REAL AND ARTIFICIAL CHAGA.
by Victor Smirnov
In my opinion, anybody who is engaged in chaga business or is taking chaga for hiw own health, should become educated on chaga and do not let yourself to be fooled by dishonest merchants and nice talking gurus.
First of all, in order to understand a chaga mushroom and chaga extract better, one has to keep in mind one thing: does he speak about wild-grown chaga mushroom which had been picked from a wild birch tree or does he speak about some fermented or cultivated artificial mushrooms called “chaga”? The difference is so important that it cannot be ignored. These are completely different things. Why?
Well, to answer this question, all you need to do is to imagine how the real chaga grows. It grows in a forest, on a live birch trees. And I would like to remind you what a birch tree is good for.
In Russia a birch tree is considered one of the most giving and healing trees. All parts of the tree possess healing powers and it is generously offering us its benefits.
- Birch buds: should be harvested in early Spring. Are used as an alcoholic tincture. Helpful for stomach spasm, asthma, cardiovascular problems, is applied against hydropsy and rheumatism. Used as a strong antibacterial agent even if decocted in water.
- Birch sap: in Russia it is well known that birch sap cures people from scurvy, because it has so many vitamins. In addition, a birch sap is very helpful against urolithiasis. Birch sap contains vitamin C, vitamin PP, apple acid, protein, aminoacids, phytohormones, trace elements…It is highly diuretic.
- Birch leaves: it is a wonderful gift of nature! Unique source of Vitamin C (up to 3 000mg%); More vitamin C is contained in berries of rosehip and black current. Birch leaves are used against nephrosis, nephritis and for improving the proper function of kidneys. Birch leaves alcoholic tincture is a great mean against scurvy all year round.
- Chaga mushroom (antioxidant used against cancer, diabetes and many other problems),
- Birch wood is used for manufacturing of activated charcoal.
As you can see, a birch tree has a lot of healthy stuff to share with chaga. Moreover, it takes chaga mushroom several years to grow until it will be suitable for healing purposes, because chaga needs time to accumulate enough biologically active substances drawn from a birch. All birch saps circulate inside of a birch tree passing through chaga conk and saturating it with those hundreds of trace elements, acids, vitamins and antioxidants.
The older chaga gets the more healing substances it acquires. So 5-7 year old chaga is quite good for picking and to be used for healthy chaga tea. If you find 15-20 year old chaga, it should be miraculously powerful. But nowadays such chaga is very hardly to find even in Siberia.
Now we know that a real chaga mushroom draws all its nutrients and biologically active substances from a live birch tree.
On the opposite, do we know where draws its nutrients an artificial chaga from? I don’t know.. to be honest. For me the very idea of artificial cultivation of chaga mushroom seems weird. I don’t understand how people can use it at all …it is not natural (not organic) ..so what is the point in growing and especially in using it?
Wait.. it seems I figured one reason: MONEY..Of course! You grow cheap and useless chaga, find there a lot of substances like polysaharrides (or just grind the “chaga” to powder, ADD as much polysaharrides and Beta glucans as you want taken from other sources), advertise it good as a Siberian chaga mushroom and Bob’s your uncle...
By the way, has anybody seen fermented chaga in chunks or in one piece? I haven’t…if anybody saw it, please send me a picture, we’ll compare how it differs from real chaga. I am confident that almost all chaga available in China market today is artificially grown, they don't have Siberian Chaga, at least not from Russia. I can explain my point: it is almost impossible to import raw chaga from Russia because of very strict Chinese quarantine requirements.
I have just found on Alibaba.com something what in China they call "Chaga". Please take a look at it and compare to our real Siberian chaga. I suppose the difference is stunning...
Real chaga mushroom in cross section
Chinese cultivated chaga