Cancer is a dreaded six-letter word, which kills around 8.2 million people(1) annually. Chronic diseases like cancer can lead to a substantial economic and emotional burden.
Cancer prevention, through lifestyle modification, should be adopted for reducing the incidence of cancer. Incorporating nutritionally rich functional food into our diets—like the Chaga mushroom cancer diet—could be one way forward.
Chaga, or Inonotus obliquus, is a white-rot parasitic fungus found in mature live birch trees in the cold climate of the northern hemisphere. Also known as “clinker polypore”, Chaga is a charcoal-like fungus with a soft orange core.
Inonotus obliquus has been held in high regard in traditional eastern medicine. The mushroom has been in use for centuries, even in northern Europe, to treat many diseases and health issues. In modern society, various Chaga mushroom cancer testimonials show that one of the health benefits of Chaga supplements is improving immunity and reducing the risk of chronic illnesses.
Chaga contains a host of bioactive compounds that are beneficial in the production of cytokines and the overall improvement of human health. Researchers show that theChaga mushroom health benefits include anti-oxidant, preventing diabetes, helping with blood sugar control, immune-enhancing, anti-inflammation(2) properties,improving hair health, and anti-stress capabilities. The mushroom is also known toimprove skin, and thyroid functions,treat blood pressure, improve gut health, and protect against cognitive decline and cancer.
The positive relationship between Chaga and prostate cancer is not a novel concept. The mushroom has been used to treat cancer in Russia and in Siberian folk medicine(3). Many studies have investigated the anti-cancer effects of Chaga. Here, we bring to you all the science-backed evidence of the benefits of Chaga for cancer. Read on to know the link between Chaga mushrooms and cancer as well as theideal Chaga dose for cancer.
How Is Chaga Good For Cancer?
The anti-cancer benefits of Chaga are the most widely reported benefit that has received global interest. The crude extract(4) of the fungus has potent anti-oxidant, immune-modulatory, and anti-mutagenic properties which contribute to the Chaga mushroom cancer benefits.
TheChaga mushroom powder contains polysaccharides, triterpenes, ergosterol, and small phenolic compounds, which have been shown to exhibit anti-cancer effects. Triterpenes like betulinic acid, inotodiol, lupeol, polyphenol like caffeic acid, and 3,4-dihydroxy benzal acetone have been shown to demonstrate anti-proliferative effects. Betulinic acid is being studied(5) for use as a chemotherapeutic agent. When taking advantage of Chaga tea prostate cancer benefits, the mushroom polysaccharides inhibit protein synthesis in the tumor cells and activate the host immune system for fighting off cancer.
Investigations into the Chaga cancer testimonials have revealed that Chaga mushrooms also prevent cell damage that results from oxidative stress(6). The anti-oxidant property of Chaga checks DNA damage and mutation that often leads to cancer
Research information shows that Chaga for cancer can be taken in different forms to get its anti-cancer benefits. The mushroom can be used as powders, tinctures, or as beverages. If you want to take Chaga tea for cancer, a Chaga dose for cancer of 6mg/kg per day in the form of a tea infusion is recommended(7).
What Types Of Cancer Is Chaga Beneficial For?
In Russia and other places around the world, the Chaga mushroom has been used in the treatment of oral, gastrointestinal, lung, breast, and skin cancers. Some of the scientific research on the tumor-fighting effects of Chaga is discussed below:
Part of Chaga cancer benefits is connected to its virus-fighting capabilities. Chaga has been known to exhibit antiviral activity against the Hepatitis C virus(8), a leading cause of hepatic cancer. The water extract of Inonotus obliquus reduced the infective properties of the virus by 100 folds and exhibited its virucidal properties within 10 minutes of administration.
If you are wondering can Chaga cure cancer, you should know that a 70% ethanol extract of Chaga mushroom has been found to exhibit cytotoxic effects against breast cancer cells (9)in a dose and time-dependent manner. The study models were given 2g/kg of the Chaga mushroom extract, on alternate days, for 30 days.
