What often gets mistaken for burnt wood or wood burls growing on the trunk of birch trees throughout the northern hemisphere, is actually the most antioxidant rich food on the planet: Chaga. It is a parasitic fungus that helps regulate ecosystems by killing off trees that can no longer be supported. After Chaga has killed a birch tree and caused it to fall to the forest floor, other saprophytic mushrooms like Turkey Tail and Lion's mane will recycle the dead tree back into new soil.
The Medicinal Properties
Chaga has a long history throughout folk medicine as a natural anti-inflammatory, gut soother, and immune enhancer. Today, science confirms that the anti-inflammatory terpenes, antioxidants, and immune modulating polysaccharides contained in Chaga can help people overcome conditions like leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammation caused by autoimmune disorders.
You've probably heard about the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, blueberries, and acai as they've been celebrated for their abundance of free radical scavenging antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. While they may be categorized as potent anti-inflammatories, Chaga is up to five times more concentrated in antioxidants than any of these foods. It is particularly rich in the antioxidant known as Superoxide Dismutase (SOD). SOD is super beneficial to the skin as it has been shown to reduce free radical damage and ultimately prevents wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. More impressively, it has also been shown to play a huge role in the minimizing of cancer cells throughout the body (H. Younus, 2018).
Another set of nutrients that gives Chaga its anti-inflammatory effects are the terpenes it extracts from the bark of its host trees and concentrates in its tissues. While they aid in the reduction of inflammation throughout the body, they also play a huge role in the antimicrobial properties of Chaga. One terpene known as Betulinic Acid, shows great activity in reducing the threat of viruses, fungi, and bacteria. One study on the biological activity of betulinic acid showed it having an inhibitory effect on the HIV virus and other less threatening viruses like Influenza and Hepatitis-C (Mansour Ghaffari Moghaddam, Faujan Bin H. Ahmad, Alireza Samzadeh-Kermani, 2012).
Alongside it's anti-inflammatory properties, Chaga also contains unique polysaccharides that have an immune modulating effect on our human immune system. If you think of your immune system as an AM/FM radio, tuning the dial up and down to find a clear signal is much like modulating the immune system. The clear radio signal is equivalent to a properly functioning immune system. If the immune system is tuned too far down, our health is compromised and sickness sets in. Alternatively, if it is tuned too far up, we now are experiencing a state of autoimmunity where our immune system is attacking our own body.
No matter where your immune system is functioning on the frequency spectrum, Chaga's immune modulating polysaccharides will always modulate your immune system back to the desired clear signal.
Wild Chaga vs. Cultivated Chaga Mycelium
Out of the 2 million+ mushroom species that have been discovered today, less than 100 of them have been successfully cultivated by mushrooms farmers around the world. Chaga is one of those mushrooms that cannot be cultivated. However, mycologist have found a way to grow Chaga mycelium (roots of a mushroom) on grain which companies can grow on a commercial scale and market as Chaga Mushroom.
The only problem with this is that many mushrooms like Chaga extract their medicinal compounds from the wood they grow on in the wild. In the case of betulinic acid, which is extracted by Chaga from birch trees, grain grown Chaga mycelium is absent in this important nutrient because grains do not contain betulinic acid in them at all.
Knowing this critical information, we at Wild Kingdom use only 100% wild-harvested Chaga Mushrooms in our products and use the dual extraction method to ensure we have fully captured all the medicinal qualities of Chaga.
To learn more about our Wild Harvested Chaga Mushroom Extract, click here.
The Dual Extraction Method
Most of the medicinal compounds discussed in the article would not be obtained if one simply made a hot cup of Chaga tea every day. That is because all medicinal mushrooms have two sets of nutrients: alcohol soluble nutrients, and water soluble nutrients.
The anti-inflammatory terpenes we discussed earlier are alcohol soluble and the antioxidants and polysaccharides are water soluble. The dual extraction method simply entails performing two separate extracts of alcohol first, then water, and combining them together at the end. The alcohol we use is organic grape alcohol which is free of allergens, and helps deliver the mushroom's medicinal compounds through the salivary glands. For the water extraction we use mineral rich purified spring water.
More Reasons To Try Wild Kingdom's Chaga Extract
We at Wild Kingdom are not only invested in creating quality mushroom products for our customers, but we also are passionate about sustainability and ensuring that our planet is habitable for the next generations to come. That is why we donate a portion of every sale from our online store to One Tree Planted, an organization that plants trees worldwide. When you buy one of our extracts, you are also supporting reforestation and helping heal our planet.
1. H. Younus,Therapeutic potentials of superoxide dismutase
2. Mansour Ghaffari Moghaddam, Faujan Bin H. Ahmad, Alireza Samzadeh-Kermani, Biological Activity of Betulinic Acid: A Review