Chaga and immunity


Medical Research concerning Chaga

There is much foreign medical research on chaga. And Chaga is reported to be the highest in anti oxidants. However is such a large amount of anti oxidant good or bad? Too much of a good thing is often a bad thing so one might question whether chaga is really that valuable for health. We just report the available information below and you will have to decide as there is no current scientific information we can find in the US to support these claims.


For the past fourty (40) years 1,600 modern scientific studies have demonstrated and proven the pharmacological effects for the immune, hormonal and central nervous system. Siberian Chaga is neither a plant or animal yet its DNA make up is thirty (30%) per cent closer to humans than plants. Classified scientifically as: Basidiomycetes mushrooms to which there are approximately 200 species have demonstrated medicinal values. Siberian Chaga is far and above any other Basidiomycetes. Siberian Chaga contains the highest value ever recorded in the ORAC Scale and is over 40,000 times more potent in antioxidants than the closest natural product in foods or essential oils.

Siberian Chaga Studies Include:
1. Cancer research: a) breast, b) lung, c) stomach d) melanoma and e) bone.

2. Leukemia

3. HIV and Immune Compromised diseases

4. Diabetes

5. Ulcers

6. Cardiovascular Diseases

7. Pneumonia and Lung Disorders

Chaga has been researched as an antiviral, anti-tumor for breast and uterine and other cancers, diabetes, Immunity/Longevity (increasing vital force and strengthen the immune system), as an immune Amphoteric, for reducing the blood pressure, and slowing down heart rate.

Chronic bronchitis or any other infection is a sign of weakened immune systems.

Research papars:

Kahlos K, Kangas L, Hiltunen R. Antitumor activity of some compounds and fractions from an n-hexane extract of Inonotus obliquus in vitro Acta Pharm Fennica 1987; 96: 33–40

Burczyk J, Gawron A, Slotwinska M, Smietana B, Terminska K. Antimitotic activity of aqueous extracts of Inonotus obliquus Boll Chim Farm 1996; 135: 306–9[Medline]

Babitskaya VG, Scherba VV, Ikonnikova NV, Bisko NA, Mitropolskaya NY. Melanin complex from medicinal mushroom Inonotus obliquus (Pers.:Fr.) Pilat (Chaga) (Aphyllophoromycetidae) Int J Med Mushrooms 2002; 4: 139–45

Chaga (inonotus obliquus) is a woody mushroom that grows on birch trees with a black, scarred outer surface that looks like burnt charcoal with a light brown interior. While it can and does occur on white birch trees in parts of Canada, Japan, and northern Scandinavia, Chaga is primarily found in Russia, where the highest quality specimens are considered to come from the black birch trees of Siberia. Most often consumed in a hot tea mixture, Chaga has been used as a traditional folk medicine in Russia and Eastern Europe since at least the fifteen hundreds for a variety of diseases, including stomach pain, ulcers, asthma, bronchitis, liver problems, and even cancer.

After being ignored for hundreds of years by Western pharmacologists, Chaga is currently enjoying a resurgence as a possible treatment for a wide variety of diseases and health problems, including chronic fatigues syndrome, the flu, stomach problems, and even HIV and certain types of cancer. Recent studies in the U.S., Russia, and other countries have shown Chaga to have anti-tumor benefits related to the mammary glands and female sex organs; studies in Finland have demonstrated that inotodial, one of the most active ingredients in Chaga, was effective against influenza and various cancer cells; and Japanese research not only found similar antiviral activity, but also discovered that Chaga shows activity against HIV (protease inhibition). Chaga has even been classified as a medicinal mushroom under World Trade Organization (WTO) codes.

Siberian Chaga Mushroom uses and the Scientific Evidence for

Melanin Complex from Medicinal Mushroom Inonotus obliquus (Pers.: Fr.) Pilat (Chaga) (Aphyllophoromycetideae.)

To view extracts of published research findings on the web, click here

This wood-rotting fungus has been used as a folk medicine in many East European countries including Russia, to treat gastritis, ulcers, tuberculosis (TB) of the bones, and cancer. The inner brown layer closest to the tree is the portion of the fungus most often used. Medical research has shown Chaga to be effective as an anti-tumor agent. In 1958, scientific studies in Finland and Russia found this mushroom provided an epochal effect in uterine, liver, breast, and gastric cancer, and hypertension and diabetes.

The post-antibiotic world of Western Medicine is now beginning to study, evaluate, and test Chaga for the active compounds underlying its historically understood homeopathic benefits. As with many other natural medicinal foods and herbs, the modern medical and scientific community is coming to understand that whole supplements like Chaga, offer a complex balance of active compounds, delivery mineral structures, and co-agents, more effective to sustaining a healthy immune balance than isolated compounds synthesized from these natural products.

The primary active compounds discovered in Siberian Chaga are a variety of triterpenes and sterols including Lanosterol, Ergosterol Inotodials, Saponins, and Polysaccharides. Modern research is now beginning to demonstrate that these compounds are effective for human maladies treated by folk medicine practitioners with natural products, without toxic side-effect, for millennia.

