Chaga Mushroom Tea
By Tea Guru September 14th, 2018
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 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 and nutrients
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. Chaga contains some of the highest amounts, but it will vary depending on when/where is is grown among other things. You can compare ORAC values here.
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 occuring 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.
Our recommendation for a Chaga blend: Comfort Chaga
Our Chaga Comfort blend adds a host of beneficial ingredients such as bee pollen, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and Honeybush. All the ingredients blend well together and make a delicious beverage. Naturally caffeine free, it's a great way to end the evening.
Where does the Chaga come from?
We source our Chaga from a family owned operation located in the remote Maine wilderness, using strict guidelines for sustainability and respect for the forest. See an actual picture of the land this chaga comes from below.
Other benefits of 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.