Chaga Mushroom: 5 Health Benefits of this Ancient Remedy. Chaga планшет
Chaga Mantarı Nedir ve Faydaları Nelerdir?
Chaga Mantarı Nedir ve Ne İşe Yarar? Chaga (inonotus obliquus) , huş ağaçları üzerinde yetişen, içi açık kahverengi, dış yüzü yaralı gözüken ve yanmış kömürü andıran odunsu bir mantar türüdür. Kanada, Japonya ve Kuzey İskandinavya’nın belirli bölgelerindeki beyaz huş ağaçlarında da belirse de, esas memleketi Rusya’dır. Buradaki en nitelikli örnekleri Sibirya’nın siyah huş ağaçlarından geldiği kabul edilir.
Chaga mantarı, besinleri ve fitokimyasalları absorbe ettiği ağaç ile birlikte 5-7 yıl arası yaşar. Chaga çiçeği olgunlaştığı zaman ormanda, toprağa düşer. Genellikle ev sahibi ağaç, 20 yıllık döngüyü tamamlayarak ölür. Tüm tıbbi mantarlar gibi, Chaga’da da beta glukan, ve mantara güçlü bağışıklık sistemi destekleyici içerikleri veren lineer olmayan kompleks polisakkaritler vardır.
Inonotus Obliquus’un miselial endo-polisakkaritleri; bağışıklık karşılık düzenleyici adayı olarak tanımlanmış, ve endo-polisakkaritlerin anti-kanser etkisinin doğrudan tümöresidal değil, daha çok bağışıklık canlandırıcı olduğuna inanılmıştır.
Batı dünyası, Chaga’dan bütünüyle habersizdi ta ki, Nobel ödülü sahibi Rus yazar Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, “Cancer Ward” adlı kitabında, Chaga’nın yardımı ile kanseri yenen kahramanından söz edinceye dek… Solzhenitsyn’in de kanser hastası olduğu bilindiğinden, kitabın bir otobiyografi olduğu düşünülmüştür.
Bağışıklık sistemini uyarıcı ve anti-tümör aktivitesi ile ünlü olan Chaga’nın kansere karşı kullanımı, 1955 yılında Moskova’da, Medical Academy of Science tarafından onaylanmıştır.
Chaga, maitake ve shiitake gibi diğer tıbbi mantarlarda bulunan ve ağız yoluyla alınabilen bağışıklık uyarıcı fitokimyasalların tüm spektrumunu içermektedir. 1957 yılında Polonya’da 48 hastanın katıldığı klinik deneyde, chaga ile beslenen 10 hastada tümör küçülmesi, ağrıda azalma, kanama yoğunluğu ve sıklığında düşüş, daha kaliteli uyku, iştah ve iyileşme hissi gözlemlenmiştir.
Tıbbi çalışmalar, chaga’nın anti-tümör ajanı olarak etkili olduğunu göstermiştir. 1958 yılında, Finlandiya ve Rusya’daki çalışmalar; bu mantarın bazı kanserler, hipertansiyon ve diyabette pozitif etkiye sahip olduğunu göstermiştir.
Muhtemelen, Chaga’nın kullanımı ile ilgili en iyi bilinen Batılı araştırma; Finlandiya’da University of Helsinki, School of Pharmacology’den Dr. Kirsti Kahlos ve ekibi tarafından gerçekleştirilmiştir. Dr. Kahlos ve ekibi, Lanosterol bağlantılı triterpenlerin bağışıklık sistemi düzenleyici etkinliğinin grip aşısı ve anti-tümör uygulamalarını doğrulayan çalışmalar yürütmüşlerdir.
2005 yılında Chaga, insan keratinosit hücre dizisindeki DNA oksidatif hasarına karşı koruma potansiyeli üzerine değerlendirildi. Çalışma polifenolik ekstrenin bu hücreleri hidrojen peroksit kaynaklı oksidatif strese karşı koruduğunu göstermiştir. Kore’deki araştırmacılar, chaga ekstresi ile tedavi edilen hücrelerin, DNA hasarı ile ilgili, bir oksidan ile karşılaştığında %40 daha dayanıklı olduğunu görmüşlerdir.
Ocak 2008 tarihinde yapılan bir hakemli çalışma, “Chaga mantarının, insan hepatoma HepG2 hücrelerinde, G0/G1 arest ve apostozise neden olduğunu” duyurdu. Çalışma, “Chaga mantarı hepatoma tedavisinde bir anti kanser ajanı olarak yeni bir tedavi olasılığıdır.” şeklinde bitirildi.
Aktif bileşenlerin, betulinik asit, steroller ve polisakkaritler gibi triterpen kombinasyonu olduğu düşünülmektedir. Bazı çalışmalarda, chaga, sağlıklı hücrelere dokunmadan tümör hücreleri üzerinde apoptozise neden olmuştur. Bir çok tıbbi mantar gibi chaga da, bağışıklık düzenleyici aktivitelere sahip beta glukan bakımından zengindir. Beta glukanlar, komplemen reseptör 3’e bağlanarak, bağışıklık hücrelerinin, kanser hücrelerinin “kendilerinden olmadığını” anlamalarına izin verir.
Chaga’nın etkilerine dair araştırmalar, yaygın halk kullanımını temel alarak yapılmaktadır. Huş ağacının kabuklarından elde edilen Betulin ya da betulinik asitin anti-kanser içerikleri üzerinde, şimdilerde kemoterapötik ajan kullanımı için çalışmalar yapılmaktadır. Chaga, yenebilecek şekilde, yüklü miktarlarda betulinik asit içermektedir. Aynı zamanda, bağışıklık canlandırıcı fitokimyasalların tüm spektrumuna sahiptir.
