Benefits of Chaga
Potential Health Benefits
Alternative practitioners believe that Chaga offers numerous health benefits. Among them, Chaga is believed to fight inflammation, lower blood sugar, reduce blood pressure, alleviate arthritis, and even prevent or slow the progression of cancer. Since Chaga Mushroom is an Adaptogen, it helps to bring the body back to balance, reducing oxidative stress and boosting immune function. It also has positive effects on:
- Nervous System
- GI Tract
- Cardiovascular System
- Endocrine System
Anti – Inflammatory Action:
By having these adaptogenic effects, it helps the body to cope with stress, boost health during the cold and flu season, and fight cancer. Animal and test-tube studies suggest that chaga extract can positively impact immunity by reducing long-term inflammation and fight harmful bacteria and viruses. By promoting the formation of beneficial Cytokines (specialized protein that regulate the immune system), chaga stimulates white blood cells which are essential in fighting off harmful bacteria and viruses.[i][ii]
Anti – Cancer and Antioxidative properties:
Chaga is rich in fiber and essential nutrients like Vitamin D, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese and calcium. Due to its high melanin and antioxidant content, chaga is found to have a certain anticancer potential where various lab studies on mice[iii] and human liver cells[iv] suggest that its extract prevented cancer growth and reduced tumor size by 60%. High Melanin content in Chaga makes it a potent antioxidant with one of the highest Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) food.
Lowers Blood Sugar Levels:
Several animal studies have concluded that Chaga mushroom extracts help in lowering Blood sugar levels by as much as 31%[v] over several weeks. Another recent study in obese, diabetic mice observed that chaga extract reduced blood sugar levels and insulin resistance compared to diabetic mice who did not receive the supplement.[vi]
Chaga extract is also shown to benefit cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the risk of heart diseases. In an eight week study in rats with high cholesterol, chaga extract reduced bad LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing good cholesterol and antioxidant levels.
Though chaga extracts are well tolerated, human studies on its safety and dosage are very limited. However, it should be noted that chaga extracts could pose risk for people on insulin due to its impact on blood sugar. Also, it contains proteins that prevent blood clotting, therefore people on blood thinning medication need to be extra cautious. Due limited data research, there is no indication for pregnant or lactating women. The safest option is to avoid consumption.
Chemical and medicobiological properties of chaga (review) M. Ya. Shashkina, P. N. Shashkin & A. V. Sergeev, Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal 40, 560-568 (2006)
Immunomodulatory Activity of the Water Extract from Medicinal Mushroom Inonotus obliquus, Yeon-Ran Kim, Mycobiology, 2005 Sep; 33(3): 158-162.
Inonotus obliquus extracts suppress antigen-specific IgE production through the modulation of Th1/Th2 cytokines in ovalbumin-sensitized mice, Suk-kyung Ko, Mirim Jin, Myoung-yun Pyo, J Ethnopharmacol. 2011Oct 11; 137(3): 1077-82
Continuous intake of the Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) aqueous extract suppresses cancer progression and maintains body temperature in mice. Saturo Arata, Jun Watanabe, Masako Maeda; Heliyon, V.2(5); 2016 May 12.
Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) induces G0/G1 arrest and apoptosis in human hepatoma HepG2 cells; Myung-Ja Youn, Jin-Kyung Kim, Seong-Yeol Park; World J Gastroenterol, 2008 Jan 28; 14(4):511-7
Antihyperglycemic and antilipidperoxidative effects of dry matter of culture broth of Inonotus obliquus in submerged culture on normal and alloxan-diabetes mice. J Ethnopharmacol; 2008 Jun 19; 118(1):7-13
Anti-diabetic effects of Inonotus obliquus polysaccharides in streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetic mice and potential mechanism via PI3K-Akt signal pathway. Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 Nov, 95:1669-1677