Chaga Mushroom ~ Inonotus Obliquus
The Birch tree has always been revered for its medicinal properties by indigenous cultures all over the world. From the sap to buds and leaves, to the inner and outer bark as well as the catkins; each part of the tree has traditionally been used and celebrated for its ability to promote healing and balance. This tree also hosts the Chaga Mushroom, a parasitic fungus that slowly extracts the essence of the tree in a manner that renders its phytochemicals bio-available to the human body.
Used across many cultures over thousands of years as a natural medicine, the Chaga mushroom is a powerful adaptogen and is one of the richest known sources of antioxidants. It is also recognized for its immune-boosting, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and alkalizing properties. The Chaga mushroom renders wild-source minerals such as copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, and iron and promotes balance in the whole body.
Chaga offers a good source of B and D Vitamins, flavonoids, enzymes, minerals and phenols. It has been found to have anti-aging, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, blood-cleansing, liver-supporting and geno-protective properties. The Chaga mushroom is also rich in betulin and betulinic acid, melanin and contains significant amounts of riboflavin, niacin and naturally occurring vanillin. It is also one of the densest sources of pantothenic acid, which is a vitamin needed by the adrenal glands as well as digestive organs.
The Chaga mushroom also provides a rich source of SOD (superoxide dismutase) which is a naturally occurring enzyme in our bodies. SOD helps to protect the body from free radicals and the damaging effects of oxygen. Naturally found in our skin, SOD rejuvenates the skin by rebuilding skin cells. It contains natural waxes which form a protective sheath around your cells, strengthens them and prevents degeneration.
The many powerful antioxidants available in Chaga tea make it an excellent drink for aiding in the prevention of serious illnesses, particularly cancer. Historically, the Chaga Mushroom has been used in Russia, Europe, Scandinavia, and Asia by health practitioners to treat many kinds of cancers as a result of its anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties and ability to aid in protecting against radiation as a good chemotherapy support.
Chaga has also shown positive effects on people suffering from internal infection, high blood pressure, immune system difficulties, DNA degeneration, ulcers and digestive disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems and skin conditions, among others.
WARNING: The Chaga mushroom is a natural blood thinner. If you are taking immunosuppressant medication, have had a transplant or any glucose metabolism disorder, or you are currently taking any anti-coagulant drugs, such as aspirin or penicillin, please consult your healthcare provider before making Chaga tea a part of your regular health regime.
For a potent tea, put 3 heaping tbsp. (1/4 cup) of small Chaga chunks into a pot of recently boiled water (3-4L) and steep for one to several hours. Do not boil if you wish to get the most nutrient value from your tea. Chaga makes a delicious hot or chilled tea! You can reuse tea bags and chunks until you no longer see any pigment in the tea. Some people use their Crock Pots to brew the tea, others like to let it simmer in a stock pot on low with other complimentary herbs (making sure to use a lid in order to catch the steam). Our favorite way to prepare Chaga tea is by heating large pots of water (5L) with 1/4 cup+ of Chaga chunks on a trivet, on our woodstove. We heat it slowly for several hours, taking care that it doesn’t boil. Chaga tea is also a complimentary addition to many delicious cocktails~add some fresh ginger to your Chaga brew, a hint of maple syrup and a splash of Rye!
Our smaller tea bags make one pot of tea (750ml-1 L) and can also be used more than once. Let steep for 5 minutes or more, according to taste. For ground Chaga, use 1 Tablespoon for 1 pot of tea, or a teaspoon for 1 cup.
Store extra tea, Chaga chunks or tea bags in the fridge in between uses.
Have a look at the Wild Teas section in our Store for our selection of ethically harvested Chaga Teas.
For more Chaga knowledge, see:
Dr. Cass Ingram’s book ‘The Cure is in the Forest.’
David Wolfe’s Chaga: King of the Medicinal Mushrooms. Watch the webinar with the same title, found on our blog page.
Niigata University of Pharmacy and Applied Life Sciences, Higashijima Niigata 956-8603, Japan. Published online June 8, 2007:
NOTE: The information in this document was compiled for educational purposes only and consists of historical and scientific information that can be found online. This document in no way claims that using the Chaga Mushroom will prevent, treat or cure any illness.