Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is also known as Cinder Conk or Black Mass, which accurately describe its appearance. This mushroom, which feeds on birch trees, is native to the forests of Europe, Russia, North America and cold northern climates in general, where birch is the primary tree species. For hundreds of years, Chaga has been wild-crafted and utilized by the people of northern Europe and Russia, often consumed as a tea. The growing cycle of Chaga begins when a fruiting body of a higher fungi species enters a wound of a mature tree, forming a large hardened mycelial mass (the conk) that will continue to grow until it is harvested or falls to the forest floor. Chaga is unique among mushrooms as it is rare to see the fruiting body in nature, with the hardened mycelial mass holding the herbal value. A mushroom goes through many stages during its life cycle, just like any plant or animal. Each part of a mushroom has unique attributes that support wellness and serve a different purpose for the organism, but the fruiting bodies receive the most attention and are the most familiar. Fruiting bodies emerge from the substrate on which they grow — such as trees or fallen logs — to become the part of the mushroom we recognize. They are the above-ground part that we can see when we walk through the woods, and they are also what have been traditionally foraged and consumed in food and supplements.
What is Chaga Used For?
The fruiting bodies of this mushroom contain polysaccharides, specifically a type called beta-glucans, which have been studied to support immune health and overall wellness, as well as normal, healthy cell growth and turnover.* The fruiting body extracts we use contain these polysaccharides, without unnecessary fillers or starches. Chaga offers antioxidant support, and it is considered to be a tonic Mushroom to support overall wellness.* It is used to promote healthy cell growth and turnover in the body, as well as gastrointestinal health.* Chaga draws primarily from mature host birch trees to synthesize the potent triterpenoid compounds it contains.*
Traditional Health Benefits of Chaga
Additional Information on this Herb
Beta (1>3),(1>6)-glucans; triterpenoids
Sclerotia (hardened mycelial mass)
1.) Nakamura S, Iwami J, Asao Y, et al. New bioactive triterpene constituents from Inonotus obliquus. Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan 2007;127:58-60.2.) Ma L, Chen H, Zhu W, Wang Z. Effect of different drying methods on physicochemical properties and antioxidant activities of polysaccharides extracted from mushroom Inonotus obliquus. Food Res Int 2013;50:633-640.3.) Lee IK, Kim YS, Jang YW, et al. New antioxidant polyphenols from the medicinal mushroom Inonotus obliquus. Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2007;17(24):6678-81. 4.) Blumenthal M, ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Trans. S. Klein. Boston, MA: American Botanical Council, 1998.
Not for use during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use. Avoid use if you have an autoimmune disorder, as some of the compounds may be stimulating to immune function.
- This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.
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