Chaga was my biggest discovery of the year. Not because I didn’t know about it but because it was such a good fit for my condition. It plugged the whole on one of the crucial symptoms that was slowing down my recovery. It is a definite winner and a definite keeper which is very rare for me because I get a paradoxical reaction to most supplements. In fact, I do not even tolerate other medicinal mushrooms like Reishi, Cordysceps or Lion’s Mane.
Please keep in mind, my results are in the backdrop of mercury toxicity, adrenal fatigue and digestion issues, food sensitivities and of course – major sleep issues. These were all tested by this wonder mushroom.
*If you’d rather watch my video report on Youtube you can find it here.
In case you are just getting acquainted with Chaga it hosts a few impressive health benefits:
- enhances the immune system (much needed in an insomnia exhausted body);
- powerful antioxidant (perfect for any inflammatory processes that could be causing sleep issues);
- digestion aid (perfect to take the load of digestion at night);
- powerful antiviral action;
- balances blood sugar (perfect for stabilizing nigh time sugar in case it is sugar spikes that jolts one from deep sleep).
When it comes to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) it is said that Chaga:
- nourishes liver, kidneys and heart
- transforms mucus
- revives blood
- calms the mind,
- supports defensive qi.
Different types and my experiences with them
Chaga comes in many forms and I’ve tried all of them. Obviously, the quality and effect of any form will also depend on the source and maker. It is said that Siberian Chaga is more potent than the ones from Canada, Finland, Estonia, etc.
Raw – ground and steeped as tea. This was my first Chaga experience as a nice chunk of it was simply gifted to me by a friend who collected it in a Lithuanian forest. I simply ground it and steeped it in 80 degree Celsius water for 45 minutes and drank it as tea. I immediately noticed feeling warmer. This was very helpful in falling asleep as I usually experience chills at bed time, especially in Fall and Winter seasons. Another benefit I noticed right away is that I lost an aversion to cold surfaces. I later learned that chaga has a central nervous system balancing properties and can stabilize one’s core temperatures. Hallelujah! That was so helpful. Later on I developed some weird cough and runny nose (as if some allergic reaction) and could not shake it. Once I stopped Chaga tea the cough went away. This was very interesting so I tried it again and the same scenario repeated itself. Clearly this is related and I had to stop my tea for this reason.
Tincture – alcohol extraction is about as strong as wine. He one I tried is made in Estonia. It is very gentle and seems to have some mild digestion benefits. Not my regular form and knowing that alcohol extract is missing full sectrum benefits I am no longer taking it.
Capsules (not ground mushroom powder!) – double extraction powder is perhaps the most beneficial form of Chaga as it extracts most of the goodness. Both alcohol and water is used to extracts different constituents and if one method is missing, you don’t have all the benefits. This is the form that I found most beneficial. Immediately I felt a difference in my digestion where things were moving though much more efficiently. Stools turned the right color and became regular. Sorry, perhaps too much detail but those who have serious gut issues will appreciate this. One annoying side effect from this product is lower back pain if I take the capsules on empty stomach. I am guessing that in TCM terms there is more demand on adrenal energy (kidney jing) when liver is boosted. Anyways, I avoid this by taking Chaga capsules with food.
Mycelium – which is not really a mushroom per se but it is said to host some impressive benefits as well. When I take this I seem to have better mood but after three days I would get hot at night and then I experienced deterioration that resembled an adrenal crash I used to get in my worst days. This could because mycelium has some different properties that act as a slight stimulant. Not a good fit for me.
So by far the biggest benefits I derived from Chaga were decrease in cold sensitivity, more stable body temperatures, better bile flow and regular bathroom visits. This is extremely important when one is detoxifying from heavy metals or anything else.
I could say I have decent energy levels but this is probably due to the fact that I digest things better.
Can Chaga Help with Insomnia?
Some websites that sell the mushroom claim that Chaga stimulates the endocrine system, which assists the body’s in producing melatonin and serotonin. They also state that daily consumption of Chaga can induce deep R.E.M. sleep, which may be accompanied by vivid dreams.
It makes me somewhat skeptical of these assertions as there’s literally no evidence for that, not even anecdotal. As far as I can tell Chaga is not known to directly improve one’s sleep quality but it does that indirectly by having gentle calming properties and improved digestion. When gut is happy sleep is more restful too. Initially I did experienced somewhat vivid, almost mystical dreams but only for a couple of nights. Overall Chaga is not a sleep enhancer for me. If you have anxiety or racing thoughts, I’d recommend Reishi mushroom instead (shen tonic).
One other benefit that may not be as obvious on the surface is Chaga adaptogenic properties. Perhaps “behind the curtains” this mushroom is responsible for modulation of endocrine and hormonal systems because there is an overall increased feeling of wellness.
Those with heavy metal toxicity are known to suffer from extreme food sensitivities and paradoxical reactions to supplements. So, one last claim that sounds very exciting for me is Chaga’s ability to reduce hypersensitivity of the immune system.
Finally, I’d like to mention that Chaga is not for everyone and you’d be wise to do your research before trying it. Some caution against Chaga use because of high in oxalate content but I found a study by a toxicologist Michael W. Beug who reports the oxalates amounts are not negligible but much lower than in foods with extremely high oxalate levels like spinach, rhubarb and beet greens.
In summary, Chaga has been a huge discovery. Not only it helped with a couple of very annoying symptoms it seems to help in further detox process. I wouldn’t be surprised that it plays a big role in my ability to raise my mercury chelator doses very steadily now. Once mercury is out, there will be further healing to do but eventually I feel like this is what’s going to return my dear sleep.
So what’s your experience with Chaga mushroom? Has it improved your sleep quality at all? What types have you tried? Let me know in the comments.
I have very high BP due to primary adenostorosis and wonder if this would be helped by mushrooms which appear to be more used in adrenal exhaustion ?
Liz, there’s only one to find out: study the mushroom and then try it. We’re all too different. Perhaps you would benefit from a combo which addresses both issues.