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Canadian Chaga Mushroom

By on October 22, 2015

Chaga mushroom has been known as 'the diamond of the forest', 'the gift of god' and 'the mushroom of immortality’ by various northern regions of the world. Chaga mushroom is a non-toxic mushroom with a high amount of antioxidants. This mushroom differs from other mushrooms as it grows by extracting nutrients from living trees instead of dead ones. 

Chaga mushrooms primarily grow on birch trees and are only found in the cold regions of the northern hemisphere. This unique factor makes chaga mushrooms exclusive to Russia, Eastern Europe, Canada, Korea and some parts in the United States. In addition to this exclusivity, chaga mushrooms take at least 5 years to mature, and are very rare. Chaga mushrooms cannot be cultivated. Several attempts have been made to cultivate chaga mushrooms, but every attempt resulted in significantly reduced and different bioactive constituents. 

The appearance of chaga mushrooms is similar to burnt wood on the outside, and orange inside. Chaga mushrooms contain several beneficial bioactive constituents. Chaga mushroom has one of the highest contents of antioxidants of any other herbs or fungi in the world. Antioxidants aid in preventing cell damage, which lowers the risk of diseases such as cancer and aging. Chaga mushrooms also contain considerable amounts of betulin and betulinic acid, which several studies show to have anti-cancer effects. Betulin is also useful for balancing and maintaining the metabolic system in the body.  Aside from these powerful constituents, chaga mushroom also contains B vitamins, minerals like copper, calcium, and zinc, as well as essential enzymes.

The Superiority of Canadian Chaga Mushrooms 
Canadian Chaga mushrooms have higher concentrations of melanin, which makes it to have more antioxidant activity compared to other chaga mushrooms harvested from other regions. This is because Canadian chaga mushrooms receive relatively higher amounts of ultraviolet light compared to chaga mushrooms found in other regions. Canadian chaga mushrooms, as a result, produce more melanin. Chaga mushrooms are known to offer higher quality nutrition when they are grown in colder regions because chaga mushrooms tend to store more valuable nutrients in themselves in colder habitats. Northern Canadian chaga mushrooms are slowly grown in extremely cold weather where there is no environmental contamination. 

The Composition of Chaga Mushroom
The most valued constituent in chaga mushroom is betulinic acid. Betulinic acid is naturally formed by Chaga mushrooms using the betulin fed from the birch tree that the chaga mushroom resides on. Betulinic acid is more soluble and ingestible than betulin. Betulinic acid is effective against lymphatic disorders and tuberculosis, and recent clinical studies have shown that betulinic acid may also be effective against tumors.

Like many other medicinal mushrooms, chaga mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans, which perform immuno-modulating activities. Since cancer cells consist of our own body cells, the immune system does not recognize them as foreign. Hence, the cancer cells grow without interference from the immune system. Beta-glucans allows the immune cells to recognize cancer cells as foreign cells and eliminate them. Also, beta-glucan is involved in modulating blood cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that regular consumption of food with beta-glucans reduces the cholesterol level in blood, lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Chaga mushroom has extremely high level of antioxidants and is considered an adaptogen. 
Immune System Boosting
The immune system classifies chaga as an adaptogenic biological response modifier (BRM); not only does it stimulate the body’s immune function when necessary, but can also slow it down when it’s overactive. The beta-glucans are widely known to be responsible for the adaptogenic action, but many researchers believe it is actually the synergy between several, if not all constituents that are responsible for this. Because of this property, chaga can be used to help neutralize the side effects of pharmaceuticals, to help compensate for the age-related declination of our immune function, and, in general, to help us deal with abrupt stresses that negatively impact our daily lives. 

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