Characteristics of Quality Canadian Chaga
Chaga; Inonotus obliquus, is a parasitic “conk” or fungal growth found on the outer bark and trunk of older Birch tree species. It should not be confused with mushrooms which are most often the harvested fruiting bodies. Chaga is a collective mass of fungal mycelia mixed with it’s host birch tree compounds.
Chaga infects the tree, usually through outer bark disturbances, then slowly grows outwards from the heartwood until it protrudes as a dark brown-black growth (the sclerotium) through the outer birch trunk. It can grow until the host tree matures and dies; usually 60-80 years depending on which Birch species. These trees predominantly grow in the cold, Northern Hemisphere Boreal forest regions.
It is regarded as the King of Medicinal Mushrooms. It has been used in traditional medicines for well over 500 years across Northern Canada, and also in Europe, Scandanavia, Russia, Northern Korea and China.
Chaga is harvested from birch trees as large conks or chunks. These are usually sold by the pound or kilogram. Subsequently, larger chunks may be broken down to smaller chunks, chips, or powdered formats. Extracts are becoming increasing popular as well.
- Ground Chunks
- Extracts: Aqueous, Aqueous/Solvent, Solvent
Chaga is usually consumed as tea or beverage. It can be prepared by steeping chunked or powdered Chaga in hot water, or by decoctions made in batches with hot water.
Wild Chaga is usually harvested as Raw “Conks” or large chunks. Chaga should be sustainably harvested through managed forest practices and scheduled cycles of conk harvesting to allow both the host Birch tree and the Chaga conk to continue growing. This enables multiple cycles of harvest opportunity from the same tree and conks.
Unfortunately, that is not reality. As the global demand for Wild Chaga increases as a nutritional supplement, so does the rate of Chaga resource depletion from it’s natural forest habitats. This has already resulted in the rapid disappearance of Wild Chaga in many areas of Northern China, Russia and Scandanavia.
It is our policy to only source Wild Chaga through credited supply relationships which provide independent assurance of their sustainable harvesting practices.
Key Chaga Ingredients
Chaga contains several hundred well analyzed actives.
The most studied and characterized are:
- Tannins and Melanin
- Betulin, Betulinic Acid
Health Benefits of Chaga
B-Glucans are bio-active polysaccharides believed to exert effects on our immune system. They seem to play a role in immune modulation; adaptogenic, in which they help regulate and normalize our immunity to various stresses and illness.
Tannins and Melanin have been shown to have significant anti-oxidative properties, which aid in the treatment of inflammation and inflammatory illnesses.
Cholesterol and Cardiovascular
Chaga is rich in Phytosterols, which have been documented for LDL Cholesterol lowering abilities, improving cardiovascular health.
Betulin and Betulinic Acid
Betulin, Betulinic Acid are compounds undergoing increasing clinical research including anti-tumor studies for their pharmacological properties and possible use as complimentary cancer treatment.