Welcome Chaga Newbies!
What is Chaga?
Chaga is a fungus that grows on the birch tree in semi-arctic climates. Chaga can be found on all types of birch tree, but here at Birch Boys, we only source our Chaga from the white birch tree, because it contains the medicinal compounds that we want our Chaga to contain.
In appearance, Chaga looks like a black growth protruding from the side of a birch tree. It's exterior is dark brown/black and very textured. Inside this shell (called Chitin) is an orange interior. It is a very easily identifiable fungus.
What does Chaga do?
Chaga is renowned for it's health benefits. It contains a wide variety of beneficial compounds. It is most well known for being a great source of Antioxidants! Chaga's ORAC score (concentration of antioxidants) is 146,700! Thats almost 40,000 higher than acai berry! Antioxidants are great for your body because they reduce the negative effects of Oxidative Stress, a stress that occurs when you treat your body poorly, are stressed, or have a condition that contributes to your stress levels.
In addition to it's great antioxidant concentration, Chaga contains Polysaccharides which provide energy, Melanin which promotes healthy skin, Vitamin B for healthy skin, Beta-D Glucans which support the immune system, and more!
Chaga is also an adaptogen, which means that it supports your adrenal system, and aids in a positive response to stress and stress hormones.
What is Betulin or Betulinic Acid?
Betulin is a compound found in the white birch tree. In the birch tree, it functions as a defense mechanism, seeking out and destroying foreign invader cells to keep the tree healthy. Chaga absorbs this compound and when taken as a tincture can work in our body. Betulin will not harm human body cells, because our cell membranes are too thick for them to permeate. Betulin will still attack foreign invaders in our body.
How do I take Chaga?
Chaga can be consumed as a tea or as a tincture. Chaga Tea is very mild, it tastes earthy-sweet and gives you access to a wide variety of benefits such as the antioxidants, vitamins, polysaccharides and more. Taking Chaga as a tincture gives you access to the Betulin and Melanin trapped inside the Chaga's Chitin. To learn how to make a double extraction tincture, check out our recipes and tutorials page, it is the very first article! Tinctures are definitely a more intense way to consume Chaga and work best for people undergoing cancer treatment or looking to cope with symptoms of a specific illness.
Chaga and Diabetes
Chaga is a natural insulin regulator. This means that if you are on a diabetes medication, that you should not consume Chaga because it may counteract your medication. However, if you have diabetes and are not on medication, Chaga should be fine for you. Some people choose to use Chaga to cope with their diabetes. We do not recommend this unless you have had a thorough talk with your doctor. Always check with your doctor before adding any supplements or health-boosters to your diet.
Chaga for Pregnancy and Children
Chaga is totally safe for both Mommy and Baby! Chaga is also a great replacement for sugary drinks for kids. It's mild sweet flavor is not offensive to sensitive palates, and sugar or fruit juices can be added for extra flavor.
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