Resources and Info on the amazing Benefits of Chaga
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The Chaga Story
In Russian folk medicine chaga is used to treat cancers, often stomach and lung cancer, and it is likewise considered effective for other common stomach and intestinal such as gastritis, ulcers, colitis, and general pain. Since 1955 a a refined extract of the chaga fungus has been manufactured and sold in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Japan for the treatment of stomach and intestinal diseases.
There is now scientific research to support the claims of the folk medicinal uses. The most recent and definitive analytical work on chaga has been performed by Dr. Kirsti Kahlos, a pharmacognycist at the School of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki, Finland. Kahlos and her colleagues found a wide variety of active triterpenes, which have antitumor properties. Of those, the most active was specified as inotodiol. They also found the compound betulin. The betulin is actually a compound from the birch tree that has anticancer properties. The chaga fungus absorbs and concentrates the betulin from the birch and transforms it into a form that can be ingested orally. Other researchers have found active polysaccharides, a common occurrence in most medicinal mushrooms such as miatake and shitake Those polysaccharides are known to stimulate the immune system. Kahlos and other researches have found significant anti-cancer activity against specific tumor systems and against specific influenza viruses.
I know many readers already know the mycological identity of chaga. It is the polypore Innonotus obliquus . It is a northern species that grows on birch, alder, and beech trees; however, only the fruiting bodies growing on birch are considered suitable for medicinal purposes. In its usual form it is hardly recognizable as a mushroom. One of its common names, the “clinker polypore” is good descriptor. It looks liked a tumor with a charred gnarled surface wedged in the trunks of birches. Even though it is a polypore, you will not see any pores as on the underside of shelf-like polypores. The black outer surface is hard, cracked and quite irregular. When you chop it off the tree trunk with your hatchet, you will find a yellow-brown interior that has a cork-like consistency and is marbled with cream-colored veins. If you are lucky you can find your chaga growing within reaching distance on the birch trunks; however, the conks often grow at a height of 10 to 30 feet, which poses a quite challenge for collecting. I’ve heard a rumor that Lee Moellerman uses a shotgun to blast them loose. The Russians go out with ropes and harnesses. Some of those high altitude prizes may weigh over 10 lbs. The ideal chaga fruiting body is 25 years old. Now consider this: according to one chaga product site, only one birch tree in 15,000 bears chaga.
I am hoping our chaga expedition on March yields lots of chaga.
courtesy of: http://www.minnesotamushrooms.org/news/2005/02/chaga.php