Anti-AIDS and Anti-Tumor Properties Discovered in Siberian Mushroom

First Posted: Sep 20, 2013 07:25 AM EDT

A Siberian mushroom called Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) can be used as a remedy for HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome), claim scientists from Vector Institute, Novosibirsk

These Siberian fungi have an antiviral effect on grave viruses like smallpox and influenza as well.

"Strains of these mushrooms demonstrated low toxicity and a strong antiviral effect" said the scientists to the Siberian Times.

These mushrooms can be found on tree birches and the reports of the tests conducted by the scientists verified the efficacy of these Chaga mushrooms. Tree birches contain betulinic acid, which is toxic to cancer cells.

"We conducted research and for the first time we selected 82 strains of 33 types of fungi growing in South West Siberia," said a Vector Institute spokesperson. 

"Chaga fungi strains - which are so well known around Siberia - showed the widest spectrum of antiviral activity," the spokesperson added.

This variety of mushroom was extremely popular in Siberia much before modern science discovered it.

"I could have told them this long ago. So could my granny," said Babushka Dusya, a medical consultant from Altai.

About 46 years back, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a Russian author and Nobel laureate wrote a novel called Cancer Ward in which Chaga mushrooms cured the main character.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that approximately 34.2 million people suffer from HIV/AIDS globally and around 30 million people died of the disease.

"Although relatively unheard of in mainstream media, the Chaga mushroom has been used in folk medicine for generations," the  Vector spokesperson said. "Research has shown Chaga to be extremely effective in protecting cellular DNA from damaging free radicals."

The molecular compounds present in the mushroom help destroy cell membranes.

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