If you’ve seen an increase in mushrooms popping up on your Instagram feed over these last few months, you may be wondering just what exactly this whole mushroom craze is about.
Not mushrooms as in button mushrooms or Portobello mushrooms, but medicinal mushrooms: Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane and several other varieties, which
research is showing have promising and powerful health benefits for the body and mind.
With the benefits assembled collectively in one product, these mushrooms are some of the most powerful, health promoting superfoods available.
Medicinal mushrooms have been around for decades, and have been brewed into tea for several hundreds of years to take advantage of their amazing health properties.
Introducing Chaga Mushroom Tea
One of the most popular these days is the Chaga Mushroom - and we created an incredible and powerful 100% all natural chaga mushroom tea using the highest quality chaga mushrooms available! And for those who love the taste of chai, we have a popular chai chaga mushroom tea as well! It's not really possible to simply eat the chaga mushroom, so many people prefer to consume it in a tea.
Growing on the outside of Birch trees, the Chaga mushroom looks like a black mass of burnt charcoal that protrudes outward. The exterior is dark and cracked and has a rusty yellow to blackish color.
Don't judge a book by its cover... but check out what chaga mushrooms look like in the wild:
But don't worry - that's not what our 100% pure wild chaga mushroom tea looks like when we turn it into a tea!
All our chaga mushrooms are sustainably, ethically, and responsibly hand-picked in Quebec, Canada (the Chaga mushroom takes 3 to 10 years to grow)! Additionally, while wild Chaga mushroom tea can often be hard to acquire and prepare we have worked with our suppliers to mill the Chaga mushroom to the perfect size to allow for quick steeping and and ultimate absorption. In other words, the hard work has been done for you! Here's what it looks like before being broken down into a dissolvable powder for your tea making:
Health Benefits of Chaga Mushroom Tea
One of the amazing benefits of this mushroom is it’s antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Research has shown that Chaga has the ability to help protect the body against contracting viruses and bacterial infection, by increasing cellular resistance against said invaders. This works in concert with Chaga’s ability to support the immune system via their abundance of Beta-D-Glucans. Beta Glucans are polysaccharides, or sugars, which are found in the cell walls of fungi. In the body, they act as immune system regulators, balancing the response of the immune system, as a natural Biological Response Modifier. This means, the mushrooms work by up-regulating the immune system and boosting it up when it needs to be turned on– such as when an invader shows up – or down-regulating it or slowing it down when it needs to be turned off or is overactive. In particular, research has shown that the Beta-D-Glucans in Chaga mushrooms help activate immune cells responsible for fighting early stage cancer and current research is evaluating how these mushrooms can become part of a cancer prevention, or cancer fighting protocol.
Chaga mushrooms are an insanely powerful superfood, and do feel free to continue reading about all the incredible health benefits. But if you want a quick rundown, you can also simply check out this chaga mushroom infographic:
Chaga Mushroom Tea and Antioxidant Power
In addition to having particularly laudable immune system benefits, Chaga mushrooms also have a series of properties that allow them to function as antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body, which accumulate from things such as natural bodily processes, exposure to toxins and chemicals and eating foods that have been sprayed with insecticides or other toxins. In today’s society, it is nearly impossible to fully prevent exposure to free radicals, so instead, it is best to arm the body with methods of fighting them.
In the case of the Chaga mushrooms, the mushrooms contains large amounts of a natural black pigment, known as melanin, which has high antioxidant properties due to its content of polyphenols. This is similar to the polyphenols found in other vibrantly colored foods such as leafy green vegetables and blueberries. In addition however, Chaga mushrooms contain Super Oxide Dismutase, an enzyme which plays a key role in facilitating the processes required for reducing the effects of free radicals and in preventing oxidation within the body.
Chaga Mushroom Tea and Blood Pressure & Cholesterol Regulation
The benefits don’t stop there however. There is more to this humble mushroom than simply antioxidants and immune boosting properties; indeed, this mushroom, can help with everything from regulating blood pressure and cholesterol to protecting against DNA damage to soothing distressed digestive tracts. Often, in the case of digestive distress, there is an underlying virus or bacteria, and this can be aided by the mushroom’s antiviral and antimicrobial properties, and its immune boosting properties. Alternatively, there may be an irritated digestive lining, brought on by allergies, poor digestive enzyme release or simply the overconsumption of digestively taxing foods. The mushrooms have soothing properties, which can help this discomfort by supporting the integrity of blood vessels and helping to reduce irritation, and hence reducing pain and distress in the digestive tract.
The mushrooms also contain two components called Betulin and Betulinic Acid, known collectively as Triterpenes. The current research points to their ability to support healthy cholesterol levels, by breaking down LDL or bad cholesterol within the body. They also foster a healthy cholesterol profile due to their content of phytosterols. Phytosterols are plant sterols which are structurally similar to cholesterol. When they are consumed, they interfere with the absorption of cholesterol in the body, and instead cause the cholesterol to be eliminated or displaced. This in turn leads to lower overall cholesterol content within the blood, which helps reduce body cholesterol levels. Lower cholesterol levels successively promote better blood circulation, helping reduce the incidence of high blood pressure and improving overall heart and cardiovascular health.
Chaga Mushroom Tea & Blood Sugar Regulation
In addition, Chaga contains a high content of structural polysaccharides, as mentioned above. As a type of sugar, falling under the category of complex carbohydrates, this provides sustained energy to the body in a way that helps promote healthy blood sugar levels, fill and fuel the body, and prevents spikes in insulin levels. Regulating insulin and blood sugar levels is important in promoting healthy liver and intestinal function, reduces the risk of developing diabetes and also helps regulate mood.
Chaga as a Natural Stimulant and Adaptogen
Finally, let’s discuss the ability of Chaga to act as a natural stimulant and adaptogen. If you are used to (and in need of!) the energy pick me up of coffee, you’ll be happy to learn that Chaga can offer the same thing, just without the undesirable side effects like the jitters and inevitable energy crash in the hours following consumption. This is because Chaga provides energy (as well as its immune boosting properties) by acting as an adaptogen. Similar to other adaptogens such as ashwaganda, adaptogens work to help the body adapt better to situations, including the need for more energy or a boost in brain and cognitive focus. In total, it is also because of Chaga’s abundance of health boosting ingredients and properties that it is able to offer clarity and cleansing to the body and deliver an increase in energy and a stimulated mind in return.
Sources: Global Healing Center, Oregon State University Research, Mother Earth News, and (1-3)-Beta-D-Glucan Assay: A review of its Laboratory and Clinical Application; William F. Wright, DO, MPH; Sue B. Overman, MA, SM(ASCP); Julie A. Ribes, MD, PhD Banner Image credit: https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/chaga-mushroom
By: Laura Peill – (Viand Nutrition)