Betulinik asit, farklı kanser hücre dizilerinde mitokondriyal apoptosise yol açtığını ve hücre replikasyonunda, DNA iplikçiklerinin bükülmesi ve açılması için gerekli olan topoisomerase enzimini inhibe ettiğini göstermiştir. Aynı zamanda, anti-retroviral, anti-parazitik, ve anti-enflamatuar içeriklere da sahiptir. Son zamanlarda, US National Cancer Institute’nin bir programı olan “Rapid Access to Intervention Development program” tarafından anti-kanser ajanı olarak geliştirilmekte ve ökse otunun anti-kanser aksiyonuna büyük katkı sağlamaktadır.
Betulinik asit üzerine yapılan In vitro çalışmalar, farklı çeşitteki kanser hücrelerine karşı son derece etkili olduğunu göstermiştir: insan melanoması, nöroektodermal ve malign beyin tümörleri, yumurtalık kanseri, insan lösemi HL-60 hücreleri ve malign kafa ve boyun skuamöz hücreli kanserler, tedavilere dirençli ve dayanıklı tümörler. Bununla birlikte, göğüs kanseri, kolon kanseri, küçük hücre akciğer kanseri ve renal hücre kanseri, T-hücresi lösemi hücreleri gibi epitel tümörler üzerinde ise hiçbir etkiye sahip olmadığı görülmüştür.
Betülinik asitin yanı sıra, chaga, HIV ve AIDS hastalarının bağışıklık sistemlerini güçlendirmelerine yararı dokunabilecek bir çok fitokimyasallar, flavinoidler, fenoller içermektedir. Betulinik asit etkili bir, anti-enflamatuar, anti-malaryal ve hatta anti-HIV kimyasal olduğunu göstermiştir. Japon araştırmacılar, Chaga’nın anti-viral aktivite sergileyerek HIV replikasyonuna karşı durabileceğini de göstermişlerdir.
Yan Etkileri Var mı?
Eğer reçeteli ilaç kullanıyorsanız, özellikle antikoagulan ve hipoglisemik kullanıyorsanız, chaga mantarlarını almadan önce mutlaka doktorunuza danışınız--------- Yukarıda yeralan metin haber ve bilgi amaçlı hazırlanmış olup, hekimin uygulayacağı teşhis ve tedavisinin yerine geçmez. Herhangi bir tedavi sürecine başlamadan önce mutlaka sağlık uzmanının görüş ve onayı alınmalıdır.
My experience with nootropic mushrooms: side effects vs. benefits
Article at a Glance
- Nootropic mushrooms are becoming more and more popular as research is beginning to show the potential for health benefits.
- Lion’s Mane increases Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), which has been shown to aid in the survival of neurons in the brain. However, because NGF increases histamine levels, those with allergy and autoimmune conditions should be cautious and may experience side effects.
- The Chaga mushroom is very high in antioxidants, but also oxalates, which some may have trouble digesting.
- Cordyceps mushrooms have been touted for numerous health benefits, however, the author’s experience was that they caused stomach upset and multiple trips to the bathroom.
Updated February 18th, 2018
I have a confession to make.
I’ve been experimenting with mushrooms.
That sounds bad, I know, but it’s not what you think.
These mushrooms are perfectly legal and have been used by healing traditions for hundreds of years. They’re called Lions Mane (Hericium erinaceus), Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) and Cordyceps, respectively.
Should you be using them as well?
Let’s find out.
The cliff notes version
Lion’s Mane came on my radar through a friend who recommended it as a nootropic.
Sure enough, it gave me a subtle, but noticeable boost in mood, and strangely helped me remember phone numbers, although the efficacy was brand dependent. I found the Montana Farmacy tincture to be very effective and the more expensive (by about double) Host Defense product much less so.
Note: I do not recommend Lion’s mane for those with histamine intolerance as it increases Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and NGF has been shown to cause mast cell degranulation. (R) (R) Bottom line is that Lion’s mane could make some allergy / autoimmune conditions worse.
I first heard about Chaga through a sponsor on the Tim Ferriss podcast, but never ordered because I was under the impression that it contained caffeine. Turns out Chaga is an “unleaded” alternative for those of us who don’t drink caffeine.
See also: ADORA2A and ADA genes
For Chaga, I didn’t buy a tincture, but instead opted for the tea made by Four Sigmatic. I was impressed with how much of an energy boost a non-caffeinated product gave me, and will be drinking this stuff in the mornings a few days a month. Careful with dosing on Chaga though. Start slow and see what you can handle. I had one day in particular where I felt like the buzz was a bit too much, with an equivalent feeling to drinking too much coffee.
The strange thing about Chaga is that it can also be grounding under certain circumstances, so I never knew exactly what to expect.
I threw in some Cordyceps for good measure when I was shopping for Chaga tea, also by FourSigmatic. All I can say is Charmin brand would love it if everyone started drinking Cordyceps in the AM.
In this post, I will give you the detailed rundown on all three mushrooms, including their potential health benefits, side effects and how each made me feel.
Lion’s mane – my experience
Like I said above, I could feel a difference in cognitive performance with Lion’s Mane. I was looking up phone numbers on my iPhone (which has the data turned off to preserve my sanity) and needed to walk over to my cell (a very crappy flip phone) to make a call. Why didn’t I have both devices in the same room? I just didn’t.
I always try to remember the number without looking at it on my phone, basically as a test of how far my attention span has fallen in the digital age, and often will forget the last couple digits of a number I’m trying to remember. Not the case with Lion’s Mane. I felt like the numbers were sticky in my brain and could remember them hours after I took a small dose. This may sound odd to some of our readers, but it was actually a very cool to experience. Lion’s Mane helped me clear some mental clutter and gave me a cognitive boost that also resulted in a noticeable improvement in mood.
Lion’s mane, Nerve Growth Factor and brain health
There have been a number of studies done on Lion’s Mane, although the science is far from conclusive.
One of the primary benefits of Lion’s Mane has been the increase of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), which is responsible for the maintenance and growth of neurons in the brain.