Inonotus obliquus was found to inhibit the growth of the breast cancer cells as well as induce self-eating (autophagy) of the tumor cells. It was also reported that the mushroom extract did not interfere with the cytotoxic effects of anti-cancer medications. This has suggested that Chaga may be a beneficial complementary medicine for patients with breast cancer.
The cytotoxic effect of the Chaga mushroom on human lung cancer cells(10) was evaluated in a study. Extract of Chaga was found to decrease the viability of four different types of lung cancer cells by inducing cell death (apoptosis). Lanostane-type triterpenoids were attributed to the pro-apoptotic and cytotoxic effects of Chaga against the lung cancer cells.
The water extract of Inonotus obliquus has been studied for its anti-proliferative effects against melanoma cells(11), a form of skin cancer. The mushroom inhibited the growth of skin cancer cells by arresting the cell cycle and inducing apoptosis. The viability of the cancer cells markedly decreased, merely 48 hours post-exposure to Chaga extract.
Ergosterol peroxide present in Chaga inhibited cell proliferation in colonic cancer(12). This tendency to suppress colon cancer growth was a result of apoptosis of tumor cells brought on by Chaga. This anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic property of Chaga can be utilized as a supplement in colon cancer chemoprevention.
The birch fungus extract has shown significant cytotoxic activity against human sarcoma cells(13). Inonotus obliquus reduced tumor volume by up to 33% in mice bearing sarcoma cells. The experiment then utilized human sarcoma cells, where an extract of Chaga mushroom exhibited inhibitory activity against the proliferation of sarcoma cells. Inotodiol and lanosterol, isolated from Chaga, may, therefore, be a potential functional anticancer food or even a component of an anticancer drug.
Does Chaga Help With Chemotherapy?
Whether taking advantage of Chaga prostate or benefiting from the Chaga and breast cancer advantages, many cancer patients take Inototus obliquus as a complementary medicine(14) during chemotherapy and radiotherapy due to its anti-tumor activity. When it comes to Chaga and cancer, the Chaga cancer study shows that the mushroom also plays a key role in helping users deal with the side effects of other cancer treatment methods.
The mushroom is also known as an immune-boosting superfood. The beta-D-glucan present in Chaga supports the immune system(15) when necessary, thereby preparing our bodies to fight off the side effects of chemotherapy.
Chaga is emerging as a potent anti-cancer medicinal mushroom. The bioactive molecules in the fungus have demonstrated significant cytotoxic activity against cancer cells. Many in vitro studies have also reported the pro-apoptotic effects of Inonotus obliquus.
The mushroom also inhibits the colony-forming ability of tumor cells in cancers of the colon and breast. The Chaga mushroom tea cancer activity has also been proven in tumors of the gastrointestinal tract including liver, skin, lung, cervix, and oral cavity.
Much research on Chaga’s mushroom for cancer is still being carried out. However, additional human studies are required because the available data are preliminary. Regardless, Chaga is showing potential as a novel chemotherapeutic agent that does not seem to harm the non-cancerous cells.
