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FUNGI ARE THE FUTURE

          CHAGA - Inonotus obliquus

                                       "The Mushroom of Immortality"

Page Summary: This page is something that im really proud of. I know of no other website, with as much Chaga information and original content.

It is a conglomeration of numerous peer reviewed studies and my own personal field experience and field data, spanning over the last decade. It is as much relevant Chaga information, as one could hope to find in one place. In a world of misinformation, Chaga is seriously misunderstood by the majority of people who harvest and consume it, even by most professionals who sell it. This page is intended to be the foundation for a better understanding of the numerous aspects of Inonotus obliquus. There's A LOT of content. The first half of this page will discuss the Morphology, Ecology, Identification, and Sustainable Harvest; of Chaga sclerotium.

The second portion of this page will cover the Medicinal Compounds, Processing Techniques, and Implied Health Benefits; all backed by peer reviewed studies, my own personal experience, and the testimonials of over 500 people that I have shared Chaga with. At the bottom of the page, I have all the studies cited, with the abstracts(for your convenience). I hope you find  the information here illuminating, and that I have helped you on your personal journey, in some aspect.

* If you use my information on your own website or to promote your own business, please give due credit to the person who shared this with you.

    The King of Herbs...CHAGA!

   Chaga(Inonotus obliquus) is a white rot, parasitic/saprobic fungi, that has evolved an exclusive relationship with birch tree species. It was first described and named by, Katayebskaya in 1928. It can be found rarely, on Alder, but lacks some of the medicinal compounds that Betula species produce. It's an incredibly dense powerhouse, of over 215 phyto-nutrients that we dont typically ingest in our diet. Some of the medicinal compounds are so rare, that they are only found within the Chaga sclerotia.
   After growing into the heartwood of the tree, it "steals" if you will, nutrients and sugars from the Birch. It then continues to organize and overlap mycelium into a concentrated mass of medicine, which we call, a sclerotia. It uses this massive collection of stored energy and nutrients to produce its fruitification structures, for dispersing spores(a rare phenomenon, not witnessed by many), and will eventually kill the host after a long and complex life cycle. Chaga will only fruit once in its lifetime. 
  It was first used by Siberians over a thousand years ago, who discovered its powerful medicinal and nutritional value. It was ground into powder and used to make soups, stews, and herbal tonics. Despite the harsh climate, the Siberians found that regular consumption of Chaga boosted their stamina, longevity, and prevented the onset of degenerative disease. Although the Russians were the first to utilize this magical fungi, its medicinal prowess has been recognized around the globe, especially in: Japan, China, Canada, Finland, and various Northern European countries. It should be recognized, that Canadian Chaga is both the highest quality and the most sustainable to pick, worldwide. 
   Russian Chaga, has conventionally been considered the highest quality, but because of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident,  the Chaga found there has been contaminated with radioactive particles. The Canadian Boreal Forest, is the largest remaining forest in the world. It runs nearly the entire length of the country and is the most Chaga abundant region in the world, making it an ideal range to forage. 

Morphological Features of Chaga

Above: Chaga, Inonotus obliquus: sterile conk. Anamorphic stage.

Left: **NOT CHAGA! Its a tree "Burl"

Notice: The subtle differences in colour and texture. The inside of a burl will be wood. The inside of Chaga is similar to cork.

The Reproductive Cycle of Chaga: Anamophic Stage

The dense, black, often charcoal looking mass that we search for, is only the first portion of Chaga's life cycle. The mechanism for which the infection begins, has yet to be proven. Based on the nature of Chaga, it is most logical to assume that a spore would land and grow on an exposed section of cambium, or physical injury. If you look at cross sections of infected birch trees, you can see the hyphae extending from the sapwood, to the exterior conk, which is what I believe to be, the initial source of infection. The figure to the left shows the mycelium "pushing" towards the outside of the tree, however, I believe that image 1 & 2  are the bottom or top of the cross sections, which means that they wouldnt reach the exterior or the tree. The cross sections taken on segments that have the conk present (images 3&4), show the entire length of the Chaga hyphae. For these reasons, I speculate that the Chaga infection germinates through spore contact with exposed cambium, growing deep into the heartwood, but ensuring not to breach the sapwood. The mycelium then pulls the now available nutrients back to the initial point of infection, on the exterior of the host. The mycelium continues to overlap internally, creating these massive stores of complex sugars and medicinal compounds, from which it will form its fruiting body. The time from infection to formation of its teleomorphic structures, is commonly <20 years.                                                                              After it has completed its life cycle, the Chaga will eventually kill the host tree.

**Above Chaga Cross Sections: I disagree with the creator of this picture. Although the images do show how the Chaga develops, I do not believe that Chaga spores can simply develop in the heartwood of the tree, as some people have speculated. How would the spores get inside? No. It seems much more likely, that a floating spore will happen upon a weak Birch, and land coincidentally, on an exposed area of cambium, perhaps where the out bark has been damaged or removed. If the cross section images from above are from the same tree, than the creator assumed that images # 1, # 2, were of the younger growth, and hadnt reached the exterior of the tree yet. The oldest mycelium would be found in the segment with the longest hyphael network, which happens to be the point where the sclerotia is forming. In reality, picture # 3 represents the Chaga infection best, as you can see the mycelium spreading inward, pulling the nutrients and sugars back out to the growing sclerotia, found on the exterior of the tree.

Below: Hard, black exterior of the Chaga sclerotia

The Exterior of Chaga(Alcohol soluble)

The exterior of Chaga is hard and black. This protective layer, shields the fungi from ultraviolet radiation, droughts, and the frigidly cold temperatures in which Chaga thrives. The exterior contains a lot of Chaga's powerful cancer inhibiting compounds and the only significant source of natural melanin, but is often discarded as waste. The black portion of Chaga is alcohol soluble, so making a hot water extraction from it, is pretty much useless. 

The Interior of Chaga(Hot-water soluble)

The interior of Chaga is not nearly as hard as the exterior, similar to 'cork'. It is also distinctly different in colour. Inside the sterile Chaga conk, youll observe a vibrant, yellow/orange marbling(brown with age). These bright colours are attributed to the complex sugars found within, such as Beta glucans. The cells on the interior of Chaga, are hot-water soluble, so soaking it in alcohol is pretty much useless. I cover both the alcohol and hot water extraction processes in further detail, on another page.

Left: Bright yellow/orange marbled interior

Cross-Sections of Parasitized, Host(Betula) Species

(Photos Courtesy of my friend, Jorma Palmén)

Cutting cross sections of infected trees is a great way to observe the growth patterns of Chaga. You can clearly see the effect of this white rot fungi on the inside of the birch segments. The mycelium spreads throughout the heartwood, but doesnt penetrate the sapwood, aside from the point of infection. Its interesting to view how the Chaga conk is attached to the tree. As you can see in some of the diagrams below, it almost seems as though the Chaga is pushing the sapwood layer apart, where the sclerotium is attached. Chaga doesnt penetrate the sapwood layer, which leads me to suspect, that this is a crucial component to its survival. I believe the hyphae attach themselves to the sapwood layer, without disturbing the host or the structural integrity of the tree. The mycelium then has a constant flow of sugars(at least for a time), while it continues to grow through the heartwood. I hypothesize that the bio-availability of these nutrients and sugars, creates optimal growth periods for Chaga sclerotia, during and after, when the sap runs. We still have a lot to learn about Chaga, but we are slowly cracking this case! We just need more data, lots and lots of data!

These Cross-sections are incredibly integral to our understand of the mechanism behind the Inonotus infection

You clearly see the infection spreading througout the heartwood, but making sure not to affect the sapwood

Above: Wonderful View Inside The Site of Infection 

The Reproductive Cycle of Chaga: Teleomorphic Stage

Out of the thousands of Chaga specimens I have encountered, I have only witnessed the reproductive structures on two separate occasions. It is most likely the RAREST fungi phenomenon that I have participated in, and helped my understanding of Chaga, tremendously. 99% of people would just walk by it, because people are concerned with the sterile conks, used as medicine, not the fruiting body of Inonotus obliquus. If you ever happen to stumble on to Chaga producing its tubular, tender, fruiting body, please document and take lots of pictures, **However, do not disturb the sample. Throughout the entire life cycle of Inonotus obliquus and the parasitized tree(Most often, <20 years), it will only reproduce and disperse its spores, ONCE. Only when enough biomass and energy is stored in the sclerotia and the tree is weakened and near death. With such a complex life cycle, it is imperative that it is left to reproduce, undisturbed. 

