Inonotus obliquus

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Inonotus obliquus
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Fungi
Division:Basidiomycota
Class:Agaricomycetes
Order:Hymenochaetales
Family:Hymenochaetaceae
Genus:Inonotus
Species:I. obliquus
Binomial name
Inonotus obliquus
(Ach. ex Pers.) Pilát (1942)
Synonyms[1]

Boletus obliquus Ach. ex Pers. (1801)
Polyporus obliquus (Ach. ex Pers.) Fr. (1821)
Physisporus obliquus (Ach. ex Pers.) Chevall. (1826)
Poria obliqua (Ach. ex Pers.) P.Karst. (1881)
Fomes obliquus (Ach. ex Pers.) Cooke (1885)
Phaeoporus obliquus (Ach. ex Pers.) J.Schröt. (1888)
Mucronoporus obliqua (Ach. ex Pers.) Ellis & Everh. (1889)
Scindalma obliquum (Ach. ex Pers.) Kuntze (1898)
Phellinus obliquus (Ach. ex Pers.) Pat. (1900)
Xanthochrous obliquus (Ach. ex Pers.) Bourdot & Galzin (1928)
Fuscoporia obliqua (Ach. ex Pers.) Aoshima (1951)

 
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Inonotus obliquus
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Fungi
Division:Basidiomycota
Class:Agaricomycetes
Order:Hymenochaetales
Family:Hymenochaetaceae
Genus:Inonotus
Species:I. obliquus
Binomial name
Inonotus obliquus
(Ach. ex Pers.) Pilát (1942)
Synonyms[1]

Boletus obliquus Ach. ex Pers. (1801)
Polyporus obliquus (Ach. ex Pers.) Fr. (1821)
Physisporus obliquus (Ach. ex Pers.) Chevall. (1826)
Poria obliqua (Ach. ex Pers.) P.Karst. (1881)
Fomes obliquus (Ach. ex Pers.) Cooke (1885)
Phaeoporus obliquus (Ach. ex Pers.) J.Schröt. (1888)
Mucronoporus obliqua (Ach. ex Pers.) Ellis & Everh. (1889)
Scindalma obliquum (Ach. ex Pers.) Kuntze (1898)
Phellinus obliquus (Ach. ex Pers.) Pat. (1900)
Xanthochrous obliquus (Ach. ex Pers.) Bourdot & Galzin (1928)
Fuscoporia obliqua (Ach. ex Pers.) Aoshima (1951)

Inonotus obliquus, commonly known as chaga mushroom (a Latinisation of the Russian term 'чага'), is a fungus in Hymenochaetaceae family. It is parasitic on birch and other trees. The sterile conk is irregularly formed and has the appearance of burnt charcoal. It is not the fruiting body of the fungus, but a mass of mycelium, mostly black due to the presence of massive amounts of melanin. The fertile fruiting body can be found very rarely as a resupinate (crustose) fungus on or near the clinker, usually appearing after the host tree is dead. I. obliquus grows in birch forests of Russia, Korea, Eastern and Northern Europe, northern areas of the United States, in the North Carolina mountains and in Canada. The chaga mushroom is considered a medicinal mushroom that has a place in Russian and Eastern European folk medicine.

Contents

Name

The name "chaga" (pronounced "tsjaa-ga') comes from the Russian word of the mushroom (anglicized from czaga), which in turn is purportedly derived from the word for the fungus in Komi-Permyak, the language of the indigenous peoples in the Kama River Basin, west of the Ural Mountains. It is also known as the clinker polypore, cinder conk, black mass and birch canker polypore.[2]

In Norwegian, the name is kreftkjuke' which literally translates as "cancer polypore", referring to the fungus' appearance or to its alleged medicinal properties.

