If you are familiar with the world of alternative medicine and medicinal mushrooms, you likely have heard of chaga. A mushroom that grows on birch trees in the far northern parts of the world and has been used in traditional Alaskan and Siberian medicine for generations, chaga has been scientifically shown to improve immune system health, combat cancer, ease gastrointestinal problems, and much more. It also has synergistic effects with a number of other mushrooms, such as reishi.
A mushroom hailing from China and Japan, reishi has been consumed for millennia as a cure for various ailments, and when combined with chaga, the positive effects of both mushrooms are multiplied considerably. Read on to learn how you can use both chaga and reishi to enhance your life.
Also known as lingzhi, reishi is a polyphore mushroom that grows in various parts of the northern hemisphere, most notably China and Japan; it is from the latter that the name “reishi” is taken. In the wild, it traditionally grows at the base of maple trees and other hardwood trees, but wild reishi is relatively rare due to overharvesting; it is estimated that only one out of 5,000 old-growth trees contain reishi. Because of this, reishi is now traditionally cultivated via sawdust, wood chips, or hardwood logs.
Unlike chaga or other mushrooms, reishi embeds itself into trees to such a strong degree that it can regrow itself entirely even after being removed. Both for this and its benefits for humans, it is sometimes called the “Mushroom of Immortality” and the “Spirit Plant.” It has been used in Chinese and Japanese medicine for generations.
One of the most notable synergistic effects that chaga and reishi have is their anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a natural process used by the body to isolate and combat infections, but if allowed to run unchecked, it can lead to serious health problems. Chaga and reishi work together to reduce chronic inflammation. Studies show that reishi can help reduce inflammation by altering inflammation pathways in the immune system, allowing white blood cells to be redirected towards where they are needed most.
Another synergistic effect of consuming chaga and reishi is cancer reduction. Like chaga, reishi is rich in antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce the spread of cancer and kill tumor cells when consumed. A study of 4,500 breast and prostate cancer survivors showed that over 60 percent of survivors consumed reishi on a regular basis, and chaga has already been shown to be a strong anti-cancer mushroom.
Chaga has famously been consumed for generations as an immune system booster, and as it turns out, reishi is also capable of insulating the body against disease. While reishi’s immune-boosting properties are not as well understood as chaga’s, preliminary studies suggest that reishi has a positive effect on lymptocyte function. Lymphocytes are used by the immune system to reduce anxiety and guard against infections, meaning that using chaga and reishi will turn your body into an anti-disease powerhouse.
The lymptocyte-stimulating effects also aid another of chaga and reishi’s synergistic abilities: reducing stress. While some stress is normal in your day-to-day life, too much chronic stress can lead to serious health problems. Chaga and reishi reduce physical stress on the body by soothing it on the cellular level, allowing you to go about your life with less anxiety.
Chaga is noted for its anti-aging properties, and these properties are also present in reishi. As mentioned above, both mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, which reduce aging through the elimination of free radicals. Free radicals are charged particles that collide with cells in a process called “oxidative stress,” causing cellular damage, which manifests in the form of aging and organ failure. Chaga and reishi work to destroy free radicals, allowing your body to stay younger for longer.
A final synergistic effect that chaga and reishi have is that they improve blood flow. Chaga and reishi both work to regulate blood sugar levels, making them beneficial for diabetics and anyone else who wants to keep their blood sugar in check. Both mushrooms have also been shown to reduce the amount of “bad” cholesterol in the circulatory system, decreasing the likelihood of heart attacks and other problems caused by artery blockages.
While reishi mushroom, like chaga, is safe to consume, it may have adverse effects depending on your diet and genetic makeup. Both mushrooms have been linked to liver problems caused by overconsumption, though this is rare. Always exercise prudence when trying out new foods or supplements.
The world of medicinal mushrooms has many things to offer you no matter your age or health. Whether you want to fight disease or simply improve your health overall, mushrooms like chaga and reishi have a lot to offer. When combined, these superfoods can insulate you against illness, improve your intestinal health, and slow the aging process so that you can stay younger for longer.
If you are interested in either chaga or reishi, you should consider using them both. Their synergistic effects will allow you to enhance your life and improve your health considerably.
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