NGF is part of a larger family of biomolecules called neurotrophic factors, which support the growth and survival of neurons. Essentially, many neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, are linked to the degradation of neurons over time, and it is thought that neurotrophic factors, such as NGF, may play a future role in preventing these conditions. (R)
Interestingly, a study by the International Journal of Medical Mushrooms (IJMM) found that Lion’s mane was effective at increasing NGF but that it was not protective against oxidative stress. As a result, IJMM concludes that Lion’s mane has neurotrophic properties, but cannot be classified as neuroprotective because it failed to protect brain cells from oxidative stress.
Neurotrophic factor vs. neuroprotective
In case this sounds like a confusing distinction, I have this working definition: neurotrophic factors help to maintain the survival of neurons, presumably from a number of different mechanisms that can cause degradation. Substances that are neuroprotective are effective at protecting against oxidative stress specifically. Therefore, a substance that is neuroprotective could also be a neurotrophic factor, but as is the case with Lion’s mane, it doesn’t necessarily follow that neurotrophic factors will also be neuroprotective. If anyone can shed more light on this distinction I would encourage comments.
To quote the study:
The combination of 10 ng/mL NGF with 1 μg/mL mushroom extract yielded the highest percentage increase of 60.6% neurite outgrowth. The extract contained neuroactive compounds that induced the secretion of extracellular NGF in NG108-15 cells, thereby promoting neurite outgrowth activity. However, the H. erinaceus extract failed to protect NG108-15 cells subjected to oxidative stress when applied in pre-treatment and co-treatment modes.
In light of this research, Lion’s mane could pair well with products like ATP Engine, which contain Acetyl-L-carnitine, which has been shown to be neuroprotective. (R)
Note: As I mentioned above, Lion’s mane should be contraindicated for people with heavy allergies / overactive immune systems. Times of allergy result in degranulation of mast cells and NGF has been shown to cause mast cell degranulation. When mast cells degranulate, they release, among other things, histamine, which can cause anxiety and other issues. I took Lion’s mane primarily in California, probably 10 times, usually as stand alone supplement so I’d have an idea of how it was affecting me. I did have one troubling episode, when I was back in Austin, where I experienced a brief racing feeling and subtle itchy skin. Itchy skin is one of the most commonly reported side effects of Lion’s mane. I am very allergic to Texas. I did not have issues until I entered an environment where my histamine load was challenged by the environment.
Chaga – my experience – the non-coffee coffee
Note: I didn’t use a tincture for Chaga, instead I tried Chaga tea by Four Sigmatic.
My family drinks a lot of coffee, I love the morning ritual and the smell. However, I usually abstain because I generally don’t feel great on caffeine. I find the jitters and anxiety are not worth the energy boost. For me, Chaga was like coffee without the side effects. I am a fan, but would caution to be careful with dosing. Especially if it’s consumed on an empty stomach, some people may have issues with a full packet of Chaga tea. I felt almost a little too wired a couple times after having a full cup on an empty stomach. It’s also important to realize that the “buzz” from Chaga lasts quite awhile, so be prepared for a hard charging day when taking this stuff.
What does it do for me?
It lights me up, giving me that “morning punch” to bang out blog posts, client emails and whatever else is on the agenda. It provides a clean, sustained source of energy and, like the Lion’s Mane, I also noticed elevated mood. Notably, the first time I drank a cup of Chaga tea was in the afternoon around 4. If I had coffee at that time, I would have been up all night. But I was able to get a good night’s sleep despite feeling the stimulant effect of Chaga, presumably because Chaga doesn’t disrupt our adenosine receptors like caffeine does.
The science of Chaga
For starters, I was impressed that Sloan Memorial devoted a page of their website to Chaga, saying it is deserving of more research as a cancer fighter.
The Sloan Memorial page is well worth a visit, especially the “for healthcare providers” section, which gives the highlights of the current science behind Chaga. There isn’t much I can do here to improve on that page, but I will list some highlights that our readers might find interesting.
High in oxalates
For starters, just like beets, vitamin C, and buckwheat, Chaga is very high in oxalates, which some people my have a hard time digesting. If Chaga is rough on your stomach, now you know why. If you’re a guy who has suffered from kidney stones, it’s fair to say that Chaga is contraindicated.
High antioxidant score
Chaga has a very high oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC) score. The ORAC scale measures how effective a given antioxidant is at “soaking up” free radicals produced by oxygen energy metabolism. Remember that cells burn oxygen and leave nasty free radicals, like superoxide in their wake. Endogenous antioxidants, such as superoxide dismutase, then come along and convert these free radicals into less harmful substances, one of which is hydrogen peroxide. There is evidence that Chaga helps the body deal with these free radical waste products. (R)
“Chaga mushroom treatment affords cellular protection against endogenous DNA damage produced by h3O2 (hydrogen peroxide).” (R)
This study, performed on mice, found Chaga to have a potent antioxidant effects and was also shown to increase levels of both SOD2 and glutathione.
From the study:
MEC treatment for 7 days significantly improved the learning and memory as measured by PAT and MWM paradigms. Further, MEC significantly reduced the oxidative-nitritive stress, as evidenced by a decrease in malondialdehyde and nitrite levels and restored the glutathione and superoxide dismutase levels in a dose dependent manner.
Cordyceps – my experience
To be fair, I didn’t try a Cordycep tincture, just a tea, again made by Four Sigmatic. I didn’t experiment much with this mushroom as the very first cup of the tea I had was really hard on my digestion. It felt rough on my stomach almost instantly after drinking, so I never had a chance to play around with multiple doses over a few weeks as I did with Lion’s mane and Chaga.
For a good article on the reputed health benefits of Cordyceps, check out this article by Dr. Ray Sihelain. Supposedly, Cordyceps are thought to increase sex drive.
Onnit has a Cordyceps pre-workout product I’ve heard Joe Rogan talk about on his podcast. Apparently, it really helps Joe. Probably bullshit, but you never know.
