Sayan has been actively involved in developing new Chaga-based products with the leading manufacturer of herbal and mushroom extracts in Russia. Since our educational information is presented on the basis of long-term relationships with Russian biologists, as well as Korean and Japanese scientists, you won’t find this valuable information about Chaga fungus anywhere else.
People have been using Siberian Chaga mushroom for centuries because it provides so many helpful benefits. They knew that chaga is a powerful medicinal mushroom that supports good health. Research has verified many of the ancient theories surrounding the health benefits of chaga and scientists continue to investigate other uses for this unassuming mushroom. Today, healthcare professionals recommend use of chaga products in a variety of ways, including as a dietary supplement that augments the performance of vitamins and minerals. Chaga is an adaptogen that supports the recovery of body cells and tissues damaged by free radicals.
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), a fungus from the Hymenochaetaceae family, is a mushroom that grows on the outside of birch trees. Chaga mushroom is a dense, black mass that looks like burnt charcoal. This black mass, sometimes called clinker polypore, cinder conk, or birch canker polypore, has a hard, black crust that closely resembles a tumor. The average chaga mushroom measures 25 to 40 cm, which is about 9 to 15 inches, but can be as large as 1.5 meters. The weight depends on the age and size, and can reach 20 kg or more. Well-developed chaga mushrooms usually emerge on trees older than 40 years, but the fungal infection starts much earlier.
“King of Herbs” and the “Gift from God,”
Sometimes called the “King of Herbs” and the “Gift from God,” chaga is one of the most widely used dietary supplements today. From ancient Russians to today’s sophisticated healthcare consumers, Siberian Chaga has been promoting enhanced health of the body for everyone hoping for overall good health. Once reserved for people living in the very cold, frigid mountains of Siberia, you can now buy chaga mushroom for use in the comfort of your own home. The recent interest in Siberian Chaga medicinal mushroom has made it one of the most popular dietary supplements available on the market today. And now a wide variety of Sayan Health mushroom products are available to nearly everyone who wants to lead a healthier life.
How do chaga mushrooms grow?
Chaga is a parasitic fungus, and it lives thanks to the useful components available in the birch tree. By the time it matures, it accumulates a very high concentration of biologically active substances that are useful to the human body, supporting the immune system and promoting healing and rejuvenation of the entire body on a cellular level.* The chaga mushroom body that grows on the birch tree has no spores (seeds). The major concentration of spores matures in the birch tree trunk underneath the bark, appearing near the chaga buildup when the tree begins to die.
Each chaga life cycle begins with chaga spores penetrating into the heart of the living birch tree through areas of the bark damaged by frost-cleft or broken branches. The spores sprout, forming mycelium, and begin using the birch tree juice.
Mycelium threads penetrate into the trunk, gradually destroying it and causing the white heart to break down. At the same time, under the bark (in the places of initial penetration by the spores), a fruiting body is formed, producing basidiospores, or reproductive spores.
In the 4th year, the mycelium emerges and begins to develop a fruitless mycelium, forming a crust of slow-growing, shapeless, black growths. These are the first traces of what we call chaga.
Over the next several years, a massive chaga buildup appears on the stem. The birch will try to battle it in the course of its life, but the tree usually doesn’t win the fight. Chaga will live on this birch tree for up to 20 years or more, or until the tree dies.
Where chaga could be found?
Chaga is great at hiding. The mushroom can be very hard to spot for those that aren’t familiar with it. In addition, it disguises itself as an outcropping of bark on an otherwise healthy looking birch tree. Also, chaga is found in birch forests where the climate has a cooler season. These areas include:
- Northern U.S.
- Northern Europe
Differences in chaga quality
You can find plenty of chaga products available on the market today, from different parts of the world. The question is: how can you identify quality product and avoid buying products that offer low health benefits? Whether you choose Chinese, Canadian, American, or Siberian Chaga products, you need to be aware of a few things. Some chaga products might be sold in packages that picture mushrooms other than chaga. This is an indication that the manufacturer didn’t even bother to take a picture of the real chaga for the packaging. Many companies sell “chaga tea” – finely ground, dried raw chaga in bulk or in filter bags.
Phellinus igniarius –
Common names for this mushroom are: Willow bracket and Fire sponge. These mushrooms are usually large and hoof-shaped, ranging in color from gray to black, and typically brown.
Fomes fomentarius –
Common name for this mushroom are tinder fungus, false tinder fungus, hoof fungus, tinder conk. This fungus appears in woody, hoof- or disc-shaped formations, but is usually lighter in color than chaga.
Sometimes call suvel in Russia. From a distance, gnarl looks like chaga, but if you look closely, you can see that these are small bundles of shoots, twigs, and sometimes even leaves. Suvel is not a mushroom, but a tree
Most often mistaken for chaga is burl, or bur. Burl is simply a defect of the birch bark. If you saw this buildup, you would only see a beautiful tree structure inside. This is known to the masters of the art of wood carving, who often use burl.
Chaga info – chaga mashroom appearance and harvesting
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), a fungus from the Hymenochaetaceae family, is a mushroom that grows on the outside of birch trees. Chaga mushroom is a dense, black mass that looks like burnt charcoal. This black mass, sometimes called clinker polypore, cinder conk, or birch canker polypore, has a hard, black crust that closely resembles a tumor. The average chaga mushroom measures 25 to 40 cm, which is about 9 to 15 inches, but can be as large as 1.5 meters. The weight depends on the age and size, and can reach 20 kg or more.
Can false chaga still be used in tea? Does it have any health benefits?
False Chaga provides NO wellness benefits whatsoever, thus there is no really need to use it in a tea.
I live in Northern North Dakota seven miles from the Canada Border. Does this grow around here ? We have Birch trees.
We are not sure if the Chaga mushroom grows in North Dakota. But you could definitely explore birch trees and see if there are any chaga mushrooms on them.
Thank you for the great info!
I’m really stumped on whether or not the mushroom I took off a tree is in fact Chaga?… You have it listed above as false Chaga?? Does this mean it is not really Chaga? Or not edible? The one I took off the tree resembled the hoof fungus. (Fomes fomentarius)
Chaga mushrooms grow on many trees, but only Chaga mushrooms that grow on birch trees provide health benefits. It is hard to say what you took since you didn’t provide the picture.
Is chaga growing on a birch in a golf course safe to eat? There is also moderately used roads near by.
Ideally, you would like to harvest Chaga mushroom aways from the city. We harvest Chaga in Siberia at least 150 miles away from the cities. Chaga which grows on birch trees on the golf course would not be ideal for harvesting.
I was wondering if you can drink too much chaga?
If you are referring to raw chaga chunks, than 4-5 16 oz of chaga tea is enough per day. If you are asking about chaga extract that 1-2 grams for healthy person is enough. There is no need to drink a lot and we never heard that someone had too much chaga tea.