Chaga mushroom is a type of fungus that’s commonly found on birch trees in cold climates. It’s used in folk medicine for various ailments across northern Europe
Chaga mushrooms are edible but because of their bitter taste, most people drink chaga mushroom as a tea.
Chaga demonstrated antitumor, anti-mutagenic, antiviral, antiplatelet, antidiabetic, antioxidant, analgesic, immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving effects both in vitro and in vivo.
In animal models, chaga displayed anti-allergic, cognition-enhancing, and antioxidant activities; as well as anti-inflammatory effects against experimental colitis. Oral administration of polysaccharides from chaga was found to increase exercise endurance and biological measures related to fatigue. Chaga may also have antidiabetic effects.
In addition, chaga extracts and its constituents exerted inhibitory and pro-apoptotic effects against colon, lung, and liver cancer cells. Inotodiol from chaga exerted antitumor effects against cervical cancer cells. In some studies, chaga demonstrated selective apoptosis in tumor cells with no effects on healthy cells. In animal models, it inhibited melanoma cell growth. But no clinical trials have assessed chaga’s safety nor efficacy for disease prevention or for the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes.
Because natural reserves of this fungus have nearly been exhausted, scientists are seeking to develop cultivated substitutes of wild chaga.
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