Natures Healing Gift
For centuries, mushrooms have been used for their healing properties. A mushroom is the fruit body of a fungus. Just as a fruit is the reproductive organ of a fruit tree, a mushroom is the fruit body of a fungus. Dr. David Hawksworth, a leading scientist, estimates that there are over one and a half million species of fungi on earth, and they make up a quarter of the biomass of the planet. Fungi are essential for a healthy forest as they help to break down dead organic material to be recycled by the root systems. Scientists believe this ability to break down toxic substances is the basis of the mushrooms’ health and beauty enhancing functions.
Professor Georges Halpern, a world renowned pharmacologist, described many species of fungi in his book Healing Mushrooms, including Maitaka, Shitaka, Lingzhi, Yunzhi, Cordyceps and Chaga.
Chaga is the rarest and most precious of the healing mushrooms. Growing in the birch forests of Siberia in Russia, it is harvested only once every twenty years from the trunks of selected mature birch trees. Because of the very low temperatures in winter, often 40 degrees below zero, the Chaga grows very slowly. Scientists believe this slow growth gives Chaga its intense flavor and powerful healing properties.
Unlike its close relatives Lingzhi and Yunzhi, which can be grown commercially on dead wood or artificial logs made of sawdust and seeded with the fungal spores, Chaga can only be collected in the wild from the pristine forests of Siberia. It is then extracted using pure water at low temperatures. We call it Siberian Chaga.
The Legend of Chaga
Chaga has been used for over 400 years to enhance immunity and preserve youthful complexions, in Korea, Japan, Mongolia, but most particularly in Russia. Every year the Governors of Siberia would send a specially selected supply of Chaga to the court of the Tsar, where it would find favor among the princesses and other aristocratic ladies; also the men to preserve their vigor in battles.
The Empress Catherine the Great was said to keep a supply of Chaga in a crystal container in her private apartment in St. Petersburg. She would add Chaga to beverages and give Chaga as a precious gift to her many lovers.
Chaga and Health
In their book The Yin and Yang of Cancer, Dr. Bernard Chan and Professor Georges Halpern described the scientific evidence and use for medicinal mushrooms including Lingzhi, Yunzhi, and Chaga. Chaga in particular is formulated as a drug and approved by the Ministry of Health in Russia, under the Befungin. The British Journal Oncology News also mentioned Chaga as an herb used in complementary medicine.
Wildcrafted Siberian Chaga Extract ™ contains unique polysaccharides or sugar molecules, which can increase the white blood cell count in patients with lowered resistance to infections, particularly those due to the use of radiation and chemotherepy. The active substances are called beta-glucans, which can stimulate macrophages that remove toxic substances from the blood and other tissues. For many years physicians in Russia and Korea have used Chaga to slow down the process of aging and improve the immune response.