In England and Canada, it is known as the sterile conk trunk rot of birch, which refers to the fruiting bodies growing under the outer layers of wood surrounding the sterile conk once the tree is dead, to spread the spores. In France, it is called the carie blanche spongieuse de bouleau (spongy white birch tree rot), and in Germany it is known as Schiefer Schillerporling (slate Inonotus). The Dutch name is berkenweerschijnzwam (birch mushroom glow).

It has also been known by other Latin names, such as Polyporus obliquus and Poria obliqua.[2]

Medicinal use

Since the 16th century, chaga mushrooms were recorded as 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. A review from 2010 stated, "As early as in the 16th century, chaga was used as an effective folk medicine in Russia and Northern Europe to treat several human malicious tumors and other diseases in the absence of any unacceptable toxic side effects."

Chemical investigations show I. obliquus produces a range of secondary metabolites, including phenolic compounds, melanins, and lanostane-type triterpenoids, including a small percentage of betulinic acid. Among these are the active components for antioxidant, antitumoral, and antiviral activities and for triggering the human immune system.

Geographically this fungus is restricted to very cold habitats. It grows very slowly, suggesting it is not a reliable source of these bioactive compounds. Attempts at cultivating this fungus axenically all resulted in a reduced and markedly different production of bioactive metabolites.[3][4] Cultivated Chaga results in a reduced diversity of phytosterols, particularly lanosterol, that are intermediates in the synthesis of ergosterol. This effect was partially reversed by the addition of silver ion, an inhibitor of ergosterol biosynthesis.[3]

Additionally, betulinic acid is absent in cultivated chaga because wild chaga grows on birches, which supply betulin and betulinic acid (compounds that are now being studied for use as chemotherapeutic agents and are already used as anti-HIV agents [5]). While the betulin found in birch bark is not ingestible by humans, the chaga mushroom converts it into a form that can be ingested orally.

In an animal study, researchers found betulin from birch bark lowered cholesterol, obesity and improved insulin resistance.[6]

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.[7] In 1973 in interesting case study including 50 patients about the effect of a Chaga extract on psoriasis was published in the Russian journal Vestnik Dermatologii i Venerologii. The outcome was almost 100% successful.[8]

In China, Japan and South Korea, extracts of chaga and other mushrooms from the family Hymenochaetaceae are being produced, sold and exported as anticancer medicinal supplements. The main bio-active ingredient in these extracts are usually the nonlinear, complex (1>3) and (1>6) Beta-D-glucans, a type of polysaccharide. The biologic properties of crude preparations of these specific β-D-glucans have been subject of research since the 1960s.

Although these macro-molecules exhibit a wide range of biologic functions, including antitumor activity, their ability to prevent a range of infectious diseases (by triggering and supporting the immune function) has been studied in the greatest detail.[9] Recent scientific research in Japan and China has been focused more on the anticancer potential and showed the effects of these specific polysaccharides to be comparable to chemotherapy and radiation, but without the side effects.[10][11] Further research indicated these polysaccharides have strong anti-inflammatory[9] and immune balancing properties,[12] stimulating the body to produce natural killer (NK) cells to battle infections and tumor growth, instead of showing a direct toxicity against pathogens. This property makes well-prepared medicinal mushroom extracts stand out from standard pharmaceuticals - no side effects will occur or develop; the body is healing itself, triggered into action by the BRM effect of the chaga extract.[13] Herbalist David Winston maintains it is the strongest anticancer medicinal mushroom. Russian literature Nobel Prize laureate Alexandr Solzhenitsyn wrote two pages on the medicinal use and value of chaga in his autobiographical novel, based on his experiences in a hospital in Tashkent, Cancer Ward (1968).