Arguably, the most well known western research conducted on the use of Chaga has been performed by Dr. Kirsti Kahlos and her team at School of Pharmacology, at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Dr. Kahlos’ team conducted studies validating the immuno-modulating impact of Lanosterol-linked triterpenes effective as a flu-vaccination and for anti-tumor applications. Institutional studies at the University of Tokyo, Japan have determined effectiveness of Inotodials in the destruction of certain cancerous carcinosarcomas and mammary adenocarcinomas. The Melanin complex produced by the Chaga mushroom demonstrates high antioxidant and genoprotective effects ( Melanin Complex from Medicinal Mushroom Inonotus Obliquus, Journal of Medical Mushrooms, 2002, vol. 4) . The polysaccharide beta-glucan, also present in Chaga, is proven to be effective at inhibiting mutagenic and immuno-modulating effects of cancerous tumors by triggering immune system response ( SP Wasser, 2002, Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Israel).


Mushrooms are a flavorful and nutritious food group. Good sources of B-Vitamins Thiamine, Riboflavin and Niacin. They contain all the essential amino acids. Mushrooms have also been used for thousands of years as some of the most effective, yet benign, of many plants that formed the Oriental herbal tradition. Garuda International offers more than ten species of the highest quality mushroom extract powders available in the world today. Some are certified organically grown and some have standardized levels of active compounds. These are perfect powdered materials for formulating immune system boosting dietary supplements and natural cosmetics. Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a highly prized medicinal fungus that has been used in Siberian folk medicine as a cleansing and disinfecting substance, often used to treat stomach discomforts. It is a parasitic fungus growing on birch, alder, beech and other hardwood trees throughout North America and Europe. The fungus produces a thick mass on the trunks of trees sometimes measuring up to 40 cm thick and 1.5 meters in length. Folk medicine practitioners have traditionally removed these masses from the trees and prepared teas and other decoctions for the treatment of diseases ranging from stomach diseases, intestinal worms, liver and heart ailments and cancers. More recent pharmacological studies using Chaga in Poland, Russia, and the U.S.A. have shown anti-tumor activity related to the mammary glands and female sexual organs. Much of this research was carried out in Finland by researchers at the School of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki. The most active compound, inotodiol, has shown activity against influenza viruses A and B, and various cancer cells. Studies in Japan have also confirmed antiviral activity, (inhibition of the protease enzyme of HIV-1).


Chaga is rich in triterpenes. The main compounds are lanosterol-type triterpenes related to inotodiol. Other compounds isolated from Chaga include betulin, polysaccharides, and soluble lignins.


Today, we use modern extraction techniques to concentrate the active components from the fungal masses. The highest quality fungal cankers are removed from birch trees (betula pubescens) in eastern europe, cleaned and shipped to north america where they are sorted. Chaga is extracted using a proprietary process that concentrates the active compounds. The finished powdered extract is standardized to a minimum 0.15% inotodiol content.

Quality Assurance

Mushroom extracts can be considered some of the first nutraceuticals – food concentrated into medicinal form. Garuda’s extracts are carefully produced according to gmp standards from select raw materials. Many of our extracts are standardized to contain guaranteed levels of active compounds.


Chaga extract powder can be used to formulate various types of dietary supplement tablets and capsules. The powder can also be included in herbal tea blends. Chaga can also be blended with other medicinal mushroom extracts and powders from different species such as garuda’s reishi (ganoderma lucidum), shiitake (lentinula edodes) or maitake (grifola frondosa).


Aoki, T. 1984. Lentinan. In Immune Modulation Agents and Their Mechanisms. R.L. Fenichel and M. A. Chirgis, eds. Immunology Studies. 25:62-77., Bo, L. and Bau Yun-sun. 1980. Fungi Pharmacopoeia (Sinica). Oakland: Kinoko Co., Chang, H.M. and P. Pui-Hay But. 1987. Pharmacology and Applications of Chinese Materia Medica. Vol. 2. Singapore: World Scientific., Chang, H.M., ed. et al. 1984. Advances in Chinese Medicinal Materials Research. Singapore: World Scientific., Huidi, F. and W. Zhiyuan. 1982. The clinical effects of Ganoderma lucidum spore preparations in 10 cases of atrophic myotonia. J. Trad. Chin. Med. 2:63-65., Miller, D. 1994. Current clinical protocol submitted to the N.I.H. Scientific Director Cancer Treatment Research Foundation, Arlington Heights, IL.,Nanba, H. 1994a. Power of maitake mushroom. Explore Professional (in press)., Nanba, H. 1994b. Activity of maitake D-fraction to prevent cancer growth and metastasis. J. Naturopathic Med. (In press)., Opletal, L. 1993. Phytotherapeutic aspects of diseases of the circulatory system. 2. The oyster mushroom and its potential use. Cesk. Farm. 42:160-166., Sharon, T.M. 1988. Personal Observations: Lentinus edodes (shiitake) mycelial extract. Typescript., Willard, T. 1990. Reishi Mushroom. Herb of Spiritual Potency and Medical Wonder. Issaquah: Sylvan Press., Yang, Q.Y. & S.C. Jong. 1989. Medicinal mushroom in China. Mushroom Science. XII. (Part I): 631-643. Proceeding of the Twelft International Congress on the Science and Cultivation of Edible Fungi. From K. Grabbe and O. Hilber (eds.). Braunschweig – Germany: Institue für Bodenbiologie, Bundesforschungsanstolt für Londwirtschoft., Ying, J. et al. 1987. Icones of Medicinal Fungi From China. Translated by X. Yuehan. Beijing: Science Press., Yoshioka, Y. et al. 1973. Studies on antiumor polysaccharides of Flammulina velutipes (Curt. ex Fr.) Sing. I. Chem. Pharm. Bull. 21:1772-1776.

Revision Date: 08/23/2004

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