This is a familiar dilemma for everyone. We experience some sort of symptoms. Our head or our stomach hurts; or we are fighting a cold, and we go to see the doctor who prescribes tablets or cough syrup. Yet we are afraid of the side effects. If we review the packaging slip of the medication, we are filled with fear. Incredible – what a small tablet could potentially do to us. Possible organ damage, episodes of dizziness, and a myriad of digestive problems, etc. keep us from swallowing the prescribed pills. So we choose to rely on natural remedies. Or do these have side effects as well? Is it dangerous to just take any kind of natural supplement? In principle, you should educate yourself before taking any kind of product and evaluate its side effects, which, of course, depend on each individual person. Let’s take a closer look at a popular remedy, chaga.
Chaga is a mushroom that grows on birch trees, especially in regions with colder climates such as Lapland, Siberia, and Russia, where it is already used as an official medicinal substance. The nutrient-rich mushroom contains many ingredients that have a positive effect on our body. These include germanium, betulinic acid, iron, chrome, polysaccharide, flavonoids, triterpene, and melanin. The interplay of these ingredients has a very special effect. Chaga stimulates our metabolism, strengthens the immune system, and inhibits inflammation. These three effects show that he mushroom can help in the treatment of many diseases. But this mushroom has one other positive property. It is a very powerful natural antioxidant. Those who consume chaga can benefit from the following positive health effects:
Prevents infections or inhibits inflammatory processes.
Improves organ function. In particular, chaga has positive effects on the spleen and liver, our detoxification organs, and thus helps the body rid itself of toxins.
Has immune-boosting properties. Protects against viruses and fights dysfunction of the immune system.
Improves perfusion properties of the blood and has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system.
Inhibits cancer cells and is a popular component of cancer therapy.
Lowers blood sugar levels.
Boosts memory functions.
As you can see, chaga has many positive effects on our health. But are all these without side effects? To answer this question, we need to take a look at the various forms in which the mushroom can be purchased and ingested. Chaga comes in the form of extract, tincture, and tea.
Chaga powder is made either of wild chaga that grows on birch trees and contains the described positive properties, or from so-called mushroom farms in China, huge facilities where these artificial mushrooms are cultivated. But chaga needs the birch tree to develop properly. The industrial powder thus lacks the positive nutrients and instead often contains pesticides and heavy metals. This makes the powder not just worthless, but even harmful, potentially causing severe digestive issues ranging from abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation up to organ damage.
The powder made of wild chaga is also difficult to digest for many people. Although it contains the valuable active ingredients, it is not clearly discernable if mold spores or birch remnants are also contained therein.
Chaga extracts present problems similar to those with powder. To produce extracts, solvents that are in turn harmful to the body are used.
Chaga tinctures are based on high-proof alcohol. Generally, children and those who are ill should not consume alcohol. The same applies to pregnant women, recovering alcoholics, and all other individuals who do not consume alcohol on a regular basis.
Natural remedies are based on the active ingredients of the plant and should not be mixed with other industrially produced substances.
Chaga tea, on the other hand, has minimal side effects. Here, the positive, health-promoting properties prevail. Only people who suffer from a birch pollen allergy should avoid chaga.
Chaga tea can be consumed without concerns.
However, there are claims that chaga is harmful, even almost dangerous to our health. Statements such as chaga thins the blood, weakens tooth enamel, or reduces the effects of chemotherapy are fiction. Yes, chaga has effects on blood perfusion and improves it, but does not act as a blood thinner. Just the opposite, chaga has a positive effect on coagulation factors, helping to prevent blood clots, strokes, and severe hemorrhages. Chaga works as a regulator.
Cancer patients benefit from chaga tea. Fears that the cleansing properties of the mushroom reduce the effects of chemotherapy are unfounded. Chaga promotes cell death (apoptosis) and thus can work wonders in conjunction with other therapy.
The bottom line: in its natural form, chaga is safe and free of sided effects, except for those suffering from an allergy to birch pollen. However, it is important that you know the origin of your product. To be on the safe side, we recommend you go with the tea.