As one could imagine, I’ve been getting this question a LOT in the past few weeks. I have taken some time before speaking on this matter, mainly because I think it is wrong to attempt to capitalize on such an unfortunate situation, but also because I am not a medical professional. That said, after witnessing the extent to which Coronavirus has disrupted our daily lives, I decided to do my homework, and the time is now right to share what I’ve learned. Here are some facts that may be helpful for people who are anxious about COVID-19, as well as those who may have been exposed to the virus or are actively battling it.
What makes Coronavirus (COVID-19) deadly?
To understand the argument I’m trying to make, we need to understand and address the primary cause of death that is occurring in victims of the coronavirus, which is the cytokine storm. But before we discuss the cytokine storm, let’s start by answering — what is a cytokine? According to Oxford, a “cytokine” could refer to any of a number of substances, such as interferon, interleukin, and growth factors, which are secreted by certain cells of the immune system and have an effect on other cells.
The Cytokine Storm
Cytokines are naturally produced by our bodies, but according to the medical community, Coronavirus can cause an erratic over-production of cytokines, particularly in patients with pre-existing conditions or immunodeficiencies. This is called a cytokine storm, which is characterized within the following quote from Medical Device News Magazine — “Those that were admitted to the ICU, particularly those with severe disease, exhibited significantly higher levels of inflammatory cytokines compared to those that did not. This “cytokine storm” can trigger a viral sepsis in Coronavirus infection, where viral replication and excessive, uncontrolled systemic inflammation can lead to pneumonitis, acute respiratory distress syndrome, respiratory failure, shock, organ failure, secondary bacterial pneumonia, and potentially death.”
Chaga as a Potential Cytokine Modulator
Now that we’ve defined the cytokine storm and understand that this is what makes COVID-19 deadly, let’s reference a study conducted on Chaga (which can be found online here). The study clearly suggests that Chaga water extract is able to normalize disproportionate production of cytokines. Here is the direct quote from the NCBI study — “All these data suggested that the CW (Chaga water extract) is able to modulate the dysregulation of cytokine production in chemotherapeutic damage.”
I wanted to elaborate a bit on this study to explain how and why this conclusion was made. Specifically, the study measured one cytokine which was being under-produced and another cytokine that was being over-produced as a result of chemotherapy treatments administered to mice. The study demonstrated that the mice who were administered a chaga water extract (after being exposed to chemotherapy) reflected a tangible increase in the production of the cytokine that was being under-produced, and a significant decrease in the production of the cytokine that was being overproduced.
Before jumping to conclusions, it is appropriate to mention that this study was performed on mice that were exposed to chemotherapy, NOT people who were exposed to Coronavirus. It has not been proven, or tested, that the same outcome would necessarily apply. But it’s also appropriate to mention that Chaga has anti-viral properties, which has been concluded in the results of studies that use liquid Chaga extract to treat cells infected with herpes and Hepatitis C.
Chaga's Other Anti Viral Properties
Here is a direct quote from the abstract of the study on Hepatitis C: "Fractions of Inonotus obliquus fungus water extract exhibited a virucidal effect towards hepatitis C virus: it 100-fold reduced its infective properties within 10 min. The antiviral effects of fungus extracts manifested after preventive (24 h before infection) and therapeutic use (during infection of porcine embryo kidney cells). Moreover, the data indicate that the birch fungus extracts inhibit production of infective virus by porcine embryo kidney cells."
Here is direct quote #2, from the abstract of the study on HSV1: "The subfractions of chaga extracted with water, alcohol, alkali were tested for their toxicity for the Vero cell culture and antiviral effect in the Vero cells infected with the Herpes simplex virus (HSV), Type 1. It was shown that most of the subfractions were not toxic for the Vero cells and had protective effect on the Vero cells infected with HSV. The subfraction IV in the concentration 5 microg/ml protected the Vero cells from cytodestructive action of HSV and no viral DNA was detected in infected cells treated with chaga extracts. Best protective effect was observed when compound was added before or within one hour after the Vero cells were infected with HSV."
It should also be understood that Chaga has proven to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and excessive inflammation is THE deadly bi-product of the cytokine storm.
As a living, breathing, human being, we all have the power to make our own conclusions and decisions regarding our personal health. This blog strives solely to share information that might help others make more informed decisions in these regards. As we continue to wash our hands and avoid large crowds, we should all consider drinking a daily cup of Chaga… And that, my friends, is the tea.
*The statements made within this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These statements and the products of this company are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
*Please consult your physician before implementing any new dietary supplement programs, especially if you have preexisting medical conditions, have an upcoming surgery, or are taking prescribed medications. The statements made on this website are for educational purposes only and are not meant to replace the advice of your physician or healthcare provider.
Kim Y. R. (2005). Immunomodulatory Activity of the Water Extract from Medicinal Mushroom Inonotus obliquus. Mycobiology, 33(3), 158–162. https://doi.org/10.4489/MYCO.2005.33.3.158
PTM Healthcare Marketing, Inc. (2020, January 28). CytoSorb, the Wuhan Coronavirus, and Cytokine Storm. Retrieved March 11, 2020, from https://infomeddnews.com/cytosorb-the-wuhan-coronavirus-and-cytokine-storm/
Polkovnikova, M. V., Nosik, N. N., Garaev, T. M., Kondrashina, N. G., Finogenova, M. P., & Shibnev, V. A. (2014). A study of the antiherpetic activity of the chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) extracts in the Vero cells infected with the herpes simplex virus. Retrieved March 12, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25069286
Shibnev, V. A., Mishin, D. V., Garaev, T. M., Finogenova, N. P., Botikov, A. G., & Deryabin, P. G. (2011, September). Antiviral activity of Inonotus obliquus fungus extract towards infection caused by hepatitis C virus in cell cultures. Retrieved March 12, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22462058