Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a fungus that grows on the birch tree in semi-arctic climates with high altitudes. It has a parasitic relationship with the tree. In appearance, Chaga looks like a black growth protruding from the side of the tree's trunk. Its exterior is hard, appearing dark black and roughly textured, but it has a vibrant orange center which has a texture similar to that of cork.
Although Chaga has been used for thousands of years by indigenous people in North America, Siberia, and China, it got early traction during the 1960s due to new research from medical academia in Russia. Chaga's first major explosion into mainstream culture was catalyzed by the people of Russia following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in their pursuit of alleviation. Today, Chaga is one of the most popular new products of the "Shroom Boom," which was named the top food trend of 2018 by Whole Foods and Time Magazine.
Chaga is renowned for its health benefits, which are substantiated by heavy ongoing research. It contains a wide variety of beneficial compounds, triterpenes, minerals, phytonutrients, and vitamins. It is most well known for being a great source of antioxidants.
Additionally, Chaga contains polysaccharides which provide energy, Melanin which promotes healthy pigmentation and UV protection in skin, Beta-D Glucans which support the immune system, and many other bioactive healing agents. Chaga is also an adaptogen, which means that it supports your adrenal system, and aids in a positive response to stress and stress hormones.