What is Chaga?
Chaga is a type of slow-growing, non-toxic fungus typically found on birch trees. The exterior looks like burnt charcoal. This odd-shaped mass found in forests may look like just another mushroom, but inside it is a super powerful source of nutrients and anti-oxidants.
How is Chaga harvested?
Chaga should only be harvested from living trees and great care must be taken to ensure the tree is not damaged or the chaga is over-harvested. The chaga is then dried and broken into chunks or ground into powder. It’s a good idea to make sure you are buying from a reputable vendor. Many Chaga vendors will let you know exactly where the Chaga comes from.
What are the health benefits of Chaga?
Chaga Mushroom is an adaptogen. Adaptogenic plants and mushrooms help to bring the body back into balance and have beneficial effects on the nervous system, immune system, the GI tract, the cardiovascular system, and the endocrine system. By supporting the body and mind in these ways, adaptogens help us to cope with stress, stay healthy during the cold and flu season, fight cancer, and lift us out of the dark depths of depression and adrenal burnout.
Chaga = Massive amounts of anti-oxidants
You already know that eating foods rich in anti-oxidants will help prevent many forms of disease and help you feel better. And anti-oxidant rich tea, such as green tea is a great way to keep anti-oxidants circulating in your bloodstream throughout the day. Because of the way Chaga grows, it accumulates an enormous amount of anti-oxidants over time.
Let ORAC speak for itself:
ORAC (Or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) measures the free oxygen radicals that food or supplement can absorb in your body.
For example, 1 gram of blueberries has an ORAC value of 24.5. Gogiberries contain even more at 400. The tropical acai berry one up’s that with a score of 800. But Chaga is the real champion. Forget 1,000 – 2,000 or even 10,000. 1 gram of Chaga comes in at over 36,000 on the ORAC scale, making this the pinnacle of anti-oxidant containing food!
What does Chaga tea taste like?
Chaga mushrooms do not taste like a typical mushroom found in a grocery store. It has a somewhat earthy flavor with a slight bitterness. It also contains a naturally occurring form of vanillin, the same as what is found vanilla bean. You can drink chaga mushroom straight just like any other herb. But because it is so dense in nutrients and anti-oxidants, the chaga mushroom lends itself to be an ideal component when blended with other herbs. Like cooking with mushrooms, the earthy flavor will complement many other herbs and spices like ginger, turmeric, and honeybush.
How often should you drink Chaga?
Chaga is probably best used as a general health tonic, and 2-3 cups per day seem to be the going dose. Of course, drinking it in a blend with other beneficial herbs will lower the overall dosage, but give you exposure to a variety of other beneficial compounds. Some users will increase dosage especially if they are sick or have an on-going health issue. If you are drinking Chaga for this purpose, make sure you do your research! The “ideal” dose will vary from person to person, but we always like the middle way, a mild serving every day will expose you to a gentle dose of benefits. Like anything else, excessive consumption may have side effects.
Other general benefits from Mushrooms (reprinted from Time magazine)
“Besides anti-oxidants, mushrooms are brimming with phytochemicals which have anti-inflammatory properties and can protect the body from a number of diseases. A study in 2017 found fungi to be the best source of two disease-fighting antioxidants, ergothioneine and glutathione. Low levels of the latter have been linked with higher risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Mushrooms are increasingly being used to replace red meat. Store mushrooms in a refrigerator in a sealed paper bag, and prep them by wiping them down immediately before cooking. Meaty porcinis are one of the most antioxidant-rich fungi. But you can enhance the nutritional prowess of nearly any variety just by putting a pack of mushrooms in the sun. Putting them in natural sunlight for 30 minutes grew the vitamin D content between 25% to 100% of your recommended daily dose. If you chop them up first, you’ll increase sun contact and maximize vitamin D production. If you want extra vitamin D and antioxidants, grind air-dried and sun-bathed mushrooms into a powder. Mushroom nutrients are heat stable, so they won’t degrade when cooked. Toss the powder into foods such as pasta sauces, casseroles and bread flour for a nutrient boost with a disguised taste.”
Buy Chaga from a reputable vendor. Regardless of pure chaga or a chaga blend, the company should disclose where exactly the chaga is sourced. It’s important to purchase from sustainable sources, and we prefer to stick with North America.