If you’ve yet to hear about chaga, then you’re in for a treat. Chaga is a medicinal mushroom (a mushroom that is more like a herb - read about them here - than a culinary ingredient!) and is renowned as an anti-ageing superfood with more antioxidants than well-known superfoods açai, pomegranate and blueberries (and many other magical constituents, which we’ll discuss later).
That's right, chaga has more antioxidants than açai!
Used for thousands of years, chaga is revered for being the most adaptogenic substance on the earth, and has been used for centuries by tribes in the Arctic regions to assist the body's natural capacity to resist stress. Chaga is well-regarded in Scandinavia, Russia, China, Japan, Canada and other temperate regions as a health tonic.
See below to watch Mason Taylor (founder of SuperFeast) talk all about the epic benefits of chaga.
Chaga, otherwise known as Inonotus obliquus, is a wild medicinal mushroom that grows on birch trees in temperate climates. It’s an incredible superfood that is revered by the locals to these regions - kind of like the Arctic’s version of cacao - and has been used by indigenous people of the region for thousands of years. In fact, the oldest preserved human ever discovered (found mummified in the chilly European Alps) was carrying chagawith him, presumably because he knew all about how special this mushroom is. Traditionally, chagawas used by the Chinese, Korean, and Eastern Europeans, as well as Northern Americans, and it is widely known in these regions for its anti-tumour benefits.
A bounty of chaga, during Mason's recent trip to China
Chagais one of the best natural sources of the antioxidant, liver-cleaning, cell membrane-protective, genoprotective, longevity enzyme known as superoxide dismutase (SOD). Chaga contains more SOD than other rich sources such as barley grass, seaweeds, marine oils and even some essential oils. SOD repairs cells and reduces the cellular damage caused by the most common free radical in the body called superoxide - this means that Chaga is amazing for reducing internal inflammation, regenerating skin and other tissues in the body (great for eczema and psoriasis) and lessening pain associated with conditions such as arthritis, as well as extending life span in those who consume it. SOD is naturally occurring in human tissues, but declines with age, especially after age 30. Chaganow has been studied in nearly 1000 clinical trials, and the health benefits are clear, especially in treating cancers and tumours.
Chaga is rich in beta glucans, which help balance the body’s immune system responses. You could say Chaga is an immuno-modulator, in that it is is useful in both under and over active immune conditions (great for autoimmune disease sufferers).
Chaga has a powerful effect on blood sugar regulation; animal studies show its benefits for reversing Type 2 diabetes in 90% of mice. If that’s not enough, Chaga has been shown to protect the intestines, reducing digestive inflammation (great for those suffering IBS and colitis).
Chaga has been shown to protect the intestines, reducing digestive inflammation (great for those suffering from ulcers, gastritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and colitis). Chaga is also antiparasitic and antiviral, so helps keep the digestive system in tip top condition.
Chaga is super high in triterpenoids, botulin, trace minerals (copper, chromium, selenium, zinc and more), major minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and more), vitamins (B2, D2), amino acid complexes and many more.
I hope this will inspire you to get SuperFeast Chaga into your diet - it’s hard to find in Australia, but there are some amazing chagamushroom extracts which are perfect for adding to smoothies, hot drinks (think your morning coffee, tea or hot chocolate) or taken alone with hot water, which is closer to the traditional use of Chagain a tea. Make sure you get the best quality you can afford; look for wild-crafted, dual-extracted products for best effects.
A quick Google search will enlighten you to the fact that the word ‘nootropic’ was initially coined in 1972 by a Romanian psychologist and chemist, Corneliu E. Giurgea. The man responsible for synthesising Piracetam, the world's first cognition enhancing pharmaceutical drug. Derived from the Greek wordsnoos (mind) andtropos (bend or turn), nootropic translates to “acting on the mind”. This definition gives us a clear insight into how these substances work within the body.