I’d heard of Chaga before but only in passing. Post eating disorder my hormones were pretty fucked up and in an effort to rebalance my system I began doing some research into adaptogens.
What are Adaptogens?
In short, ‘adaptogen’ is a term used for a broad range of herbs and plant medicines that have been used for thousands of years to optimize adrenal health, which is essential for optimal hormonal health. These plants and herbs help lower your stress levels and balance your hormones by protecting and promoting adrenal health.
The most frequently suggested adaptogens for my needs came from a specific branch of adaptogenic mushrooms which, among others, included Chaga.
A few days ago a friend walked into the kitchen and offered me some Chaga she had harvested herself. She mixed it into some coffee and passed it over. In that moment I remembered a few other friends raving about “mushroom tea” and “mushroom coffee” over breakfast and figured I would do some research.
So what’s the deal with Chaga?
Chaga is actually a fungus that’s found primarily on birch trees. There are records going as far back as the 16th century for the use of chaga in Eastern European folk medicine. And alongside it’s power to help balance your hormones, it packs an impressive antioxidant punch!
Check out some of these sweet facts, and then mix some chaga (I am really digging the ease of this four-sigmatic mushroom mocha mix) into your morning brew for a full-body-productivity start to your day. *Note: I like to mix mine with coffee for an extra boost, but Chaga is also an excellent non-coffee alternative and provides a non-jittery energy due to it's polysaccharide content.
Chaga Reduces Stress Levels (and helps protect you)
Circle back to adaptogens and adrenal health real quick because that is how Chaga helps reduce the impact of stress on your system, and how it helps you get back to a healthy flow. But not just that, the compounds found in Chaga mushrooms, like beta-glucan polysaccharides and superoxide dismutase, are known to help rid your body of free radicals produced by stress. Read more about Chaga and stress here.
Chaga Helps Protect the Immune System
This little magic mushroom contains over 215 phytonutrients and glyconutrients and has more antioxidants than blueberries and Acai. If you’re anything like me, you’re like “wtf is a phytonutri-whatever.” Lucky for you I did a little research.
Chaga Mushroom Reduces Inflammation
But not just inflammation. This guy is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and has antibacterial properties. It contains more potassium than a banana, more germanium (immune system supporting) than turmeric, and more rubidium than green tea.
Chaga is packed full of other good stuff
Aside from all the nutrients mentioned above chaga also includes: Vitamins B2, D, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, cesium, silicon, manganese, selenium, zinc, antimony, barium, bismuth, boron, chromium, and copper.