Chaga Tea: A Wide Range of Benefits
Hidden away in the birch forests of the northern hemisphere, the parasitic mushroom called chaga makes its home on the trunks of birch trees. Its growth is rare, estimated to appear only on one in every 15,000 birch trees. It can also be difficult to miss for those unfamiliar with its odd appearance, which looks generally like a charred growth of bark. In spite of this unappealing appearance, this mushroom houses a score of beneficial qualities. For centuries, this mushroom has been used to create an herbal tea that has served as a powerful folk medicine, and today’s research has helped to validate many of its early uses. Some of the benefits found in chaga tea include strengthened immunity, improved digestion, reduced stress and even anti-cancer properties.
Antioxidant & Nutrient Rich
Chaga tea’s exceptionally high antioxidant levels make it a great natural resource for helping to counter free radical damage. It is also an excellent source for vitamin D, vitamin K, multiple B vitamins, and minerals like iron, calcium, copper and zinc. Its various other constituents include betulin and betulinic acid, responsible for much of its positive effects, as well as flavonoids, polysaccharides and other phytonutrients.
A weakened immune system may benefit greatly from drinking chaga tea. The polysaccharides in chaga, especially the beta glucans, help to stimulate the growth of leukocytes within the body, making the immune system better equipped to fend against infections. Furthermore, it also offers a number of antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anthelmintic (parasite-killer) properties that further assist the body in eliminating harmful pathogens.
A number of chaga tea’s effects may be beneficial for cancer patients. Not only does the betulinic acid found in chaga help to eliminate cancer cells, but this herbal tea can also help to overcome the unpleasant effects of chemotherapy. Its immune-boosting effects are especially useful, as many cancer treatments can have a negative impact on the immune system, and chaga may also alleviate digestive upset common to chemotherapy.
Supports Healthy Digestion
Drinking chaga tea is also an excellent way to naturally promote healthy digestion. With its anti-inflammatory effect, chaga may relieve digestive discomfort and promote better digestive function. It also stimulates the production of digestive bile in the liver, aiding in the breakdown of food to make it easier for nutrients to be absorbed. It even offers a natural source of dietary fiber, important for the smooth function of the digestive system.
Skin health may also be improved with chaga tea. Chaga is a natural source of melanin, the pigment that darkens skin and provides protection against solar UV rays. With its anti-inflammatory effects, chaga can help to clear skin conditions like rashes, acne and eczema more quickly. It even protects the firmness and elasticity of skin, delaying the formation of wrinkles.
Alleviates Feelings of Stress
As an adaptogen, chaga tea can help to abate stressful feelings. Adaptogens function by balancing the body’s various systems, energizing systems that are fatigued and quieting overactive systems. This is especially helpful for stressful situations, when the body releases stress hormones that lead to feelings of anxiety and fatigue.
Aids Liver Function
Chaga tea’s ability to stimulate the production of bile in the liver is not only beneficial for digestive function, but for liver health as well. Bile helps the liver to flush out toxins filtered from the bloodstream, preventing them from accumulating in the liver and causing damage to the surrounding tissue.
Benefits Cardiovascular Health
Chaga tea can even promote healthy cardiovascular function. The betulinic acid in chaga can enter the bloodstream, where it assists in breaking down harmful LDL cholesterol, and its beta glucans can also have a positive effect on cholesterol levels. By controlling cholesterol, chaga tea may reduce the buildup of plaque in the bloodstream and lower the risk of potentially harmful cardiovascular disease.