Free shipping on UK orders over £50

Your cart

Your cart is empty

Ultimate Guide to Chaga Extract: Health Benefits, Uses & Medicinal Research by Antioxi

Ultimate Guide to Chaga: Health Benefits & Uses

Did you know that despite its common "mushroom" title, Chaga is no ordinary cap-and-stem affair? Get ready to be astonished as we peel back the layers of this forest enigma, revealing the unexpected quirks and scientific wonders that make Chaga a captivating subject of exploration.

In This Article:

  • What is the Chaga Mushroom?
  • What Gives Chaga its Health Benefits?
  • How to Buy a Good Quality Chaga Supplement?
  • Health Benefits of Chaga
  • Dose, Safety, Side Effects
  • How to Take Chaga Mushroom for Health Support
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is the Chaga Mushroom?

    Surprisingly, despite common belief, Chaga is not a mushroom. What we commonly refer to as "chaga mushroom" is, in fact, the informal term for a sterile conk or canker that develops following the infection of a hardwood tree, typically birch, by the parasitic fungus Inonotus obliquus (or I. obliquus).

    Functioning as a parasite, I. obliquus establishes a one-sided relationship with its host tree. Its enzymes induce the simultaneous decay of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin from the heartwood of the living host. Cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin are the three primary biological constituents composing tree wood. 

    This degradation weakens the tree's structural integrity, paving the way for the emergence of what we commonly know as "chaga." This dark conk is the end result of this intriguing symbiotic interaction and comprises mainly wood lignans and fungal mycelium.

    Chaga mushroom's fruiting body outer layer, or sclerotium, with its characteristic black, cracked surface.

    What Gives Chaga its Health Benefits?

    Comprehensive scientific examinations have unveiled an extensive spectrum of over 200 distinct bioactive metabolites within Chaga. Among these beneficial compounds, several play a crucial role in supporting health, particularly:

    • Polysaccharides, including beta-glucans
    • Melanins
    • Triterpenes
    • Benzoic acid derivatives
    • Ergosterol and ergosterol peroxide
    • Sesquiterpene
    • Hispidin

    Notably, among these compounds, polysaccharides stand out as the most active compounds in Chaga.

    • Polysaccharides
      Polysaccharides are complex structures composed of multiple simple sugars, or monosaccharides. Chaga primarily contains (1>3)(1>6)beta-D-glucans, which are essential polysaccharides. These beta-glucans, a standout feature in functional mushrooms like Chaga, offer promising avenues for identifying and creating novel therapeutic substances. In recent times, beta-glucans have garnered significant interest for their numerous health advantages, including immune system regulation, liver safeguarding, and antioxidant effects [1].

    • Melanin
      Melanin, a pigment present in mammalian skin, hair, eyes, ears, and the nervous system, serves various functions, notably offering protection against UV radiation and oxidative stress.

      A study involving wood ear, a dark-hued mushroom, revealed that its melanin shielded 80% of mice from a lethal radiation dose [2]. Chaga boasts elevated melanin levels, suggesting its potential in mitigating the effects of radiation-induced damage, especially in these specific populations.

    • Triterpenes
      Chaga is rich in various triterpenes, with inotodiol being the most significant among them. This particular triterpenoid is exclusive to Chaga and has demonstrated both immunomodulatory and antioxidant properties [3][4].

      Chaga obtains two other noteworthy triterpenes, betulinic acid, and its precursor, betulin, from birch bark. These compounds, betulin and betulinic acid, have shown antioxidant, anti-ulcer, anti-gastritis, and immunomodulatory effects.

    How to Buy a Good Quality Chaga Supplement?

    Choosing a good quality mushroom supplement can be a daunting task, as there are many options available in the market. However, there are a few key things to consider when selecting a high-quality mushroom supplement:

    • Organically Certified
      Opt for certified organic options as Chaga tends to absorb pollutants from its surroundings.

    • Third Party Testing & Active Compounds 
      Third party lab reports show the active ingredient testing of the mushrooms, ensuring they meet clinical benchmarks. When choosing a Chaga supplement, look for beta-glucan content. It’s important to note that not all polysaccharides are beta-glucans!

    • Safety Tests
      Heavy metals and pesticides tests are safety tests which will indicate whether mushrooms are safe to consume.

    • Lab Grown vs. Wild Grown
      Ensure you seek out wild-harvested Chaga, as lab-grown Chaga lacks several compounds present in the host tree and does not possess the same characteristics. Click here to find out more about the difference between lab grown and wild grown Chaga.

    Click the button below to learn more about what to look for when choosing a mushroom supplement. 

    Learn More

    Health Benefits of Chaga

    Exploring the historical background and traditional applications of Chaga suggests its use for a wide range of ailments. Can this self-proclaimed "king of mushrooms" truly live up to its reputation? Let's delve in and discover!