- Arata, S., Watanabe, J., Maeda, M., Yamamoto, M., Matsuhashi, H., Mochizuki, M., Kagami, N., Honda, K., & Inagaki, M. (2016). Continuous intake of the Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) aqueous extract suppresses cancer progression and maintains body temperature in mice.Heliyon,2(5), e00111. (1) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2016.e00111
- Ma, L., Chen, H., Dong, P., & Lu, X. (2013). Anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities of extracts and compounds from the mushroom Inonotus obliquus.Food Chemistry,139(1-4), 503–508. (2) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.01.030
- Pilzwald, D. (2004).Chaga and Other Fungal Resources Assessment of Sustainable Commercial Harvesting in Khabarovsk and Primorsky Krais, Russia. (3) http://www.fengshuilondon.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Pilz-2004-Chaga-Report-Chaga-and-Other-Fungal-Resources-Assessment-of-Sustainable-Commercial-Harvesting-in-Khabarovsk-and-Primorsky-Krais-Russia..pdf
- Baek, J., Roh, H.-S., Baek, K.-H., Lee, S., Lee, S., Song, S.-S., & Kim, K. H. (2018). Bioactivity-based analysis and chemical characterization of cytotoxic constituents from Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) that induce apoptosis in human lung adenocarcinoma cells.Journal of Ethnopharmacology,224, 63–75. (4) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2018.05.025
- Kim Y. R. (2005). Immunomodulatory Activity of the Water Extract from Medicinal Mushroom Inonotus obliquus.Mycobiology,33(3), 158–162. (5) https://doi.org/10.4489/MYCO.2005.33.3.158
- Park, Y. K., Lee, H. B., Jeon, E.-J., Jung, H. S., & Kang, M.-H. (2004). Chaga mushroom extract inhibits oxidative DNA damage in human lymphocytes as assessed by comet assay.BioFactors,21(1-4), 109–112. (6) https://doi.org/10.1002/biof.552210120
- Arata, S., Watanabe, J., Maeda, M., Yamamoto, M., Matsuhashi, H., Mochizuki, M., Kagami, N., Honda, K., & Inagaki, M. (2016). Continuous intake of the Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) aqueous extract suppresses cancer progression and maintains body temperature in mice.Heliyon,2(5), e00111. (7) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2016.e00111
- Shibnev, V. A., Mishin, D. V., Garaev, T. M., Finogenova, N. P., Botikov, A. G., & Deryabin, P. G. (2011). Antiviral activity of Inonotus obliquus fungus extract towards infection caused by hepatitis C virus in cell cultures.Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine,151(5), 612–614. (8) https://doi.org/10.1007/s10517-011-1395-8
- Lee, M.-G., Kwon, Y.-S., Nam, K.-S., Kim, S. Y., Hwang, I. H., Kim, S., & Jang, H. (2021). Chaga mushroom extract induces autophagy via the AMPK-mTOR signaling pathway in breast cancer cells.Journal of Ethnopharmacology,274, 114081. (9) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2021.114081
- Baek, J., Roh, H.-S., Baek, K.-H., Lee, S., Lee, S., Song, S.-S., & Kim, K. H. (2018). Bioactivity-based analysis and chemical characterization of cytotoxic constituents from Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) that induce apoptosis in human lung adenocarcinoma cells.Journal of Ethnopharmacology,224, 63–75. (10) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2018.05.025
- Youn, M.-J., Kim, J.-K., Park, S., Kim, Y., Park, C., Kim, E. S., Park, K.-I., So, H. S., & Park, R. (2009). Potential anticancer properties of the water extract of Inontus obliquus by induction of apoptosis in melanoma B16-F10 cells.Journal of Ethnopharmacology,121(2), 221–228. (11) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2008.10.016
- Kang, J.-H., Jang, J.-E., Mishra, S. K., Lee, H.-J., Nho, C. W., Shin, D., Jin, M., Kim, M. K., Choi, C., & Oh, S. H. (2015). Ergosterol peroxide from Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) exhibits anti-cancer activity by down-regulation of the β-catenin pathway in colorectal cancer.Journal of Ethnopharmacology,173, 303–312. (12) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2015.07.030
- Chung, M. J., Chung, C. K., Jeong, Y., & Ham, S. S. (2010). Anticancer activity of subfractions containing pure compounds of Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) extract in human cancer cells and in Balbc/c mice bearing Sarcoma-180 cells.Nutrition research and practice,4(3), 177–182. (13) https://doi.org/10.4162/nrp.2010.4.3.177
- Lee, M.-G., Kwon, Y.-S., Nam, K.-S., Kim, S. Y., Hwang, I. H., Kim, S., & Jang, H. (2021). Chaga mushroom extract induces autophagy via the AMPK-mTOR signaling pathway in breast cancer cells.Journal of Ethnopharmacology,274, 114081. (14) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2021.114081
- Kim Y. R. (2005). Immunomodulatory Activity of the Water Extract from Medicinal Mushroom Inonotus obliquus. Mycobiology,33(3), 158–162. (15) https://doi.org/10.4489/MYCO.2005.33.3.158