Chaga (Hua Jie Kong Jun)
Botanical Name: Inonotus obliquus
Chaga is an adaptogenic mushroom that can help reduce fatigue, increase mental sharpness, and help fight cancer. It is also reduces blood sugar levels, lowers blood pressure, and reduces cholesterol. Chaga has been a part of traditional folk medicine in Russia, Poland, China, and other Baltic countries for centuries.
Below is an overview of Chaga (Hua Jie Kong Jun), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Chaga (Hua Jie Kong Jun).
Western Name: Chaga
Also Known As: Clinker Polypore, Cinder Conk, Black Mass, Birch Canker Polypore
Organs/Systems: Cardiovascular System, Immune System, Digestive System, Skin
Key Actions: Adaptogenic, Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-aging, Hepatoprotective, Anticancer, Antidiabetic, Analgesic, Expectorant, Antibacterial, Antiviral
Medicinal Uses: Lowers blood sugar, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, cancer, diabetes, stress, muddy thinking, foggy brain, support liver health, IBS (inflammatory bowel syndrome), ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, liver disease, parasites, stomach pain, tuberculosis, gastric and intestinal disorders, psoriasis, ulcers of the stomach and large intestine.
Pin Yin: Hua Jie Kong Jun
Also Known As: Bai Hua Rong, Tschaga
Meridians: Spleen, Stomach, Liver, Kidney
Key Actions: Builds Qi, Calms Shen, Tonifies the Kidneys, Tonifys the Spleen, Tonifies the Liver, Clears Toxins, Restores Blood
Medicinal Uses: Cancer, ulcers, Cron’s disease, builds strength and stamina, mental clarity, cleanses blood, malaria, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, strengthens Spleen and Stomach, infectious diseases, herpes zoster (shingles), antiaging, hepatitis, calms the mind.
Chaga is a fungus in the family Hymenochaetaceae. It is parasitic on trees, especially birch trees. The sterile conk is irregularly formed and looks a bit like burnt charcoal. It is distinguished from other growths by its orange tissue. The fungus causes a white heart rot to develop in the host tree. It’s spores enter the tree through wounds and the white rot decay will spread throughout the heartwood of the tree. Chaga will continue to cause decay within the living tree for 10 to 80+ years. While the tree is alive, only sterile mycelial masses are produced (the black exterior conk).
Chaga is most often found in birch forests of the Northern Hemisphere.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Mushroom
Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Slightly Bitter, Warm
Caution: Considered safe.
History/Folklore: Chaga has long been used in Russia and China. In Russia and Siberia, the mushroom has been used as a medicine and in shamanic ceremonies. Russian and Scandinavian scientists have done the most research on chaga, where the herb has been used for centuries. In China, chaga is a revered tonic herb for longevity and health. Chaga is also known for its adaptogenic properties and ability to help treat and prevent cancer. It is also used to promote heart and digestive health, as well as treat red, itchy skin conditions. A study done in Russia of 50 people suffering from psoriasis were given chaga and all got well.
Chaga has been used in Oriental medicine for many centuries and was first documented by the Chinese herbalist Shen Nong, in the first century B.C.E. In Asia, chaga is used to preserve youthfulness, promote health, and encourage longevity. It is known as an excellent kidney tonic herb. Chaga is also used to support Shen (spirit or consciousness). In Japan, the Ainu, brewed chaga for tea to treat stomach disorders as well as using it in powdered form in sacred ceremonies.
Chaga has been used by the Mespotamians and Egyptians. Chaga has also been used by the Native Americans of North America where the mushroom is also native.
Chaga can be an appetite suppressant. It contains fibers that can help a person feel fuller quicker, helping to reduce snacking and thereby aiding weight loss.
The high oxalate content found in chaga may help to prevent the absorption of some nutrients that can be toxic in high doses. Oxalate is also found in spinach and rhubarb.
The polysaccharides found in chaga have strong immune balancing properties, helping the body produce natural killer (NK) cells.
The bark of birch trees contains betulin, a compound used in cancer treatments. However, when extract from birch trees, betulin cannot be safely used. Chaga absorbs and synthesizes the betulin from the bark and transforms it into a form that is safe for human consumption. Betulin is also being studied for its potential to help fight HIV.
Tests on cells obtained from 20 healthy volunteers and 20 people with inflammatory bowel disease showed that those cells treated with chaga extract reduced the impact of oxidative stress, thereby reducing the development of inflammatory bowel disease.
Chaga’s name derives from the Russian name for the fungus, which in turn is said to have been derived from the indigenous peoples of west of the Ural Mountains. It is sometimes commonly called clinker polypore because of its resemblance to slag left after a coal fire, that were called “clinker” when coal fires were common. In Norway, the name for chaga literally translates as “cancer polypore,” referring to the fungus’ appearance and its alleged medicinal properties.
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Antioxidants, Polysaccharides, Melanin, Triterpenes, Oxalates, Gallic acid, Betulin, Betulinic acid, Inotodiol, Sterols, Ergosterols, Vitamin D, B-complex vitamins, Potassium, Rubidium, Cesium, Amino acids, Copper, Fiber, Selenium, Iron, Zinc, Manganese, Magnesium, Calcium.
Attempts to cultivate chaga on other simulated hosts than birch trees, have so far resulted in a markedly different production of metabolites, reducing the fungus’ overall healing properties significantly.
Chaga has a hard texture, so it is traditionally powdered and brewed for a long time in hot water making a beverage known as chaga tea or coffee.
Better than Blueberries
Chaga is known to have more antioxidant properties than blueberries.
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