Chaga is a fungus that grows primarily on Birch trees in boreal forests of northern latitudes. The form of Chaga used for nutritional products is actually not a mushroom, but is a sclerotia, which is a mass of fungal cells that stores nutrients for use when the fungus is ready to make a mushroom. It takes many years to form a nutrient-dense sclerotia on the exterior of the bark of a tree. Chaga is a hard, woody mass that has the appearance of a lump of charcoal on the exterior and is orangish-brown and densely soft on the interior. It has been widely used in Russia and Poland as traditional medicine to treat gastric disorders.
Chaga is considered an adaptogen which is a biological response modifier that has a balancing effect on all systems within the body. It acts in this way due high concentrations of beta-glucans and polysaccharides which support the immune system by improving the function of immune cells and promote anti-inflammatory response. Polysaccharides also act as a prebiotic in the digestive system, which are the food/nutrient source for the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Chaga is also an abundant source of phytonutrients, minerals, and antioxidants. It contains Super Oxide Dismutase, which acts a free radical scavenger of cancerous cells. The dark black exterior is very high in melanin, which protects the integrity of DNA and reduces genetic mutations. Chaga also contains many triterpene compounds, which have been found to have anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and antioxidant properties. Chaga is a real nutritional powerhouse to maintain health, keep the immune system strong, and reduce oxidative stress.
Blue Sky Fungi sources Chaga from ethical harvesting in regions around the world. We offer Chaga in dried chunks for use in making nutrient-rich tea.
HOW TO BREW CHAGA TEA (IT'S A DECOCTION!)
Stove Top Method
Add between 1 - 2 Chaga Chunks per 1/2 gallon of water and simmer on med to med/low heat for 3 to 5 hours to make a decoction. You can place your chaga inside a muslin bag for ease of re-use.
Temperature should be kept around 176°F (80°C) and never a rolling boil, which can degrade the compounds.
Serve hot or let cool to room temperature then refrigerate for up to 7 days. Can be enjoyed cold or reheated on the stove top.
Store used Chaga Mushroom tea granules in the freezer and reuse 3 to 5 times until exhausted or water runs clear or looks like broth.
Slow Cooker Method (This is how we brew Chaga!)
1 - 2 Chaga Chunks per 1/2 gallon of water into slow cooker and set on low or warm for 6 - 12 hours.
Store brewed tea in the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy cold or reheat the brewed tea on the stove top.
Optionally, the slow cooker may be left on for longer periods allowing the tea to continue to brew, adding more fresh water as necessary.
Monitor your results, as slow cooker temperatures and there settings may vary with different models. Try to avoid your tea from reaching a heavy boil by adjusting the lid on the slow cooker so that temperatures above 176°F (80°C) are avoided.
For more information on Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), please consult these references and resources:
Najafzadeh M., Reynolds P.D., Baumgartner A., et al. Chaga mushroom extract inhibits oxidative DNA damage in lymphocytes of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Biofactors 2007;31(3-4):191-200
Cui Y., Kim D.S., Park K.C. Antioxidant effect of Inonotus obliquus. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2005 Jan 4; 96(1-2):79-85
Kim Y.R. Immunomodulatory Activity of the Water Extract from Medicinal Mushroom Inonotus obliquus. Mycobiology 2005 Sep; 33(3): 158-162
Zhao F., Xia G., Chen L., Zhao J., Xie Z., Qiu F., Han G. Chemical constituents from Inonotus obliquus and their antitumor activities. Journal of Natural Medicine 2016 Oct;70(4):721-30