Chaga, a Nootropic Coffee Cofactor
Lately, I’ve been spiking my coffee with clumps of powdered Chaga. Along with cinnamon, Kerrygold butter, and coconut milk, Chaga is one of my favorite coffee additives. Unlike some herbs I’ve tried it dissolves nicely in coffee adding a nice earthy taste that’s perhaps a bit bitter.
It has a classic Nootropic effect that lasts several hours; it elevates my mood while helping with my focus and general productivity. I didn’t use it in the evenings as I suspect it would mess with my sleep quality.
You can also consume it as a tea, it makes tea taste kind of like coffee. But since its taste is so complementary to coffee, I just add it to my cup of joe.
Chaga is praised as one of the best immune promoters, I was pleased to make it through the winter flu and cold season without getting sick while taking it along with other immuno-fortifying herbs, like Eleuthero.
Summary of Chaga Science
On Pubmed, you can find +200 scientific papers referencing Chaga although it lacks human clinical trials. I’ll summarize some of the recent interesting findings…
A recent Russian overview describes its wide array of effects
The use of mushrooms as functional foods and in the treatment of diseases has a long history. [Chaga] is a mushroom belonging to the Hymenochaetaceae family and has possible anticancer, antiviral, and hypoglycemic properties… A plethora of findings have highlighted the potential molecular mechanisms of actions of this mushroom such as its ability to scavenge reactive oxygen species, inhibit the growth of tumors, decrease inflammation and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes, and stimulate the immune system.
The pharmacological potential and possible molecular mechanisms of action of Inonotus obliquus from…
Phytother Res. 2019 Aug;33(8):1966-1980. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6384. Epub 2019 Jun 17. Review
It’s potentially a digestion hack with a Gastroprotective antiulcer effect, from 2019 assessment published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms
Oral administration of ethanolic extract of [Chaga] exhibited antiulcer activity in all models used. The ethanolic extract of I. obliquus showed an effective antiulcer activity, which could be due to the presence of various biologically active compounds.
Int J Med Mushrooms. 2019;21(8):805-816. doi: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2019031154.
It acts against lung cancer via a Mitochondrial mechanism, from a 2019 paper:
Collectively, our results demonstrate that [Chaga polysaccharides] acts on cancer cells through a mechanism by which AMPK triggers the apoptotic pathway via the opening of mitochondrial permeability transition pore, and reducing [mitochondrial membrane potential], leading to an inhibition of ATP production. Therefore, our study provides a solid foundation for the use of IOP as a promising alternative or supplementary medicine for cancer therapy.
Inonotus obliquus polysaccharides induces apoptosis of lung cancer cells and alters energy…
Int J Biol Macromol. 2019 Nov 18. pii: S0141-8130(19)32725-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2019.10.174. [Epub ahead of…
A Chinese paper identified that the PIO-1 polysaccharide in Chaga not only has great potential to postpone physical fatigue but also shown potential to improve mental fatigue.
Spatial structure and anti-fatigue of polysaccharide from Inonotus obliquus.
Int J Biol Macromol. 2020 Feb 15;151:855-860. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2020.02.147. [Epub ahead of print]
A recent Ukrainian study, interestingly, noted that Chaga treated with Colloidal Silver as it grew ended up with more potent biological constituents. It’s not suggesting that colloidal silver is a Chaga cofactor but that it increases the bioactive nutritional content, opening up the potential of cultivating super potent medicinal mushrooms.
Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2020 Feb 25. doi: 10.1007/s12010-020-03281-2. [Epub ahead of print]
I’d like to see some human clinical trials done with Chaga. Generally, I’m skeptical of supplements that haven’t undergone clinical trials, but Chaga has been used by millions around the world and it’s been used traditionally in both North America, Northern Europe, and Asia. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies, universities, and federal health agencies with their billion-dollar research budgets just aren’t really interested in funding trials for unpatentable, natural medicines like Chaga. I still enthusiastically recommend it because of its historical credibility and relative lack of side effects.
Purity is a concern with Nutraceuticals
Nutraceuticals come from the natural world, they tend to absorb the toxins in the environment around them, making many of the herbal supplements that you might find possibly Iatrogenic — they may actually do you more harm than good. This is why I wouldn’t buy any old Chaga that I found on store shelves or online, especially if it’s cheap. I’d also prefer not to get my Chaga in a “multi-vitamin” stack that combines it with a bunch of other things unless they proved its purity with a certificate of analysis. I enthusiastically recommend Lost Empire Herbs as they have the highest standards in the industry for quality assurance and purity testing.
The King of Mushrooms, According to Siberian Shamans
Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus)also known as KING OF MUSHROOMS is a curative mushroom most commonly found on birch trees. Chaga mushroom powder may be one of the best supplements for healthy immune function.
Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus) is a curative mushroom most commonly found on birch trees. Different from other mushrooms, it grows its sclerotium or mycelium on the outside of the tree, instead of fruiting bodies. It is believed to not be parasitic, but instead to live symbiotically with the host tree.
Since time unremembered it has been used by the native people that lived in areas where it is found for a wide range of treatments both internally and externally in a poultice. In fact, it was one of the two mushrooms found on Ozti the Iceman.