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Cup of chaga coffee on blue plate with chaga and coffee beans on both sides.

Chaga Mushroom Coffee: Is It Good for You?

by Shelly Roberts

July 27, 2022

Chaga coffee. It may sound exotic, but it isn’t anything new. In fact, it’s made from the unusual chaga mushroom (a charcoal-like growth found on birch trees in the northernmost latitudes) that has been used for centuries as food and medicine. Chaga is quite different from a typical mushroom, yet it possesses all of the nutrients and beneficial qualities that we have come to expect from functional mushrooms.

If you’re interested in adding some excitement to your morning coffee routine, you should know that chaga may help provide health and wellness support. And receiving a daily dose of this nutritious superfood is easier than you might think. In doing so, you join the many generations of people worldwide who have benefitted from the bioactive potential of chaga coffee.

Gaining an Appreciation for the History of Chaga Coffee

While there are records of several mushroom species used in traditional medicinal practices throughout Asia over thousands of years, chaga enjoyed an even wider distribution. In addition to being found in northern China, Japan, and Korea, this functional mushroom was also harvested in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the coldest regions of North America and Europe. In fact, the name chaga was given by an ancient Siberian tribe who used it in their healing rituals.

Valued by Russian tsars and Native American healers alike, the hard conchs of this extraordinary mushroom were harvested and brewed as tea or ground and extracted. The use of chaga in place of coffee became more common during World War II when its slightly vanilla flavor made it a popular beverage substitute in Finland. More recently, chaga has made its way onto grocery store shelves as ready-to-use products. And the best part? All the prep work has been done for you.

The Safety of Wild and Cultivated Chaga

The location of fungi at the very end of the food chain raises concern about the safety of wild-harvested chaga. As decomposers, mushrooms accumulate nutrients and other compounds as they break down plant matter. Unfortunately, they can also absorb toxins, including pesticides and heavy metals, and even radiation. Since chaga can live for years and years, the potential for this dangerous accumulation is increased.

While some companies still sell wild-harvested chaga from countries that lack strict regulatory guidelines (such as China and areas downwind from Chernobyl in Russia), others like Om Mushroom grow their mushrooms indoors in California under controlled conditions in a regulated lab environment. This practice involves the use of filtered air and water, as well as replacing chaga’s natural growth medium with a more sustainable medium such as organic oats. This nutritious substrate produces a comparable alternative to wild chaga while effectively eliminating environmental toxins.

Understanding the Benefits of Chaga Coffee

Like other functional mushrooms, chaga has many health and wellness benefits. It contains both macro and micronutrients that contribute to a healthy diet. It also has significance beyond simple nutrition by virtue of its unique bioactive compounds, and it is these compounds that elevate chaga to superfood status. They include:

Antioxidants

Unstable molecules called free radicals form in the course of the body’s natural metabolic processes. Their numbers increase during challenging conditions, such as exercise and exposure to environmental toxins. The resulting oxidative stress can contribute to aging and inflammation. Antioxidants help to combat these ions by donating an electron before they can cause a domino effect and cellular damage.

While many fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, and teas have antioxidant potential, chaga is extraordinarily high in antioxidants. In fact, it has one of the highest known Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) levels. This measure ranks a food or supplement for its antioxidant activity in lab tests. By including antioxidants in your daily diet, you can proactively support various body systems by neutralizing free radicals and minimizing damage caused by oxidative stress.

Adaptogens

The human body strives for homeostatic equilibrium, attempting to re-center itself whenever it’s pushed or pulled off balance. Certain plants and mushrooms act as adaptogens, supporting the body’s ability to adapt and recover its balance. By including adaptogens in your diet or taking an adaptogen supplement, you can support your body’s response to daily physical and mental stresses.

Chaga is one of five functional mushrooms that provide adaptogenic support. Its ability to do so relates in part to its antioxidant content. When used daily, chaga’s adaptogenic support helps the body maintain equilibrium.

Immune Support

Chaga also contains potent polysaccharides, including beta-glucans, that support immune functioning. Indigestible polysaccharides act as prebiotic fiber, supporting a diverse microbiome in the GI tract. Dietary fiber promotes efficient digestion and supports healthy cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar levels. Fiber also feeds “good” bacteria in the intestines, encouraging beneficial gut flora.

Starting Your Day With Chaga

One of the easiest ways to receive a daily dose of this mushroom powerhouse is in chaga coffee. Om Mushroom suggests 2g per serving of the Mushroom Coffee Latte Blend that blends organic mushroom powder with 100% Arabica coffee. This quick, convenient, and instant beverage contains botanical astragalus and natural sweeteners in addition to its proprietary mushroom blend (chaga mushroom powder with lion’s mane, cordyceps, and reishi). Available in single-serve sachets or 30-serving canisters, it offers the caffeine of an average cup of coffee and can be enjoyed hot or cold.

If you prefer matcha instead, Om has you covered with our Mushroom Matcha Latte Blend. This blend combines chaga mushroom powder with lion’s mane, reishi, turkey tail, and tulsi. Thanks to organic matcha powder and natural sweeteners, it has less caffeine than chaga mushroom coffee.

For those seeking the benefits of chaga without caffeine, Om Morning Energy Blend may be right up your alley. With seven functional mushrooms, including chaga and two botanical adaptogens, this specially curated blend provides morning focus without the caffeine jitter. It also offers superior immune support.

Harnessing the Power of Chaga, Every Day

Chaga is best enjoyed when consumed daily, so adding this antioxidant-rich superfood to your daily ritual is a stress-free way to experience its benefits with minimal effort. As with any supplement, we always recommend speaking with your healthcare provider first before taking a mushroom powder supplement.

With its potent antioxidant potential, chaga provides numerous benefits that support youthfulness and healthy aging. Its adaptogenic capacity can even help your body maintain balance despite ever-present physical and mental stressors. In addition, its polysaccharides promote digestion and metabolic health. With all of these added benefits, there’s really no reason not to chaga-fy your morning routine.

Om Mushroom offers chaga coffee products created from functional, whole food, organic mushrooms with life-changing health benefits. Our products contain the proper mushroom dosage to enhance your body’s natural immune functions and support healthy aging. To take advantage of the benefits of functional mushroom products, shop now or subscribe to save!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Functional mushroom products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Adaptogenic mushroom products are easy to incorporate for everyday wellness. Om Mushrooms stand out from the rest because we develop, grow, and prepare all of our products on-site. And we use and love our products too!

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