The Peculiar Fruiting Structure of Chaga

 ( Above Photo: Vladimir Gubenko)

Below: Basidiocarps of the Teleomorphic stage. Chaga's fructification process of dispersing spores.

Above Photo:  Jorma Palmén

A Rare Sight: The Teleomorphic Stage of Chagas Life Cycle

 Chaga's Reproductive Stage, Layered Pores. White-Grey when young, browning with age.

Above Photo/ Right Photo: Jorma Palmén

Chaga's Fruiting Body, Often Forms Under The Bark Until It Rapidly Grows Down The Sapwood Of The Tree, Leaving An Explosion Of Bark

Sustainable Harvesting Practices:

   Chaga is rapidly growing in popularity, and is expected to become the closest herbal ally, that the human species has. Stress(both mental and physical) is said to cause 80% of disease. In today's modern cities, people are overworked, overstimulated, and over-stressed. Adaptogens such as Chaga, which modulate your ability to cope with this stress, to help fend off viruses and sickness, are rare. With the increasing number of people who are enjoying the effects of Chaga, there seems to be a new Chaga based business popping up every day. This is the largest issue biologists are currently facing with Chaga. People hear that it is worth money, head out to the nearest woods, and proceed to clear out every specimen they can pillage.

*NOBODY, I repeat: NOBODY, is going to make a living off selling Chaga. The amount of Chaga you would have to sell and forage would be extremely unsustainable and you would be decimating and depriving those forests for the next 20-30 years.

 The most effective method for ensuring the sustainable harvest of Chaga, comes down to the consumer. There are a lot of self proclaimed Chaga experts around, which is another issue on its own. The spreading of false information, or misinformation will often cause more harm, than good. If you consume Chaga already or want to add it to your daily routine, I highly recommend reading this page thoroughly, as this is the accumulation of my own field data and intricate relationship with Chaga(over a decade), as well as; pier reviewed documents and educated speculation. When you talk to the person who is selling you Chaga, you can ask them important questions and speak with conviction. If you're not happy with the answers or the persons understanding, then find another source.

When To Harvest Chaga:

   A lot of people harvest Chaga in the warmer months of the year, but this is detrimental to the health of the host tree and the fungi. By harvesting in the winter months, when the sap is not flowing, you ensure that the tree is dormant. The impact of removing Chaga from the tree is still not fully understood, but harvesting in the winter allows the flowing sap to feed the injured Chaga and heal the wound. Chaga will regrow, even if you think youve harvested every piece. It is extremely resilient, but may take 10-20 years to achieve the same biomass.

Where & How To Forage Chaga: Sustainably

   Everytime I've tried to categorize Fungi, or come up with a general rule that applies to a particular species, **there is always an exception to the rule, an anomaly. Chaga fits this behaviour to a "T". The video below covers a lot of the different questions you might have about foraging Chaga. Its a 25:00 minute video, but very in depth and if youve never foraged Chaga before, it will be of great use. I have foraged Chaga across Canada, coast to coast, looking for observational evidence that would assist my overall understanding of how Chaga infects the host tree. Chaga loves the cold. You wont find it in temperate or tropical regions of the world. Think cold, harsh climates with lots of birch trees, thats where Chaga proliferates. In every forest of the world, there is an incredibly intense race for light, a "winner take all" battle, where the quickest and largest growing trees eventually take over. This is especially true in the rapid growing conifer forests of Western Canada. My original hypothesis, is that Inonotus obliquus is a natural form of forest succession in the Northern hemisphere of the world. I have noticed that it grows predominantly on birch trees that have been out competed by the surrounding forest canopy, where the birch tree is being hit with less and less light and growing weaker and weaker. I believe this lowers the trees immune system to the point that Chaga spores are able to penetrate and infect the tree, ultimately delivering the final blow, when the Chaga has finished its life cycle. Look for larger birch trees, as they are both: Infected more frequently, and the sterile conks are much larger.

Above: The most extensive video on harvesting Chaga

Below: Chaga should not be harvested by hacking away at it with a machete or axe. Using a hammer to pry the entire conk off is the most effective and least damaging to the tree.

A History of Chaga's Medicinal Prowess

  Chaga has been consumed as a traditional medicine for over 1000 years in Russia and by North American Aboriginals. It gained popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries in Northern Europe, where it was mostly consumed in its tea form. People in this era of history didnt have the deductive powers or education that we have in todays society. This means when someone is sick or suffering from disease, you dont have peer reviewed studies to refer to. You also dont have time to tamper with herbs and medicines that dont have a prominent positive effect. This also means, that when something actually did work, that information was highly cherished and passed on, especially within families. For this reason, along with my own personal experience; I dont need a peer reviewed, human study, for me to confirm that Chaga is beneficial. I already know this to be fact, based on a long, successful, and interconnected history with mankind!

  Here is a long list of famous testimonials from both scientists and traditional herbal healers from around the world. There are plenty of studies that focus on the medicinal properties of Chaga, but very few human studies. Most the studies are conducted on animals or cells, and the results have been staggering. People will argue that animal and cell studies are not a substitute for actual human, studies. This is correct, however, the incredible results along with a millennia of testimonials and historic use, implies that Chaga is not just a significant herbal ally of humanity, but indeed the greatest! 


"The mushroom Inonotus obliquus (Fr.) Pilát (Hymenochaetaceae), has been traditionally used for the treatment of gastrointestinal cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in Russia, Poland and most of Baltic countries"


"It has been observed by contemporary Russians that in the districts where chaga was regularly used, there was no cancer." 


"In 1960, the U.S. National Cancer Institute noted a report that a decoction of Chaga had been used successfully to treat cancer in Australia. Well known for stimulating the immune system, Chaga was approved for public use against cancer by the Medical Academy of Science in Moscow in 1955.


"John Pezzuto of the University of Chicago is quoted as "the activity of the Betulinic acid is one of the most promising discoveries among 2500 plant extracts studied." The Betulinic acid contained in Chaga covers the full spectrum of immune stimulating effects found in similar medicinal mushrooms such as Maitake and Shiitake mushrooms."


" Chaga medicinal mushroom, Inonotus obliquus, a popular prescription in traditional medicine in Europe and Asia, was used to reduce inflammation in the nasopharynx and to facilitate breathing"


"Russian and Japanese medical professionals both contend Chaga is many times more effective than Ganoderma Lucidum or Phellinus Linteus. The International Agriculture Development Institute in Korea confirms such claims.

The Japanese Cancer Society claims Chaga plays an important role in combating cancer and it jointly used with pharmacology drugs and chemotherapy diminishes their side effects."


"Numerous studies also indicate a 50% reduction in glycemic peaks are achieved due to the Beta Glucan effects on blood sugar levels. There are over 1000 research papers on Beta Glucan activity including studies from Harvard Medical School, National Cancer Institute, the Department of Agriculture and others. These studies prove Beta Glucan are external immunomodulators to keep one's immune system in a highly prepared state."

Reported Medicinal Benefits of Chaga

-Adaptogen:  Several compounds found within Chaga can increase the body’s capability of adapting to stress( Both mental and physical), fatigue, and anxiety. 


-Blood Purification: Detoxifies and protects, blood, liver, and kidneys. Chaga also supports the integrity of blood vessels and increases blood circulation, both beneficial properties for Diabetic patients. 


-Enhanced Cardiovascular Health: Chaga has demonstrated the ability to regulate blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and remove plaque from arterial walls. 


-Anti genotoxicity: Genotoxicity refers to compounds that damage the genetic material of cells, causing mutations, often cancer. In animals studies and cell studies, Chaga has demonstrated a powerful response, which protects and repairs these damaged cells.


-Blood Pressure Regulation: High(hypertension, Low(Hypotension). If your blood pressure is too high or too low, the effects can be negative. Chaga helps regulate blood pressure and help your body return to a state of homeostasis. 

