If you are familiar at all with alternative medicine or superfoods, you may have heard of chaga. A mushroom harvested from the most frigid extremes of the globe, it has been consumed by generations of Alaskans and Siberians as a cure-all for everything from cancer to intestinal problems to aging. One of its most celebrated uses is as a remedy for diseases, including the common cold. Do chaga’s immune boosting properties live up to the hype?
The answer is yes. Chaga’s effectiveness as a remedy for colds is part of why it has endured for so long. Chaga is proven to aid the immune system, fighting off viruses as well as preventing you from getting sick in the first place. Read on to learn how chaga can keep you healthy in the face of disease.
Chaga for Colds
The common cold is an unavoidable reality of life. A cold is when a virus infects the upper respiratory tract, causing fever, runny nose, congestion, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, headaches, and other symptoms. While rarely fatal, colds cause significant physical and mental impairment and are highly contagious, often requiring people to stay home from work or school in order to recover. In rare cases, colds can develop into pneumonia or become life-threatening in individuals with compromised immune systems.
There is no way to perfectly prevent the common cold; there are no vaccines for it due to the fact that colds are caused by hundreds of different viruses. Your risk of catching a cold is much higher during periods of inclement weather, exposure to large numbers of people in an enclosed space (such as on a plane), and scenarios with insufficient sanitation. Stress and lack of sleep are also cited as risk factors for the common cold.
Colds are typically cured through rest, consumption of fluids, and the use of ibuprofen and other pain-deadening, inflammation-reducing medications. These actions bolster the immune system, allowing it to more effectively fight off the symptoms of the common cold. However, chaga also serves as a natural remedy for the common cold due to its unique properties.
The number one way that chaga helps fight colds is through improving immune system response. Chaga stimulates the production of cytokines, cells which act as messengers for the immune system. Cytokines are responsible for telling white blood cells what to do and where to do, conveying information about the state of the body’s tissues. Increased cytokine production increases the activity of white blood cells, allowing them to more effectively target and eliminate viruses and other infections.
Another major way that chaga helps fight the common cold is by reducing inflammation. Inflammation is a tool used by your body to isolate and fight infections, but out-of-control inflammation is not only painful, it can lead to heart disease and other chronic problems. In the case of a cold, excessive inflammation is irritating and harmful. Chaga reduces inflammation by stopping the production of harmful cytokines that inspire it.
Chaga is able to do all of these things because of its nutritional content. In particular, chaga is rich in beta-d-glucans, compounds that are responsible for balancing the immune system: they can either stimulate a slow immune system or calm an overactive one down. Beta-d-glucans are classified as Biological Response Modifiers, meaning they are capable of altering the body’s reaction to infections, possessing strong antiviral properties.
Finally, some of chaga’s anti-cold properties are due to simple things it shares in common with other folk remedies. As a general rule, drinking fluids is a good move when sick because it hydrates the body, allowing the lungs to more effectively expel phlegm and other contaminants. Hot drinks are especially effective for this purpose because they cause a stronger reaction in the throat. In this respect, drinking chaga tea when sick is a wise thing to do.
Getting sick is unavoidable to a certain extent. No matter how well you take care of yourself or clean up your surroundings, you will eventually come into contact with a virus and contract the common cold. It is common for adults to catch the cold two to three times per year, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose valuable time lying in bed with the sniffles. With natural and powerful remedies, you can get your body back to normal in no time.
One of those natural remedies is chaga. Chaga has been used as a means of fighting the common cold and other diseases for millennia because no other mushroom can match its sheer bounty of nutritional content. Chaga has been proven to boost the immune system, reducing the chances of you getting sick and helping you get healthier faster when you do get sick. If you want to fight the common cold, there’s no better way to do it then with chaga.