In closing, I’m not sure how I feel about the whole shroom supplement world.
The neurotrophic factor angle for Lion’s Mane is potentially promising for long term neurological health. A solid study looking at users over a period of many years would be useful. I won’t be using Lion’s mane regularly because I had a bad experience when back in ATX. To be fair, I had multiple other positive to neutral experiences as well, and it absolutely did help me remember phone numbers, but I’m not a believer in taking 100 supplements a day, so Lion’s mane is off the list.
Chaga is a different story. For those of us who don’t drink caffeine, finding a dose of Chaga that your body can handle without feeling over baked might not be a bad idea. If you’re sensitive to stimulants, try a half packet of the tea to start.
For Cordyceps, you’re on your own. All that mushroom did for me was to make me poo.
Til’ next time…
Where to Buy Chaga Mushroom Products Online
If you're not already familiar with the benefits of chaga, please check out all the other pages on this site where we cover everything you could ever want to know about chaga.
However, if you are already familiar with chaga, and you're looking to purchase some online, you're in the right place! Read on for all the critical info you need to know when buying chaga...
The Basics of Buying Chaga
There are many products and suppliers where you can buy Chaga from today, so the choice can become overwhelming. The aim of this guide is to help you make educated decisions and buy chaga products that fit your needs and budget.
There are three main product groups when it comes to chaga for sale; Raw Powder/Tea Bags, Dual Extract (either in capsule, tablet or powder form) and Dried Chunks.
Let's go through each group so that you can make better decisions when you buy chaga online:
Snap Review: 3 of the Best Chaga Products
- Scroll down to read more detailed reviews or click above to see prices and reviews now
Chaga Product Groups
There are three main chaga product groups, and each one is described in detail below:
The major advantage of Chaga Extract over other forms of chaga is that you receive all the healthy benefits of BOTH the water-soluble AND non-water soluble bioactive ingredients. With Raw Powder/Tea Bags and Dried Chunks, you can only get the water-soluble ingredients.
Here you should be looking for a genuine dual extract, either in its powder, capsule or tablet form.
Dual extract is based upon the double extraction method, which extracts both the water-soluble and non-water-soluble bioactive ingredients of chaga.
For this reason, you will notice that genuine dual extract is much more expensive than raw/unprocessed chaga, due to the sophisticated methods required to extract all of the bioactive ingredients.
For more information about dual extracts, check out our guide to Chaga Supplements.
The double extraction method typically uses high temperatures combined with high pressure and hot ethanol to extract the bioactive ingredients. This method extracts the non-water-soluble bioactive ingredients, such as betulinic acid and phytosterols that hot water extraction (e.g. chaga tea) alone cannot do.
For more information about chaga's key ingredients, check out our Chaga Antioxidants and Key Ingredients post.
One key metric in determining the antioxidant potency of the chaga is by looking at the ORAC score. See ORAC note at the bottom of this post for more details.
Raw Powder/Tea Bags
Chaga powder is simply chunks ground down, and in some cases with extra ingredients added such as birch bark and oregano.
The powder can be used to make chaga tea (via loose tea or tea bags) or a tincture. See our How to Prepare Chaga or Chaga Recipes posts for more info.
When looking for raw chaga powder/tea bags, try to buy products that contain some dual extract.
You may also want to consider products that have been mixed with other beneficial ingredients such as siberian ginseng, mint or rose hip. Not only do these extra ingredients add nutrition, they can also make the tea taste much better, as some people find the taste of pure chaga tea a little too 'earthy'.
Chunks are just raw harvested chaga broken into chunks and then dried. Dried chunks can be used to make chaga tea or a tincture. Look out for genuine raw chaga, and avoid any processed chaga.
Where To Buy Chaga: Top 3 Products
So now that you understand the different types of chaga products and what to look for in each one, lets go through our favorite three chaga products. After we've gone through all three, you'll find a comparison table that compares the key points of each one.
1. ORIVeDA Chaga Extract Capsules
At first glance it appears much more expensive to buy genuine chaga extracts. However, when you actually compare the therapeutic potency dollar for dollar with other forms of chaga, you often end up getting more 'bang for your buck'. They also save you a lot of prep time when compared with raw chunks.
Oriveda offers the most potent dual extract on the market. The therapeutic potency is three times higher than its competitors and is the only certified chaga extract (ISO 9001:2008; cGMP, HACCP) with guaranteed levels of bioactive ingredients. This ensures therapeutic effectiveness and safety of use.
Buy ORIVeDA Extracts on Amazon
2. FOUR SIGMATIC Chaga Elixir Mix
Dual extracted tea bags for making quick & easy chaga tea when you don't have time for steeping raw chunks or grinding them into powder. They also taste great and include organic ginseng, rose hip and peppermint.
There are plenty of chaga tea brands out there, but we find these guys to be the best, as they really know there stuff and care deeply about medicinal mushrooms.
15% off at FOUR SIGMATIC
On all their products when you use the code chagahq at checkout
3. Sayan Raw Chaga Chunks
High quality dried chaga chunks. Great for making chaga tea or tincture.
However, as with all raw chaga chunks, they require at least an hour to steep if you want to extract all the water soluble ingredients.
You can buy these Sayan chunks in 3 sizes (8oz, 1lbs or 2.2lbs) on Amazon, all with free prime delivery
The table below gives you some key facts at a glance. To learn more, click the orange links.
How The List Was Chosen
The list and table above were designed to help you buy chaga products that offer the best value for money. With that goal in mind, we have compiled our top 3 chaga products (one for each type) and listed them in order of preference, along with customer reviews.
We also listed all the key details you should be aware of when you buy chaga products, namely; Quantity and Quality (reviews and ORAC rating if available).
When looking to buy chaga products, especially extracts, remember to review the supplements facts label as this provides the true value of the product when compared with the price and quantity.