 

-Antimicrobial, Anti-Candida, Anti-Parasitic: Chaga kills just about anything that tries to invade your body. It has been used to effectively treat HIV, Malaria, E.coli, Parasitic worms, etc etc etc. In addition to inhibiting the growth of several pathogens, it also enhances the bodies ability to defend against these invaders. Chaga also contains nutrients that help the body remain Alkaline, unfavorable conditions for most microorganisms. 


-Inflammatory Skin Conditions: Chaga is extremely healthy for skin! It has been used in Europe as an effective skin cream for psoriasis, eczema, and for its proven anti aging qualities.

Cancer Inhibiting Properties of Chaga

  Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death, globally and has the potential to affect anyone. Cancer is the uncontrolled division of abnormal or mutated cells, which do not die through the natural process of apoptosis. Humans are incredibly complex, multi-cellular organisms, and each of us is uniquely different. This is where the difficulty lies, in treating cancer. 

In every study that I have posted, the conclusion was: Chaga has significant anticancer properties. Although there needs to be further investigations and human studies, the results of in vivo and in vitro tests are significant. I will not say Chaga "cures" cancer. However, the studies below suggest that it is a powerful preventative and has therapeutic and restorative effects for people who are suffering from the disease. There are powerful antitumor compounds found in both the aqueous and ethanol extractions of Chaga. One or both is fine, but a dual extraction will give you the full spectrum of medicinal compounds and benefits. Because of the synergistic nature of several compounds found in Chaga, you made need to have another nutrient or peptide present, in order to absorb them properly.


My interpretation of how Chaga affects cancer cells:

To me, there appears to be a potent, systematic, triple pronged attack from a variety of anticancer nutrients found within Chaga sclerotium. The first stage, is the induction of differentiation between healthy cells and tumor cells. The second stage, is the inhibition of growth, proliferation, and motility of cancer cells. The third stage, is the induction of Apoptosis in mutated cells. These are the 3 main cancer fighting activities that I have observed in my research and the results are very promising. With natural substances, especially Chaga, there is a synergy between nutrients, in which the powerful antioxidant, antinflammatory, immunomodulating, and anti-mutagenic properties, all aid in the healing process and normalization of the body.


#1 - DIFFERENTIATION -Cytotoxic lymphocytes, Cytotoxic T cells,  and Natural killer cells are ultimately responsible for eliminating the cancer cells in our bodies(Anel 2015)#1. In addition to increasing your body's, natural "Killer T" lymphocytes and their capacity for distinguishing cancer cells; there are compounds found in the hot water extraction which differentiate between normal cells and mutated cells(Youn 2009)#2. Some polyphenolic(Antioxidant) compounds are cytotoxic to the cancer cells, but have little to no cytotoxic effect on healthy cells(Nakajima 2009)#3. Gap junctional intercellular communication(GJIC) was explored in another study, where rat liver cells were exposed to an aqueous fraction of Chaga. In the study, Chaga inhibited the GJIC of cancer promoting compound TPA (12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate), while leaving the communication channels between normal cells, untouched(Park 2006)#4. Cell to cell communication through gap junctional channels is a key component in preventing and eliminating mutated cells, because GJIC maintains tissue homeostasis by regulating differentiation, apoptosis, and cell growth. The polysacharides found in Chaga have the unique ability to modulate the immune system of humans(Zjawiony 2004). A subsequent effect of this boosted immune system, is that your body is able to differentiate between normal and mutated cells and is able to take defensive measures and eliminate these cells before they proliferate. 


#2 - INHIBITION OF GROWTH & PROLIFERATION Lemieszek 2011)#5.Two of the most powerful cancer fighting compounds found within Chaga, are Lanosterol and Inotodiol, both Triterpenes. In an in vitro study, both of these compounds were found to effectively inhibit the growth of Sarcoma and Carcinoma cancer cells of the Lungs, Breast, Stomach, and Cervix(Chung 2010)#6. The Polysaccharides found within Chaga have demonstrated powerful inhibitory effects on the proliferation of cancer cells. This inhibitory ability is related to the downregulation of Bcl-2 and upregulation of caspase-3, two proteins associated with Apoptosis(Ning, 2014)#7. In a Japanese study, scientists discovered that the extract of Chaga has powerful tumor suppressive properties. There was a 60% decrease in tumor mass(in tumor bearing mice), and the number of nodules decreased by 25% when compared to the control group. Extract-treated mice demonstrated the increase in tumor agglomeration and inhibition of vascularization(Arata 2016)#8. One of the most powerful lanostane-type triterpenoids in Chaga is Inotodiol, which has demonstrated powerful antitumor effects in in vivo studies( Nakata 2007)#9. One of the most interesting effects that Chaga has demonstrated, is its ability to disturb the function and processes of cancer cells, while assisting normal cell functions. An in vitro study on human cervical uteri tumor cells, revealed that a hot-water extraction from Chaga, was effective at lowering the tumor cells mitotic index value and available proteins(Rzymowska 1998)#10. During malignancy, proteins are usually uncontrollably over-expressed or structurally affected due to genetic mutations. In a study on Chaga's tripeptides, scientists discovered that an ethanol extraction of Chaga sclerotia, had a powerful inhibitive effect on platelet aggregation(Hyun 2006)#11.


#3 - INDUCTION OF APOPTOSIS/ CYTOTOXICITY OF CANCER CELLS - This is the most important stage, the elimination of cancerous cells. Most of Chaga's antitumor compounds affect the cell-cycle, either halting the reproduction of more cancer cells, or inducing apoptosis in sick cells. In one experiment, two heavy anticancer molecules from a Chaga hot-water extract, demonstrated antitumor properties, independent of the cell cycle. These water soluble sugars inhibited the nuclear conscription factor in cancer cells(Wang 2015)#12. In another in vitro study, Human colon cancer cells were exposed to anticancer compounds derived from the ethanol fraction of Chaga. The results concluded that the alcohol soluble compounds were the main active ingredients, which induced G1 arrest in the cancer cell cycle and inhibited the proliferation of sick cells(Lee 2015)#13. Ergosterol is a powerful anticancer compound, which could be used in the therapy and as a preventative for colon cancer. The study demonstrated the ability of Ergosterol peroxide to down-regulated β-catenin signaling, inducing anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic activities in colorectal cancer cells(Kang 2015)#14.


I always recommend that people ask their doctor if its alright to consume Chaga while undergoing any special treatments or medications. 99% of the time, doctors will say its fine. In my experience, most medications are safe to consume while drinking Chaga, but if you have any health concerns, remember to consult your doctor. If you are undergoing serious treatment, your doctor will be monitoring your development closely. They may ask you, not to ingest anything that could throw off their results, or their observations of the effectiveness of the treatment or medication, being administered. The general conclusion of the in vivo and in vitro studies I have posted, is that the compounds isolated from Chaga, DO have significant anticancer properties. These compounds differ from western medicine, because they have a multitude of positive effects and no side-effect. The molecules in Chaga are often heavy and complex, working together, there is a synergy between nutrients. Based on the sheer variety of synergistic nutrients, Chaga is the most medicinal mushroom, overall. The positive results with a long history of human testimonials, suggest that Chaga has powerful anticancer compounds which need to be investigated further. For now, it is recognized as a healthy, "superfood", but in reality it's a "miraclefood".

The Most Powerful Antioxidant: Chaga

    Reactive Oxygen Species(ROS), are chemically reactive compounds, which contain an oxygen molecule. Free Radicals are not hippies, but they are a type of ROS, which cause damage to lipids, proteins, and DNA. Antioxidants are important for overall human health. They detoxify and heal the body and are normally obtained from eating plants and mushrooms. As far as I know, Chaga is the strongest natural source of antioxidants on the planet. Chaga is a plethora of free-radical destroying compounds. Many of the anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulating compounds; are also antioxidants that prevent free radicals from causing oxidative stress to cells. These free radicals are caused by poor diet, contaminants, smoking, stress and can lead to future disease, especially cancer. The polyphenols in Chaga are responsible for scavenging free radicals, while polysacharides and lanostane triterpenoids(2 other powerful antioxidants), scavenge DPPH and hydroxyl radicals(Zheng 2011). The general conclusion of the studies posted here, is that Chaga has powerful antioxidants and is capable of reducing the oxidative stress on the body. 


