The Chaga Mushroom

The Chaga Mushroom

Introduction

Chaga mushroom (inonotus obliquus) is a woody mushroom, which grows on birch trees with a black and scarred outer surface that looks like burnt charcoal with a light brown interior. The spore of this mushroom nests in the heartwood of the tree. It then starts spreading outwards until it pushes outside the tree to form a massive `canker' which can be seen. The mushroom has been documented to have had a long history in both oriental and Russian medicine. Although some articles and literatures suggest the plant to have been used 4600 years ago in the region of Siberia, the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing is the oldest text to have been written on the herb among a variety of other herbs. This was written about 200 BC, and is the only well known literature on the herb, which shows that the herb has a long history.

Uses

Apart from Russia and a few other countries in south East Asia during the late 1990s, Chaga was virtually unknown as a dietary supplement. However, it is today referred to as the `king of herbs' and has been used to treat a variety of diseases.

The past 40 years have seen about 1600 modern scientific studies, which have demonstrated and proven the pharmaceutical effects of the mushroom for the immune, hormonal and the central nervous system. Although the Siberian Chaga is not a plant or an animal, its DNA make up is about 30 percent closer to the humans as compared to plants. According to a good number of studies, it was shown that the Siberian Chaga is composed of the highest value to have ever recorded in the ORAC Scale (oxygen radical absorbance capacity). It is also over 40, 000 times more potent in anti-oxidant as compared to the closest natural product in essential oils or foods.
It has also been suggested as a possible treatment for a number of diseases including;
Chronic fatigue syndrome,
Stomach problems,
Flu,
HIV,
Particular cancers,

As a fork medicine, the wood rotting fungus has been used in many of the European countries for the treatment of ulcers, gastritis, and tuberculosis of bones as well as cancer. From two studies in Finland and Russia in 1958, it was also discovered that the mushroom provided an epochal effect in liver, breast, gastric and uterine cancer as well as diabetes and hypertension.

Chaga tea has also been used for a long time in the treatment of an upset stomach and intestinal pains. It is still very popular among foresters and hunters, and is used in enhancing the general tone given that it helps in alleviating hunger, refreshing, increasing work capacity and removing tiredness.

It has also been recommended to help in reducing arterial or Venus blood pressure while Chaga infusions continue to be used for the treatment of periodontitis, dermatitis, psoriasis as well as eczema.
In animal breeding in agriculture, Chaga was used to the ration of pigs to stimulate piglets growth and accelerate weight gain of fatteners. It has also been used as fertilizer to stimulate plant growth.

Some of the most active compounds to have been discovered in Chaga include a variety of triterpenes as well as sterols including;
Lanosterol,
Ergosterol inotodials,
Polysaccharides,
Saponins,
From the studies conducted in university of Helsinki in Finland, the immuno- modulating impact of lanosterol- linked triterpenes was shown to be an effective flu- vaccination in addition to other anti- tumor applications. According to other studies, the effectiveness of inotodials was determined in the destruction of a number of cancerous carcinosarcomas as well as mammary adenocarcinomas. Moreover, the melanin complex from the mushroom demonstrated high gene protective and antioxidant effects.

By triggering the immune system response, the polysaccharide beta- glucan present in Chaga was proven to be an effective inhibiting mutagenic as well as an immune- modulator.

When it comes to nutrition, this mushroom is also nutritious and flavorful given that it is a good source of b- vitamins riboflavin, niacin and thiamine. Moreover, it has also been used due to the essential amino acids it contains as well as an effective, yet benign of a majority of plants that form the oriental herbal tradition.
A variety of researchers and studies on this mushroom continue to be conducted with regard to a number of diseases and illnesses including ulcers, leukemia, lung disorders, cardiovascular diseases, cancer research and HIV and immune compromised diseases.