    Health Benefits At a Glance: 

  • Chaga Provides an Antioxidant Boost
  • Chaga is an Adaptogen
  • Chaga's Contribution to Digestive Health
  • Chaga Can Help Relieve Symptoms of Arthritis
  • Chaga Can Assist in Lowering Cholesterol
  • Chaga Can Potentially Fight Infections Caused by Hepatitis C
  • Chaga Can Help Inhibit HIV
  • Chaga Can Help Manage Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) & Crohn’s Disease
  • Chaga Benefits for Skin Health
  • Chaga can help manage Psoriasis
  • Chaga Benefits for Cancer
  •  

    Chaga Provides an Antioxidant Boost

    In the quest for survival, humans, like numerous other organisms, depend on oxygen, a vital element. Oxygen is indispensable for the proper functioning of mitochondria, the cellular powerhouses responsible for generating adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the chemical energy essential for sustaining various biological processes within the body. The process of oxidative phosphorylation is pivotal in ATP production.

    Despite its crucial role, oxidative phosphorylation gives rise to free radicals, which, while participating in cellular processes, can also inflict damage. Factors such as stress, dietary choices, and environmental exposures can disrupt the balance between free radicals and antioxidants, resulting in a condition known as "oxidative stress."

    Excessive oxidative stress poses a threat, causing damage to cellular components, including DNA, inappropriate cell death (apoptosis), and disturbances in cellular signalling. Such stress is implicated in premature ageing and the onset of various age-related ailments.

    Chaga emerges as a noteworthy contender in addressing this challenge, as it produces a diverse array of metabolites with potent free radical-scavenging properties. These metabolites, found in chaga mushroom, contribute to the preservation of DNA health by shielding it from the damaging effects of oxidative stress. Notably, a study illustrated that human blood cells treated with chaga mushroom extracts before exposure to the free radical H2O2 exhibited 40% less DNA damage compared to those not subjected to pre-treatment [5].

    • Chaga ORAC Value
      Chaga ranks remarkably high on the ORAC scale, a metric assessing antioxidant potency. Some sources even assert that Chaga holds the top position among all foods.

      Nevertheless, the credibility of ORAC values faced scrutiny in 2012 when the USDA removed its ORAC Food Database [6]. This decision was based on the realisation that higher ORAC values do not necessarily translate to greater health benefits, and the values were being misused for promotional purposes by food and supplement suppliers.

      Another term encountered in antioxidant exploration is SOD, denoting superoxide dismutase, an enzyme serving as the frontline defence against free radical-induced damage. Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of oral SOD supplementation [7, 8, 9].

      Chaga contributes to the body's reserves of trace minerals, including zinc, copper, iron, and manganese. These minerals play a role in stimulating the production of superoxide dismutases (SODs).

    • Antioxidants and Inflammation
      Inflammation serves as the primary reaction of the immune system to various stimuli, including harmful substances and foreign intruders, and it plays a crucial role in the body's natural healing processes. The release of inflammatory chemicals is a protective mechanism to address cell damage and restore tissue balance.

      In essence, a well-regulated inflammatory response is beneficial for the body. However, disruptions or prolonged inflammation sequences can lead to bodily harm and the onset of diseases. The chaga mushroom's antioxidant properties contribute to promoting a healthy inflammation response. Chaga seems to modulate the release of specific cytokines associated with inflammation, as evidenced in studies [10]. Additionally, it acts as an inhibitor of nitric oxide (NO) and COX-2 in rats, providing a potential explanation for its ability to alleviate temporary discomfort [10, 11].

    Chaga is an Adaptogen

    You might have encountered the terms "adaptogen" or "biological response modifier (BRM)" in discussions about certain herbs and functional mushrooms. As the name suggests, BRMs are substances capable of modulating the immune system's response, either enhancing or suppressing it.

    An adaptogen, a specific type of BRM, is required to meet three criteria [12]:

    1. Its effects must be general and assist the body in handling a broad range of stressors.
    2. It should contribute to maintaining the body's homeostasis.
    3. It must not negatively impact the normal functions of the body.

    In essence, adaptogens play a role in helping the body adapt to stress and restore equilibrium. Chaga is recognized as a widely embraced adaptogen.

    • Chaga's Role as an Immune System Adaptogen
      While the primary function of the immune system is to defend the body against foreign invaders, it can sometimes result in discharge symptoms affecting areas such as the eyes, sinuses, and lungs, often manifesting as mucus, pain, or inflammation.

      However, allergies can pose more severe risks. In some cases, individuals may experience anaphylactic shock, an intense and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.

      Functioning as an adaptogen, chaga mushroom offers benefits to certain demographics with overactive immune systems by aiding in maintaining balance. Inotodiol, a unique triterpenoid found in chaga, serves as a mast cell stabiliser, providing support for eye and nasal comfort in mouse models [13]. Chaga has the ability to stimulate the secretion of specific cytokines to regulate immune responses in mice [14]. Recent studies have indicated that chaga mushroom extracts can prevent chemically-induced immune system overreactions, showcasing its potential as a beneficial functional food [15].

