Health Promotion Newsletter Issue No.12

10 Nov

Thanks to the team from Moss Park Pharma Choice for their presentation of October 26, 2012 on the topic of HIV Medication Side Effects and Complimentary Therapy. The attendance was over 16 clients and the response from the attendees was very positive. It was worthwhile to learn more about the role of the pharmacist in overall care and service delivery.

By 2015, half of the people living in Canada with HIV/AIDS will be fifty years old plus. Aging and Mental Health for those with HIV/AIDS will be a hot topic in the years to come. ACAS in collaboration with sponsorship with Viiv Healthcare, will present HIV Aging and Mental Health/Emotional Wellness, Series One on November 20, 2012. It is going to be a very interactive workshop and I encourage all to attend. Please RSVP to your support worker as soon as possible in order to attend, as space is limited.

On November 24, 2012, ACAS is introducing the Accuball exercise workshop to alleviate pain and muscle tension. It is a gentle exercise and fun to do. Please look for our invitation in the upcoming week.

ACAS has the massage program in place in conjunction with Trillium College every Friday at the agency. The response has been over whelming . We thank both the students and the instructors of Trillium College for their time and efforts. The good news is that for those who cannot make it on Fridays to avail themselves of this service, ACAS has arranged a special agreement with Trillium College to access their services on Tuesdays at the college between 1:00 and 4:00 PM. Trillium College is located at Church and Wellesley. A special rate of $15.00 is available to ACAS clients and caregivers for a 60 minute treatment. Initial appointments must be made through Kenneth so please contact him.

As the weather changes, the holiday season will soon be here. The ACAS holiday party will take place on Friday, December 14, 2012. This year we are going a bit bigger and are looking for any new ideas for entertainment, so please watch for an invitation in the upcoming month.

There is a lot of talk about the Chaga Mushroom in the realm of natural medicine. It has properties that are said to be beneficial to the immune system. Please have a look at the following article for further details.

Kenneth Poon Health Promotion Worker

download healthnews_issue12 (.pdf file)

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)


Inonotus obliquus is a mushroom commonly known as “chaga” that is a parasitic fungus, which grows mainly on birch trees, and produces a black perennial woody growth called a “conk” that absorbs nutrients and phytochemicals from the wood. When the chaga conk flower ripens, it falls to the forest floor.

Chaga has a history of medicinal use relating to the following effects:

  • Antimicrobial, antiviral, insecticidal and nematocidal activities
  • Immuno-modulatory (stimulation of B cell activity)
  • Anti-neoplastic & cytotoxic (potential anti-cancer properties)
  • Cardiovascular actions (anti-platelet effects) 
  • Analgesic (i.e. pain relief)
  • Anti-diabetic effect (may lower blood glucose, increase insulin)
  • Anti-oxidant properties

Historic Precedent:

Chaga mushrooms have been used in folk medicine since the 16th Century as a remedy for cancer, gastritis, ulcers, and tuberculosis of the bones. Although medicinal use of chaga and other mushrooms is rare in Western countries, a review by Sliva discussed their nutritional value as well as the value of the biologically active polysaccharides and other plant compounds (flavonoids and lipids) that they contain.

Chaga has Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status as a food.

Adult Dosing (age ≥18):

According to secondary sources, anecdotal uses include 8-10 drops (0.75mL) of chaga extract tincture with a beverage two times daily.

Precautions / Contraindications:

Avoid with known allergy/hypersensitivity to chaga, its constituents, or any member of the Hymenochaetaceae family.

Use cautiously in patients with coagulation disorders or those using anticoagulants or antiplatelets, as chaga may inhibit platelet aggregation and increase the risk of bleeding. This means any person with low platelets, or is taking anti-coagulant or anti-platelet therapies should be very cautious using Chaga.

Use cautiously in patients with diabetes or those who are using blood sugar-lowering agents, as chaga has been shown to lower blood sugar and raise insulin levels and may alter therapy or increase the risk of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. This means that any person taking anti-diabetic medications, such as insulin, should be very cautious taking Chaga.

 Not recommended in pregnancy or lactation due to lack of sufficient data.

Gobert C, Isaac R, Rusie E, Weissner W, Windsor RC. 2012. Chaga (Inonotus obliquus). Natural Standard Professional Monograph. Accessed 12 Sept 2012.

download healthnews_issue12 (.pdf file)

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