   Too much of anything is bad for your health, but there has never been a reported overdose of Chaga. Ive drank Litres of powerful tea in a day, and to the best of my observations, you excrete whatever your body cant utilize. So the more antioxidants, the better. Our bodies are under constant oxidative stress and many people do not consume the 8-10 servings of vegetables and fruits per day(which is where we would naturally obtain these antioxidants). Chaga has not only one antioxidant present, but a plethora, including the most powerful antioxidant that I know of, SOD. 


     A carrot has antioxidants, but when compared to Chaga on the ORAC scale, Chaga is over 18,000x more potent(gram for gram), for its ability to quench free radicals. Not all antioxidants are the same!! People tend to think of antioxidants as 1 compound that cleans the body, found in fruits, veggies, and herbal medicines, because thats how they're advertised. The quantity and quality of the antioxidants can vary tremendously, from product to product. The most powerful antioxidant that I know of is Super Oxide Dismutase(SOD)  Chaga is well known for its high content of SOD(50x the amount found in reishi!!), a powerful enzyme that acts as not only an antioxidant, but the antioxidant! SOD has demonstrated incredible 'anti-aging qualities, as it neutralizes oxygen free radicals and prevents oxidative damage to cells. SOD has been studied extensively in over 900 studies that conclude it has significant medicinal uses for humans. In one study, scientists reported the antioxidant abilities of 7, isolated phenol ingredients. Cells were treated with a reactive substance(H2O2), hydrogen peroxide. 2 Phenols in particular, DBL and Caffeic acid, both effectively supressed the amount of ROS, in the hydrogen peroxide treated cells. Cell death was effectively prevented, in cells treated with DBL(Nakajima 2009). Some of the antioxidants in Chaga have anti-mutagenic properties. In a study on mutagenesis, scientists discovered that at least 2 compounds from Chaga, inotodiol & a lanosterol, both exhibited anti-mutagenic properties as well as powerful free-radical scavenging(Ham, 2009) These studies clearly demonstrate that Chaga is a powerful and effective anti-oxidant. 


ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity - A test that quantifies the amount of free radicals each food can help the body discard. As you can see, Chaga contains the most antioxidants of any super food. Free radicals are oxygen molecules with an unpaired electron. They naturally seek out other electrons and damage cells through oxidative stress.  


"Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs. To prevent free radical damage, the body has a defense system of antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged."
orac numbers (A higher number indicates a powerful antioxidant)
  Various SUPERFOODS
 3,655,700      (The Most Powerful Antioxidant)
 CHAGA
 80,000
 ACAI BERRIES
 40,000
 GOJI BERRIES
 5890
 PRUNES
 2890
 RAISINS
 2450
 BLUEBERRIES
 2080
 BLACKBERRIES
 1800
 KALE
 1290
 SPINACH
 860
 BEETS
 200
 CARROT

When it comes to quality/variety of nutrients and antioxidants, Chaga outperforms EVERY super food.


Quinoa vs. Chaga
Quinoa is high in protein, vitamins, and antioxidants and helps cardiac and respiratory health as well as protecting cells from free radical damage. Chaga contains much higher levels of nutrients and antioxidants which provide similar effects, but the effects are much more powerful.

Goji Berries vs. Chaga
Both Goji berries and chaga contain high amounts of polysaccharides, however the polysaccharides found in goji berries are not comparable in quality. The long chain sugars found in chaga are extremely beneficial to humans.

Anti-Aging Properties of Chaga

   As we age, the myelin sheath on cells begins to degenerate, sometimes causing mutations which lead to diseases or Cancer. The process of aging can be sped up tremendously by stress, smoking, poor diet, and toxins. Natural substances with anti-aging properties are rare, but the subject is of great interest. Who doesn't want to slow down the aging process? There are compounds found in Chaga, which protect and repair cells that are damaged. These compounds have demonstrated significant positive results and should be investigated further. In a test with rats exposed to prolonged external gamma-irradiation,  aqueous extracts made from Chaga, demonstrated a positive effect on increased life duration. The aqueous extract was able to "slow down the development of leycopenia, hold lipid peroxide oxidation in the blood and in critic tissues and the R-proteins in blood serum on the level, close to the intact control; appearance, activity and behaviour of the animals were the same"(IAPE 2002). Many nutritional substances that increase lifespan, also postpone age related declines in both motor & cognitive function. Interestingly, scientists speculate that the best place to search for plants and fungi which exhibit anti-aging properties, is in extreme environments where they have had to adapt to extreme stresses. Anterior mechanosensory neuron aberrations(ALM), are extended neural outgrowths and abnormal cell bodies and become more common with age and an accumulation of these abnormal growths is associated with poor health. Posterior mechanosensory neuron aberrations(PLM), are namely process branching neurons, which are important in cognitive health. In an Alaskan study on the effects of Chaga on the decline of overall health and neuron function, scientists discovered that an extract made from Chaga, had a positive effect on lifespan of the species Caenorhabditis elegans. In addition to increased lifespan, the extract decreased the amount of ALM aberrations and increased PLM branching neurons, which suggests Chaga is a safe and natural, nutritional intervention for age-related motor and cognitive function(Scerbak 2016).

Cognitive Enhancing Properties of Chaga 

There has been plenty of testimonials which attest to the fact that Chaga has Cognitive Enhancing properties. I myself, have felt the powerful effects of Chaga on focus and mental clarity, as well as mental energy and stamina. I would say its one of the most prevalent immediate effects that Chaga has, and can be felt within 15 minutes of ingesting the tea or dual extract. In addition to clarity of the mind, I find that Chaga inspires creativity, while helping to maintain focus on a task or idea. In a study which investigated the cognitive enhancing properties of Inonotus obliquus, scopolamine was used to induce amnesia in mice. Learning and memory were assessed by Passive Avoidance Task(PAT).  An alcohol extract was administered for 7 days and this significantly improved learning and memory recovery, while reducing oxidative stress on the brain and restoring crucial glutathione and superoxide dismutase levels. The conclusion of this study, is that Chaga had a critical, positive impact on higher brain functions, such as learning and memory(Giridharan 2011).

Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Chaga

Inflammation is the body's complex biological response to harmful stimuli such as pathogens, irritants, and damaged tissue, which is actually a necessary part of healing. Serious inflammation is a health concern, which can constrict blood flow, lead to other diseases, and inhibit the healing capabilities of the body. Chaga is known to contain potent anti-inflammatory compounds and acts as a pain reliever. Both aqueous and ethanol extracts have demonstrated significant down-regulations of proteins and pro-inflammatory molecules. Significant results have been observed by people suffering from arthritic pain, diabetes, swollen tissue, and poor circulation. The anti-inflammatory properties of an aqueous extract made from Chaga, were tested on the intestinal inflammation(ulcerative colitis) of mice, induced by dextran sulfate sodium(DSS). The results indicated that the aqueous extract suppressed edema, mucosal damage, and the loss of crypts. In addition, the Chaga significantly down-regulating the mRNA expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines(Mishra 2012). In another study, which focused on the mechanism of the anti-inflammatory effects of Chaga, scientists discovered that an alcohol extract potently inhibited the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase(iNOS) & cyclooxygenase(COX-2) in a murine macrophage cell line. There is another study based on the alcohol extract made from Chaga, which also inhibited the expression of iNOS & COX-2 proteins(Ho-Gyoung 2007). The conclusion of both studies was that Chaga has useful clinical applications in the management of inflammatory diseases. 

Chaga and Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease(PD) is a neurodegenerative disease which affects the dopamine producing, nerve cells, in the brain. Oxidative stress is implicated as a factor in the pathogenesis of this disease. The powerful bioactives contained within Chaga sclerotia have demonstrated significant Neuro-Protective properties, additionally, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and antioxidative activities.  3,4-Dihydroxybenzalacetone(DBL), is a catechol-containing compound found in Chaga, which has demonstrated significant Neuroprotective activities. Neuroblastoma cells were exposed to a PD-related neurotoxin, 6-hydroxydopamine(6-OHDA) and then treated with DBL, which then 'dose dependently' improved the survival rate of the cells which were exposed to the neurotoxin. The results of this experiment signify that Chaga could be used as a neuroprotective, preventative and treatment for some neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's Disease(Gunjima, 2014).