      Research has also indicated that the active compounds in chaga demonstrate selective activity against various types of malignant cells, particularly through the inhibition of p38 kinase and ERK1/2 pathways, [16, 17].

    Chaga's Contribution to Digestive Health

    Traditionally celebrated in folk medicine for promoting gastrointestinal well-being and digestive ease, chaga has garnered recognition in modern research for its digestive benefits. Notably, chaga mushroom exhibits gastroprotective properties and has displayed the ability to modulate gut microbiota in various studies.

    In experiments involving rats, alcohol extracts of chaga administered at 200 mg/kg demonstrated efficacy in preserving the integrity of the stomach wall [18]. Another study with mice, given alcohol chaga extracts at 50 and 100 mg/kg body weight, indicated that chaga, through the regulation of cytokine release, supported the health of the colonic mucosa [19].

    The polysaccharides in chaga, with their antioxidant activity, played a role in supporting pancreatic health and maintaining the composition and diversity of gut microbiota in mice studies [20, 21].

    Chaga Can Help Relieve Symptoms of Arthritis

    As stated above, oxidative stress can lead to premature ageing and the development of many age-related ailments and conditions, such as arthritis. 

    Apart from boosting antioxidants, the metabolites in Chaga also contain substances that contribute to anti-inflammation, thus researchers propose it can assist in reducing symptoms of arthritis- especially pain and stiffness [22].

    Click here to learn more about how Chaga helps manage arthritis.

    Chaga Can Assist in Lowering Cholesterol

    Another benefit of being a reputable source of antioxidants is cholesterol management.

    Researchers confirm Chaga mushrooms contain many antioxidants that may reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. Higher LDL levels have been strongly correlated with higher risks of heart disease, including strokes, arterial plaque buildup, and hypertension.

    It’s why many doctors recommend going easy when it comes to high-cholesterol foods. The fact that Chaga mushrooms can have cardiovascular benefits opens the doors for alternative dietary recommendations outside of the usual low-fat or low-sodium meal plans [23].

    Chaga Can Potentially Fight Infections Caused by Hepatitis C

    One study examined the antiviral properties of Chaga mushroom extract against the Hepatitis C virus in cell cultures. The study found that the extract showed significant activity in reducing the infection caused by the virus. This suggests that Chaga mushroom extract could be a potential candidate for developing treatments against Hepatitis C. However, this is a preliminary finding and further research, including clinical trials, is necessary to confirm its efficacy and safety in humans [24].

    Chaga Can Help Inhibit HIV

    A study conducted focusing on derivatives of Betulinic acid and their effectiveness against HIV-2, a strain of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, found that certain modified forms of Betulinic acid showed promising results in inhibiting the virus. This indicates a potential for developing new treatments for HIV-2 based on these derivatives, although further research is needed to explore their full potential and applicability in clinical settings [25].

    Chaga Can Help Manage Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) & Crohn’s Disease

    In the context of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), a 2007 study demonstrated Chaga's efficacy in reducing oxidative stress observed in patients with IBD. The participants in this study encompassed individuals diagnosed with both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. However, experts emphasise that Chaga appears to yield optimal results for those with Crohn’s disease, primarily due to the higher levels of basic DNA damage observed in Crohn’s disease compared to ulcerative colitis [26].

    The multifaceted composition of Chaga, incorporating various compounds beneficial for immune health, underscores its potential significance in managing oxidative stress and supporting individuals with specific gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn's disease.

    For centuries, Chaga calmed upset stomachs. Turns out, science is backing its gut-friendly powers.

    Click the button below to learn more about how Chaga can support gut health. 

    Learn More

    Chaga Benefits for Skin Health

    Beta-glucans and betulinic acid present in Chaga may contribute to slowing down the ageing process of the skin.

    Chaga is abundant in melanin, a pigment that plays a crucial role in determining skin colour and serves as the body's primary defence against UV rays from sun exposure. This additional layer of protection against excessive UV ray exposure can potentially diminish the risk of skin conditions and certain types of cancers [27].

    Mushrooms, including Chaga, are a good source of beta-glucans, which are soluble fibers known to stimulate collagen synthesis. Collagen is essential for maintaining skin elasticity and plays a significant role in reducing wrinkles and dryness, particularly as the body tends to produce lower collagen levels with age [28].

    Click the link below to learn more about how mushrooms can benefit skin health.

    Learn More

     

    Chaga can help manage Psoriasis

    Psoriasis is an autoimmune and inflammatory disorder, and Chaga was found to possess properties that can suppress both autoimmunity and inflammation.

