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Crohn's Disease Forum » Diet, Fitness, and Supplements » Chaga (birch tree mushroom)


03-13-2010, 07:08 AM   #1
RogerDoger
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Chaga (birch tree mushroom)

So I was doing some reading and came across an ancient native and Russian
folk remedy called Chaga, a fungus which grows on white birch trees.



Since many modern drugs are derived from discoveries of chemicals in plants and fungi and then synthesized, could there be something to it?

We've got tons of white birch around here, so this weekend I'm going for a walk in the forest.

From wiki:

"Since the 16th century, there are records of chaga mushroom being used in folk medicine and the botanical medicine of the Eastern European countries as a remedy for cancer, gastritis, ulcers, and tuberculosis of the bones.[citation needed] In 1958, scientific studies in Finland and Russia found Chaga provided an epochal effect in breast cancer, liver cancer,uterine cancer, and gastric cancer, as well as in hypertension and diabetes.[citation needed] Herbalist David Winston maintains that it is the strongest anti-cancer medicinal mushroom.[1]. Russian Literature Nobel Prize laureate Alexandr Solzhenitsyn wrote two pages on the medicinal use and value of chaga in his famous book on his life in the Gulag "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich"."
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Last edited by RogerDoger; 03-13-2010 at 07:11 AM.
03-13-2010, 08:27 AM   #2
Crohn's 35
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We have tons of birch too,,, but what are you gonna do, suck on the tree?
03-13-2010, 01:48 PM   #3
Jeff D.
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Just be careful you pick the right plant and make sure it is okay to eat at this point of the year. Mushrooms can be very dangerous and a lot of them look alike and are deadly. I also say to make sure it's the right time of year because in the wrong season some are toxic.
03-14-2010, 08:36 PM   #4
RogerDoger
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I went out Saturday morning into the forest. Didn't find any chaga
but, wow, it's certainly beautiful walking in the friggin forest on a late winter
sunny day. Middle of friggin nowhere. Wow. Just me and nature.

I went to a health food store today and asked for chaga. She never heard of it,
but when I told her I was in the forest yesterday morning looking for it, she
said she'd like to come with me the next time I went chaga hunting! ;-)
03-15-2010, 05:16 PM   #5
kenny
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I am pretty sure I know the stuff your talking about. If its what I am thinking of you need a heavy blade or hatchet to shave some off.

Looked it up in my tree disease manual and the part you are after is the canker that busted out of the side of the trunk. Most of the pathogen is in the soft wood stretching up to 20' above the canker site.

Inonotus obliquus. There are four of five other species of Inonotus listed that attack other types of trees. I wonder if they have the same properties you are looking for?
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03-16-2010, 11:39 AM   #6
RogerDoger
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I guess the fungus concentrates the "betulin or betulinic acid, a chemical isolated from birch trees, is now being studied for use as a chemotherapeutic agent".
It would be difficult for a human to absorb the betulin straight from a birch tree, but the mushroom kind of concentrates it and pre-digests it, kind of like when you ferment foods, the bacteria or enzymes or whatever partially break down the food, making it easier to absorb and digest. I think white birch trees have the most betulin.

My wife told me that birch tree juice is a popular medicinal drink in Russia in springtime.

I'm going into the woods again soon, but not before I get a few cans of bear spray. I think I may start hunting again (haven't shot anything since I was 18), so I can get out in the woods more often.

Does your book indicate if all of those mushrooms are non-toxic?

Thanks!


If I can't find any, it can be ordered from Mitobi in British Columbia

http://www.mitobi.com/chaga.html


"The Chaga mushroom is a parasitic fungus that grows on Birch and Alder in colder climates. The Chaga has been used in Russia as a folk medicine since the 16th century and Nobel Prize winning literalist Alexandr Solzhenitsyn credits it with curing his Cancer.
Chaga tea is used in the Russian folk medicine for a wide treatment of ailments including gastritis, ulcers, tuberculosis and Cancer. Recent studies have shown that it has a very high antioxidant compounds. The FDA has recommended that people should increase their antioxidant consumption to 7000 ORAC units a day to help lower their risk of Cancer.

What is ORAC?
ORAC stands for "Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity". This is a scale that measures the amount of free oxygen radicals in your body that a food or supplement can absorb. Free oxygen radicals are formed in our body from normal daily living, electricity, pollution, sun exposure and various other unavoidables. These free radicals bounce around our body beating up on our cell structure and organs, making us more susceptible to diseases. Cigarette smoke is full of free radicals. Ever notice how much older smokers look?
Researchers have also discovered that consumption of foods with a high ORAC score help protect against age related memory loss.
Chaga has the highest reported ORAC score in natural foods or oils. Chaga also has Polysaccharides, that other medicinal mushrooms contain, and Triterpenes only found elsewhere in Ganoderma.

Top ORAC fruits and vegetables per 1gm

Chaga 36,557

Wolf Berries 258.1

Prunes 58.9

Pomegranates 33.7

Raisins 28.9

Blueberries 24.5

Blackberries 20.8

Kale 18

Cranberries 17.9

Garlic Clove 16.9

Strawberries 15.7

Spinach 12.9

Steamed Spinach 9.3

Broccoli Flowers 9.1

Beets 8.6

Carrot 2"

Last edited by RogerDoger; 03-16-2010 at 11:48 AM.
03-16-2010, 07:38 PM   #7
kenny
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that particular book is a collection of most of the known pathogens of woody plants that occur in North America. Its more for understanding what's going wrong with a tree or shrub and if there is anything you can do about it.

The betulin thing makes a lot of sense. Betula being the Genus of birches and they are always naming compounds unique to a certain group of plants that way. But I can see the fungus being very efficient at pulling that in. The real body of a fungus is the Mycelia that are far more extensive than most people realize. The entire forest floor is a network of fungal mycelia that interacts with the root systems of many trees and shrubs that make up a forest. Mushrooms are just the reproductive parts. I heard fungus referred to as the largest living organisms on the planet in one particular lecture. (Mycorrhizal Symbiosis)

If you ever felled a tree attacked by a fungus it is amazing to trace the Mycelia through the sapwood and see what it was doing.

[edit]
There is some stuff in my Copy of M.Grieve "A Modern Herbal" on herbal usage for birch. She talks about the plant having a long history of use in Russia there as well! Cool tangent to explore. Thanks

Oh btw you can always shoot stuff with a camera and you don't need a license for that

Last edited by kenny; 03-16-2010 at 07:49 PM.
03-16-2010, 08:33 PM   #8
RogerDoger
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kenny said:
There is some stuff in my Copy of M.Grieve "A Modern Herbal" on herbal usage for birch. She talks about the plant having a long history of use in Russia there as well! Cool tangent to explore. Thanks

If anybody excels at going off on tangents, it's me. I might pick up a copy of that "A Modern Herbal"...sounds interesting.




.

Last edited by RogerDoger; 03-16-2010 at 08:37 PM.
11-28-2013, 08:12 AM   #9
David_S
 
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This an old thread, but I was wondering if you actually tried Chaga and were benefitting from it ?

I read this great article with a lot of background on Chaga, but no mention of Crohn's..

-edit- hmm, can't post links. Just Google 'chaga the facts wordpress' and you'll find it I guess.

- second edit: Found this article that is related: Chaga was tested for its effect against IDB:
ncbi.nlm.nih -dot- gov/pubmed/18997282

Last edited by David_S; 11-28-2013 at 08:41 AM.
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