Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Chago Mushooms

Would you know what this image is without the blog title? Imagine the first person to say, "Mmm, cut me a chunk of THAT black growth we found in the woods. I must ingest it! Let's see what happens ..."

The mysterious mass is a chago mushroom (a/k/a inonotus obliquus), a type of fungus that grows on the bark of Birch trees in cold climates in Russia, Northern Europe, Alaska and parts of Asia. ("Chago" comes from the Russian word, "чага.") In Russia people have used chago as a traditional medicine to boost immunity and good health for centuries. Packed with anti-oxidants, chago is sold as either a tea, or powdered food supplement.

Although scientistic studies are lacking on humans, animal and test tube studies found that chago extract may improve chronic inflammation; fight cancer; lower blood sugar; and reduce cholesterol. For these reasons people take it to support their heart, liver and immune systems.

But no studies have analyzed the proper dosage, or safety of taking chago. In spite of being a natural substance, it could interact with other drugs people need to take to treat various conditions. People with bleeding disorders; autoimmune disease; on blood thinners; or who are pregnant; or breastfeeding could experience side effects and should always talk to their doctor before consuming it for safety. 

If you're healthy and not taking other medicine, a cup of chago tea shouldn't hurt you ... and just might be delicious!

Reportedly, mushrooms are part of a healthy diet. They are also a main ingredient of Dr. Andrew Weil's anti-aging skin care line.

 Having stumbled upon chago mushrooms recently, I'm intrigued and ready to try a cup of the tea for the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties alone ... always staying clear of self-medicating and at the very least, wasting money on an expensive food supplement whose results in treating disease, is for now unproven! Chago extract shows promise, yet no one has spent the money to run studies to prove that it's more than just a tasty cup of tea. 

How about you? Are you up for a cup?

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