“Never judge a book by its cover” should be the motto for this wonder of nature. Chances are, you wouldn’t pay much attention had you seen this jewel, simply because it doesn’t really look appealing. Inside the hard, black exterior lies an amazing immune system booster, which earns it the nickname: “King of Mushrooms”.
How to recognize it?
Looking more like a dried up part of a tree, the Chaga Mushroom can easily be overlooked by anyone not familiar with this gift of nature. A hard, dark, crusty exterior, called: sclerotium protects the, soft, rust-yellow interior.
An unconventional mushroom, a wood-like hardiness, makes it very nutrient-dense, which packs quite a nutritious punch. Surviving in extreme conditions, it’s no surprise that this mushroom developed such a sturdy appearance and a concoction of powerful immunity boosting chemicals.
The Chaga Mushroom has been highly used in many cultures throughout history. The Siberians called it: “The Gift of God”. Ancient Chinese considered it one of the key reasons for their longevity. Japanese and Koreans use it regularly as well, and Chaga tea is an essential drink in most of Eastern Europe. It was especially popular amongst villagers in Siberia, China, Japan… They often chose this instead of most common drinks such as tea or coffee.
Where can you find it?
Usually, you could find exemplary specimens on very old birch trees. Preferably, more than 40 years old. The mushroom starts to develop sooner, though. Once it “infects’ the tree, it takes around 5 years, until its ready to be picked and consumed. The Chaga has a parasitic relationship with its host. While it grows, it takes nutrients from the tree, using it to grow and develop itself, eventually killing the tree, but not before developing into one of the most powerful nature-made medicines known to man. It is also worth noting that removing the Chaga from the tree does not remove the infection as well, and it can grow again in about 10 years, repeating until the tree dies.
Typically, you can find chaga growing in cold habitats, usually in the Northern hemisphere, including countries such as: Russia, Korea, Canada and the United States of America.
Forms, and how to consume
Chaga is available in many forms. It can come in the shape of drops, tea, a pre-made beverage or even as a tasty syrup. Always be careful to only get legitimate chaga, directly from nature, as it can also come in some varieties, mixed with chemicals. There are also many lab-made copies, which are not nearly as potent as the real deal.
One interesting property of the chaga mushroom is the natural vanillin, the same one found in the vanilla bean, giving chaga a slightly aromatic vanilla flavor, when ingested in the form of tea.
Out of the many ways to consume chaga, the tea form (chunks) is definitely the most simple and usual way to do it. However, it is not as simple as making regular tea. Two methods are used to extract the nutrients, using both how water and alcohol to make the most out of your chaga mushroom. Although, a simple, yet still effective tea, can also be made, following this simple recipe:
Break the chaga into smaller pieces, around 10g..
Grind one chunk into powder using a blender or coffee grinder.
Place one teaspoon (two if you like a stronger tea) into a tea infuser.
Place the tea infuser into a mug, and pour in about 400 ml of hot water.
Leave for about 5 minutes, preferably longer, to extract all of the ingredients.
Remove the infuser, and add maple syrup or honey for taste.
Now let’s take a look at the plethora of health benefits, which this amazing fungus has to offer, and you will realize just how much you can benefit from consuming the chaga mushroom.
First and foremost, it significantly boosts your immune system. With a high quantity of Beta-D-Glucans, a chemical known to bring balance to your immune system, chaga increases your immunity when that’s required, and tones it down when it is overly reactive, contrary to the standard immunity boosters which do not have this “smart” property to them. Some research has even shown that chaga can also increase immunity to cancer, but further studies are necessary to cement this incredible property. Evidence shows that it is also a great supporting medicine for standard cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.
It is also used as a cure for gastrointestinal issues, such as ulcers, and gastritis. Studies have shown that acids, found in chaga, break down bad cholesterol, normalizing your blood pressure as well.
As one of the most incredible natural remedies, and medicines, sometimes referred to as “superfoods”, the chaga mushroom is truly a natural nutrient bomb. Proven to treat or at least help various health problems, such as gastritis, ulcers, blood pressure, and even highly useful in assisting cancer treatment, this mushroom has been used as a traditional remedy in many countries, including China, Japan, Korea and Siberia.
For anyone looking to treat gastrointestinal problems, or to simply boost their immunity, the chaga mushroom is a proven, natural, chemical free solution.
Ready to try it but don’t feel like wondering in a cold forest hoping to find some?
We found a company that does that for you, Nestled in the Laurentian mountains of Quebec there is a company that does that for you, Chi Chaga is a reputable Canadian Chaga brand, their mushroom products are available in chunks, powder and in a wide selection of flavours (Mint, Ginger, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Clove, Anise, Sage, Caraway).