If you are not familiar with chaga, you may be wondering why this little mushroom from the far north has become so popular. Used as a folk remedy by generations of Alaskans and Siberians, chaga is purported to fight disease, reverse aging, aid intestinal health, and much, much more. One of its most outlandish claims is that it can be used to fight cancer, lung cancer in particular. Is this true or is it just an old wives’ tale?
While there is still research being conducted into chaga’s anti-cancer properties, enough scientific and anecdotal evidence exists to suggest that chaga is in fact an effective cancer treatment. Consumption of chaga has been shown to not only combat cancer cells, but lowers your risk of developing cancer in the first place. Read on to learn how chaga can help you ward off lung cancer.
Chaga and Lung Cancer
Chaga’s anti-cancer potential first became known to the world through Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn and his 1966 semi-autobiographical novel Cancer Ward. Based in part off Solzhenitsyn’s own experience in a Soviet cancer ward, the novel partially focused on how Soviet doctors used chaga as a cure for cancer. Following the novel’s publication in the West, this sparked a flurry of interest in chaga from Western scientists.
Researchers who traveled to the Soviet Union to study chaga’s anti-cancer properties were astounded to discover lower than normal cancer rates among Soviet citizens, particularly in Siberia, where chaga was cultivated and harvested. Soviet peasants often drank chaga as an alternative to coffee, which was expensive, and as a result gave themselves inadvertent protection against cancer.
In the decades since Cancer Ward’s publication, scientists have developed an extensive body of research on chaga’s various benefits to human health. Key to its anti-cancer properties is its antioxidant content. Antioxidants prevent oxidative stress, a major factor in lung cancer and other types of cancer. Oxidative stress is also responsible for aging, another process that chaga can combat.
Oxidative stress refers to the collision of free radicals with healthy human cells. Free radicals are charged particles that float through the body, colliding with cells and causing damage to them as a result. Cells that are damaged by free radicals have a chance of developing into tumors, then developing into full-blown cancer. As such, getting oxidative stress under control is paramount if you seek to reduce your risk of lung cancer.
Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress by eliminating free radicals and healing the damage caused by them, reducing the effects of aging and aiding organ function. A 2010 study showed that chaga was capable of slowing the growth of lung cancer cells in a controlled laboratory environment, providing more evidence of chaga’s anti-cancer function. The same study also showed that chaga was capable of slowing tumor growth in mice.
Additionally, chaga is rich in triterpenes, a particular type of antioxidant. Triterpenes are capable of causing tumor cells to self-destruct upon contact, reducing the size of cancerous growths and preventing carcinogenesis. More importantly, this process does not harm healthy cells. A 2009 study demonstrated the effectiveness of chaga’s triterpenes in combating cancer, though more research needs to be done in order to be truly conclusive.
Another advantage of chaga for lung cancer patients is that it ameliorates many of the side effects of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy often results in illness, lethargy, and a host of other unwanted side effects, and chaga is capable of restoring life and energy to cancer patients. As such, it functions as a perfectly effective supplement to existing cancer treatments, and can also be used as a cancer treatment in and of itself.
It is worth noting that chaga research is still relatively new and there are many unknowns surrounding the mushroom. Additionally, everyone’s body is different, and thus chaga’s effects will vary depending on the patient. However, existing research and anecdote shows that chaga is a powerful asset for fighting lung cancer, as well as other types of cancer. It functions well as both a supplement and a primary cancer treatment.
There is a reason why chaga has endured as a folk remedy in the northern parts of the world for millennia: it works. No other superfood has the depth and quantity of nutritional content that chaga possesses, and drinking chaga tea has been shown to do everything from bolster the immune system to combat aging. The fact that chaga can also be used to prevent or treat lung cancer is just more evidence of its superlative qualities.
If you are suffering from or at risk of developing lung cancer, chaga is worth looking into. A bevy of anecdotal and scientific evidence shows that it has real anti-cancer properties, and the general benefits it provides to health are a boon for anyone no matter their background or existing situation.