Especially in the winter, when the weather turns rainy and cold, we face repeated waves of the flu. We are all familiar with this problem. With hot lemon and vitamin tablets, we attempt to rally our immune system, strengthen our defenses, and hope to be spared by the pathogens. But we are not always successful. Furthermore, many physicians advise against vitamin tablets as the body cannot properly metabolize their contents.
What should we do to protect ourselves against viruses? Is there a solution? The answer is yes. In extreme northern regions grows a small, nutrient-rich mushroom called chaga. This mushroom has been used in the traditional medicine of Alaska and Siberia for generations because of its many positive effects. Here you can learn more about this magical mushroom and how to protect your body.
Fighting and protecting against viruses with chaga
Chaga is a mushroom that grows on birches and draws its many nutrients from this tree. To develop properly, it needs an extremely cold climate. It is thus no surprise that it can be found in Alaska, Siberia, and similarly cold regions. One cup of chaga tea per day helps strengthen the immune system, prevent inflammation, and even fight cancer.
If we want to protect ourselves against pathogens, the primary focus is on strengthening our immune system so it can defend against these invaders and thereby protect our health. Chaga contains several components that have positive effects on our defense system, including beta glucans, triterpene, and germanium, and let’s not forget all the vitamins our body requires.
Beta glucans support our immune system by activating leukocytes (white blood cells). Leukocytes represent the main pillar of our immune defense. Among leukocytes are macrophages (large eaters of cellular debris). As soon as a pathogen enters our body, through a laceration or our respiratory tract, leukocytes are activated and fight directly against the invader before it can cause any harm.
Triterpene is known for its ability to fight cancer cells. Chaga is therefore often used to fight cancer. However, triterpene also has a special effect on the spleen, the “central” immune defense. The leukocytes our immune system needs are developed in the spleen. Chaga thus helps in the production and activation of the immune system. Additionally, the mushroom can help regulate the immune response and suppress immune dysfunction and thereby avoid inflammatory responses.
The effect of germanium, a rare metal, is currently under scientific study. It is considered an oxygen catalyst, and can help fight free radicals, so-called unstable particles that collide with cells and cause cellular damage. Antioxidants fight against this “oxidative stress”. Chaga is the food with the highest amount of antioxidants we can find.
Since we have determined that the body is often weakened through dysfunction of the immune system, we know that germanium can play a role precisely in this arena. Thanks to this mineral, the body receives the energy it requires to regenerate itself. Chaga is also considered an energy supplier. Its effects are not as fast as those of caffeine-containing drinks (as for example coffee), which produce a direct burst followed by a rapid crash, but over longer term, you will notice a sustained higher energy level that allows you to concentrate longer.
Upon hearing the word pathogen, many think of bacteria. However, viruses also belong to this group. As opposed to bacterial infections, which can be treated with antibiotics, there are no conventional medications to treat vial infections. Our body must rely on itself to fight viruses. Increasingly more vaccinations against viruses, for example influenza, are available. However, viruses can mutate and change their mechanisms of action.
Viruses have become an increasing threat over the last several years. HIV, influenza, and many more are common. Currently, a novel virus, the Coronavirus, has created a pandemic and threatens humanity. And again we learn that no medication is available. The pharmaceutical industry cannot help us in this situation, but two scientific studies have shown that chaga has an anti-viral effect.
Chaga is rich in polyphenols, which are responsible for its anti-viral effects. Inotodiol has been shown to have a positive effect against influenza A and B. A Japanese study confirmed a virus-inhibiting effect against HIV. These effects are attributable to the immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties of chaga as described above.
If and how the mushroom can help against the current Coronavirus is not yet clear, but the overall virus-inhibiting effect of chaga is confirmed. Since chaga has minimal side effects, there are no contraindications to drinking chaga tea to protect yourself and do something positive for your body.
The bottom line
Our body is exposed to various pathogens on a daily basis and has to work at maximum capacity to protect itself. If you want to help your body preserve its health and strengthen its defenses, then give chaga a try. Although the effects of chaga are not fully explained, individual studies and anecdotes report its positive effects. See for yourself!