The majority of research has been performed in vitro and in vivo in animals; few human clinical trials have been conducted. In a 48-patient human clinical trial in Poland in 1957, 10 patients treated with chaga showed a reduction of tumor size, a decrease in pain, a decrease in the intensity and the frequency of hemorrhaging, and a recovery accompanied with better sleep, appetite and feelings of improvement. Most of these patients were females treated with chaga for cancer of the genital organs or breast cancer.[7]

Preparation

Inonotus obliquus, Finland.jpg

Chaga is traditionally grated into a fine powder and used to brew a beverage resembling coffee or tea. For medicinal use, an extraction process is needed to make at least some of the bio-active components bioavailable.[14] These bio-actives are found in the mostly indigestible chitin cell walls of the chaga. Humans lack the enzyme chitinase, so cannot fully digest raw mushrooms or their derivatives, and the digestive process works too fast for the stomach acid to take effect. Scientific studies and research are in general also based on highly concentrated extracts, and traditional Russian usage is also based on a form of hot-water extraction (by preparing zavarka).

Currently, three extraction processes are used, each with a different outcome.

Extracts with a therapeutic value usually combine two methods, usually hot water and ethanol extraction. This will result in all bioactive components being present. Cheap, mass-produced extracts are in general hot water, low percentage (4-20%) polysaccharide extracts with limited therapeutic value. The information on the supplements' label will usually reveal inclusion or exclusion of components. However, the majority of mushroom dietary supplements that are sold are non-extracted, being the cheapest option[16]. To achieve at least some therapeutic effects the consumer has to make tea from it.

Research

A 1998 study in Poland demonstrated chaga's inhibiting effects on tumor growth.[17] Noda and colleagues found betulin seems to work highly selectively on tumor cells because the interior pH of tumor tissues is generally lower than that of normal tissues, and betulinic acid is only active at those lower levels. Fulda et al. found, in 1997, once inside the cells, betulinic acid induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the tumors.[citation needed] In 2005, I. obliquus was evaluated for its potential for protecting against oxidative damage to DNA in a human keratinocyte cell line. The study found the polyphenolic extract protected these cells against hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress.[18] Another study that year found the endopolysaccharide of chaga produced indirect anticancer effects via immunostimulation. The mycelial endopolysaccharide of I. obliquus was identified as a candidate for use as an immune response modifier and indicated the anticancer effect of endopolysaccharide is not directly tumoricidal, but rather is immunostimulation.[13][19] It also has anti-inflammatory properties.[12] Saitoh Akiko published on the antimutagenic effects of chaga in 1996. Mizuno et al. published on the antitumor and hypoglycemic activities of the polysaccharides from the sclerotia and mycelia of chaga.[20] Due to the serum glucose-lowering activity of polysaccharides, caution should be taken by those with hypoglycemia.

