Chaga mushroom health benefit, review of effect on immune system and cancer
April 3 2017 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

The Chaga mushroom is a parasitic fungus of the Birch tree and other trees. The sterile conk is irregularly formed and has the appearance of burnt charcoal.

Chaga mushroom as medicine
As a medicinal mushroom, Chaga contains anti-tumor compounds. The clinical usefulness of chaga mushroom or a chaga mushroom extract in humans is not very clear at this time.

Chaga mushroom as antimutagenic
Chaga mushroom extract inhibits oxidative DNA damage in human lymphocytes as assessed by comet assay.
Biofactors. 2004. Department of Medical Nutrition, Kyunghee University, 1 Hoekidong, Dongdaemoonku, Seoul , South Korea.
The Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) is claimed to have beneficial properties for human health, such as anti-bacterial, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities. The antioxidant effects of the mushroom may be partly explained by protection of cell components against free radicals. We evaluated the effect of aqueous Chaga mushroom extracts for their potential for protecting against oxidative damage to DNA in human lymphocytes. Cells were pretreated with various concentrations (10, 50, 100 and 500 microg/mL) of the extract for 1 h at 37 degrees C. Cells were then treated with 100 microM of H2O2 for 5 min as an oxidative stress. Evaluation of oxidative damage was performed using single-cell gel electrophoresis for DNA fragmentation (Comet assay). Using image analysis, the degree of DNA damage was evaluated as the DNA tail moment. Cells pretreated with Chaga extract showed over 40% reduction in DNA fragmentation compared with the positive control (100 micromol H2O2 treatment). Thus, Chaga mushroom treatment affords cellular protection against endogenous DNA damage produced by H2O2.

Q. Have you heard of this fungus (mushroom) which grows on birch trees? I have looked into it on the internet, it grows here but gives no direction of how best to use it, I know the most herbs are prepared infused. This plant has been used for tumor growth in many countries for years. I have Merkel Cell carcinoma and this has been suggested to me. Do you have any thoughts on this?
   A. Not enough research is available to know if Chaga mushroom treats cancers and in what dosage or form.

Herpes virus
Vopr Virusol. 2014. A study of the antiherpetic activity of the chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) extracts in the Vero cells infected with the herpes simplex virus. The chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) contains a wide range of excellent bioactive compounds. However, limited information exists on the antiviral activity of the compounds extracted from chaga. A number of subfractions of chaga were obtained using different solvents and different procedures. The subfractions of chaga extracted with water, alcohol, alkali were tested for their toxicity for the Vero cell culture and antiviral effect in the Vero cells infected with the Herpes simplex virus (HSV), Type 1. It was shown that most of the subfractions were not toxic for the Vero cells and had protective effect on the Vero cells infected with HSV. The subfraction IV in the concentration 5 microg/ml protected the Vero cells from cytodestructive action of HSV and no viral DNA was detected in infected cells treated with chaga extracts. Best protective effect was observed when compound was added before or within one hour after the Vero cells were infected with HSV.

Treatment of psoriasis using "Chaga" fungus preparations
Vestn Dermatol Venerol. 1973.

Dietary supplement product by Planetary Herbals
Increases immune response.• Promotes cellular health.• Provides powerful antioxidant protection. Throughout history, humans have walked in groves of birch trees, delighting in the fluttering of the delicate leaves that shimmer in the smallest breeze. Who would guess that these graceful trees host one of the most fascinating immune compounds ever discovered? Throughout the northern latitudes, the mushroom chaga (known as Fuscoporia oblique orInonotus obliquus) attaches to trees like birch, alder, beech and other hardwoods. Unlike typical mushrooms with gills or caps, the chaga has pores — it looks like hard, lumpy charcoal. Inside, it is a brownish-yellow cork-like mass with beige veins. In China, Siberia, Finland, Japan, Poland and North America, ancient and native peoples have long known the benefits of chaga. Taken in tea, ingested as a powder, inhaled as smoke or applied to the skin, its health benefits have been appreciated for centuries. In an ancient treatise on Chinese herbs, the Chinese monk ShenNong declared, in 100 B.C., that chaga is… “aprecious gift of nature.” Planetary Herbals is pleased to present modern people with this precious gift of nature, a powerful compound that naturally boosts the immune system.