Note that we've expressed the quantity in ounces even when the product lists the number of capsules instead of weight. Here we've just multiplied the number of capsules by the mg per capsule and then converted it to ounces.
Notes About ORAC
When you're looking to buy chaga extract, one of the most important values to understand is the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity) score. This is the antioxidant potency of the chaga.
The ORAC-score depends on where the chaga was harvested, the conditions where it grew and how it has been processed (the extraction method employed).
As the antioxidant level is very important, you must take this value into consideration when comparing chaga products. For example, it may seem like one product has more value than another until you factor in the ORAC score.
Chaga extract, especially high quality genuine dual extract, has a much higher ORAC score than chaga tea (chaga that’s just been processed using the hot water extraction method).
Many suppliers don't provide this score because it's expensive to test and/or their score is much lower than their competitors. Oriveda does a great job here, detailing the exact numbers from verified lab tests. They even provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA) if you ask them for it.
If you've enjoyed reading this post, please share it using the social share buttons and leave a comment below. Thanks!
Top 12 Amazing Health Benefits of Chaga Mushroom (with Side Effects)
Chaga mushroom can boost the immune system, fight inflammation, protect cells from free radicals, and can reduce the symptoms of diabetes. Read below to learn more about these and other proven benefits of Chaga.
Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) is a fungus found primarily on birch trees that has been used in the folk medicine of Russia, Japan, and Europe (R, R2).
Chaga mushroom can be eaten as a food, and is also made into tea, syrup, bath agents, and extracts (R).
Traditional uses for this mushroom have included improve the immune response and treating stomach issues, and modern research can now explain how Chaga benefits these conditions and more (R).
1) Chaga Mushroom Reduces Oxidative Stress
Chaga has the strongest antioxidant activity when compared against three other common medicinal mushrooms that also fight oxidation (R).
In cell studies of human lymphocytes, Chaga extract reduces more than 40% of the DNA damage caused by hydrogen peroxide (R).
In human cell studies, a compound isolated from Chaga protects nerves from oxidative stress from Parkinson’s disease (R).
In animal studies, Chaga extract can protect against the effects of chronic inflammation of the pancreas (R).
Studies have shown that the phenolic compounds found in Chaga mushrooms scavenge free radicals to protect cells from oxidation (R).
2) Chaga Mushroom Suppresses Cancer Progression
Human cell studies show that Chaga extract reduces the growth of colon cancer and liver cancer (R,R).
Human cell studies find that Chaga extract reduced only the growth of cancer cells, not all the growth of all cells (R).
Supplementing Chaga extract reduced tumor size by 60% when compared with a control group in animal studies of lung cancer (R). Supplementing Chaga extract also suppressed the spread of cancer to other parts of the body (R).
Compounds found in Chaga help the immune system to recognize cancer cells as harmful and invasive (R). This helps the body to then mount an immune response against the cancer (R, R2, R3).
Reactive oxygen species and oxidative damage increase the risk of cancerous mutations by damaging cellular DNA (R). By reducing oxidative stress, Chaga lowers the risk of such mutations (R). As a result, Chaga may also be able to reduce the risk of developing cancer in addition to limiting the growth of existing cancers.
3) Chaga Mushroom Helps Protect the Immune System
Chaga extract increases the production of immune cells IL-6 and lymphocyte B (R). This can help increase the immune system’s ability to fight pathogens (R).
Compounds found in Chaga help the immune system to differentiate between the body’s cells and foreign cells (R). This helps the immune system to respond accurately and protect the body from those pathogens (R).
Chaga extract reduces immune hypersensitivity in animal studies (R). Treatment with Chaga extract reduced the risk of cardiac shock from severe allergic reaction in animal studies (R).
Helping the body to more accurately sense its own cells may also reduce the risk of autoimmunity (R).
Chaga mushroom also has anti-viral activities and can help prevent viral infections (R). Chaga extract decreases HIV replication (R, R). It also prevents the Herpes virus and Epstein-Barr virus from infecting new cells and from replicating in animal studies (R, R2). Chaga also decreased infection from the hepatitis C virus in other animal studies (R).
4) Chaga Mushroom Reduces Inflammation
Chaga is able to reduce an overactivated immune response, which can limit harmful inflammation (R).
Chaga also decreases the expression of NF-kB , a molecule that activates an inflammatory response (R).
Chaga extract reduces inflammatory cytokine response in animal studies, and decreases the response to pain (R).
Chaga also reduces inflammation in colon cells, which shows promise in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (R).
5) Chaga Mushroom Can Improve Diabetic Health
In diabetic mice, Chaga ethanol extract significantly decreased blood glucose levels.
Animal studies show that Chaga extract reduces symptoms of diabetes including high blood glucose, free fatty acids, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol (R).
Chaga extract increased high-density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol and insulin levels in the livers of diabetic mice (R). This helps prevent high blood sugar levels and diabetic complications (R).
PPARγ is a molecule that decreases insulin resistance by improving insulin signalling and energy metabolism (R).
In animal fat cell studies, Chaga water extract increased PPARγ transcriptional activity and helped with fat cell differentiation. This decreased insulin resistance, making it a possible treatment for diabetes (R).
Another animal study showed that Chaga extract increased PPARγ activity in fat tissues and reduced unhealthy weight gain (R).
The Chaga extract can also slow carbohydrate absorption by inhibiting the molecule alpha-glucosidase (R). This can reduce spikes in blood sugar that would otherwise lead to complications in diabetes.
Oxidative stress contributes to insulin resistance and accelerates diabetes complications (R). Chaga’s antioxidant properties can can reduce this oxidative damage (R).
The anti-diabetic effects of Chaga increases if used in combination with vanadium. In diabetic mice, Chaga extract combined with vanadium decreased blood glucose levels more than Chaga extract by itself (R).
