Chaga Mushrooms

Inonotus obliquus

is the Latin name for Chaga mushroom. It grows mostly high up on birch trees in very cold areas in the northern hemisphere. It is found in Russia, the USA, Norway and China.

Chaga is not actually a mushroom, it is a parasite that grows very slow on the tree and out of the tree. It takes about 3-5 years to form a nice size conk.

Chaga is hard and it’s color on the outside is dark brown due to it’s high concentration of melanin.

On the inside it has an amber color.


Chaga has been extensively studied in regard to it’s health benefits
Chemical analysis of the Chaga mushroom showed that it contains chemical components including

  • polysaccharides
  • triterpenoids
  • polyphenols
  • sterols and
  • melanin
Studies have shown that it possess

  • anticancer
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antiviral
  • antioxidant
  • hypoglycemic and
  • hypolipidemic activity

In addition it is a potent immune modulator (4)

Chaga shows very little side-effects in long-term clinical and animal experiments.

Chaga Mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) are widely used in medicine due to their high antioxidant properties.

Antioxidants scavenge free radicals which cause cell damage.

It is worth noticing that Chaga Mushroom has the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value. A higher ORAC value then Blueberries and Accai berries.

Immune System:

A mice study found that Inonotus obliquus (Chaga) promotes cytokine secretion (IL-2, IL-6, IL-12 and TNF-α) and macrophage phagocytosis.(3)

Chaga’s Fungal Beta Glucan content helps modulate the immune system. They dissolve in water therefore a Chaga tea seems to be beneficial for the immune system.(4)

In another mice study with Chaga the scientists suggest that Chaga modulates the immune response through secretion of TH1/TH2 cytokines in immune cells and regulates antigen-specific antibody production.(5)

Scientists in China conclude that the Aqueous extract from Chaga inhibits early stage Herpes viral infections. In other words the herpes virus entry into the cell was prevented(6)

Type 2 Diabetes

Chaga has a positive effect on diabetes type 2 as scientists in China concluded in a mice study. Polysaccharides in Chaga could reduce fasting blood glucose levels. In addition increase liver glycogen level, enhance the cholesterol transportation in the liver with the result of an increase in HDL cholesterol levels (7)

Digestion

The polysaccharides in Chaga aid digestion.

 A Russian study found that Melanin in Chaga may benefit Bifidobacteria in the gut.(8)

Chaga polysaccharides and Dementia

In a Chinese study on mice scientist found that Chaga polysaccharides improved pathological behaviors related to memory and cognition; reduced beta-amyloid peptides and neuronal fiber tangles in the brain. (9)

According to Medical News Today 

Chaga contains vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D, Potassium, Copper, Selenium, Zinc, Manganese, Magnesium and Calcium

Birch tree with Chaga

Chaga is very hard on the outside and softer on the inside it can’t be just cut up and eaten raw or steamed like other mushrooms.

The easiest way to add Chaga on a daily basis is to use Chaca in capsules

chaga in coffee

Chaga as a powder to add to smoothies, coffee, soups, sauces

Chaga Tea in tea bags

Please check with your health care practitioner before using Chaga if you are suffering from underlying health conditions such as an Autoimmune disease or Diabetes or when you are pregnant or nursing and especially if you are on prescription drugs or take supplements for those underlying conditions.

Resources:

Continuous intake of the Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) aqueous extract suppresses cancer progression and maintains body 
temperature in mice    
Chaga mushroom-induced oxalate nephropathy Yuko Kikuchi, Koichi Seta, Yayoi Ogawa,

Chaga mushroom extract inhibits oxidative DNA damage in lymphocytes of patients with inflammatory bowel disease 
Mojgan Najafzadeh 1, P Dominic Reynolds, 

Recent Developments in Inonotus obliquus (Chaga mushroom) Polysaccharides: Isolation, Structural Characteristics, 
Biological Activities and Application         Yangpeng Lu 1, Yanan Jia 1, Zihan Xue 1

Yiyong C. Study on Purification, Structure and Anti-Tumor Mechanism of Inonotus Obliquus Polysaccharide. 
Jiangnan University; Wuxi, China: 2010. [Google Scholar]

Optimization of ultrasonic/microwave assisted extraction (UMAE) of polysaccharides from Inonotus obliquus and evaluation 
of its anti-tumor activities     Chen Y.Y., Gu X.H., Huang S.Q., Li J.W., Wang X., Tang J. 

The pharmacological potential and possible molecular mechanisms of action of Inonotus obliquus from preclinical studies
Kingsley C Duru 1, Elena G Kovaleva     

3 Purification, characterization and biological activity of a novel polysaccharide from Inonotus obliquus. 
  Chen Y.Y., Huang Y.R., Cui Z.M., Liu J.J.    

4 Immunomodulatory Activity of the Water Extract from Medicinal Mushroom Inonotus obliquus Yeon-Ran Kim

5 Inonotus obliquus extracts suppress antigen-specific IgE production through the modulation of Th1/Th2 cytokines in
  ovalbumin-sensitized mice  Suk-kyung Ko 1Mirim JinMyoung-yun Pyo

The Antiviral, Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Natural Medicinal Herbs and Mushrooms and SARS-CoV-2 Infection
Fanila Shahzad, Diana Anderson, and Mojgan Najafzadeh* 2020   

Chaga Medicinal Mushroom Inonotus obliquus (Agaricomycetes) Terpenoids May Interfere with SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein
Recognition of the Host Cell: A Molecular Docking Study    Wesam Taha Basal 1, Abdo Elfiky 2, Jehane Eid 1   

6 Aqueous extract from a Chaga medicinal mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (higher Basidiomycetes), prevents herpes simplex
 virus entry through inhibition of viral-induced membrane fusion    Hong-Hui Pan 1Xiong-Tao Yu,   

7 Anti-diabetic effects of Inonotus obliquus polysaccharides in streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetic mice and
  potential mechanism via PI3K-Akt signal pathway  Author links open overlay panel JiaWang1CongWang1  

8 Melanins of Inonotus Obliquus: Bifidogenic and Antioxidant Properties   Marina A Burmasova  

9 Inonotus obliquus polysaccharides protect against Alzheimer's disease by regulating Nrf2 signaling and exerting 
  antioxidative and antiapoptotic effects Author links open overlay panel YanqiuHan