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Scientific research uses in general extracted, highly purified mushroom powder to investigate the therapeutic potential of medicinal mushrooms. Research found that the immunological effects of mushroom extracts are up to 10 times higher when compared against non-extracted powders.
ORIVeDA's powdered extracts are comparable in both composition and quality, so the research results you read about you can also expect from our extracts. (This Chaga extract powder is identical to the extract powder in the Chaga capsules.)
ORIVeDA Chaga contains guaranteed levels of the main bioactive compounds. Click here to see our authorized 'Supplement Facts' label.
Science has been researching medicinal mushrooms for decades. Below we've listed the main targets in Chaga research*.
Take notice: this list should not be interpreted as a list of medical claims ! For an extensive background click here ( page opens in new window ).
A shared property of all medicinal mushrooms is said to be immune-modulation: research has been investigating their potential to normalize our natural resistance against diseases for many decades. Although undeniable proof has not yet been presented the outcome of research is promising.
In particular water-soluble beta-glucans have triggered the interest of scientists: in the EU several health-claims based on beta-glucans have been ratified in the past years by the EFSA. Beta-glucans are e.g. thought to help with immune support and with normalizing of cholesterol levels.
When properly extracted, Chaga has good levels of beta-glucan. In basic hot water extracts these levels are only 3 - 8%, though. Globally, Oriveda's Chaga can claim the highest percentage of beta-glucan.
Given that our immune system is the core of our health this is very important - allergies, infections, auto-immune diseases and many old-age problems are all immune related. Also see our dedicated article about the immune system.
Two terms are worth mentioning here: adaptogenic (helping our body to adapt to the never-ending assaults on our health) and BRM (a natural Biological Response Modifier - helps to normalize the body's natural defense mechanisms without any side effects).
These terms are keywords when describing medicinal mushrooms. Medicinal mushrooms do not cure or heal directly, but they help the body to perform at its best.
These properties are of course linked to Chaga's immune-modulating potential. Responsible for these properties are most likely the beta-glucans found in Chaga. Polyphenols also might play a role.
Harmful micro-organisms, bacteria and viruses should be neutralized by the immune system before they can cause infections and inflammations. Existing infections etc. will last considerably shorter if the immune system is functioning at its peak level.
Betulinic acid (an important component of Chaga) is currently being researched in several countries for its anti-HIV potential. Unfortunately betulinic acid has a very low 'bio-availability'; the body has trouble absorbing it. The often seen claims that 'Chaga contains a bioavailable form of betulinic acid' are unfortunately unfounded. For additional information visit our resources page.
Oriveda's Chaga contains over 20% of beta-glucan and over 2.5% of betulinic acid.
In folk medicine Chaga was used often to battle gastritis and related gastro-intestinal problems.
Again, the immune-modulating potential of Chaga plays an important role here, both in treating and prevention of these problems, but betulinic acid and the phytosterols present in Chaga might also play a role.
Stress e.g. can have a devastating effect on the metabolism, and is known to contribute to the development of ulcers because of its negative effect on the immune system. Most ulcers are caused by bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori. A well-functioning immune system will be able to deal with this pathogen.
Chaga is used often in combination with standard cancer treatments such as chemo-therapy and radiation. There are claims suggesting it can neutralize in whole or in part the devastating effects these treatments have on our immune system.
If these claims are justified Chaga might aid in preventing metastasis (cancer cells traveling through the bloodstream should be neutralized by the immune system before they can cause harm). Chaga might be able to significantly contribute to the quality of life during and after treatment this way.
Furthermore, some research is focusing on Chaga itself as having a direct anti-cancer potential. The betulinic acid and some of the phytosterols present are thought to have the ability to kill cancer cells directly. How this is supposed to work exactly is the subject of several theories. So far, no clinical trials have been performed and all research has been performed on animals and in the lab.
Betulinic acid / phytosterols are only present in dual extracted Chaga; these compounds are not water-soluble.
Our ORIVEDA extract includes the sclerotium ( the black outside layer ) of the Chaga conk. This is important, because this sclerotium contains a massive amount of a specific fungi-melanin, giving our extract a very high level of anti-oxidants. The percentage of polyphenols is a good indicator - melanin is a polyphenolic derivative.
Research has linked anti-oxidants to DNA-regenerating and re-vitalizing properties. Assuming this is justified, the whole body will benefit from this; your organs will function better and because of this you will look and feel better.
Antioxidant power is often expressed in an ORAC-value (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity).
In vitro research showed betulinic acid (a compound unique to Chaga) to be able to break down 'bad' cholesterol. Unfortunately betulinic acid has a very low 'bio-availability'; the body has trouble absorbing it. The often seen claims that 'Chaga contains a bioavailable form of betulinic acid' are unfounded, although there are theories that a synergetic effect is taking place.
The beta-glucans in Chaga have a positive effect on cholesterol levels; as said before in the EU such health claims have been ratified by the EFSA. A healthy balance between LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol helps with high blood pressure and promotes a healthy cardio-vascular system: less plaque, stronger arteries.
Oriveda Chaga contains ± 2.5 % of betulinic acid and ± 20 % of bioactive beta-glucans.
Psoriasis is basically an auto-immune disease. In the early 70s a case study was performed in the USSR, investigating the effect of a traditional Chaga preparation (Befungin ®) on psoriasis symptoms. We have translated this case study into English.
The full article is available for download in our 'resources' section.
One of our clients started a blog with day-to-day pictures of his battle against psoriasis, using a combination of healthy food and Oriveda Chaga. His blog can be found here.
Chaga extracts have no noteworthy side effects at all. The lack of side effects is due to the fact that Chaga extracts work mainly in an indirect way: as a natural BRM (a Biological Response Modifier - stimulating the body's natural defense mechanisms).
There is no potential disturbance of the body's chemical and hormonal balance. This makes medicinal mushrooms extracts like Chaga the ideal dietary supplements for everybody.
The only contra-indications are immune suppressing medicines (e.g. after a transplant). Never use medicinal mushroom extracts together with this type of medication - the immune modulating potential might neutralize its workings.
There are also reports that Chaga extracts might increase the risk of hypoglycemia (blood sugar levels that fall too low) in people that are sensitive to that, such as those taking diabetes medicines like insulin. Taking it together with some sugar-containing beverage such as fresh juice will help.
Inonotus obliquus, Chaga, immune support, anti-cancer adjuvant, anti-cholesterol, anti-oxidant
Immunological effects of 39 mushroom supplements compared. [source]