What is Chaga? Benefits & Applications
the Mushroom of Immortality
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is quite a fascinating and quirky fungus. Not at all resembling a typical ‘mushroom’ or even a ‘shelf’ mushroom like the Reishi and Turkey Tail, Chaga is an adaptogenic mushroom also known as a ‘conk’ or ‘canker’ fungus.
The Chaga mushroom is a lumpy, charcoal-like growth that emerges from the trunks of cold-climate trees and is most closely associated with the birch trees that grow in arctic regions such as Alaska, Northern Canada, Northern-most Europe, and Siberia.
Apparently the more distressing the conditions the birch are growing in, the more powerful the properties of the Chaga mushroom benefits that erupts from its surface16. Even though birches grow in other areas, such as the Northern United States, it is thought that their Chaga is not nearly as nutrient-dense as the Arctic Chaga mushroom. And likewise, some people will say that Chaga grows on other types of trees, such as aspens, alders, and elms but it is only the birch that supplies some of Chaga’s signature elements, such as Betulinic acid, a triterpene which studies indicate may lower ‘bad’ cholesterol20 and also induce apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells.19