    One case study in 1973 involved 50 patients diagnosed with acute psoriasis who were asked to take one tablespoon of diluted Chaga extract three times a day 20-30 minutes before meals. The experiment lasted anywhere from 3 months up to 2 years [29].

    Researchers observed the Psoriatic rashes disappearing starting from the torso, then the scalp, upper limbs, and finally the lower legs and hips. In total, 38/50 or 76% of patients with mild to severe cases of psoriasis were cured after taking Chaga for at least three months, with improvements in 16% of patients.

    More recently, a 2019 study observed the effects of Betulinic acid, a sterol that naturally occurs in Chaga, on psoriasis-induced mice. Researchers found that the acid’s natural immunosuppressive properties reduced psoriasis symptoms and lowered skin inflammation [30].

    Click the link below to learn more about how Chaga can help Psoriasis.

    Learn More

     

    Chaga Benefits for Cancer

    • Brain Cancer
      Chaga mushroom, containing Betulinic acid, shows promise in the prevention and treatment of brain cancer. Studies have revealed Betulinic acid's effectiveness against certain brain cancer cells by disrupting their energy source and inducing self-destruction, without harming normal brain cells. [31]. 

      Further research on Betulinic acid's chemistry and biological effects supports its potential in cancer therapy, including brain cancer, by initiating cancer cell death [32]. These findings, while promising, highlight the need for more extensive research and clinical trials to fully establish the use of Chaga and Betulinic acid in cancer treatment. 

    • Liver Cancer
      A study conducted by Youn, Kim, Park, and colleagues found that Chaga mushroom extract can halt the growth and lead to the death of human liver cancer cells (HepG2). Specifically, the extract stops these cancer cells from progressing through their normal growth cycle and induces a process called apoptosis, which is essentially a programmed cell death. This suggests that Chaga mushroom could have potential therapeutic benefits against liver cancer, but further research and clinical trials are needed to fully understand its effectiveness and safety in humans [33].

      Skin Cancer (melanoma)
      A 2009 study investigated the effects of a water extract from the Chaga mushroom on skin cancer cells (melanoma B16-F10). They found that the extract helped induce apoptosis, which is a process of programmed cell death, in these cancer cells. This suggests that the Chaga mushroom extract could potentially be used as a natural treatment for skin cancer. However, further research is needed to confirm its effectiveness and safety in clinical use [34].

    Dose, Safety, Side Effects

    Dose

    General Health Maintenance:

    For those incorporating mushrooms into their routine for overall health benefits, a suggested dose of 3g or 6 capsules is recommended. This non-treatment use aims to promote well-being and vitality.

    Treatment-Targeted Use:

    If you are utilising mushrooms as part of a treatment plan for a specific health condition, a suggested dose of 5g or 10 capsules is advised. This higher dose is intended to address targeted health concerns.

    Flexible Dosage Regimen:

    Whether you prefer splitting the dose throughout the day or taking it all at once, the choice is yours. For optimal absorption, it is recommended to consume mushrooms on an empty stomach. However, if you have a sensitive constitution, consider splitting the dose and taking it after a meal.

    Why the Discrepancy in Recommended Doses?

    You may have noticed that some mushroom distributors recommend lower doses, such as 1g. This is often as large companies typically suggest consulting with a health practitioner to ascertain the right dosage for individual health conditions, which can result in recommendations for lower quantities. However, our dosage recommendations are directly informed by clinical literature, enabling us to provide specific dosing instructions with a solid foundation in research.

     

    Chaga Safety

    Oxalates

    A potential safety issue arises from the presence of oxalates in Chaga. Consuming a diet high in oxalates, a compound found in Chaga, could lead to the development of kidney stones in certain individuals [35].

    It's essential to note that oxalates come in two forms: soluble and insoluble, and Chaga contains both. Soluble oxalates are absorbed into the bloodstream and require processing by the kidneys, while insoluble oxalates are bound to minerals and do not undergo absorption or kidney processing [36]. Foods like chocolate, grains, nuts, and specific greens (such as rhubarb, chard, and beet tops) also contain high numbers of oxalates.

    It is important to note that when chaga undergoes specific extraction processes, the levels of oxalates are significantly reduced. This reduction is primarily due to the solubility of oxalates in water.

    During extraction, particularly water-based methods like hot water extraction or decoction, oxalates dissolve into the water and are separated from the solid mushroom material. This process is effective because oxalates are more soluble in hot water, allowing them to leach out of the chaga material. As a result, the final extracted product contains much lower levels of oxalates compared to the raw, unprocessed chaga.

    This reduction is beneficial for individuals who need to manage their oxalate intake, such as those prone to kidney stones. 

    Mushrooms cultivated in substrates with high levels of heavy metals may have an increased formation of calcium oxalates, posing a greater risk for individuals prone to kidney stone formation. Antioxi’s Chaga, sourced from wild harvesting, undergoes rigorous quality control measures, including testing for heavy metals.

