Not many ever thought of it before, but then mushroom and tea could appear in one product. And that product is none other than the chaga tea. Chaga itself is named as the “King of Medicinal Mushrooms”, and it has been used in eastern medicinal culture since centuries ago, with its popularity only expanding to the west in the recent years. And in order to meet increasing western demand, chaga is developed into a tea. At this article, we are going to find out more about the chaga mushroom, and what makes it so special when being made into a tea.
A Brief Introduction to Chaga Mushrooms
Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus) is a species of mushroom that grows upon birch trees in sub-arctic climate regions, such as Northern Europe, Northern Asia, as well as Northeast North America. It has been used for centuries for folk medicine by the native people of these regions, while the popularity in modern medicinal culture only started lately.
These mushrooms have an outside appearance that is hard, black and cracked, which resembles burnt charcoal. In the meantime, the interior of chaga mushrooms are softer with yellowish brown meat. They normally measure 10 to 15 inches wide.
Chaga tea is said to taste like ordinary vanilla tea, and almost no hints of mushroom flavours at all. This is possible due to chaga’s vanillin properties, which can also be found on vanilla beans. The most recommended way of consuming chaga tea is by brewing and extracting using hot water.
Nutritional Facts of Chaga Mushrooms
Five grams of chaga mushrooms contain the following nutrients;
- Calories – 5
- Fat – 0 grams
- Carbohydrates – 0 grams
- Sugar (Glucose) – 0 grams
- Fibre – 5 grams
- Protein – 1 gram
In the meantime, chaga mushrooms also has these other vitamins and minerals;
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B-complex
- Amino Acids
What are Health Benefits of Chaga Tea?
1. Delays Aging Process
Oxidative stress impacts on the skin by making it look older from its actual age, seen from wrinkles and loose skin. Aging accelerates as the skin gets prolonged exposure to sunlight or pollution. The antioxidants of chaga tea, which is known to be able in removing oxidative stress, is also able to delay aging as well.
2. Useful for Lowering Cholesterol
Second, chaga mushrooms contain antioxidants that gets rid of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or the bad protein. High cholesterol is the main trigger for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.
3. Good for Preventing as well as Combating Cancer
The Memorial Sloan Cancer Centre said that although chaga inhibits cancer development among animals, however more research is needed to prove its effects on human beings. This was said so after an experiment in which tumour-infected mice were supplemented with chaga extracts. The results were the reduction of tumour size by 60%. A separate study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology stated that chaga extracts could prevent liver cancer from taking place.
4. Lowers Both the Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Levels as Well
Chaga is known to be able to provide double benefits to the blood by lowering both the blood pressure as well as blood sugar levels. In lowering blood pressure, chaga tea’s antioxidants have the potential to lower down blood pressure, thus lesser risks of cardiovascular diseases.
And then regarding lowering down blood sugar levels, a 2006 study found out that chaga in fact are anti-diabetic, seen from how it is fed on genetically modified diabetic rats. Again, this claim is yet to be proven on human beings.
5. Provides Support to the Immune System
This type of mushroom tea provides support to the immune system by stimulating the production of substances that regulate the immune system, and they are the interleukin-6 (IL6) plus T lymphocytes. Both of them synchronize to prevent the invasion of body by bacteria as well as viruses.
6. It is an Anti-Inflammatory
And then, Chagas are anti-inflammatory in the sense of colon health. Chaga suppresses chemical mediators released during inflammation. This claim was also further proven by doing animal tests, in which the inflammation related to the ulcerative colitis of the animals were successfully treated with the help of chaga extracts.
7. Possesses Anti-Viral Abilities
Chaga is surprisingly anti-viral when dealing with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 as well as hepatitis type C viruses. Chaga’s potential in dealing with HIV 1 was discovered after an intensive scientific research back in 2015, while the proving of chaga’s treatment to hepatitis type C was done using animal cells. They were able to rapidly decrease the infectious properties of hepatitis type C in an amazing 10 minutes.
8. Enhances Physical Endurance
Chaga tea helps to improve physical endurance after an experiment involving animals back in the year 2015. After the animals, which were mice fed with chaga extracts, it was observed that they were able to swim at a longer distance. This is possible due to the increase of glycogen in the liver plus muscles, balanced with less-acid blood content. That combination is just perfect for increased performance and less fatigue.
9. They are also an Antioxidant
Chaga contains a major type of antioxidant, and indeed it exceptionally powerful as well. That antioxidant is none other than superoxide dismutase (SOD), which is able to successfully and efficiently neutralize damages caused by free radicals. Studies have shown that the amount of SOD is parallel to one’s health condition and life span. So, consume chaga tea to get the best of both health and lifespan.
10. Has Considerate Daily Value Amount of Fibre
Fibre or dietary fibre is the compound essential not only for digestion, but also for the maintenance of heart, as well as blood. They refrain the consumer from the risks of blood cholesterol, cardiac arrest as well as diabetes. Fibres also create a full effect on our stomach upon consumption to prevent overeating.
The nutritional facts above mentions that chaga tea contains 5 grams of fibre per 5 grams of serving, which accounts for 20% of the total daily value. Increased consumption of chaga could easily fulfill one’s daily fibre needs.
11. Low in Calories
Chaga only has 5 calories per five grams, or 1:1 ratio in between calorie and grams. Calories are units of energy, in which low consumption of it slows down weight gain. Low calorie consumption helps a person to shed in between 3 and 5 pounds of weight per week.
12. Is Completely Free from Carbohydrates, Sugar as well as Fats
The nutritional facts above indicate that chaga tea has 0% of carbohydrates, sugar as well as fats. Zero sugar prevents obesity, stabilize moods, supports a clear skin, reduces the risk of diabetes and also other digestive issues. Similar to zero sugar, zero carbohydrates also lead to less risks of diabetes and obesity, whereas zero fats also lead one to a lesser chance of cardiovascular diseases.
13. Has High Nutrition Density
The vitamins and minerals stated in the nutritional facts above simply concludes that chaga tea is multipurpose for the whole body, with each mineral contributing to a healthy body through their own areas and functions.
14. Prevents Diabetes
Diabetes can be prevented by consuming chaga tea because chaga itself is traditionally used for treating diabetes. A 2008 study as published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology emphasized this ability because it helps the reduction of cholesterol plus blood sugar levels. That conclusion was made after tests involving diabetic mice.
15. Contains the Health Benefits of Vitamins B-complex and D
Vitamin B-complex is a cross product made of eight different forms of B vitamins, which are vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (folic acid) and finally vitamin B9 (cobalamin). Each of their individual roles lead to an improvised general body health, such as improving hormones plus immunity, prevents strokes, and more.
In the meantime, vitamin D, which are most prevalent in fishes are best used to support bone, respiratory as well as kidney health.