Chaga Mushroom Extract and its Applications
Growing throughout hardwood forests in the Northern Hemisphere (North America, Northern Europe), Inonotus obliquus has been respected in holistic healing practices for its useful wellness properties. A mushroom, or technically a sclerotium, typically growing on hardwood trees-- birch in particular as its most common host. Inonotus obliquus goes by many names, from cinder conk to black mass. More commonly, however, it is known as the Chaga mushroom or fungi. Often utilized in the form of an alcohol-based tonic or tincture, this unique and seemingly exotic fungus is utilized in many of the same ways today, as it has been throughout history. It is sought after and highly revered as the "King" of medicinal fungus.
The health advantages of this fungus are vast, with its most prominent use being medicinal tea. Over the last few centuries, two primary removal techniques have been used for it, with each providing various results and health benefits.
Hot Water Extraction
Hot water extraction is the most common and the most efficient technique, comparable to a traditional tea-making process, allowing the substance to steep in the boiling water, thus releasing both its nutrients and facilitating its ingestion. Ideally, one should prevent boiling it alone, as too often as it may result in the bioactive beta-glucans disintegrating and only partially softening the chitinous skin of the mushroom. The disadvantage to this approach is that it often leads to damage of the naturally occurring phytonutrients and vitamins within it.
Water-insoluble parts, such as phytosterols, betulinic acid as well as betulin, will certainly be lacking in hot water removal.
Alcohol removal making use of Ethanol & methanol isolates the water-insoluble elements-- betulinic acid, betulin, and phytosterols. This extraction method is most often utilized as a second follow-up step to the aforementioned hot water extraction. Ethanol alone will not break down chitin sufficiently since high heat is necessary to soften it. Most removal methods make use of 190-proof ethyl alcohol, which is high-proof alcohol readily available over the counter, and extremely safe for human consumption. It's also the only edible solvent that can efficiently remove the non-water-soluble compounds found within the plant.
Taking into consideration the amount of extract resulting from this removal process is very small, the amount of alcohol consumed when ingesting the tonic is relatively negligible.
Known research has shown that Chaga mushroom extract has resulted in the slowing down of growth, and further death, of a variety of cancer cells. Other independent studies have suggested that it may be valuable in the future production of anticancer medications. Although these studies show promising and fruitful results, further analysis on human subjects is necessary to identify the general effects of utilizing the fungus to eliminate or protect against cancer growth within human cells.
Both portions of the extraction methods explained above-- from water and ethanol removal-- are then blended to guarantee the full range of the spore's properties are obtained, allowing it to then be processed into a wide range of products from tinctures, tonics, capsules, and powders.