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You’ll need to head to the birch trees in the northern hemisphere to find chaga mushroom, a superfood said to be packed with several health benefits. With extensive roots in folk medicine, it has earned different names, from “kreftkjuke” to “Hua Jie Kong Jun” and more.

In terms of medicinal properties, chaga is a powerful antioxidant. As research continues, there is evidence suggesting it could also be used to assist with slowing the growth of tumors in cancer patients while its anti-inflammatory properties made it useful for soothing skin sores. Even today, some people also consume chaga as a tea to help them feel better. He tea has an earthy, vanilla-like taste.

In addition to boosting immune function, considerable research has also gone into how chaga may help with fighting diabetes, a disease affecting more than 25 million people in the United States alone. Using polysaccharides (large molecules) from chaga in labs involving animals showed that the chaga resulted in a therapeutic effect on the levels of blood glucose and also cut down on oxidative stress.

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