6) Chaga Mushroom Increases Physical Endurance
Animals studies determined that compounds in Chaga increased exercise tolerance. Animals that were given Chaga extract were able to swim for a longer period of time when compared to a control group (R). The animals treated with Chaga also had higher energy stores in the muscles and liver (R).
Chaga polysaccharides significantly reduced blood lactate levels in exercising mice (R). This may also help to boost endurance, since accumulation of lactate in the body can cause fatigue.
Chaga extract administration also decreased blood urea nitrogen levels, which can otherwise contribute to fatigue (R).
PPARγ is a molecule that activates pathways associated with benefits insulin signalling and energy metabolism (R). Chaga extract activates PPARγ, which could help to maintain positive energy metabolism and promote physical endurance (R).
7) Chaga Mushroom Protects Against Dangerous Blood Clots
Platelet aggregation occurs when blood cells clump together and form clots. Sometimes, platelet aggregation can cause blood clots in veins (thrombus), which can eventually lead to heart attacks or strokes (R).
Chaga extract significantly inhibited platelet aggregation in animal studies. These results indicate a possibility for Chaga to treat or stop thrombus formation (R).
8) Chaga Mushroom Promotes Cognitive Function
Chaga mushroom extract helps with chemical-induced cognitive dysfunction in animal studies (R). Chaga lowered brain oxidative stress in these animals (R).
Chaga extract also restored the levels of acetylcholine during oxidative stress as efficiently as the reference drug tacrine (R). Acetylcholine promotes learning and memory, and increasing its availability can provide nootropic benefits (R).
9) Chaga Mushroom Balances the Immune System Between Th2 and Th3
In mice, Chaga ethanol extract administration reduces the levels of IL-4 and increases IFN-y levels. The extract promotes Th2 response and inhibits Th3 cell response (R).
The balance of Th2 and Th3 cytokines help balance the immune system. Th3 cells synthesize IL-4, which plays an important role in allergic reactions by inhibiting Th2 cell functions. On the other hand, Th2 cells produce IFN-y cytokines, which inhibits Th3 cells (R).
10) Chaga Mushroom Relieves Pain
Chaga extract reduces the reaction to pain in animal studies (R).
In cell culture, acids from methanol Chaga extract lowers NF-kappaB binding activity. This reduces pain by blocking the effects of enzymes involved in inflammatory pathways, nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) (R). Inhibition of COX-2 is the mechanism by which traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, reduce sensations of swelling and pain (R). Because it may work through a similar mechanism, Chaga could be similarly useful in limiting these negative effects.
11) Chaga Mushroom May Help Relieve Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Oxidative stress from free radicals and low antioxidant levels can contribute to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Chaga mushroom extract’s antioxidant abilities can protect the gut from IBD (R).
Chaga extract reduces oxidative stress in lymphocytes from both healthy individuals and IBD patients (R).
Chaga also reduces inflammation in colon cells, which shows promise in the treatment of IBD (R).
12) Chaga Mushroom Fights Bacteria
Both hot water and ethanol extracts of Chaga are able to kill bacterial and fungal cells in cell culture (R).
Chaga extract also stopped quorum sensing, which is a method that bacteria cells use to activate gene expression. Anti-quorum sensing can help fight against bacterial infection (R).
Since Chaga stops platelet aggregation and blood clots from forming, you should not take it in combination with blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin and warfarin. This can increase the risk of bleeding (R, R).
Chaga can lower blood sugar levels. You should not take Chaga in combination with diabetes medicine because it may cause blood glucose levels to fall dangerously low (R, R).
People with autoimmune diseases should avoid using Chaga because it can cause the immune system to become more active (R).
In one case study, an elderly Japanese woman had oxalate nephropathy after six months daily consumption of Chaga powder. Oxalate nephropathy is a condition where excess levels of oxalate can cause kidney failure. Chaga mushrooms contain extremely high oxalate concentrations, so excess consumption can cause kidney damage (R, R).
Additionally, sclerotium parts of Chaga appeared to have stronger cytotoxic effects against normal cells than cancer cells. This can cause healthy cells to die (R).
Most of the laboratory studies have either been done in human cell culture or animals. More clinical trials are needed to confirm Chaga’s safety and effectiveness (R).
Components and their effects on tumor cells http://koreascience.or.kr/article/ArticleFullRecord.jsp?cn=POCPA9_2013_v14n3_1571
- Chaga decreases p53, pRb, p27, cyclins D1, D2, E, cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) 2, Cdk4, and Cdk6 expression (R).
- Beta glucans from Chaga bind to complement receptor 3 to faciliate proper immune recognition
- The phenolic compounds benzaldehyde, benzyl alcohol, syingol and vanillic acid are able to scavenge (combine with and remove) all tested free radicals (R).
- Chaga methanol extract is a potent inhibitor of NO, PGE2 and TNF-a production. This inhibition is caused by preventing NF-kB activation in murine (mice) macrophages (R).
- Chaga water extract suppressed edema, mucosal damage, and the loss of crypts induced by dextran sulfate sodium in mice (R).
- Ethyl acetate fraction of methanol extract from I. obliquus could reduce blood sugar in alloxan-induced diabetic mice. The major components are lanosterol, 3β-hydroxy-lanosta-8, 24-diene-21-al, inotodiol, ergosterol peroxide and trametenolic acid (R).
- One study determined that alcohol extracts of polyphenols had a greater limiting effect on cancer than similar water extracts (R).
Chaga Mushroom Health Benefits + How to Use
A common star of mushroom coffee and mushroom tea, the chaga mushroom is loaded with impressive health benefits. It actually has one of the highest ORAC scores of any food! Why is this a good thing? ORAC stands for “Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity.” The higher the ORAC value, the better a food’s ability to protect the body from disease-causing free radicals. It also means that chaga mushrooms are one of the best sources of antioxidants, with an ORAC value of 146,700. (1)
So why exactly does anyone want to add chaga mushroom to their diets? People have been known to take chaga mushroom (often shortened to just “chaga”) for heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, parasites, stomach pain, and certain types of cancer. (2) Let’s talk more about possible chaga mushroom benefits and why there’s so much buzz about disease-fighting mushrooms these days.
