Inonotus obliquus, most commonly known as Chaga, is a mushroom that grows mainly in Siberia. It has become increasingly popular in the Western world in recent years due to its potential health benefits and healing properties.
If you’re new to Chaga and want to see what the fuss is about, you’re in the right place. We address what Chaga is, how to consume it, what it does and any potential side effects.
Chaga is a fungus belonging to the Hymenochaetaceae family and is commonly found on birch trees in the Northern Hemisphere. Its appearance is dissimilar to the common conception of a mushroom - large, black and burnt-looking, it’s usually found attached to the side of trees.
Chaga is no stranger to Russians and Scandinavians. For thousands of years, the mushroom has been consumed in these countries for its associated health benefits.
Ancient Russian leader Tsar Vladimir Monomakh was widely known to be a huge fan of Chaga in the 12th century. In the 16th-17th century, it became more formally recognised in medical texts and in the 1950s, Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn became fascinated with the mushroom. He studied the benefits of Chaga and outlined them in his novel, Cancer Ward.
Since the publication, more than 1600 scientific research papers have been devoted to investigating health benefits associated with Chaga.
These studies suggest that Chaga contains immune-boosting qualities that improve overall health. They are one of several types of medicinal mushrooms.