Immunomodulating Properties of Chaga

Immunomodulation is a regulatory adjustment of the immune system, to the desired level of balance, homeostasis. Compounds that modulate the immune system are said to self regulate and adjust immune responses to be adaptive, rather than mal-adapted. There is a multitude of immuno-potentiating compounds within Chaga, which can be found in both the Aqueous and Ethanol based extracts. Beta glucans and other complex sugars found within Chaga have demonstrated a powerful effect on the immune system. The sugars either stimulate or depress the immune system, seemingly attempting to restore homeostasis and balance, of their own accord. In a study to determine the mechanism behind the immuno-suppressive properties of Inonotus obliquus, scientists discovered Chaga modulates immune responses through the secretion of Th1/Th2 cytokines into immune cells and regulates antigen-specific antibody production(Ko 2011). This finding is a significant indication that Chaga has therapeutic anti-allergenic properties, for people with overactive immune systems. In addition to having immuno-suppressive activities, Chaga is also an immuno-stimulator. Much of Chaga's powerful anti-cancer properties are attributed to the immune system stimulation. The polysacharides found within Chaga, especially endo-polysacharides, have demonstrated a significant immuno-stimulating effect on B-cells and macrophages, which indirectly indicated an anti-cancer effect(Kim 2005).

Anti-Allergenic Properties of Chaga

Many people suffer from an overactive immune system, or allergies. This allergic response is caused by the body trying to defend itself against pathogens, damaged cells, and irritants. The body means well, but in reality, these allergic reactions can be a hassle and even dangerous, depending on the gravity of the response. There are compounds found in Chaga, which have demonstrated(in vitro & in vivo) suppressive activity on an overactive immune systems, and can prevent anaphylactic shock, a sometimes fatal outcome of a severe allergic reaction. In one study, scientists administered an allergen(OVA), to mice and assessed the response to the allergen. The mice were treated with Chaga extract, which prophylactically inhibited the systemic anaphylactic shock, induced by the allergen(Yoon 2013). The immunomodulatory mechanisms of Chaga and its therapeutic effect on allergies, were observed in another study, where mice were exposed to chicken ovalbumin(cOVA)- induced food allergies. The results indicated that Chaga ameliorated allergy symptoms to an impressive extent. These results were attributed to the mast cell-stabilizing activities and the suppression of immune responses. Inotodiol was largely responsible for the mast cell-stabilization(2013). The conclusions of these studies indicates that Chaga could be used as a successful, anti-allergenic food. 

Anti-Viral Properties of Chaga

Chaga has demonstrated anti-viral properties that inhibit viruses like HIV/AIDS, H1N1, Influenza, etc. I believe in the near future, mankind will be faced with a super pathogen of sorts. Fungi, like Chaga, will play a determining role in whether we are able to defend against these diseases. Herpes simplex virus(HSV), is a common virus that affects humans, also known as "cold sores". In a study to determine the anti-viral properties of Chaga, scientists discovered that an aqueous extract could inhibit the HSV infection, by up to 50%. The mechanism for these anti-viral activities was due to the inhibition of viral-induced membrane fusion. The conclusion of this study implied that the aqueous extract of Chaga could effectively prevent the HSV infection, by acting on viral glycoproteins and preventing membrane fusion(Pan 2013).

Antimicrobial Properties of Chaga

 Chaga supposedly kills just about anything that tries to invade your body. It has been used to effectively treat Candida, Malaria, E.coli, Parasitic worms, etc etc. In addition to inhibiting the growth of several pathogens, it also enhances the bodies ability to defend against these invaders. Chaga also contains nutrients that help the body remain Alkaline, an unfavorable environment for most micro-organisms. In a study focused on the Mycosynthesis of silver nanoparticles, scientists determined that Chaga demonstrated considerably high anti-bacterial activities against both gram negative and gram positive bacteria. Additionally, the silver nanoparticles demonstrated potent anti-proliferative properties against human breast cancer and human lung cancer. The studies I have read have all indicated that Chaga has significant antimicrobial properties and needs further investigation.

How To Properly Brew Chaga Tea

This short 6min video will demonstrate how to make the highest quality chaga tea available, right at home. Its very simple, but there are many ways you can ruin the tea. In the video, I demonstrate using whole chunks of Chaga, which are reusable. Powdered Chaga will make the most post tea, but youll only get one use out of it. I highly recommend the method described in the video. It has produced the finest results out of any hot water extraction ive experimented with, in the last 11 years. Enjoy!

My Personal Experience With Chaga - How It Impacted My Life & Performance 

   Ill start off by saying outright, I am not a doctor. I do not prescribe or boast that Chaga, Reishi, or Cordyceps can "cure" diseases. Anyone who has serious health issues should consult with their health care practitioner and follow their advice. However, cell & animal studies, coupled with limitless testimonials, have shown that these fungi DO have significant medicinal uses to people suffering from a long line of ailments including: Cancer, HIV, skin problems, cardiovascular health issues, low or high blood sugar, weak or overactive immune system, Daily stresses, both mental & physical, etc etc. 

     I have been a Tree Planter for 7 years(1.2-1.3 Million trees) and will continue planting in the future. Tree planting is hands down, the most grueling physical job you could possibly imagine. Your mind and body are pushed beyond normal limits every day, which as you can imagine, is a stress on the body. I've been making and using Chaga dual extractions for over a decade and figured tree planting would be the perfect place to test Chaga's effect, on athletic performance. Eventually, I started to document my results and those of other planters to see if we noticed a difference in fatigue, or an increase in the number of trees we planted. Not a peer reviewed study of course, just observational. 

    Out of 16 people who tried it for 3 days straight of work, 12 said they felt a lot more relaxed and upbeat. 7 Planters attributed their higher number of planted trees to the chaga extract. I was already accustomed to chaga and took it regularly, so my results didn't change much, I was happy, healthy, and the top planter out of 12 people. I would definitely attribute some of my overall longevity and peak performance to my ingestion of chaga.


I havn't had a sickness or day in bed in over a decade and I have absolutely 0 health ailments. Thats correct, not a single ailment. I dont know of anyone who has a similar bill of health, but I also dont know anyone who consumes as much medicinal and nutritional mushrooms, as I do.

So, in my opinion; Yes, Chaga has numerous powerful effects on the body. I have never heard of or met anyone could not add Chaga to their diet(Aside from people who have recently, had replacement surgery. The Chaga can potentially increase your bodies immune response, and cause you to reject the foreign object). Results vary from person to person and because of its adaptogenic properties. People who are less healthy, tend to feel the effects more strongly than someone who is already feeling optimal. 


I make a strong Chaga tea or drink my daily dual extract whenever I feel some form of stress, either mental or physical. Stress is probably the biggest killer in the world and a major cause of many types of cancer and disease. Once you ingest the Chaga, you can feel its effects taking effect within minutes.

They dont call it the King of Herbs for nothing! You can feel some of Chaga's power, the very first time you drink the tea. If you dont believe all the hype surrounding this fungi, simply try some, and see for yourself! There are immediate effects to consuming Chaga, but youll find the effects accumulate, the longer you take it. 

The Last 6 Years of Chaga, Harvesting Data

I am releasing this data to the public. This is the observational data that I have collected, harvesting over the last 6 years, from the largest untapped source of Chaga in the world CANADA. This data was collected whenever I had my notebook present, but reflects only a small percentage of what I have encountered. I can head out into nearly any woods in Canada, aside from Vancouver, and bring back fresh Chaga(Within 30min). Nearly coast to coast, ive foraged in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. The areas that I have found to have the most Chaga, are areas where the Birch host is being out competed by other trees, usually conifers. Especially in the Rocky Mountains. The Chaga appears to prefer areas with very cold winter and high humidity. In around the Great Lakes and into Michigan, it can be found in nearly any hardwood forest where large birch are prevalent. The data below pertained to my own hypotheses, so you may not find the data interesting in the slightest. I am currently working on some cultivation techniques that may allow us to cultivate Chaga in the near future, or at least inoculate hosts. 