Chaga Mushroom Plant Origin and Nutrition Facts
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a type of fungus. It mainly grows on the outside of birch trees in very cold climates. Chaga mushrooms grow wild in places like Siberia, northern Canada, Alaska, and some northern areas of the continental United States. What do chaga mushrooms look like? They tend to be lumpy with an exterior that looks similar to burnt charcoal.
Chaga mushrooms really are most impressive for their antioxidant content. However, their nutrition content isn’t super impressive. But you can see below that chaga mushrooms are low in calories, very high in fiber and free of fat, sugar and carbohydrates.
Five grams of chaga mushroom contains about: (3, 4)
- 5 calories
- 0 grams fat
- 0 grams carbohydrates
- 0 grams sugar
- 5 grams fiber (20 percent DV)
- 1 gram protein
5 Health Benefits of Chaga Mushroom
1. Prevent and Treat Cancer
According to the Memorial Sloan Cancer Center, “Laboratory and animal studies show that chaga can inhibit cancer progression. Studies in humans are needed.” (5) In fact, in one study, tumor-bearing mice who supplemented with chaga extract experienced a 60 percent tumor size reduction. Meanwhile, mice with metastatic cancer (tumors spread to other parts of the body) had a 25 percent decrease in their number of nodules compared to the control group. (6)
Another study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology looked at the effects of chaga mushroom on cancerous human liver cells. The research reveals that chaga extract may be able to prevent liver cancer cell growth, making it a potential treatment for cancer in the liver. (7)
2. Stimulate the Immune System
In animal studies, chaga mushrooms have helped to boost the immune system by increasing the production of certain immune cells including interleukin 6 (IL-6) as well as T lymphocytes. These substances help to regulate the immune system and make sure that your body is fighting off any invading bacteria and viruses. Research has shown that chaga extracts can stimulate spleen lymphocytes, which can then have a direct positive effect on immune system function. (8)
3. Potent Anti-Viral
Chaga mushroom appears to have anti-viral abilities when it comes to quite a few viruses. Scientific research published in 2015 found that extracts of chaga had an anti-viral affect on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1. (9) Chaga has also been shown in animal studies to have anti-viral effects when it comes to the hepatitis C virus. Using animal cells, the researchers found that the chaga extract was able to decrease the infective properties of the hepatitis C virus by 100 fold in just 10 minutes. (10) Studies continue, but it looks like chaga is a worthy candidate for use in the development of new anti-viral drugs.
4. Inflammation Reducer
Chaga mushrooms have been shown to reduce inflammation. For example, an animal study has shown that chaga extract can reduce inflammation due to ulcerative colitis in animal subjects. Specifically, the researchers found that the anti-inflammatory effect of the chaga extract in the colon was due to chaga’s ability to suppress the expression of chemical mediators of inflammation. (11) Why is this significant? Because the chemical mediators released during inflammation make inflammation that much more intense and also promote a continuation of the inflammatory response.
5. Improve Physical Endurance
In animal studies, chaga has significantly improved physical endurance. One study published in 2015 found that when mice were given chaga mushroom polysaccharides the mice were able to swim longer (yes, mice can swim!), the glycogen (fuel) content of both muscles and liver increased while lactic acid levels in the bloodstream decreased. Put that all together and it’s a recipe for less fatigue and better endurance. (12)
Chaga Mushroom History and Interesting Facts
The name “chaga” comes from the Russian word for mushroom. Chaga mushrooms have also been called “black gold.” Chaga has been a traditional medicine in Northern European countries as well as Russia for hundreds of years. (13) What for? The chaga mushroom has been used traditionally to treat diabetes and gastrointestinal cancer, along with heart disease, in these areas of the world. (14)
When chaga mushrooms grow on birch trees, as they commonly do, they are quite a sight to see. Not only do they look like burnt wood, they also can grow in a clump that ends up being as big as a human head! Like other medicinal mushrooms, the chaga mushroom requires the introduction of hot water or alcohol to break down its tough cellular walls to make its benefits available for human consumption. Nowadays, mushroom coffee and tea are picking up popularity. This may seem like a new idea, but chaga mushroom actually was used as a coffee substitute during World Wars I and II. (15)
Researchers have investigated chaga mushroom for its use in combating cancer for a very long time. Ironically, chaga mushroom is sometimes called a “tree cancer.” Why on earth is that? It’s because the presence of chaga mushrooms eventually kills its host tree. As interest in chaga for medicinal purposes only continues to gain steam, there has been more and more wild harvesting of this mushroom. However, this is tricky since since the species’ existence is now being threatened by over-harvesting. (16)
How to Use Chaga Mushroom
So how can you include chaga mushroom in your life? Chaga mushroom is available as a supplement in the form of a capsule, tablet or tincture online and in health food stores. You can also find mushroom coffee or mushroom tea that includes chaga mushroom alone or in combination with other mushrooms such as cordyceps.
Some of the most common medicinal mushrooms in mushroom tea and mushroom coffee are:
Mushroom coffee is said to be less acidic and have less caffeine compared to regular coffee. A cup of mushroom coffee typically has around half of the caffeine content of a regular cup of joe. What about the taste of mushroom coffee? Makers and drinkers of this interesting brew claim it doesn’t taste like mushrooms and that the added mushrooms taste similar to the coffee itself!
If you want to make chaga mushroom tea at home, it’s not difficult at all. Of course, first you’ll need some raw chunks of chaga mushrooms or chaga mushroom powder.
How to Make Chaga Mushroom Tea (1 serving)
To make chaga mushroom tea, you can use either whole chaga mushroom chunks (roughly 10 grams). Or you can grind the chunks into powder using a coffee grinder and use about 2 teaspoons of the powder.
