CHAGA (Inonotus Obliquus)

 

 

 

Chaga, also known as Clinker Polypore and Birch Canker Polypore, is a parasitic fungus commonly found growing on living birch trees (less common: alder and elm) in Poland, Siberia, Russia and North America.  Shown left, it is characterized by a black, burnt-looking exterior and can be confused with other fungi.  Take to the woods with an experienced wildcrafter for your first harvesting adventure!

 

Historical Use

 

Known medicinal use of chaga dates back several centuries.  Folkloric accounts of use in Poland, Russia, Siberia, the Baltics and Australia indicate it for treatment of cancer and various digestive ailments.

 

Modern Use

 

Chaga has been used to reduce the growth of both malignant and benign tumors and can also be used during chemotherapy treatment of various cancers.  It is a well-known remedy for its affect on the digestive organs, namely in cases of gastrointestinal and colon cancers and as a regulator in the case of constipation.  Preparations of chaga can be taken during times of excess vomiting to reduce emesis and soothe abdominal pains.2

 

Additional Use

 

-Treatment of various cancers (colon, GI tract, breast, lip, and others)

-Endocrine Support

-Used in treatment of diabetes to assist with glucose absorption

-Immune enhancement

-Improving metabolism

 

Toxicity & Side Affects

 

None known

                                     

Properties

 

Antioxidant

Anti-fungal

Anti-inflammatory

Immune stimulating

Liver supporting

Anti-tumor                                                                       

 

Preparation and Dosage

 

Chaga can be prepared as a tea, decoction or extract.  To make a tea, boil 1 Tablespoon of ground Chaga in 1 cup of water for 3-4 minutes.  Tea can also be prepared in any type of coffee maker (including a French press) or steeped for 5-10 minutes.  Additional methods of preparation can be found in the resources listed below.

 

Resources (For more extensive information on Chaga, consult the resources below).

 

1 Hobbs, Christopher.  Medicinal Mushrooms. Oregon: Botanica Press, 1986.

2. Zevin, Igor Vilevich; et al. A Russian Herbal. Vermont: Healing Arts Press, 1997.