Collection #
 Date 
 Area
 Chaga Conk, Age est
 Harvest?
 is host  
Alive/ Dead?
 Chaga weight est
if harvested, returned on:
date/inches- 
of growth
 Teleomorphic Fruiting Body present?
 # of sterile conks present
 Actual weight fresh
grams
 TYPE OF FOREST (BIRCH & -)
 **ANOMALY
notes 
 
 OI#1
 Jan, 7 2011
 ONP331
 5+ Years
  Yes
 Alive
 1.5lbs
          -----
 No
 1
   ---
 Oak, Maple, 
Beech
 
 
 OI#2
 Jan, 7
2011
 ONP331
 10+ Years
  Yes
  Alive
 5lbs
 Aug, 20, 2014
Yes, 3 inches of
growth on 2 seperate conks.
 No
  2
 1426
 Oak, Maple
 The Chaga sclerotia grew back relatively quickly, within 3 years
 
  OI#3
 Jan, 7
2011
  ONP331
  10+
Years
  Yes
  Alive
  6-8
  lbs 
-----
  N/A
  1
  --
 Oak, Aspen,
Maple
 
OI#4
  Jan,7
2011
  ONP331
  4-5
Years
  No
  Alive
  1lb
----
  N/A
  1
  --
 Maple, Oak
 
OI#5
  Jan, 20/11
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Peer-Reviewed Document References & Abstracts 

Anti-Cancer References

#1 - Anel A, et al. 2015. How Do Cytotoxic Lymphocytes Kill Cancer Cells? Department of Biochemistry, 15;21(22):5047-56.


#2 Inonotus obliquus extract not only inhibited the growth of B16-F10 cells by causing cell cycle arrest at G(0)/G(1) phase and apoptosis, but also induced cell differentiation. These effects were associated with the down-regulation of pRb, p53 and p27 expression levels, and further showed that Inonotus obliquus extract resulted in a G(0)/G(1) cell cycle arrest with reduction of cyclin E/D1 and Cdk 2/4 expression levels. Furthermore, the anti-tumor effect of Inonotus obliquus extract was assessed in vivo in Balb/c mice. Intraperitoneal administration of Inonotus obliquus extract significantly inhibited the growth of tumor mass in B16-F10 cells implanted mice, resulting in a 3-fold (relative to the positive control, (*)p<0.05) inhibit at dose of 20mg/kg/day for 10 days.

This study showed that the water extract of Inonotus obliquus mushroom exhibited a potential anticancer activity against B16-F10 melanoma cells in vitro and in vivo through the inhibition of proliferation and induction of differentiation and apoptosis of cancer cells.

#2 - Youn MJ. 2009. Potential anticancer properties of the water extract of Inonotus [corrected] obliquus by induction of apoptosis in melanoma B16-F10 cells. VestibuloCochlear Research Center and Department of Microbiology, 121(2):221-8.

In particular, two out of seven compounds showed strong cytotoxicity towards several tumor cell lines without giving rise to significant cell toxicity toward normal cells. For example, the 50% lethal dose for 3,4-dihydroxybenzalacetone was 12.2 micromol/L in PA-1 cells but was 272.8 micromol/L in IMR90 cells. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis further revealed these phenolic ingredients have high potentiality for apoptosis induction in PA-1 cells."

#3 - Nakajima. 2009. Cancer cell cytotoxicity of extracts and small phenolic compounds from Chaga [Inonotus obliquus (persoon) Pilat].

Niigata University of Pharmacy and Applied Life Sciences,  12(3):501-7.


In in vivo results, subfraction 1 isolated from I. obliquus at concentrations of 0.1 and 0.2 mg/mouse per day significantly decreased tumor volume by 23.96% and 33.71%, respectively, as compared with the control. Subfractions 2 and 3 also significantly inhibited tumor growth in mice bearing S-180 as compared with the control mouse tumor. Subfraction 1 isolated from I. obliquus showed greater inhibition of tumor growth than subfractions 2 and 3, which agrees well with the in vitro results. The results suggest that I. obliquus and its compounds in these subfractions isolated from I. obliquus could be used as natural anticancer ingredients in the food and/or pharmaceutical industry."

Chung MJ. 2010. Anticancer activity of subfractions containing pure compounds of Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) extract in human cancer cells and in Balbc/c mice bearing Sarcoma-180 cells. Department of Food Science and Biotechnology,  (3):177-82.


Chaga fraction elicited anticancer effects which were attributed to decreased tumor cell proliferation, motility and morphological changes induction. Of note is the fact that it produced no or low toxicity in tested normal cells. The data presented could open interesting paths for further investigations of fraction IO4 as a potential anticancer agent."

Lemieszek MK. 2011. Anticancer effects of fraction isolated from fruiting bodies of Chaga medicinal mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (Pers.:Fr.) Pilát (Aphyllophoromycetideae): in vitro studies. Institute of Agricultural Medicine, 13(2):131-43.


The I. obliquus extract sharply decreased the expression of Bcl-2 but dramatically increased the expression of caspase-3. This function was gradually enhanced with increased drug concentration and prolonged treatment duration. The I. obliquus extract can inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells. This inhibition function is closely related to the downregulation of Bcl-2 and the upregulation of caspase-3."

Ning X, et al. 2014. Inhibitory effects of a polysaccharide extract from the Chaga medicinal mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (higher Basidiomycetes), on the proliferation of human neurogliocytoma cells. Department of Neurosurgery, 16(1):29-36.


 Examination of cytotoxicity showed that these two lignin-carbohydrate complexes induced cell death in a concentration dependent manner, while this apoptosis induction was largely cell-cycle independent. Further investigation demonstrated that IOW-S-1 or IOW-S-2 inhibited the activation of the nuclear transcription factor in cancer cells. These findings implied that soluble lignin derivatives were one of bioactive components in I. obliquus, and further provided insights into the understanding of molecular basis for diverse medicinal and nutritional values of this mushroom."

Wang Q, et al. 2015. Characterization of two water-soluble lignin metabolites with antiproliferative activities from Inonotus obliquus. Northwest A&F University, 74:507-14.


These results demonstrate that fraction 2 is the major fraction that induces G1 arrest and inhibits cell proliferation, suggesting I. obliquus could be used as a natural anti-cancer ingredient in the food and/or pharmaceutical industry."

Lee HS, et all. 2015. Ethanol extract of Innotus obliquus (Chaga mushroom) induces G1 cell cycle arrest in HT-29 human colon cancer cells. Department of Food Science and Nutrition, 9(2):101-6.


Ergosterol peroxide administration showed a tendency to suppress tumor growth in the colon of AOM/DSS-treated mice, and quantification of the IHC staining showed a dramatic decrease in the Ki67-positive staining and an increase in the TUNEL staining of colonic epithelial cells in AOM/DSS-treated mice by ergosterol peroxide for both prevention and therapy.

CONCLUSION:

Our data suggest that ergosterol peroxide suppresses the proliferation of CRC cell lines and effectively inhibits colitis-associated colon cancer in AOM/DSS-treated mice. Ergosterol peroxide down-regulated β-catenin signaling, which exerted anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic activities in CRC cells. These properties of ergosterol peroxide advocate its use as a supplement in colon cancer chemoprevention."

Kang JH. 2015. Ergosterol peroxide from Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) exhibits anti-cancer activity by down-regulation of the β-catenin pathway in colorectal cancer. Gachon Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 15;173: 303-12.


The extract of I. obliquus caused significant tumor suppressive effects in both models. Thus, in tumor-bearing mice, 60% tumor reduction was observed, while in metastatic mice, the number of nodules decreased by 25% compared to the control group. Moreover, I. obliquus extract-treated mice demonstrated the increase in tumor agglomeration and inhibition of vascularization. Interestingly, I. obliquus intake decreased body weight in middle-aged mice and increased body temperature in response to light-dark switching in mature adult mice. Furthermore, I. obliquus prevented temperature drop in mice after tumor implantation.

SIGNIFICANCE:

Our findings suggest that the I. obliquus extract could be used as a natural remedy for cancer suppression by promoting energy metabolism.

Arata S, et al. 2016.  Continuous intake of the Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) aqueous extract suppresses cancer progression and maintains body temperature in mice. Center for Biotechnology, 12;2(5).


GJIC has an important function in maintaining tissue homeostasis through the regulation of cell growth, differentiation, apoptosis and adaptive functions of differentiated cells. Thus Chaga mushroom may act as a natural anticancer product by preventing the inhibition of GJIC through the inactivation of ERK1/2 and p38 MAP kinase."