    Individuals with a history of kidney stones, a significant antibiotic usage, low hydration, or low calcium levels should consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating Chaga into their regimen.

    Click here to learn more about Chaga and oxalates 

    Medication Interactions

    Chaga is generally well-tolerated; however, it has the potential to interact with certain common medications.

    For instance, individuals who use insulin or have diabetes should be aware of chaga's potential influence on blood sugar levels. It's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before integrating chaga into your routine, as they can provide personalized guidance based on your specific health needs.

    Furthermore, chaga contains a protein that possesses anti-blood clotting properties. Consequently, individuals taking blood-thinning medications, those with bleeding disorders, or individuals preparing for surgery should consult their healthcare provider before incorporating chaga into their regimen [37].

    If you have any concerns regarding the interaction between Chaga and your medications, it's a good idea to discuss it with your healthcare provider. They can offer you the most appropriate guidance.

    Please bear in mind that the information we provide is for educational purposes and shouldn't be considered a replacement for professional medical advice. 

    Your health and safety are important to us and we want to ensure all our customers use our products to their benefit, not detriment.

     

    Side Effects of Chaga

    There are no known side effects of chaga. Still, we highly recommend consulting a health practitioner before taking chaga mushroom supplements if you have any health concerns.

     

    How to Take Chaga Mushroom for Health Support

    Powders vs. Capsules

    For those with a fast-paced lifestyle, intricate recipes might not be in the cards. That's precisely why Antioxi has crafted an Organic Chaga Extract available in convenient capsule form.

    If you're a coffee enthusiast or favour the convenience of a powder, our Organic Chaga Extract in powder form could be an ideal option for you. Chaga's slightly bitter and earthy taste pairs seamlessly with your morning coffee or an evening cup of hot chocolate, enhancing the flavour profile.

    It's essential to note that there is no difference in potency between our powdered extracts and capsules. Our capsules contain the exact same powdered extract, guaranteeing uniform effectiveness throughout our product line.

    chaga mushroom extract from antioxi 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are the Mushrooms Organic?

    All of our mushrooms have been organically sourced and certified.

    Is It Safe To Consume Medicinal Mushrooms During Pregnancy or whilst Breastfeeding?

    While medicinal mushrooms can offer some great benefits during pregnancy such as strengthening immune health, improving digestion and of course the much needed energy boost, there is unfortunately not yet enough information regarding studies during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding where we can confidently give advice.

    The best would be to consult with your healthcare provider and/or midwife.

    Can Children Use Medicinal Mushrooms?

    Research regarding the use of medicinal mushrooms by children is still at its infancy. There is however an interesting study conducted in 2018 which investigated the effects of Reishi on immune system cells of 3-5 year olds. [38]

    The study showed that Reishi increased immune system cell counts in the peripheral blood, which are crucial for defending against infections. The treatments were also well-tolerated and safe, with no abnormal increases in serum creatinine or hepatic aminotransferases. While the study shows promise in the safety and effectiveness of the use of medicinal mushrooms in children, we do always suggest consulting with your child's doctor prior to introducing anything new into their diet.

    If you do get the go ahead we suggest reducing the diet to 1/4 of a dose for young children.

    These findings suggest the need for more extended controlled clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of medicinal mushrooms in preventing infections in children.

    What is the difference between the Powder and Capsules?

    There is no difference in terms of benefits. The only difference is preference of use.

    What is the difference between using the 8 Mushroom Blend and using an individual mushroom?

    Our 8-blend mushroom product is like an all-in-one health elixir. It's perfect for those seeking overall well-being, boosting digestion, or just looking for a daily health lift.

    However, if you're using mushrooms as targeted support for a specific health concern, say, Lion's Mane for cognitive clarity or Reishi for stress relief, the individual route is your best bet.

    Are There Any Allergy Precautions/Medication Interactions?

    Chaga is generally well-tolerated; however, it has the potential to interact with certain common medications.

    For instance, individuals who use insulin or have diabetes should be aware of chaga's potential influence on blood sugar levels. It's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before integrating chaga into your routine, as they can provide personalized guidance based on your specific health needs.

    Furthermore, chaga contains a protein that possesses anti-blood clotting properties. Consequently, individuals taking blood-thinning medications, those with bleeding disorders, or individuals preparing for surgery should consult their healthcare provider before incorporating chaga into their regimen.

    While some studies suggest that chaga may have anti-inflammatory effects, it can also stimulate the immune system. Therefore, individuals with autoimmune diseases should seek medical guidance before considering the use of chaga.

    Which Mushroom Extraction do you use?

    The optimal extraction method once again depends on the mushroom itself. Different methods are used to promote and dissolve the unique active ingredients in the mushroom extracts and hence create a high spectrum mushroom extract.