1. Insert the mushroom chunks into a mug or the mushroom powder into a diffuser and into the mug.
2. Pour 1 cup of boiled water into the mug.
3. Let the mushroom chunks/powder steep for 3 minutes.
4. If you would like, you can add a little lemon juice, raw honey or maple syrup to taste.
If you have any questions or concerns, always speak to a health professional about the best dosage of chaga mushroom for you.
Possible Side Effects and Caution
I do want to point out that chaga mushroom side effects and safety are currently unclear. To date, there are no clinical trials that have evaluated the safety of chaga mushrooms in humans. So there is also no standard dosage of chaga mushroom for humans. However, there is a case report of kidney damage/disease in a 72 year-old Japanese woman with liver cancer, caused by taking chaga daily for 6 months. Chaga is also high in oxalates, which may prevent the absorption of certain nutrients and can be toxic in high dosages. (17)
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s best to avoid chaga mushrooms because their use has not been studied in pregnant and breastfeeding women.
If you are currently taking any medication or being treated for any medical condition, check with your doctor before you add chaga mushroom to your diet.
There are concerns about chaga and the following conditions: (18)
- Auto-immune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) — Chaga mushroom can make the immune system more active, which could lead to increased symptoms of auto-immune disease.
- Diabetes — Chaga may decrease blood sugar levels in diabetics.
- Bleeding Disorders — Chaga may raise the risk of bleeding. So it’s best not to use chaga mushroom if you have a bleeding disorder.
- Surgery — Stop using chaga at least two weeks before any type of surgery since chaga may increase bleeding risk and/or affect blood sugar control during and after surgery.
If you have any negative side effects while taking chaga mushroom, discontinue use and seek medication attention if needed.
People have used chaga mushrooms traditionally for centuries in Russia and Northern European countries. To date, researchers have conducted the majority of chaga mushroom studies using animal subjects or human cells. Hopefully, research with human subjects will become more common. Either way, the studies to date due look very promising when it comes to all kinds of major health concerns.
Mushroom coffee or mushroom tea is a great, easy way to incorporate a moderate amount of chaga mushrooms into your diet. Drinking coffee that contains mushrooms may sound really strange, but drinkers actually say it tastes great and gives them more balanced energy. Homemade chaga mushroom tea will definitely give you more of the mushroom flavor and is super easy to make.
Read Next: The Healing Foods Diet
Chaga is an incredibly powerful medicinal mushroom that is highly sought after due to its phenomenal levels of antioxidants and healing properties. Chaga is rich in Vitamins A, C, B, D, and E and minerals such as manganese, iron, calcium, zinc, and selenium. It also contains potent anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-candida, and anti-parasite properties.
Chaga is one of the best sources of betulinic acid which is known to kill cancer cells on contact. Chaga is therefore often listed as one of the top anti-cancer and anti-tumor foods and is highly valued in a variety of natural cancer treatments and preventative protocols. Research has shown Chaga to be particularly beneficial for colon, stomach, endometrial, lung, breast, and prostate cancer.
Chaga is also rich in beta-glucans which can dramatically strengthen and reinforce the immune system making it an ideal choice for those suffering with autoimmune disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, irritable bowl syndrome, Chron’s disease, lymphoma, bursitis, shingles, and PCOS.
It is also very beneficial for those with HIV and has been shown to reduce the various symptoms and secondary diseases caused by HIV. Chaga contains the highest level of superoxide dismutase (SOD) in the world which is an enzyme that promotes the breakdown of free radicals and has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, gout, scleroderma, osteoarthritis, and cataracts.
Its anti-inflammatory properties makes it ideal for those with IBS, arthritis, colitis, cystitis, tendonitis, edema, asthma, celiac disease, and acne. The wide range of healing benefits found in Chaga makes its one of the most important and essential medicinal foods to be included in one’s natural health regime.
Chaga mushrooms grow in harmony with birch tress and can be found in northern regions of the United States and in the forest of the Appalachian mountains. It can also be found in temperate forests of Europe, Canada, China, Russia, and Korea where it is known as a “gift of God”. Chaga tea is an incredibly beneficial since the antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and healing compounds are easily and quickly assimilated and utilized by the body.
Chaga tea can be made by adding 1 teaspoon of Chaga extract powder to 8oz of hot water. It has a rich, earthy coffee-like flavor that can be sweetened with honey, stevia, or coconut sugar if desired.
This item posted: 26-Jun-2015
Share this post:
Print this Post
Anthony William, Inc. - Disclaimer for Medical Medium Blog
This blog, its content and any linked material are presented for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or prescribing. Nothing contained in or accessible from this blog should be considered to be medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or prescribing, or a promise of benefits, claim of cure, legal warranty, or guarantee of results to be achieved. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog or in any linked material. Neither Anthony William nor Anthony William, Inc. is a medical doctor or other licensed healthcare practitioner or provider. Consult with a licensed healthcare professional before altering or discontinuing any current medications, treatment or care, or starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, or if you have or suspect you might have a health condition that requires medical attention. The United States Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated any statement, claim, or representation made in or accessible from this blog or any linked material. The content of this blog and any linked material does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Anthony William, Inc. or the principal author and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date. This article may contain links to other resources on the Internet. These links are provided as citations and aids to help you identify and locate other Internet resources that may be of interest, and are not intended to state or imply that Anthony William, Inc. or the principal author recommends, endorses, supports, sponsors, or is in any way affiliated or associated with any person or entity associated with the linked material, or is legally authorized to use any trade name, registered trademark, logo, legal or official seal, or copyrighted symbol that may be reflected in the linked material. If you would like to communicate with us, please visit our website at http://www.medicalmedium.com
Copyright© 2017 Anthony William, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
< Back to Medical Medium Blog
Thanks for printing this post. For more, visit www.medicalmedium.com