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With numerous pills and drinks out on the market claiming to be the best anti-oxidant, the best energy booster, and the best immune-booster, choosing which one actually tells the truth can be very daunting. Nature provides the cleanest and safest way to stay healthy – and this is where the Chaga Mushroom comes in.
About the Chaga Mushroom:
The Chaga Mushroom, Latin name Inonotus obliquus, is actually a parasitic mushroom that thrives on birch and other similar tress. It doesn’t look like a typical mushroom (it actually looks more like tree bark) and appears like burnt charcoal. Inside the mushroom is a mass of mycelium, usually black, because of the increased amounts of melanin in the mushroom.
Scientific Conclusions About Chaga Mushroom Benefits:
There have been numerous scientific studies done on the Chaga mushroom to back up the numerous health claims made by the producers of Chaga mushroom products. Here are a selection:
1) Chaga as antiviral: Polkovnikova, et. al. in 2014 studies the mushroom’s significant anti-viral properties, finding that extracts of the Chaga mushroom exhibited strong protective effects against herpes simplex virus (HSV), type 1. This suggests that chaga mushrooms play a role in anti-viral therapy and could be used to manage viral diseases. 
2) Chaga has shown anti-cancer potential: Kang,et. al. in 2015 discovered that a component of Chaga mushroom, Ergosterol peroxide, had strong anti-cancer activity on colon cancer cells. The researchers concluded that ergosterol peroxide from the mushroom stopped the growth and spread of colon cancer cells, suggesting that the substance may be used in the chemotherapeutic management of colorectal cancer. 
3) Chaga as antioxidant and antibacterial: In 2015, Glamoclija, et. al focused on characterizing the chemical components and resulting biologic activity of the Chaga mushrooms. The researchers noted that the mushroom extracts had very high antioxidant and antimicrobial activity, as previously claimed. The extracts also exhibited cytotoxic effects on four liver tumor cell lines, adding to the mushroom’s anti-cancer activity. 
4) Chaga acting selectively on cancer cells: A significant publication was by Lemieszek, et. al. in 2011. This study noted that while the extracts from the mushroom were able to kill cancer cells, they exhibited very low or no toxicity towards normal or healthy cells. This means that chaga mushrooms are selective towards cancer cells, showing promise if they are to be used in chemotherapy. 
Don’t Overdo It:
The health benefits of this mushroom are all encompassing and there is still so much more to learn and explore. However, we still need to be cautious when we decide to incorporate Chaga mushroom supplements in our diet. Just because one dose of something may benefit health, it does not necessarily correspond that taking five times as much will give five times the benefits.
Chaga mushrooms are very strong, and according to reports, when too much is used, there is the potential for health problems despite their numerous health benefits. A study has shown that this mushroom has the potential to be nephrotoxic, or dangerous towards the kidneys because of its high oxalate content. Kikuchi, et. al. published these findings in 2014 where they focused on the first report on oxalate nephropathy due to Chaga mushroom. While this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t include the mushroom in your diet, taking extra caution won’t hurt you. 
You can take Chaga mushrooms in a variety of ways. The most popular and accessible are teas, capsules, drops, and syrups. There are even creams available that have Chaga extracts as a main ingredient. Don’t forget to follow the instructions and amounts used when you eat, drink, or apply any of these products!
Here’s a link to a Siberian Wild Forest Chaga Mushroom Antioxidant Tea we found on Amazon
We’ve also tracked down the Amazon link for the Chaga capsules from Host Defense – more expensive but top quality.
Disclaimer – we earn a small commission from Amazon product links.
 Polkovnikova, M., et. al. (2014). A study of the antiherpetic activity of the chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) extracts in the Vero cells infected with the herpes simplex virus. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25069286
 Kang, J., et. al. (2015). Ergosterol peroxide from Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) exhibits anti-cancer activity by down-regulation of the β-catenin pathway in colorectal cancer. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26210065
 Glamoclija, J., et. al. (2015). Chemical characterization and biological activity of Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), a medicinal “mushroom”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25576897
 Lemieszek, M., et. al. (2011). Anticancer effects of fraction isolated from fruiting bodies of Chaga medicinal mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (Pers.:Fr.) Pilát (Aphyllophoromycetideae): in vitro studies. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22135889
 Kikuchi, Y., et. al. (2014). Chaga mushroom-induced oxalate nephropathy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23149251
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