Inonotus obliquus (Chaga)
The Chaga fungi has a deep and long history of use, with its name and longest known usage coming from the Khanty peoples in Siberia. The Khanty’s use of Chaga was varied, but integral to their lifestyle, they used it internally, as a tea and an aid for digestion and overall health, the also smoked it, and made a soap with burnt chaga to help clean the body and keep infections at bay. The dissemination of the use of Chaga from Siberia, through all of Asia, (and especially China) can be seen documented in the Shennon Bencaojing (a Chinese book of medicinal plants, compiled most likely from a long history of oral traditions, 200-250 CE) where it was categorized as a “superior herb” alongside other well known herbs such as ginseng, cannabis, cinnamon, Reishi and many more. Documents show use as a folk medicine in the 15th century in Russian folklore, with use spreading to many cultures and peoples. It remained relatively unknown in the western world until the late 1900’s.
Since it's dissemination into western culture, Chaga has been studied for a plethora of medicinal properties and benefits. Chaga has been shown to help protect the body, supporting healthy immune function, suppressing cancer progression, reducing overall inflammation in the body, and helping to regulate blood sugar levels. Chaga can also enhance physical endurance, acts as a nootropic, promoting cognition and healthy brain functioning. This potent and long lived polypore fungus is anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial, even helping to battle overgrowths of candida in the body.
One of the most unique compounds found in chaga is its betullinic acid, which the fungus converts from the betulin found in the birch trees which is grows in. Betullinic acid targets mutated cells and tiggers apoptosis, or cell death in these faulty cells. The body does this regularly as a part of the overall clean up of the bodies tissues, but certain faulty cells are more difficult for the body to identify and take care, think various types of cancer and tumors. Betullinic acid is being studied as a chemotherapy agent and has been shown to be effective in shrinking tumor growth, with no toxicity or side effects. Betullinic acid is also being studied as a treatment for various other diseases, partly due to its ability to protect genes and chromosomes from mutation.
Our Chaga Spagyric is a dual extracted, highly concentrated and bioavailable medicine. We start our extraction process by using a low temperature (just below simmering) water extraction, in two washes, each for around 18-24hrs. The Chaga is then strained and pressed to get the last bits of the decoction out of the sclerotia. These two washes get combined and slowly evaporated and concentrated to the appropriate level for our overall batch quantity and concentration level. This pressed and drained sclerotia is then put through the Soxhlet extraction process and passed over in multiple rounds with 95% ethanol, until the tincture running out of the matter is approaching a clear color, meaning we’ve extracted most of the actives in our Chaga. The Chaga is then pressed and burned down to a fine white ash for rendering the salt of salt, which is filtered, recollected, and added back to the combination of concentrated decoction and tincture mix, which is then circulated with gentle heat to help mature and harmonize this concentrated brew.
The reason we use a dual extraction method for fungi with water and ethanol is due to the solubility of different medicinal compounds in the fungi. The water extraction yields a high concentration of polysaccharides, while the alcohol extraction renders the triterpinoids, betullinic acid, beutlin and various phytosterols free and available.
We enjoy taking our Chaga Spagyric as an added medicinal boost for our daily beverages. It makes a great addition to coffee and hearty teas especially, but is quite a mild and pleasant addition to any home or on-the-go sipper and even smoothies! Directly taken in the mouth is always an option too, and 5-7 drops is all you need for a full medicinal dose of this mycelial ally.
See our Chaga Spagyric here.
Planetary Ruler: Sun, Jupiter
Energetics: sweet, slightly warm
Meridians/Organs: Spleen, Heart, Lung
Part used: sclerotia
Active constituents: beta-d-glucans, polysaccharides, triterpenes, beutlin, betullinic acid, phytosterols, melanin, inotodiols, Trametenolic Acid
Properties: adaptogenic, alterative, antibacterial, anticarcinogenic, anti-tumor, antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant, antimutagenic, carminative, nutritive, tonic, immunomodulator, vulnerary