Medicinal mushrooms have been used to make tea in folk medicine for many years. Most recently, herbal tea has seen a popular increase as people take new interest in the health benefits herbal teas and medicinal mushrooms have to offer.
Chaga mushroom scientifically known as Inonotus obliquus grows on birch trees in relatively cold climates like Canada and Siberia, parts of Europe, and even in some northern United States areas. It’s a strain of mushroom, but it’s not your traditional cap and stem shroom. This little treasure looks like a scorched, splintered lump, and it has a timbered golden-brown interior.
You may have seen them before and not even know it! Next time you spot a birch tree, look for a black lump sticking out from its side. Now that we are on the subject of research, it is important to bring awareness to the fact that Chaga is slow-growing and at risk for overharvesting, so please do your research about how to harvest Chaga sustainably (in the meantime, at the end of this blog we have a few tips about this critical subject) — and it goes without saying to always consult an expert before eating anything you find growing in the wild!
Chaga Mushroom Consumption
The Chaga mushroom has a mild, earthy flavor with a hint of vanilla. Chaga is usually steeped and made into tea, or consumed in powder form in beverages. Let us know which one you prefer!
Pro tip: Due to its hint of vanilla and earthy profile, Chaga pairs well with flavors like chai spices, cinnamon, chocolate, and peppermint. And if you’re feeling adventurous you might also want to try chaga hot chocolate or golden milk.
4 Health Benefits of Chaga Mushrooms
- Rich Antioxidants
Chaga is listed as one of the top antioxidant foods currently known; it overtakes better-known antioxidant foods such as red beans, blueberries and even spices like turmeric and cinnamon. The antioxidants in Chaga tea help to protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals within your cardiovascular system.
- Supports Immune System
Chaga help balance the response of the body’s immune system with abundance of Beta-D-Glucans, meaning Chaga helps boost your immune system when necessary, but also slows it down when it’s overactive. Chaga also activates immune cells responsible for combating cancer initiation.
- Soothing properties
Chaga tea supports the flow of blood and provides soothing properties when the blood vessels are blocked, very beneficial for those suffering from diabetes. In addition, Chaga is traditionally known for enhancing the skin's natural defense against the sun.
- Strengthens Immune Defense
Chaga tea acts as a natural antimicrobial, able to combat numerous viruses, bacteria, fungi and some parasitic worms. Chaga mushrooms promote the production of white blood cells and also serve as anti-inflammatory to help regulate immune response by lowering inflammation and high fevers.
Fun fact: In Asia they refer to this mushroom as a “Gift of God” for its restorative and healing abilities.
Harvesting Chaga Sustainably
- When harvesting chaga, collect only the external pieces and never cut into the tree.
- Harvest through the fall and winter as long as possible until the sap starts running. Do not harvest Chaga through the summer months and/or when the sap starts running.
- Harvest chaga with larger conks, leaving about 15-20% of the chaga intact. Put your hand on the chaga, and if any part of your fingers touches the tree, it’s best to leave it to grow for a couple more years.
- Harvest Chaga from living trees only.
- The Chaga will eventually kill the tree, but a healthy tree that has only one infection will live for many more years with proper care. If the tree has multiple infections, then it will most likely die within four to five years.
At Mother Earth Mushrooms our Triple extraction strains are fermented, to make the polysaccharides, Triterpenoids, and Alkaloids, more bio-available. We do a hot water extraction process given that the polysaccharides are only water soluble. Additionally, we do 90 days in alcohol, because triterpenoids are only alcohol soluble. It takes us around 120 days to make a tincture!
No gluten, No GMO’s, No pesticides or Herbicides
Mother Earth Mushrooms are certified wild crafted and/or Organic
Popular serving size for mushroom tinctures, is 1 dropper, held under the tongue, for 60 seconds.
Ingredients: USP Grade Organic Cane Alcohol (no gluten), Filtered Water, Organic Chaga, Organic Myceliated Brown Rice (food for the mycelium).