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6 Promising Benefits of Chaga Mushrooms

August 28, 2023

Everything is not always as it seems, and such is the case with chaga mushrooms. This type of functional mushroom—which also goes by the names “the Cinder Conk” and, more formally, Inonotus obliquus—hardly looks like a conventional mushroom at all. 

While they’re full of potential medicinal properties, on which the research continues to grow, chaga isn’t your typical produce-section mushroom (which boast healthy, nutritional benefits of their own, of course). While you won’t likely find them in your local supermarket next to the portabella and white button mushrooms, you also don’t have to go foraging in the woods to get your hands on this fungus. You can order chaga mushrooms online or pick some up at a local specialty food store.

What are chaga mushrooms?

Chaga mushrooms are a rare type of mushroom highly coveted for its health-promoting powers.
“Chaga mushrooms are a type of medicinal adaptogenic mushroom that grow on birch trees in cold climates,” explains Jenna Volpe, RDN, holistic registered dietitian nutritionist in Austin, Texas. “They blend in with the wood, which makes them more difficult to spot in nature.”

As an adaptogenic mushroom, chaga is believed to help restore equilibrium in the body by helping it adapt to stressors.1 For this reason, they’re often used in herbal teas, coffee alternatives, tinctures, and powders. Chaga users tend to treat this ingredient more like medicine than food, since these don’t make a good pizza topping.

Using chaga mushrooms for their medicinal benefits isn’t anything new. Historians have traced their use back as far as the 12th century, back to ancient Russia, Siberia, Poland, and Asia. For centuries, the medicinal properties of chaga have been harnessed to treat digestive disorders, tumors, and heart and liver disorders.23

If you have your heart set on trying chaga, be sure to shop sustainably sourced chaga so Earth’s inhabitants can continue reaping its benefits for years to come. Read more:

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