People have known about chaga and its special medicinal properties since so long ago that it still remains a mystery how and when people first discovered this miraculous natural remedy. Mentions of it could be found among the ancient Romans, who imported this birch fungus from barbaric Europe. It was also mentioned in the scientific treatises of Avicenna, and in ancient Russian chronicles and medical references.
So, in the annals of the XI century, Grand Duke Vladimir Monomakh paid mention to a miraculous healing of lip tumours. The Grand Duke owed his recovery not to some overseas medication, but to a decoction from birch fungus – chaga. But even long before that, the eastern Slavs used this fungus to treat many diseases, both those that are external and internal. They used it in treating an ailing stomach, kidneys and lungs, to rub joints, and heal skin diseases in the bath. It was used in gynaecology, and successfully used for getting rid of tumours, as well as being drunk just like tea, for the general vigour of the body and spirit. A strong and affordable medicine, this folk remedy is still not forgotten today.
Official medical science has also awarded attention to this birch fungus. So back in the 1950s, in the clinics of the Moscow Medical Institute, the physician F.I. Inozemtsev conducted the first clinical trial of this well-known folk remedy. After conducting research on chaga in Russia, this birch fungus was brought to St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Pyatigorsk, and also to clinics in other major cities. All researchers agreed that chaga medicaments improves the human organism’s defences by many times, and also regulate the digestive, nervous, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. As well, in some cases, they could slow the growth of tumours and improve patients’ general condition.
Already in 1955 in the Soviet Union, after the completion of an integrated and comprehensive study of birch fungus by the Pharmacological Committee of the USSR Ministry of Health, it was decided that the chaga mushroom should be recognised as an official medicament. Around the same time, they even attempted to grow this valuable mushroom on an industrial scale by artificially inoculating birch trees with the fungus, but the researchers encountered some difficulties. The problem regarding the valuable raw material base for this fungus was eventually resolved by harvesting chaga in forests.
Studies on the miraculous properties of chaga also continue nowadays. In particular, research scientists have shown that medications based on birch fungus increase the metabolic processes in the brain tissue by many times, increasing its activity. In some cases, it also slows down the growth of tumours at any localisation, and helps to partially neutralise the negative effects of radiation exposure. Researchers from Japan have also proven that chaga exhibits high immuno-modulatory and antiviral properties.