    The 3 different extraction methods:

    1. Alcohol (ethanol)

    This extraction is used to draw out the fat-soluble compounds in the mushrooms, such as the adaptogenic terpenoids. 

    2. Hot water 

    This extraction is used to extract the water-soluble compounds, the polysaccharides, and the immunomodulating Beta-D-glucans. The dual extraction process ensures you’re getting the full spectrum of compounds when it comes to a potent mushroom extract.

    3. Dual extraction

    Dual extraction refers to a combination of water and alcohol extraction. The dual extraction process ensures you’re getting the full spectrum of compounds when it comes to a mushroom where the active ingredients benefit from both alcohol and well as a water extract.

    Hot water extraction works best for:

    Cordyceps, Turkey Tail & Maitake

    Double (alcohol & water) extraction works best for:

    Lion's Mane, Reishi, Chaga

    Do you use the Fruiting Body or Mycelium?

    Chaga’s sclerotium is the part of the fungus that is harvested for medicinal purposes. Chaga's sclerotium refers to the hardened mass of mycelium, which is the vegetative part of the fungus. In the case of Chaga, the sclerotium is a woody and blackened growth that forms on the bark of birch trees.

    We have a helpful article here which explains the different mushroom parts. 

    Resources 

    1. Khan, A.A., Gani, A., Khanday, F.A., Masoodi, F.A. 2018, ‘Biological and pharmaceutical activities of mushroom ꞵ-glucan discussed as a potential functional food ingredient’, Bioactive Carbohydrates and Dietary Fibre, vol. 16, pp. 1-13. <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bcdf.2017.12.002>
    2. Revskaya, E., Chu, P., Howell, R.C., Schweitzer, A.D., Bryan, R.A., Harris, M., Gerfen, G., Jiang, Z., Jandl, T., Kim, K., Ting, L.M., Sellers, R.S., Dadachova, E., Casadevall, A. 2012, ‘Compton Scattering by Internal Shields Based on Melanin-Containing Mushrooms Provides Protection of Gastrointestinal Tract from Ionizing Radiation’, Cancer Biotherapy & Radiopharmaceuticals, vol. 27, no. 9, pp. 570-576. <https://doi.org/10.1089/cbr.2012.1318>
    3. Nomura, M., Takahashi T., Uesugi, A., Tanaka, R., Kobayashi, S. 2008, ‘Inotodiol, a lanostane triterpenoid, from Inonotus obliquus inhibits cell proliferation through caspase-3-dependent apoptosis’, Anticancer Research, vol. 28, no. 5A, pp. 2691-6. <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19035296/>
    4. Zhao, F.Q., Yan, L., Cui, X.H., Lin, S., Wang, C., Zhang, H., Kang, X.Y., Ji, B.S. 2012, ‘Triterpenoids from Inonotus obliquus protect mice against oxidative damage induced by CCI4’, Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica, vol. 47, no. 5, pp. 680-4. <https://europepmc.org/article/med/22812017>
    5. Park, Y.K., Lee, H.B., Jeon, E.J., Jung, H.S., Kang, M.H. 2008, ‘Chaga mushroom extract inhibits oxidative DNA damage in human lymphocytes as assessed by comet assay’, BioFactors, vol. 21, no. 1-4, pp. 109-112. <https://doi.org/10.1002/biof.552210120>
    6. Danielles, S. (2012, June 13). ORAC has 'ongoing value,' says expert, as USDA removes online database. NutraIngredients-USA. https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2012/06/13/ORAC-has-ongoing-value-says-expert-as-USDA-removes-online-database
    7. Nie, Y., Epperly, M., Shen, H., Greenberger, J.S. 2007, ‘Intraesophageal Administration of Manganese Superoxide Dismutase Plasmid/liposomes (MnSOD-PL) Pre-irradiation Results in Increased Engraftment of Bone Marrow Progenitors of Esophageal Stem Cells’, Proceedings of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology 49th Annual Meeting, vol. 69, no. 3, pp. S41-2. <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2007.07.077>
    8. Vouldoukis, I., Conti, M., Krauss, P., Kamate, C., Blazquez, S., Refit, M., Mazier, D., Calenda, A., Dugas, B. 2004, ‘Supplementation with gliadin-combined plant superoxide dismutase extract promotes antioxidant defences and protects against oxidative stress’, Phytotherapy Research, vol. 18, no. 12, pp. 957-62. <https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.1542>
    9. Regnault, C., Roch-Arveiller, M., Tissot, M., Sarfati, G., Giroud, J.P., Postaire, E., Hazebroucq, G. 1995, ‘Effect of encapsulation on the anti-inflammatory properties of superoxide dismutase after oral administration’, Clinica Chimica Acta, vol. 240, no. 2, pp. 117-27. <https://doi.org/10.1016/0009-8981(95)06133-x>
    10. Van, Q., Nayak, B.N., Reimer, M., Jones, P.J.H., Fulcher, R.G., Rempel, C.B. 2009, ‘Anti-inflammatory effect of Inonotus obliquus, Polygala senega L., and Viburnum trilobum in a cell screening assay’, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 125, no. 3, pp. 487-493. <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2009.06.026>