Literature

See also

References

  1. ^ "Inonotus obliquus (Ach. ex Pers.) Pilát 1942". MycoBank. International Mycological Association. http://www.mycobank.org/MycoTaxo.aspx?Link=T&Rec=315905. Retrieved 2011-10-11. 
  2. ^ a b Needham, Arthur (2005-12-16). "Clinker Polypore, Chaga". http://www.sierrapotomac.org/W_Needham/ClinkerPolypore_Chaga_051216.htm. Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Zheng, W. F.; Liu, T.; Xiang, X. Y.; Gu, Q. (July 2007). "Sterol composition in field-grown and cultured mycelia of Inonotus obliquus". Yao xue xue bao = Acta pharmaceutica Sinica 42 (7): 750–756. PMID 17882960. http://www.oriveda.com/zips/Sterol_composition_Chaga.pdf. 
  4. ^ Zheng W, Miao K, Liu Y, Zhao Y, Zhang M, Pan S et al. (2010). "Chemical diversity of biologically active metabolites in the sclerotia of Inonotus obliquus and submerged culture strategies for up-regulating their production.". Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 87 (4): 1237–54. doi:10.1007/s00253-010-2682-4. PMID 20532760. 
  5. ^ http://registration.akm.ch/einsicht.php?XNABSTRACT_ID=117527&XNSPRACHE_ID=2&XNKONGRESS_ID=124&XNMASKEN_ID=900
  6. ^ Kathleen Blanchard (January 5, 2011). "Betulin from birch bark could treat metabolic disorders". EmaxHealth. http://www.emaxhealth.com/1020/betulin-birch-bark-could-treat-metabolic-disorders. 
  7. ^ a b Piaskowski S. - Preliminary studies on the preparation and application of preparations from black birch touchwood in human cases of malignant tumors. Sylwan 105: 5-11, 1957.
  8. ^ Dosychev, E. A.; Bystrova, V. N. (May 1973). "Treatment of psoriasis using "Chaga" fungus preparations". Vestnik dermatologii i venerologii 47 (5): 79–83. PMID 4755970. http://www.oriveda.com/zips/PSORIASIS_chaga.pdf. 
  9. ^ a b Song, Y.; Hui, J.; Kou, W.; Xin, R.; Jia, F.; Wang, N.; Hu, F.; Zhang, H. et al. (2008). "Identification of Inonotus obliquus and Analysis of Antioxidation and Antitumor Activities of Polysaccharides". Current Microbiology 57 (5): 454–462. doi:10.1007/s00284-008-9233-6. PMID 18795365. http://www.oriveda.com/zips/Chaga-Analysis_of_Antioxidation_Antitumor_Activities_of_Polysaccharides.zip. 
  10. ^ Tzianabos, Arthur O. (2000). "Polysaccharide Immunomodulators as Therapeutic Agents: Structural Aspects and Biologic Function". Clinical Microbiology Reviews 13 (4): 523–533. doi:10.1128/CMR.13.4.523-533.2000. PMC 88946. PMID 11023954. http://www.oriveda.com/zips/Immunomodulators.zip. 
  11. ^ Chung, Mi Ja; Chung, Cha-Kwon; Jeong, Yoonhwa; Ham, Seung-Shi (June 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. doi:10.4162/nrp.2010.4.3.177. PMC 2895696. PMID 20607061. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2895696/. 
  12. ^ a b Park YM, Won JH, Kim YH, Choi JW, Park HJ, Lee KT (October 2005). "In vivo and in vitro anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive effects of the methanol extract of Inonotus obliquus". J Ethnopharmacol 101 (1-3): 120–8. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.04.003. PMID 15905055. 
  13. ^ a b Kim YO, Park HW, Kim JH, Lee JY, Moon SH, Shin CS (May 2006). "Anti-cancer effect and structural characterization of endo-polysaccharide from cultivated mycelia of Inonotus obliquus". Life Sci. 79 (1): 72–80. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2005.12.047. PMID 16458328. 
  14. ^ Paper with background on extraction processes
  15. ^ Rhee, S.Y. (2008). "A comparative study of analytical methods for alkali-soluble β-glucan in medicinal mushroom, Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)". LWT - Food Science and Technology 41 (3): 545–549. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0023643807001430. 
  16. ^ Paper with background on extraction processes
  17. ^ Rzymowska J (January 1998). "The effect of aqueous extracts from Inonotus obliquus on the mitotic index and enzyme activities". Boll Chim Farm 137 (1): 13–5. PMID 9595828. 
  18. ^ Cui Y, Kim DS, Park KC (January 2005). "Antioxidant effect of Inonotus obliquus". J Ethnopharmacol 96 (1-2): 79–85. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.08.037. PMID 15588653. 
  19. ^ Kim YO, Han SB, Lee HW, Ahn HJ, Yoon YD, Jung JK, Kim HM, Shin CS (September 2005). "Immuno-stimulating effect of the endo-polysaccharide produced by submerged culture of Inonotus obliquus". Life Sci. 77 (19): 2438–56. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2005.02.023. PMID 15970296. 
  20. ^ Mizuno T. (1999). "Antitumor and hypoglycemic activities of polysaccharides from the sclerotia and mycelia of Inonotus obliquus". International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms 1 (1): 301–316. 

External links