• Chaga

    Inonotus obliquus

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    Chaga is a parasitic fungus that predominantly infects Birch trees. Unlike other common mushrooms, the fruiting body is rarely seen and rarely, if ever, used. Because the fruiting event is rare, occurring within a host tree towards the end of its life, the details are still wrapped in mystery. What is used in traditional medicines and modern supplements is the ‘sclerotia’ or ‘canker’ which consists primarily of wood lignans from the host tree and mycelium of the invasive fungus. Therefore, as Chaga almost exclusively grows on birch trees, it will also contain birch compounds including betulin and betulinic acid.


    Many of Chaga’s therapeutically interesting metabolites appear to develop only as a side effect of the harsh environment which it tends to favour and the on-going struggle with the trees' defence systems. Cultivated Chaga is not involved in a struggle for survival, and therefore will not develop these secondary metabolites.

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  • Key Actions:

    • Anticancer adjuvant
    • Antidiabetic
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Antioxidant
    • Anti-psoriatic
    • Anti-viral
    • Cardioprotective
    • Gastrointestinoprotective
    • Hepatoprotective
    • Lipid-modulatory
    • Microbiota-modulatory
    • Nephroprotective
    • Neuroprotective

    Key Indications:

    • Cancer and tumour (adjuvant)
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Diabetes
    • Dysbiosis and leaky gut
    • Fatty liver disease
    • Gastrointestinal inflammation
    • Metabolic syndrome
    • Neuralgia/neuroinflammation
    • Obesity
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    Key active compounds:


    Polysaccharides - Beta Glucans, Heteroglycans, Proteoglucans.

    Terpenes and Terpenoids - more than 40 lanostane-type tripernoids have been isolated

    Melanin - high amounts, primarily allomellanins

    Phenolic compounds - Philligridin Dihydroxybenzalacetone, Flavonoids

    Sterols: ergosterols and derivatives, Sitosterol, stigmasterol and other phytosterols

    Proteins: Lectins

    Other compounds: Oxalates



    Dual extraction is necessary to unlock the full therapeutic potential:

    • hot water extraction to unlock the water soluble beta glucans
    • alcohol extraction to unlock the secondary metabolites such as triterpenes

  • About Chaga cultivation 


    The known use of Chaga dates back 5,300 years ago when Otzi the Iceman (a well-preserved mummy discovered in the Austrian Alps in 1991), was found with Chaga in his pouch.


    The word ‘Chaga’ is derived from the Khanty (formerly called the Ostyak) language, a tribe inhabiting Western Siberia. Chaga was and is still used by the Khanty for general well-being, internal cleaning (detoxing) and curing and preventing disease in general, but in particular for liver problems, heart problems, tuberculosis and to get rid of parasitic worms. It was prepared as a tea. (method of preparation: cut up dried Chaga, put it into boiling water, boil for several minutes.) Three cm3 were used for 2.5L of tea, and the tea was drunk until the ailment was cured.

    Khanty men, Vakh river, 1898 >



    The Khanty also used Chaga to make ‘soap water‘. To make ‘soap water‘ the fungus was first put into the fire. When it turned red (like smouldering charcoal) it was put into a bucket of hot water and then stirred until it broke into small pieces. The black water thus obtained has a strong cleaning and disinfecting ability.This ‘soap water‘ was used to wash the genitals of women during menstruation and after birth; sometimes new-born babies were also washed.


    One Khanty compared it to the effect of a KMnO4 solution (potassium permanganate; a disinfectant used in Russia to wash new-borns the first three months after their birth) and stated that women who washed themselves with such water, never took ill. In older times it had been used instead of soap to wash the hands, feet and sometimes also the whole body. Chaga was also burned and the smoke was inhaled; its purpose was ritual cleaning.


    The Ainu people

    An ethnic group indigenous to Hokkaido, the Kuri islands and Sahkhalin used to drink Chaga tea to treat stomach pain and inflammations. Another use was filling a pipe with powdered Chaga, lit and smoke it during religious ceremonies. The leader of the ceremony inhaled the smoke and then passed the pipe to his neighbor. The pipe continued circulating until all the participants had smoked it. This ritual was described as ‘consuming the smoke‘. Although the medicinal effects of the smoke are unknown, this tradition shows that Chaga was highly regarded.

    Several native tribes (the Woodland Cree, the Gitksan, the Wet’suwet’en and the Tenaina, e.g.)in North-America/Canada knew and used the Chaga fungus.

    After WWII Chaga research really took off in Russia, fueled by the reputation Chaga had built in folk medicine during the past centuries. This resulted in an official entry in the USSR State Pharmacopeia. With such interesting results being published, the rest of the world soon jumped on the Chaga bandwagon.

    Records of medicinal use of Chaga can be found in texts including Greek text Hippocratic Corpus (5th century BC) and Islamic text Avicenna (Cannon of Medicine).

  • Research articles