An extract from the wonderful, recommendable novel »Cancer Ward« by Alexander Issajewitsch Solschenizyn:
»One former patient told me about Dr. Maslennikov (an old country doctor from Alexander County, near Moscow). He’d worked dozens of years in the same hospital and he noticed that although more and more was being written about cancer in medical literature, there was no cancer among the peasants who came to him . . . so he began to investigate and he discovered a strange thing: that the peasants in his district saved money on their tea, and instead of tea brewed up a thing called “chaga”, or in other words, birch fungus. Actually it’s not even a mushroom but . . . a peculiar growth on old birch trees . . . like spines, black on top and dark brown inside. . . . Anyway Sergei Nikitich Maslennikov had an idea. Mightn’t it be that same ‘chaga’ that had cured the Russian peasants of cancer for centuries without their even knowing it?«
Mankind knows since time immemorial of Chaga - but this knowledge has been lost to us! At least in the Western world.
Shouldn´t we first of all turn to the naturally occurring resources, rather than stuffing ourselves with synthetic drugs that only make us even more sick?
PAKURI - a gift of mother nature
A thing called CHAGA
Pakurikääpä / Tschaga or Chaga / Schiefer Schillerporling / Inonotus obliquus
Many names for the probably most valuable medicinal fungus on earth.
There are more than 1.5 million different mushrooms on our planet. 14 000 to 22 000 we know. Approximately 700 of them are considered edible mushrooms and 400 of them have healing properties.
And we know from Chaga for thousands of years - a natural, occurring on deciduous trees nutrient-, vitamin- and mineral-treasure. It has the highest concentration of antioxidant substances of all plants in the world!
Why was already »Ötzi«, the Iceman, carrying with him a medicine bag with two different medicinal mushrooms?
How come that Russian peasants were able to benefit from the active ingredients of a fungus for centuries?
And why do not already more humans use this wonderful gift that grows on our trees?
We try to find some answers:
Probably many have seen such growths on deciduous trees.
And most of them were probably dismissed as a tree burl, as something disgusting. The tree was in our eyes sick or we thought it it was a charred piece.
Appearance / occurrence
Inos = fibrous
Noton = black
Oblique = ragged edges
Obliquus = inclined / sloping
The medically most valuable Chaga occurs on the birch as an asymmetrically growing sponge. Outside black and inside coffee brown.
He may remind you of a lump of tar or of a charred branch attachment.
It can grow up to 1.2 - 1.5 meters high, up to 25 - 40 cm wide and up to 15 cm deep and weigh several kilograms.
Usually they are found in fist size up to football size.
Most harvested mushrooms have an age 20-25 years.
He is spreaded circumboreal.
Although he is also growing in middle Europe, however, the further north you will find him, the richer and medically valuable he is.
Ideal areas to harvest the Chaga are the endless forests of Lapland and Siberia.
When »Ötzi«, the iceman, was found and it turned out that he was carrying a bag with mushrooms on the body, many believed that it was Chaga. However, it turned out that it was a different type of fungus. Fomes fomentarius - the tinder fungus, and Piptoporus betulinus - the birch polypore.
Yet the fact that an about 5300-year-old glacier mummy of the Neolithic period already used medicinal mushrooms, is fascinating. It is believed that the man had the mushrooms with him because of its antibiotic effect.
Not only the Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn took up for his characters the relationship between the fungus and the infusion of developing cancer. Siberian shamans discovered in the 16th century - or perhaps even much earlier - the phenomenal capabilities of the Chaga mushroom.
In Russia, research on Chaga is being conducted for a long time. From the beginning to the mid-50s, researchers found out that the overall health improved when the mushroom-tea is consumed regularely and it restrains the growth of ulcers.
Pakurikääpä - the Chaga in Finland:
Already at Aleksis Kivi, the famous Finnish writer, we find parts about the miracle-mushroom Chaga - in his most famous work: »The seven brothers« (1873).