Q. I have currently been introduced to a fungus called Chaga. I am interested in the harvesting and sale of this entity.
To your knowledge, have there been any studies conducted on the effects of Canadian Chaga (New Brunswick Canada) in comparison to the Siberian Chaga? Are you aware of any markets for the wholesale of this product?
   A. We have not come across any studies comparing chaga grown in Canada to that grown in Siberia.

Q. Do chaga mushrooms has an effect on estrogen?
   A. I searched on PubMed for Inonotus obliquus estrogen and could not find any published research regarding the role of chaga mushroom intake and hormonal levels in humans.

I have chronic bronchitis, and I cough and at times just don't feel well. I am considering getting the Chaga Mushroom for treatment. Do you feel this would help my condition, since my problem is viral and bacterial, plus my immune system was down for a while but there has been improvement on that as I have increased my vitamins and am eating better.
   It is difficult to predict, I have not seen clinical trials to know.

Chaga Fungus supplier
Thank you for showing your interest in our products such as, Labrador Tea, Chaga Fungus, Highbush Cranberry Bark, Poplar Buds, Sweetgrass and Mistik Salve. Here is a brief history about our program. The Northern Forest Diversification Centre (NFDC) is an organization which is part of and involved in northern communities in Northern Manitoba, Canada and teaches sustainable harvesting practices. As an after-care program we show the harvesters how to add value to their harvests. NFDC, operated by Manitoba Aboriginals (Indians), take these products to the market to help alleviate their economic burdens. At the present we have over 400 harvesters in 25 communities which are approximately 95% Aboriginal (Indian). This program helps the harvesters to remain in their communities so they do not have to leave family and friends upon which they depend. The benefits to the harvesters are; self-worth, revisiting their heritage, community spirit, family relations, aid in economic burdens, economic base raised in community, helping to alleviate the strain on social programs, and reduction of the high unemployment rate, to name a few. I would like to invite you to view our products on our webpage at . We are continually growing and so is our webpage. Thank you for your patience. Please find attached our Sweetgrass Braid List, Wholesale List and Bulk Item price lists. For your convenience the prices are quoted in US dollars. I have also attached the Bulk Botanical price list (quoted in Canadian Funds). Shipping fees are all FOB The Pas, Manitoba, Canada. We have a broad spectrum of Botanicals available to us in the Boreal Forest. If you can not find the Botanical or product you are looking for on our list please contact us. If possible, we will work with your organization to meet your specifications.  I look forward to doing business with you in the near future. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. Mia La Jambe, Finance/Office Manager, Interim Marketing & Sales, Northern Forest Diversification Centre, Box 509, The Pas, MB R9A 1K6.

Planetary Herbals over the counter mushroom product, March 2010
Planetary Herbals - Introducing one of the premiere mushrooms that supports Cellular Immunity. Full Spectrum Chaga Tablets & Liquid, Increases immune response, Promotes cellular health, Protects the body with antioxidants. This unusual mushroom, a lumpy, charcoal-like growth on birch trees, has been known for centuries, throughout the world, for its health benefits. Modern research has shown that chaga has 215 phytonutrients, including 29 beta-glucans. Chaga also absorbs a compound from the outer birch tree bark: betulin, the precursor to betulinic acid. Betulinic acid has been shown to increase healthy inflammatory response in mammals. Beta glucans stimulate the body's macrophages, T-helper cells, natural killer cells, and B cells, which help the body produce antibodies. Among the components in chaga are triterpenes, sterols, betaglucans, flavonoids, melanins, polyphenols, saponins, lignin, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and fibers. This fascinating combination of nutrients and compounds is being studied worldwide, and has been shown in preliminary studies to trigger and stimulate the body’s immune responses and protect the cells with antioxidant action.