chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, are often linked to inflammation. Recent research suggests that some conditions, including depression, may actually be linked to chronic inflammation .
As previously mentioned, chaga plays a role in regulating the production of cytokine. Cytokine helps control inflammation. This means that chaga can play a key role in fighting inflammation along with other conditions where inflammation is a major factor.
How can I harness the potential health benefits of chaga mushroom?
Due to the hard texture of chaga mushrooms, they do not have a culinary usage. Instead, the medicinal properties of chaga mushroom are made available to us by using it to make tea. In the process of making the tea, the water-soluble cell walls of the chaga mushroom are broken down by hot water, thus making the nutrients within accessible to our bodies.
If you found this blog enjoyable, please check out our blog on Lion’s Mane Benefits and Adaptogenic Tea!