Benefits of Chaga Mushroom
Chaga is a non-toxic mushroom and one of the highest food antioxidants. It grows on living trees, unlike other tree mushrooms which grow on dead trees and draws its nutrients and derives its extracts from the tree it grows on. Chaga grows wild in cold northern climates and cannot be cultivated artificially. Moreover, it has to be grown at least 5 years before it is harvested, which makes it hard to produce it mass-commercially.
Betulinic Acid Betulin, naturally present in birch barks, is cytotoxic and triggers apoptosis through a direct effect on the mitochondria of cancer cells. β-Glucan Chaga is rich in beta-glucans which perform immunomodulating activities. Additional benefits, including antioxidants In addition to being used as an immune-booster, Chaga has the highest level of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and very high in antioxidants.
How to brew chaga chunk
1. Cool 500cc of boiled water to 60°.
2. Brew Chaga chunks in hot water for 5 to 6 hours.
3. Dice or grind softened Chaga chunks.
4. Mix the 500cc of water with Chaga pieces into 2000cc of boiling water cooled to 70°.
5. Steep for 48 hours.
NewSuitable for use with conventional coffee makers.
Since the 16th century, chaga mushrooms were recorded as being used in folk medicine and the botanical medicine of the Eastern European countries as a remedy for cancer, gastritis, ulcers, and tuberculosis of the bones. A review from 2010 stated, "As early as in the 16th century, chaga was used as an effective folk medicine in Russia and Northern Europe to treat several human malicious tumors and other diseases in the absence of any unacceptable toxic side effects."
Chemical investigations show I. obliquus produces a range of secondary metabolites, including phenolic compounds, melanins, and lanostane-type triterpenoids, including a small percentage of betulinic acid. Among these are the active components for antioxidant, antitumoral, and antiviral activities and for triggering the human immune system.
Geographically this fungus is restricted to very cold habitats. It grows very slowly, suggesting it is not a reliable source of these bioactive compounds. Attempts at cultivating this fungus axenically all resulted in a reduced and markedly different production of bioactive metabolites. Cultivated Chaga results in a reduced diversity of phytosterols, particularly lanosterol, that are intermediates in the synthesis of ergosterol. This effect was partially reversed by the addition of silver ion, an inhibitor of ergosterol biosynthesis.
Additionally, betulinic acid is absent in cultivated chaga because wild chaga grows on birches,which supply betulin and betulinic acid (compounds that are now being studied for use as chemotherapeutic agents and are already used as anti-HIV agents ). While the betulin found in birch bark is not ingestible by humans, the chaga mushroom converts it into a form that can be ingested orally.
In an animal study, researchers found betulin from birch bark lowered cholesterol, obesity and improved insulin resistance.
In 1958, scientific studies in Finland and Russia found chaga provided an epochal effect in breast cancer, liver cancer, uterine cancer, and gastric cancer, as well as in hypertension and diabetes. In 1973 a case study including 50 patients about the effect of a Chaga extract on psoriasis was published in the Russian journal Vestnik Dermatologii i Venerologii. The outcome was almost 100% successful.
In China, Japan and South Korea, extracts of chaga and other mushrooms from the family Hymenochaetaceae are being produced, sold and exported as anticancer medicinal supplements. The main bio-active ingredient in these extracts are usually the nonlinear, complex (1>3) and (1>6) Beta-D-glucans, a type of polysaccharide. The biologic properties of crude preparations of these specific ¥â-D-glucans have been subject of research since the 1960s.
Although these macro-molecules exhibit a wide range of biologic functions, including antitumor activity, their ability to prevent a range of infectious diseases (by triggering and supporting the immune function) has been studied in the greatest detail. Recent scientific research in Japan and China has been focused more on the anticancer potential and showed the effects of these specific polysaccharides to be comparable to chemotherapy and radiation, but without the side effects.
Further research indicated these polysaccharides have strong anti-inflammatory and immune balancing properties, stimulating the body to produce natural killer (NK) cells to battle infections and tumor growth, instead of showing a direct toxicity against pathogens. This property makes well-prepared medicinal mushroom extracts stand out from standard pharmaceuticals - no side effects will occur or develop; the body is healing itself, triggered into action by the BRM effect of the chaga extract. Herbalist David Winston maintains it is the strongest anticancer medicinal mushroom.
Russian literature Nobel Prize laureate Alexandr Solzhenitsyn wrote two pages on the medicinal use and value of chaga in his autobiographical novel, based on his experiences in a hospital in Tashkent, Cancer Ward (1968).
The majority of research has been performed in vitro and in vivo in animals; few human clinical trials have been conducted. In a 48-patient human clinical trial in Poland in 1957, 10 patients treated with chaga showed a reduction of tumor size, a decrease in pain, a decrease in the intensity and the frequency of hemorrhaging, and a recovery accompanied with better sleep, appetite and feelings of improvement. Most of these patients were females treated with chaga for cancer of the genital organs or breast cancer.
A 1998 study in Poland demonstrated chaga's inhibiting effects on tumor growth. Noda and colleagues found betulin seems to work highly selectively on tumor cells because the interior pH of tumor tissues is generally lower than that of normal tissues, and betulinic acid is only active at those lower levels. Fulda et al. found, in 1997, once inside the cells, betulinic acid induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the tumors. In 2005, I. obliquus was evaluated for its potential for protecting against oxidative damage to DNA in a human keratinocyte cell line. The study found the polyphenolic extract protected these cells against hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress. Another study that year found the endopolysaccharide of chaga produced indirect anticancer effects via immunostimulation. The mycelial endopolysaccharide of I. obliquus was identified as a candidate for use as an immune response modifier and indicated the anticancer effect of endopolysaccharide is not directly tumoricidal, but rather is immunostimulation. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Saitoh Akiko published on the antimutagenic effects of chaga in 1996. Mizuno et al. published on the antitumor and hypoglycemic activities of the polysaccharides from the sclerotia and mycelia of chaga. Due to the serum glucose-lowering activity of polysaccharides, caution should be taken by those with hypoglycemia.