    11. Park, Y.M., Won, J.H., Kim, Y.H., Choi, J.W., Park, H.J., Lee, K.T. 2005, ‘In vivo and in vitro anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive effects of the methanol extract of Inonotus obliquus’, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 101, no. 1-3, pp. 120-8. <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2005.04.003>
    12. Liao, L.Y., He, Y.F., Li, L., Meng, H., Dong, Y.M., Yi, F., Xiao, P.G. 2018, ‘A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide’, Chinese Medicine, vol., 13, no. 57, <https://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13020-018-0214-9>
    13. Nguyet, T.M.N., Lomunova, M., Le, B.V., Lee, J.S., Park, S.K., Kang, J.S., Kim, Y.H., Hwang, I. 2018, ‘The mast cell stabilizing activity of Chaga mushroom critical for its therapeutic effect on food allergy is derived from inotodiol’, International Immunopharmacology, vol. 54, pp. 286-95. <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intimp.2017.11.025>
    14. Ko, S.K., Jin, M., Pyo, M.Y. 2011, ‘Inonotus obliquus extracts suppress antigen-specific IgE production through the modulation of Th1/Th2 cytokines in ovalbumin-sensitized mice’, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 137, no. 3, pp. 1077-82. <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2011.07.024>
    15. Yoon, T.J., Lee, S.J., Kim, E.Y., Cho, E.H., Kang, T.B., Yu, K.W., Suh, H.J. 2013, ‘Inhibitory effect of chaga mushroom extract on compound 48/80-induced anaphylactic shock and IgE production in mice’, International Immunopharmacology, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 666-70. <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intimp.2013.03.015>
    16. Youn, M.J., Kim, J.K., Park, S.Y., Kim, Y., Park, C., Kim, E.S., Park, K.I., So, H.S., Park, R. 2009, ‘Potential anticancer properties of the water extract of Inonotus obliquus by induction of apoptosis in melanoma B16-F10 cells’, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 121, no. 2, pp. 221-8. <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2008.10.016>
    17. Youn, M.J., Kim, J.K., Park, S.Y., Kim, Y., Kim, S.J., Lee, J.S., Chai, K.Y., Kim, H.J., Cui, M.X., So, H.S., Kim, K.Y., Park, R. 2008, ‘Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) induces G0/G1 arrest and apoptosis in human hepatoma HepG2 cells, World Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 511-7. <https://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.14.511>
    18. Xin, X., Qu, J., Veeraraghavan, V.P., Mohan, S.K., Gu, K. 2019, ‘Assessment of the Gastroprotective Effect of the Chaga Medicinal Mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (Agaricomycetes), Against the Gastric Mucosal Ulceration Induced by Ethanol in Experimental Rats’, International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, vol. 21, no. 8, pp. 805-16. <https://doi.org/10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.2019031154>
    19. Mishra, S.K., Kang, J.H., Kim, D.K., Oh, S.H., Kim, M.K. 2012, ‘Orally administered aqueous extract of Inonotus obliquus ameliorates acute inflammation in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in mice’, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 143, no. 2, pp. 524-32. <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2012.07.008>
    20. Hu, Y., Sheng, Y., Yu, M., Li, K., Ren, G., Xu, X., Qu, J. 2016, ‘Antioxidant activity of Inonotus obliquus polysaccharide and its amelioration for chronic pancreatitis in mice’, International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, vol. 87, pp. 348-56. <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2016.03.006>
    21. Hu, Y., Teng, C., Yu, S., Wang, X., Liang, J., Bai, X., Dong, L., Song, T., Yu, M., Qu, J. 2017, ‘Inonotus obliquus polysaccharide regulates gut microbiota of chronic pancreatitis in mice’, AMB Express, vol. 7, no. 1. <https://dx.doi.org/10.1186%2Fs13568-017-0341-1>
    22. Lull C, Wichers HJ, Savelkoul HF. Antiinflammatory and immunomodulating properties of fungal metabolites. Mediators Inflamm. 2005 Jun 9;2005(2):63-80. doi: 10.1155/MI.2005.63. PMID: 16030389; PMCID: PMC1160565.
    23. Zhang Z, Liang X, Tong L, Lv Y, Yi H, Gong P, Tian X, Cui Q, Liu T, Zhang L. Effect of Inonotus obliquus (Fr.) Pilat extract on the regulation of glycolipid metabolism via PI3K/Akt and AMPK/ACC pathways in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2021 Jun 12;273:113963. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2021.113963. Epub 2021 Feb 26. PMID: 33640441.
