Can This Fungus Fight Life-Threatening Diseases? – Martha Channell – Medium

Research is discovering what many ancient cultures have known for thousands of years, the chaga mushroom carries powerful healing properties that YOU should know about.

Most people have heard of the numerous benefits of different types of mushrooms, but have you heard of chaga?

Chaga is growing in popularity in America, and it’s no surprise with all the amazing benefits this superfood has to offer! Potentially even as a cancer-fighting superherb!

But first, what is chaga?

Dubbed as the “King of medicinal mushrooms,” chaga is a nutrient-dense white rot fungus. Sounds delicious, right? But once you hear what it can do for you, you’ll be screaming, “bring on the white rot fungus!” — Okay, maybe not…

The chaga used for medicinal use grows on white and yellow birch trees like a thick black mass on the side of the trunk and is usually grown in northern Europe, Asia, Canada, and the northeastern United States.

What can chaga do for you?

Chaga is nutrient-dense and rich in a wide variety of vitamins and minerals like…

• B-Complex
• Vitamin D
• Potassium
• Rubidium
• Cesium
• Amino Acids
• Fiber
• Copper
• Selenium
• Zinc
• Iron
• Manganese
• Magnesium
• Calcium

…just to name a few.

The fungus has an exceptional amount of immune-boosting antioxidants with many, MANY astonishing benefits.

Let’s get sciencey


Chaga’s most notable enzyme is superoxide dismutase (SOD). Haven’t heard of SOD before? You‘re not alone. SOD doesn’t get the glory it deserves. Several studies have shown it’s phenomenal anti-inflammatory benefits by treating pain and swelling caused by osteoarthritis, sports injuries, and rheumatoid arthritis. SOD is used in cosmetics and personal care products as an anti-aging ingredient and antioxidant, due to its ability to reduce free radical damage to the skin, therefore preventing wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. Who doesn’t want that?!


Research on mice suggests that chaga may help regulate the production of cytokines — your immune system’s chemical messengers. By supporting the immune system they help cells communicate with one another and can play a vital role in stimulating white blood cells — the body’s first line of defense against a range of illnesses. This could help fight infections, from minor colds to life-threatening illnesses.

Betulinic Acid

The betulinic acid found in chaga normalizes the body’s cholesterol levels. Research has also shown that it can remove cancerous cells without negatively affecting healthy cells. It’s a potent anti-inflammatory, great for heart and liver health, and may help regulate blood sugars!


Plant sterols lower cholesterol levels and help prevent heart disease and heart attacks. They are also used to fight some cancers such as stomach cancer, colon cancer, and rectal cancer.


One of the most abundant sources of melanin in any herb or food is Chaga. It’s the natural substance that gives color to the skin, hair, and iris of the eye. Its primary function is to protect the skin from sun damage — helping you keep that youthful skin and protecting you from skin cancer — but may also protect the body from DNA damage.

With all of these sensational benefits, you would think chaga could give you superhero abilities! And for cancer patients, maybe it does. It is, after all, viewed by many mycologists (people who have fun with fungi) as one of the strongest antitumor mushrooms available. A 2010 study found that chaga could slow the growth of breast and cervical cancer cells in a petri dish. In the same study, researchers found that chaga actually slowed the growth of tumors in mice. Another study in 2009 found that triterpenes, the compounds found in chaga and some other mushrooms, cause tumor cells to self-destruct. Unlike invasive cancer treatments, chaga does not appear to harm healthy cells.

So, kick back and pour yourself a cup of chaga tea (it can also be found as a powder or capsule) and give your body a white rot fungus boost!

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