Inonotus obliquus - Chaga

Family: Hymenochaetaceae [E-flora]

Description

"large black stemless cracked cankers forming on birch, fruitbodies on the other hand are quickly deteriorated by insects and weathering and are hard to find even where infected trees are numerous, pore surface whitish becoming dark reddish brown, and microscopically there are scattered setae that do not project prominently; claims are made for its use as a medicinal agent; found in BC, ID, also AB, MB, NB, NS, NWT, ON, PE, PQ, SK, AR, GA, MA, ME, MT, NH, NY, PA, VT, WV, circumglobal in boreal forest ecosystems with birches, (Gilbertson), Europe, Asia, (Breitenbach)" [E-flora]

Habitat/Range: "annual, on Betula (birch), rarely Ulmus (elm), Fagus (beech), Ostrya, causing white rot of heartwood of living birch and rarely other hardwoods, (Gilbertson), imperfect form occurs on trunks of hardwoods, but perfect form with pores and basidia produced under bark only after tree dies, (Breitenbach), year round with new growth in fall (Bacon), spring, summer, fall, (Buczacki)" [E-flora]

"I. obliquus occurs as fruitbodies and sterile conks, the sporophores consisting of resupinate poria-like fructifications. However, the fungus is most frequently encountered in the sterile form in the trunk of living trees. The conks have a hard, woody to almost stone-like texture (Fig. 1). The internal surface of the fungus is rusty brown and the external surface is characterized by a thick, black, horny cuticle. I. obliquus is a strong parasite of deciduous trees, causing whiterot, and is a significant damaging agent of Betula pubescens Ehrh. and Betula pendula Roth. (Reid 1976)." [Bajaj MAPS 6]

"For example, Pilz (2004) concluded that commercial harvesting of the medicinal conk chaga (Inonotus obliquus (Pers.) Pilát) in no way endangered this extremely widespread and abundant pathogen of birch trees in the boreal forests of Russia, but that the species could be locally over-harvested. Without efforts at enhancing production, the harvest might become economically unsustainable, as collectors need to travel further from towns and cities to find specimens." [A.B. Cunningham]

Medicinal Use

"Russian folklore from the province of Olonyets in northwestern Russia tells of a fungus which grows on birch trees being revered for treating a variety of cancers. Folkloric reports also come from Siberia, the Baltic, and Finland. Specifically, only the “abortive” sporophores of the fungus were given to cancer patients as a tea until the cancer improved (Lucas, 1960). In Russia, besides its wellknown use against cancer (Grzybek et al, 1983), chaga is regarded as a tonic, blood purifier, and pain-reliever (Hutchens, 1973) and was widely used against cancer in Poland in 1961. It was recommended and approved for public use against cancer by the Medical Academy of Science, Moscow, 1955 (Hutchens, 1973). In 1960, the U.S. National Cancer Institute received a report that a decoction of chaga had been used successfully to treat cancer in Australia (Hartwell, 1971a)." [MM Hobbs]

"According to Belova and Varentsova (1962), the tincture of chaga should be made 1:10 (weight to volume) preserved with 10% ethanol. The solids content of the tincture should be about 2-2.3%, but that of the decoction made by heating the powdered fruiting body to 80 degrees centrigrade for 1 hour is 6-9%. The decoction can be filtered, concentrated under vacuum to 20% solids and then either preserved with 10% ethanol or dried to a powder in a food dehydrator (Yakimov et al, 1961). Andreeva (1961) found that the maximum extraction of a polyphenol mixture was highest at 100 degrees centigrade, but that a self-condensation reaction changed the composition of the extract at higher temperatures." [MM Hobbs]

"According to Belova and Varentsova (1962), the tincture of chaga should be made 1:10 (weight to volume) preserved with 10% ethanol. The solids content of the tincture should be about 2-2.3%, but that of the decoction made by heating the powdered fruiting body to 80 degrees centrigrade for 1 hour is 6-9%. The decoction can be filtered, concentrated under vacuum to 20% solids and then either preserved with 10% ethanol or dried to a powder in a food dehydrator (Yakimov et al, 1961). Andreeva (1961) found that the maximum extraction of a polyphenol mixture was highest at 100 degrees centigrade, but that a self-condensation reaction changed the composition of the extract at higher temperatures." [Myco Bone]

"Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) was traditionally used to treat TB; ulcers; digestive, heart, and liver cancers; and was actually approved as an anticancer drug in Russia in the 1950s." [Myco Bone]

"The mushroom Inonotus obliquus (Fr.) Pilat (Hymenochaetaceae) has been widely used in folk medicine in Russia, Poland, and most of the Baltic countries to improve overall health and prevent various diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Traditionally, I. obliquus has been taken in the form of a hot water extract prepared from a small piece of the mushroom (1-2 g) or one tablespoon of crushed mushroom. This produces an aqueous extract, which is taken as a dose of three cups per day." [Rai PM]

Phytochemicals

"In animals, a water extract of chaga at non-toxic doses showed activity against carcinoma (Kier, 1961). The identity of the active compound(s) responsible for the antitumor activity is still under discussion. Some researchers point to the triterpenes, especially obliquol, (Grzybek et al, 1983). However, these compounds occur in very small amounts (less than 0.2%) in the official Russian anticancer remedy Befungin, as does the proven anticarcinogenic compound, a pteroiloglatamic acid derivative (Grzybek et al, 1983)." [MM Hobbs]

"Although lanostane-type compounds are common in wood-rotting fungi, lanosterol has been isolated only from I. obliquus, Fomitopsis pinicola, and Fomes pini (Munro and Musgrave 1971, Yokoyama et al. 1975)." [Bajaj MAPS 6]

Styrylpyrone hispidin "This pigment was originally isolated from Inonotus hispidus, a fungus found in clumps on fallen trees and amongst leaf litter." [ChemofFungi]

Activities

"Antitumor activity was only found from extracts prepared by lengthy heating or “decocting,” which investigators noted was the means of preparation used in folk medicine. Infusions, prepared by steeping the plant material, were not active against the tumor systems tested (Lucas, 1959)." [MM Hobbs]

Use of Other Related Sp.

Other Local Species

"Marx (1969) found that an isolate of L.[Lactaria] deliciosus inhibited a number of fungi pathogenic to pine such as Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands, Rhizoctonia repens Bernard and Inonotus circinatus (Fr.)" [Cairney EF]

"For example, Inonotus hispidus is capable of selectively hydroxylating phenyacetic acid to 4-hydroxy-phenylacetic acid, but the spacetime yield is much too low for an industrial process." [Esser IA]

"Inonotus hispidus, which produces styrylpyrones (hispidin) and derivatives ofcaffeic acid (hispolon) as pigments, has been suggested as a valuable source of new drugs (Pilgrim et al., 1997)." [????]

Journals of Interest

References

[E-flora] Inonotus obliquus, http://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Inonotus%20obliquus&redblue=Both&lifeform=14, Accessed April 3, 2019


Page last modified on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 7:28 AM