    24. Shibnev, V.A. & Mishin, Dmitriy & Garaev. Timur & Finogenova, N.P. Botikov, A.G. & Deryabin, Petr. (2011). Antiviral Activity of Inontus Obliquus Fungus Extract towards Infection Caused by Hepatitis C Virus in Cell Cultures. Bulletin of experimental biology and medicine. 151.612-4.10.1007/s10517-011-1395-8
    25. Betulinic acid derivatives as Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 2 (HIV-2) inhibitors. Dang Z, Lai W, Qian K, Ho P, Lee KH, Chen CH, Huang L. J Med Chem. 2009;52(23):7887–7891.
    26. Najafzadeh M, Reynolds PD, Baumgartner A, Jerwood D, Anderson D. Chaga mushroom extract inhibits oxidative DNA damage in lymphocytes of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Biofactors. 2007;31(3-4):191-200. doi: 10.1002/biof.5520310306. PMID: 18997282.
    27. Yan ZF, Yang Y, Tian FH, Mao XX, Li Y, Li CT. Inhibitory and Acceleratory Effects of Inonotus obliquus on Tyrosinase Activity and Melanin Formation in B16 Melanoma Cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:259836. doi: 10.1155/2014/259836. Epub 2014 Aug 13. PMID: 25197307; PMCID: PMC4145793
    28. Yun JS, Pahk JW, Lee JS, Shin WC, Lee SY, Hong EK. Inonotus obliquus protects against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis and premature senescence. Mol Cells. 2011 May;31(5):423-9. doi: 10.1007/s10059-011-0256-7. Epub 2011 Feb 22. PMID: 21359681; PMCID: PMC3887607.
    29. Dosychev EA, Bystrova VN. Lechenie psoriaza preparatami griba "Chaga" [Treatment o psoriasis using "Chaga" fungus preparations]. Vestn Dermatol Venerol. 1973 May;47(5):79-83. Russian. PMID: 4755970
    30. Liu C, Chen Y, Lu C, Chen H, Deng J, Yan Y, Xu YY, Liu H, Huang H, Wei J, Han L, Dai Z. Betulinic acid suppresses Th17 response and ameliorates psoriasis-like murine skin inflammation. Int Immunopharmacol. 2019 Aug;73:343-352. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2019.05.030. Epub 2019 May 23. PMID: 31129421.
    31. Betulinic acid: a new cytotoxic agent against malignant brain tumour cells. Fulda S, Jeremias I, Steiner HH, Pietsch T, Debatin KM. Int J Cancer. 1999;82(3):435–441.
    32. Betulinic acid, a natural compound with potent anticancer effects. Mullauer FB, Kessler JH, Medema JP. Anticancer Drugs. 2010;21(3):215–227.
    33. Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) induces G0/G1 arrest and apoptosis in human hepatoma HepG2 cells. Youn MJ, Kim JK, Park SY, Kim Y, Kim SJ, Lee JS, Chai KY, Kim HJ, Cui MX, So HS, Kim KY, Park R. World J Gastroenterol. 2008;14(4):511–517.
    34. Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) induces G0/G1 arrest and apoptosis in human hepatoma HepG2 cells. Youn MJ, Kim JK, Park SY, Kim Y, Kim SJ, Lee JS, Chai KY, Kim HJ, Cui MX, So HS, Kim KY, Park R. World J Gastroenterol. 2008;14(4):511–517.
    35. Saville, J. What are Oxalates and Why are They a Concern for Kidney Disease Patients?, National Kidney Foundation, viewed 5 September 2020, <https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/what-are-oxalate-kidney-stones>
    36. Kikuchi, Y., Seta, K., Ogawa, Y., Takayama, T., Nagata, M., Taguchi, T., & Yahata, K. (2014). Chaga mushroom-induced oxalate nephropathy. Clinical nephrology, 81(6), 440–444. <https://doi.org/10.5414/CN107655>
    37. Hyun KW, Jeong SC, Lee DH, Park JS, Lee JS. Isolation and characterization of a novel platelet aggregation inhibitory peptide from the medicinal mushroom, Inonotus obliquus. Peptides. 2006 Jun;27(6):1173-8. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2005.10.005. Epub 2005 Nov 11. PMID: 6289471.<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16289471
    38. Henao SLD, Urrego SA, Cano AM, Higuita EA. Randomized Clinical Trial for the Evaluation of Immune Modulation by Yogurt Enriched with β-Glucans from Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes), in Children from Medellin, Colombia. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2018;20(8):705-716. doi: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2018026986. PMID: 30317947. <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30317947/ >
    Previous post
    Next post

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

    Disclaimer

    The information on this blog is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult a healthcare professional before using medicinal mushrooms, especially if you are on medication or have a health condition. We do not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. Use at your own risk. Statements about health benefits have not been evaluated by regulatory authorities. By using this blog, you agree to this disclaimer.