Park JR, et al. 2006.  Reversal of the TPA-induced inhibition of gap junctional intercellular communication by Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) extracts: effects on MAP kinases. Seoul National University,  27(1-4):147-55.


Abstract: "An estimated 75% of polypore fungi that have been tested show strong antimicrobial activity, and these may constitute a good source for developing new antibiotics. Numerous compounds from these fungi also display antiviral, cytotoxic, and/or antineoplastic activities. Additional important components of this vast arsenal of compounds are polysaccharides derived from the fungal cell walls. These compounds have attracted significant attention in recent years because of their immunomodulatory activities, resulting in antitumor effects. These high molecular weight compounds, often called biological response modifiers (BRM), or immunopotentiators, prevent carcinogenesis, show direct anticancer effects, and prevent tumor metastasis. Some of the protein-bound polysaccharides from polypores and other basidiomycetes have found their way to the market in Japan as anticancer drugs. Finally, numerous compounds with cardiovascular, phytotoxic, immunomodulatory, analgesic, antidiabetic, antioxidant, insecticidal, and nematocidal activities, isolated from polypores, are also presented. In fact many of the fungi mentioned in this paper have long been used in herbal medicine, including polypores such as Ganoderma lucidum(Reishi or Ling Zhi), Laetiporus sulphureus (Chicken-of-the-Woods), Trametes versicolor (Yun Zhi), Grifola umbellata (Zhu Lin), Inonotus obliquus (Chaga), and Wolfiporia cocos (Hoelen)."

Zjawiony J. 2004. Biologically Active Compounds from Aphyllophorales (Polypore) Fungi. J. Nat. Prod., 2004, 67 (2), pp 300–310 


Abstract:  "Two new lanostane-type triterpenoids, inonotsuoxides A (1) and B (2) along with three known lanostane-type triterpenoids, inotodiol (3), trametenolic acid (4), and lanosterol (5), were isolated from the sclerotia of Inonotus obliquus (Pers.: Fr.) (Japanese name: Kabanoanakake) (Russian name: Chaga). Their structures were determined to be 22R,25-epoxylanost-8-ene-3beta,24S-diol (1) and 22S,25-epoxylanost-8-ene-3beta,24S-diol (2) on the basis of spectral data including single crystal X-ray analysis. These compounds except for 2 were tested for their inhibitory effects on Epstein-Barr virus early antigen (EBV-EA) activation induced by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA), as a test for potential cancer chemopreventive agents. The most abundant triterpene, inotodiol (3), was investigated for the inhibitory effect in a two-stage carcinogenesis test on mouse skin using 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) as an initiator and TPA as a promoter. Compound 3 was found to exhibit the potent anti-tumor promoting activity in the in vivo carcinogenesis test."

Nakata. T, et al. 2007. Structure determination of inonotsuoxides A and B and in vivo anti-tumor promoting activity of inotodiol from the sclerotia of Inonotus obliquus. Osaka University of Pharmaceutical Sciences,  569-1094.


Abstract: "The effect of aqueous extract from Inonotus obliquus on the mitotic index and some enzyme activities in human cervical uteri tumour cells HeLa S3 in vitro was evaluated. It was concluded that Inonotus extract inhibited the growth of tumour cells. The fungal extract caused a decrease of the cell protein amount and mitotic index value. Moreover, this extract disturbed metabolism in cells caused decreased activity of LDH, HBDH, MDH, GGT and increasing the activity of catalase."

Rzymowska J. 1998. The effect of aqueous extracts from Inonotus obliquus on the mitotic index and enzyme activities. Department of Human Genetics137(1):13-5. 


Abstract: "The cytotoxic effect of two aqueous extracts of Inonotus obliquus on human cervical uteri cancer cells (Hela S3) in vitro was evaluated. It was concluded that Inonotus extracts at a concentration of 10 micrograms/ml to 2000 micrograms/ml inhibited cancer cells growth. In cultures with extracts of the fungus a decrease of the cell proteins and mitotic index was observed. Moreover, the extracts disturbed mitoses by elevating the number of mitotic cells in metaphase. Aqueous extracts of Inonotus effected not only mitoses but also the 8/G phase of the cell cycle."

Burczyk J, et all. 1996. Antimitotic activity of aqueous extracts of Inonotus obliquus. Department of Pharmacognosy, 135(5):306-9. 


Abstract: "This study describes the extraction and characterization of a platelet aggregation inhibitory peptide from Inonotus obliquus. Ethanol extract from I. obliquus ASI 74006 mycelia showed the highest platelet aggregation inhibitory activity (81.2%). The maximum platelet aggregation inhibitory activity was found when the mycelia of I. obliquus ASI 74006 was extracted with ethanol at 80 degrees C for 12 h. The platelet aggregation inhibitor was purified by systematic solvent fractionation, ultrafiltration, Sephadex G-10 column chromatography, and reverse-phase HPLC. The purified platelet aggregation inhibitor is a novel tripeptide with a molecular mass of 365 Da, having a sequence of Trp-Gly-Cys. The purified platelet aggregation inhibitor also showed high platelet aggregation inhibitory activity in Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) mice." 

Hyun, KW. 2006. Isolation and characterization of a novel platelet aggregation inhibitory peptide from the medicinal mushroom, Inonotus obliquusDepartment of Genetic Engineering and Bio-Medicinal Resources, (6):1173-8.

Anti-oxidant References

Petroleum ether and chloroform extracts contained primarily lanostane-type triterpenoids (LT), whereas the extracts of ethyl acetate, acetone and ethanol were characterised by the predominant presence of hispidin analogues and LT, and water extracts by polysaccharides and phenolic compounds. The ethyl acetate, acetone, ethanol and water extracts revealed remarkable potential for scavenging the tested radicals, while those of petroleum ether and chloroform did not. Polyphenols are the major contributors for quenching the tested free radicals, while in LT only compounds 16, 17 and 22 participated in scavenging hydroxyl radicals.

CONCLUSION:

Polyphenols in Chaga are the principles for quenching free radicals while polysaccharides and a few LT compounds contribute partially in scavenging DPPH and hydroxyl radicals, respectively. NMR-based metabolomic analysis is a useful method by which to correlate ¹H-NMR spectra of Chaga extracts with their antioxidant activities, and this allows the prediction of potentials for scavenging free radicals by ¹H-NMR spectroscopy.

Zheng W. 2011. Analysis of antioxidant metabolites by solvent extraction from sclerotia of Inonotus obliquus (Chaga). Key Laboratory for Biotechnology on Medicinal Plants of Jiangsu Province,  22(2):95-102.


The H(2)O(2)-induced cell death was more pronounced, effectively prevented in the cells treated with DBL than in cells treated with CA. In addition, ROS activate various signal transduction pathways including the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade. Therefore, we examined the potentially beneficial effects of DBL on extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK), c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK), and p38-MAPK signaling activated by H(2)O(2) stimulation. DBL selectively inhibited the phosphorylation of p38-MAPK, without affecting JNK and ERK.

Nakajima 2009. Prevention of hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress in PC12 cells by 3,4-dihydroxybenzalacetone isolated from Chaga (Inonotus obliquus (persoon) Pilat). University of Pharmacy and Applied Life Science, 15;47(8):1154-61.


Subfraction 1 was more inhibitory than subfraction 2 with regard to the mutagenic effects of 4NQO, Trp-P-1, and B(α)P. Subfractions 1 and 2 also had a strong antioxidant activity against DPPH radicals and were identified by MS, 1H NMR and 13C NMR analyses as 3β-hydroxy-lanosta-8, 24-dien-21-al and inotodiol, respectively. Thus, we show that the 3beta-hydroxy-lanosta-8, 24-dien-21-al and inotodiol components of Inonotus obliquus bear antimutagenic and antioxidative activities.

Ham SS, et al. 2009. Antimutagenic effects of subfractions of Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) extract. Department of Food Science and Biotechnology, 672(1):55-9.

Anti-Aging References 

"power dose 0.025 sGr/min has a positive effect on increase an average life duration, are slow down the development of leycopenia, hold lipid peroxide oxidation in the blood and in critic tissues and the R-proteins in blood serum on the level, close to the intact control; appearance, activity and behaviour of the animals were the same."

