There is an exceptional amount of immune boosting antioxidants found in Inonotus obliquus such as beta glucans and betulinic acid, in addition to various other triterpenes and sterols as well as melanin and superoxide dismutase (SOD).
Chaga mushrooms are a folk remedy used by the native peoples of Siberia and North America to treat a variety of ailments including stomach upset, headaches and skin irritations. The fungus is known to alleviate pain and has anti-inflammatory properties. Although there are no published clinical studies on the efficacy of this remedy, laboratory and animal studies indicate there may be a number of chaga mushroom benefits.
A laboratory study from the Department of Medical Nutrition at Kyunghee University showed that human cells treated with chaga extract had a 40% reduction in DNA fragmentation over untreated cells when exposed to oxidative stress for five minutes. Since DNA fragmentation is believed to be responsible for some types of cancer and autoimmune diseases, this study has promising implications for the treatment and prevention of disease. Additional studies on the anti-cancer effects of the chaga mushroom are ongoing, but this could be the most important of all of the chaga mushroom benefits.
Animal Studies Show Promise for Cancer Treatment
Most animal studies have been conducted in Japan, China, Russia and Europe. A Japanese study showed an improvement in cognitive abilities in amnesic mice treated with chaga extract. Another study showed that chaga inhibited the growth of malignant melanoma, an aggressive skin cancer, in infected mice. Studies on mice also provided evidence that chaga extract has anticoagulant and hypoglycemic properties that may prove useful in the treatment of heart disease and diabetes.
Nutrients in Chaga Mushroom Extract
Chaga fungus contains a range of nutrients including the polysaccharide Beta-D-glutan, betulin and betulinic acid, lanosterol, ergosterol, phenolic compounds, melanins and lanostane-type triterpenoids. The polysaccharides are known to have an anti-inflammatory property and melanins promote hair and nail health. Reportedly, studies conducted in 1958 in Finland and Russia showed evidence that chaga inhibited the growth of cancers in the breast, liver, uterus and stomach.
Without long term clinical trials on humans, it is impossible to determine the extent of the health benefits of chaga extract. Nutrients contained in the mushroom are known to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. It is believed that consuming tea made from the mushroom boosts the immune system and several of the nutrients are known to have antioxidant activity.
NOTE! There is currently no reliable information on the optimum dosage, but most herbal practitioners suggest two cups of chaga tea per day.
Like many organic remedies, chaga extract can interact with certain medications. Individuals using insulin for diabetes should not use chaga. The hypoglycemic effect of the plant is documented and it could enhance the effect of insulin. The therapy is also contraindicated for people taking anti-coagulants for treatment of cardiovascular disease or hypertension. Always consult your doctor before beginning any alternative therapy for treatment of a medical condition.
Preperation. Chaga Tea and Tinctures
Chaga's antioxidants and polysaccharides are only extractable in hot water and alcohol solutions.
Bulk chaga pieces can be brewed for many hours in water as a dark rich mushroom tea. Additionally, the chunks can also be tinctured in vodka for a few weeks.
Another chaga tea making method is to simply add the powdered extracts to hot water. The extract powder turns the water a dark brown color that looks similar to a cup of coffee. In fact, because of its slightly bitter nature it is often used as a alternative coffee substitute.
4 Ounce tin with tea but not 4 ouces weight of tea.