The soldiers in the Finnish wars were drinking the fungus as a tea - and coffee substitute, who was called in Finnish »tikka tea«. For many veterans was the drink a reason why they survived the war. »Tikka« is in German the woodpecker. Maybe it attracts these birds also because of the active ingredients to trees that are infested by the Chaga.
Production / Preparation
The Chaga is most valuable if collected wild from nature.
The following applies: The farther to the north, the more harsher climatic conditions, the more active ingredients he has. A Chaga from Germany has far fewer ingredients like a mushroom, which is exposed to the climatic adversities above the polar circle - in Lapland or Siberia.
Next guideline: the older the better and more healing properties.
Of course the Chaga should be collected in deep forest, far away of busy roads or industrial plants.
With the right tools, the fungus must be carefully separated. The best in late autumn. From a chainsaw you should refrain because the chain oil could contaminate the harvested result.
Thereafter, the fungus is cut and dried. The moisture reduction is very important!
Finally, it gets grinded and then it is ready to prepare and enjoy.
Effects / Usage
Many famous people and scientists were able to decrease their sufferings by the Pakurikääpä or even cure them.
One of the most prestigious German mycologists (mushroom scientists), Prof. Hanns Kreisel for example healed several times his gastric disorders.
Gerhard Madaus, German physician and drug manufacturer, already mentioned in 1938 in the »textbook of biological remedies« the Chaga.
In the United States in California lives Christopher Hobbs, a botanist living in the fourth generation and one of the most important medicinal mushroom - and medicinal herb specialists in the world. He recommends the consumption of Chaga.
But why should you consume it?
The following is a long list of positive characteristics and effective ranges:
- Use it with upsets and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract
- He relieves side effects. Especially when taken during chemotherapy, it provides a pain reduction, appetite stimulation and generally increases the mood
- In colitis and proctitis ulcerosa (local inflammation of the rectum) as in Crohn’s disease (chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract)
- Stomach upsets, stomach cramps, stomach and intestinal flu, in inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract (gastritis)
- Very successful in cancer treatment for stomach cancer, colon cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, as well as mixed tumors
- Tuberculosis patients will benefit from it
- It purifies the blood
- With heart and liver ailments
- Diabetes patients improve their blood sugar levels when consumed regularly
- Immune deficiency. It strengthens the immune system
- The fungus makes tired people fitter and prevents fatigue symptoms
- Stomach pain
- In Japan people with pigmentation defects trust on its various application possibilities
Especially in Russia the Chaga is used a lot and has been investigated in numerous studies. There it is recommended also for:
- Skin diseases such as psoriasis
- Diseases affecting the joints
- The general quality of life and strengthening the organism
Chaga helps by no means just to heal ailments or to assist those who are suffering - it also ensures that the consumer of this natural treasure not even gets ill.
Therefore, also healthy people benefit from the enormous power of the birch fungus.
Its special effect is enhanced if you use it like the peasants from Soljitschyns novel: regularly!
Dietary supplements such as Chaga mushroom can not replace a healthy diet and lifestyle. In case of severe symptoms a doctor should be consulted!
Dietary supplements are no substitute for a balanced and varied diet.
Active ingredients / Components
The Chaga mushroom is the perfect plant of nature! Numerous scientific studies show its effects.
He is probably the most powerful antioxidant in the world that has ever been found.
In the past 40 years more than 1600 studies were performed. For example, in 1984 in Helsinki under Dr. Kirsi Kahlonen. She points to the antiviral-, antifungal- and anticancer benefits.
The Chaga prefers the birch tree. Therefore it is believed that the fungus accumulates with betulin, an ingredient of the birch. Betulin is anticarcinogenic - i.e. cancer-inhibiting.
The inner brown and the outer black part contain different active ingredients. While inside more polysaccharide occurs, there is the outer part more of dyes, triterpene and antioxidants. The best effect is obtained when both are used together.