Institute of Animals and Plants Ecology . 2002.  [Effect of cryosubstance Chagi on deposition or isolation of 90Sr and on the effect of prolonged external exposure to gamma-radiation]. Ural Branch Russian Academy of Sciences 42(4):399-403


"Chaga treatment both decreased ALM aberrations (i.e., extended outgrowths) and increased PLM aberrations (i.e., process branching and loops). These results support the large body of knowledge positing that there are multiple cellular strategies and mechanisms for promoting health with age. Importantly, these results also demonstrate that although an accumulation of abnormal neuron morphologies is associated with aging and decreased health, not all of these morphologies are detrimental to neuronal and organismal health."

Scerbak C, et al. 2016. Mechanosensory Neuron Aging: Differential Trajectories with Lifespan-Extending Alaskan Berry and Fungal Treatments in Caenorhabditis elegansInstitute of Arctic Biology, 18;8:173

Cognitive Enhancing References 

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. In addition, MEC treatment significantly decreased the AChE activity in both the salt and detergent-soluble fraction of brain homogenates. Further, treatment with MEC restored the levels of ACh as did THA. Thus, the significant cognitive enhancement observed in mice after MEC administration is closely related to higher brain anti-oxidant properties and inhibition of AChE activity. These findings stress the critical impact of Chaga, a medicinal mushroom, on the higher brain functions like learning and memory."

Giridharan VV, 2011.  Amelioration of scopolamine induced cognitive dysfunction and oxidative stress by Inonotus obliquus - a medicinal mushroom. Department of Functional and Analytical Food Sciences,  2(6):320-7.

Anti-Inflammatory References 

"Our results suggest anti-inflammatory effect of IOAE at colorectal sites due to down-regulation of the expression of inflammatory mediators. Suppression of TNF-α and iNOS together with IL-1β by IOAE denotes that it might be a useful supplement in the setting of inflammatory bowel disease."

Mishra SK, et al. 2012. Orally administered aqueous extract of Inonotus obliquus ameliorates acute inflammation in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in mice. National Cancer Center,  143(2):524-32.


"Consistent with these observations, MEIO potently inhibited the protein and mRNA expressions of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). Furthermore, MEIO inhibited the LPS-induced DNA binding activity of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), and this was associated with the prevention of inhibitor kappaB degradation and a reduction in nuclear p65 protein levels. Taken together, our data indicate that the anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive properties of MEIO may be due to the inhibition of iNOS and COX-2 expression via the down-regulation of NF-kappaB binding activity."

Park YM, et al. 2005. In vivo and in vitro anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive effects of the methanol extract of Inonotus obliquus.  Department of Biochemistry. 3: 101(1-3): 120-8


Abstract: "IκBα, Akt, and MAPKs in dose-dependent manners in LPS-activated macrophages. Taken together, these experiments demonstrated that IOE70 inhibition of LPS-induced expression of iNOS and COX-2 protein is mediated by Akt and JNK. Based on our findings, the most likely mechanism that can account for this biological effect of IOE70 involves the inhibition of NF-κB through the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt/IκB pathway and the inhibition of JNK activation. Thus, IOE70 might have useful clinical applications in the management of inflammatory diseases and may also be useful as a medicinal food."

Ho-Gyoung Kim, et al. 2007. Journal of Medicinal Food. 10(1): 80-89.

Parkinson's Disease References

Oxidative stress is implicated in the pathogenesis of various neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's disease (PD). 3,4-Dihydroxybenzalacetone (DBL) is a small catechol-containing compound isolated from Chaga (Inonotus obliquus [persoon] Pilat), and has been reported to have beneficial bioactivities, including antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumorigenic activities, with a relatively low toxicity to normal cells.

Gunjima, et al. 2014. 3,4-dihydroxybenzalacetone protects against Parkinson's disease-related neurotoxin 6-OHDA through Akt/Nrf2/glutathione pathway. School of Natural System Bioengineering , 115(1):151-60.

Immunomodulatory References 

"We found that the OVA-induced increase in serum IgE and IgG(2a) was significantly suppressed when IOE was orally administered after the second immunization with OVA. ConA stimulation in spleen cells isolated from OVA-sensitized mice treated with 100 mg kg(-1) IOE resulted in a 25.2% decrease in IL-4 production and a 102.4% increase in IFN-γ, compared to the controls. Moreover, IL-4, IFN-γ, and IL-2 were significantly reduced after ConA stimulation in isolated CD4(+)T cells. We also determined that IOE inhibits the secretion of NO from LPS-stimulated peritoneal macrophages ex vivo.

CONCLUSIONS:

We suggest that IO modulates immune responses through secretion of Th1/Th2 cytokines in immune cells and regulates antigen-specific antibody production."

Ko SK, et al. 2011. Inonotus obliquus extracts suppress antigen-specific IgE production through the modulation of Th1/Th2 cytokines in ovalbumin-sensitized mice. Lab of Hygienic Pharmacy,  137(3):1077-82.


 However, indirect anti-cancer effects via immuno-stimulation were observed. The mycelial endo-polysaccharide of I. obliquus is a candidate for use as an immune response modifier. Submerged mycelial cultures are advantageous for industrial production of polysaccharides."

Kim YO, et al. 2005. Immuno-stimulating effect of the endo-polysaccharide produced by submerged culture of Inonotus obliquus. Yonsei University, 77(19):2438-56

Anti-Allergenic References 

 "The oral administration of C-HE significantly reduced the total IgE levels in mice and slightly affected the production of IgG1. Furthermore, spleen cell cultures harvested from OVA-sensitised mice that had received C-HE orally showed a significant increase in Th1-derived responses (IFN-γ production). Therefore, our results suggest that the chaga mushroom extract may be used as an anti-allergic functional food."

Yoon TJ, et al. 2013. Inhibitory effect of chaga mushroom extract on compound 48/80-induced anaphylactic shock and IgE production in mice. Department of Food & Nutrition,  15(4):666-70.


"The in vivo mast cell-stabilizing activity was also found only in EE and DF whereas the activities to suppress Th2 and Th17 immune responses and cOVA-specific IgE production in the small intestine were observed in all three treatment regimens, implying that inhibition of the mast cell function by lipophilic compounds was vital for the therapeutic effect. Results also indicated that inotodiol, a triterpenoid predominantly present in DF, played an active role as a mast cell stabilizer."

Lomunova, et al. 2017. The mast cell stabilizing activity of Chaga mushroom critical for its therapeutic effect on food allergy is derived from inotodiol. College of Pharmacy,  23;54:286-295.

Anti-Viral References

Using a time course assay, effective stage analysis, and fusion inhibition assay, the mechanism of anti-HSV activity was found against the early stage of viral infection through inhibition of viral-induced membrane fusion. Therefore, AEIO could effectively prevent HSV-1 entry by acting on viral glycoproteins, leading to the prevention of membrane fusion, which is different from nucleoside analog antiherpetics."

Pan HH, et al. 2013. Aqueous extract from a Chaga medicinal mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (higher Basidiomycetes), prevents herpes simplex virus entry through inhibition of viral-induced membrane fusion. Guangdong Institute of Microbiology,  15(1):29-38.

Anti-Microbial References

Abstract:  "In the present study, silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) were rapidly synthesized from silver nitrate solution at room temperature using Inonotus obliquus extract. The mycogenic synthesized AgNPs were characterized by UV-Visible absorption spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). SEM revealed mostly spherical nanoparticles ranging from 14.7 to 35.2nm in size. All AgNPs concentrations showed good ABT radical scavenging activity. Further, AgNPs showed effective antibacterial activity against both gram negative and gram positive bacteria and antiproliferative activity toward A549 human lung cancer (CCL-185) and MCF-7 human breast cancer (HTB-22) cell lines. The samples demonstrated considerably high antibacterial, and antiproliferative activities against bacterial strains and cell lines."

Nagajyothi PC, et al. 2014. Mycosynthesis: antibacterial, antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of silver nanoparticles synthesized from Inonotus obliquus (Chaga mushroom) extract. Department of Physiology,  5;130:299-304.

Dislcaimer

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