What we know?
- Different triterpenes - main components of ethereal oils
- Tannins - plant tanning agents
- Alkaloids - organic acids such as hydroxybenzoic, vanillic acid and syringic acid
Even if the Chaga is already well researched - clearly we do not yet know, what all active agents are cancer retardant and immune stabilizing.
Further, it has an exceptionally large amount of superoxide dismutase (SOD). Approximately 25 -50 times more than any other medicinal mushrooms.
SOD - a copper-containing antioxidant enzyme - is an important component in cellular metabolism of the organism.
Noteworthy are still the extensively occurring beta-glucan polysaccharides - they support the immune system.
Chaga slows down the activity of bacteria and viruses. It has an anti-inflammatory effect.
A miracle cure of nature!
Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity
This value describes the antioxidant capacity of a sample. Antioxidants are physiologically important as a radical scavenger.
Let’s have a look at the ORAC value of some antioxidant foods:
Goji berries: over 10000 ORAC
Blueberry powder: appr. 6500 ORAC
Green Tea: appr. 1300 ORAC
Raw carrots: appr. 700 ORAC
Tomatoes: appr. 400 ORAC
Dried, grounded chagapowder: appr. 65 000 ORAC
The higher the ORAC value, the more free radicals are neutralized per gram of substance.
Taste / smell
The smell of untreated Chaga is very mild and only remotely reminding to mushroom.
The dried and milled powder is more or less odorless.
You can also take down the mushroom directly off of the tribe to taste it. But the effect and the enjoyment will be limited. It is fibrous, slightly fungoid, woody, hard and rather tasteless.
A from the powder prepared tea looks like coffee. The tea is mild and has a smooth taste.
Preparation / Usage
With a few exceptions EVERYONE can drink as much Chaga as he wants. No side effects will be found.
- Only for people with fungal allergies it might be poorly tolerated - and even with an existing fungal allergy a test can be made, to clarify if the chaga can be consumed.
- Do not use together with antibiotics or intravenous glucose.
Otherwise Chaga helps all - from babies to the elderly, from the dog to the pig!
The most common way to consume the fungus is, to drink it as a tea.
But even to coffee it is possible to give 1-2 teaspoons of mushroom powder. The taste of the beverage does not change - but you get a healthier drink.
In Siberia they also use the chaga for cleaning the body. Also many newborns are cleaned with a birch mushroom infusion.
Also sufferers of skin irritations, such as acne, treat their problem areas with the infusion water.
Cooking Instructions / Advices:
Add to a pot with about 1 to 1.5 liters:
2 teaspoons Chagapowder.
Bring it to boil and then let it slightly simmer for about 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let steep for 5 minutes. The powder sinks to the bottom.
If the pot is almost emptied refill with water. (do not pour off the chaga powder)
Let simmer again for 25 minutes.
Enjoy second portion.
The next time let simmer for another 35-40 minutes.
The chaga releases active ingredients, as long as the powder gives color. And that’s a long time. He just needs a longer cooking time the more often it gets prepared.
It can be left for quietly cooking up to 2 hours.
At the end of the day do not empty the jug. The next day, give another new teaspoon of chaga and prepare like the day before.
The next day, add again 1 teaspoon powder etc .....
So you can make it several days.
The brew can be spiced up to give more taste. Licorice or honey, star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, mint, etc.
The possibilities are unlimited - but it tastes also pure very good.
3 to 4 months as a treatment you can drink as much as you like.
Then 3 to 4 cups a day.
Others say there are no restrictions. One can not get too much of it. There are no proven side effects.
If you drink it for therapeutic purposes, for example for assisting in chemotherapy, then dosing is much higher!
Find out here where we are getting our Chaga from:
Feel free to download and share this PDF:
A small picture gallery of the wonderful Pakurikääpä / Chaga / birch-mushroom. From the tree to the mug: