Our immune system is the fortress that protects our health. As any fortress, it is constantly under siege by the emotional, mental, and physical demands of everyday life. In fact, strong emotions cause physical reactions in the body. Mind and body are the same unit, therefore the immune system does not make a distinction between the emotional, mental, or physical distress. In this light, emotional immunity becomes just as essential as physical immunity. When we repeatedly suppress emotions, we suppress the natural responses of our immune system. If we continue this pattern, our immune system will eventually recoil and attack self (think autoimmune diseases).

Unless we nourish and take care of our immune system, it becomes sluggish, more so after 35, and declines after 50, causing what we call “age related” diseases to appear.

To keep our immune system resilient, we have to turn to a unique class of plants and fungi (mushrooms) called adaptogens. Siberian shamans have been using adaptogens for as far back as history dates, but the actual term was coined in 1947 by Russian scientist Dr. Nicolai Lazarev.

Adaptogens are amazing! They adapt to the exact needs of each particular person to support and nourish their specific hunger like only a good enough mother would.

Read More

The mechanism of their work is still unknown and their nutritional profile continues to be uncovered by research. For an herb to be considered an adaptogen, it must be nontoxic, nonspecific, and have a normalizing effect on physiology. Adaptogens have been reported to:*

  • Help the body to adapt to stressful situations.
  • Recharge adrenal glands during times of exhaustion
  • Increase resistance to stress
  • Lower cortisol levels
  • Create internal balance by maintaining the health of hormonal system
  • Help to cope with anxiety and fight fatigue
  • Help cells to eliminate toxic byproducts of the metabolic process more efficiently

They support the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) aka the body’s stress system responsible for regulating stress hormones like cortisol, other hormones, and ultimately, the nervous system. This encourages healthy weight maintenance and lifts depression.

Most doctors visits nowadays are linked to stress. Chronically high cortisol levels are being associated with everything from depression and fatigue to impaired cognitive function. Doctors do not have cures for these afflictions. Doctors have medications and all medications have side effects. In order to avoid them, we better shift the focus away from the destructive pharmaceutical model to a preventative health building model and that is impossible without adaptogens.

Adaptogens provide natural means of treating the cause of these symptoms because unlike stimulants, they don’t squeeze your body for more energy that you don’t have. Instead, they gently nourish your physical, mental and emotional strength without the harsh side effects of stimulants.

How You Can Benefit From Chaga Mushroom

Chaga mushroom birch forest
Chaga makes a delicious alkaline medicinal tea. It’s fabulously rich melanin pigments and polysaccharides produce a rich, maple syrup-like wild-mushroom tea with hints of vanilla. Its great earthy taste will easily substitute your morning coffee and that is only the tip of the iceberg of all the benefits this mushroom offers.

Chaga is a relatively rare mushroom that mostly grows on birch trees. Birch is a staple of Russian folk medicine due to the tree’s special ability to purify the atmosphere. Russian scientists report that the atmosphere of a birch forest contains approximately 400 microbes per cubic meter, which is lower than the existing standards for hospital operating rooms.

Read More

According to Russian folklore, people live longer in those regions where birch trees and bark are traditionally used in households. Siberian shamans believed chaga inhabits only those trees that stand on the energetic power spots of the forest, helping the tree to be more resilient to infections. Even in the absence of microscopes and chemical analysis, shamans empirically used chaga as nature’s greatest storehouse of medicine with which they nourished the two most important substances of the body – Spirit and Essence. Ever since then,

Russian folk medicine has beed relying on chaga for:

  • Energizing the immune system.
  • Helping to resist any infections (including parasitic infection).
  • Improving overall vitality.
  • Revitalizing metabolic processes.
  • Fighting allergies and asthma.
  • Purifying the blood.
  • Rejuvenating deteriorating organs and glands.
  • Supporting joints.

Chaga loves the cold (-40 F), hence its extraordinary survival capacities. Many of chaga’s therapeutic qualities develop only as a result of the on-going struggle with the harsh environment chaga chooses to live in. It takes three to five years of surviving the extreme conditions for chaga to develop enough strength in order to affect the human immune system, the strength that is then transferred energetically through drinking the tea. For this reason, chaga can not be harvested before it is at least five years old, but the older is the better. Chaga grown in a lab is usually harvested when it’s several weeks old. It does not have a chance to cultivate sufficient immunity and accumulate the full spectrum of nutrients since it has not been involved in a struggle for survival.

Often, it is the cultivated or lab grown chaga that is used to make an extract powder. However, even when the extract powder is made from wild chaga, heat, alcohol, and chemical processing (sodium hydroxide) are used in the process of extraction. These processing methods do not necessarily make an improvement upon raw chaga since they separate one group of constituents away from the medicinal matrix and these isolated constituents have different health benefit than the whole matrix. To stay as close to the raw unadulterated form of the mushroom, our chaga is coarse ground manually, without the use of heat producing machinery.

Cooking 100% raw, wild chaga guarantees a full spectrum of its medicinal components (enzymes and most heavy polysaccharides, including immune-balancing beta glucans) along with the life force of the plant, to be easily absorbed into the blood stream to start their healing action.

When cooking chaga, use fresh spring water as it is the best for making medicinal tea. If spring water is not available, use the best purified water you can find. Tap water is too polluted and should be avoided. We personally use a pressure cooker as it allows to get more nutrients out of the mushroom without boiling it for prolonged periods of time. Aside from higher nutritional value, a pressure cooker also results in a darker, deeper, more earthier and aromatic brew. (we’ve done our research and settled on a T-fal P45009 Clipso for personal use)

Please remember that in order to experience the health benefits of chaga, a few months of regular tea intake is recommended. Because chaga stimulates body’s own healing mechanism, it is an ideal food for everybody and should become part of our daily lives in order for us to develop a better relationship with our bodies.

How You Can Benefit From Rhodiola Rosea

Benefits From Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola is the second most popular adaptogen next to ginseng. It thrives on cold, dry and sandy grounds of Altai mountains. In Russia, the home of rhodiola rosea, it is widely used as a tonic for better overall health, but it’s real magic lies in enabling us to handle all types of stress, physical, emotional and mental, without loosing too many feathers.

To understand how rhodiola works, it helps to think of this plant as a hormonal thermostat. Just as thermostat regulates the temperature, rhodiola regulates stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol.

When we are stressed out, the adrenal glands release adrenaline into the bloodstream in order to quickly mobilize energy for “fight or flight” response; heart-rate sky rockets, blood pressure rises, muscles tighten, breath becomes fast and shallow, and senses sharpen. At the same time, body functions that are less critical for stress response, such as digestion, immunity, and sexual drive, shut down in order to save energy. This mechanism has evolved in order to effectively deal with the short-term crisis. It wasn’t designed to run for prolonged periods of time.

Read More

Yet, to handle sustained psychological stress of our modern lives, we activate the same stress response mechanism that is only meant to handle acute physical emergencies. Cortisol and adrenaline have side effects, just like all medications. When we do not turn off the stress response system for months on end, the beginning stages of adrenal depletion set in; we feel exhausted but instead of taking time to rest, we labor under the pressure to deliver more, depleting our adrenals even further with caffeine, energy drinks and energy boosting pills. Prolonged stress response kills with cortisol/adrenaline poisoning causing high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, arteriosclerosis, strokes, adult-onset diabetes, suppression of the immune system, sterility, significant personality changes and eventually adrenal exhaustion when adrenals can no longer produce any cortisol or adrenaline. If we often refuse a cortisol shot at the doctor’s office because of its known side effects, why do we poison ourselves with cortisol on the daily basis through continuous stress?

The alternative to burning out adrenals is to include adaptogens into the daily diet. For example, rhodiola. It is called the “Golden Root” for a very good reason; it adapts to the particular needs of your body and instead of squeezing adrenals for stress hormones that they can no longer produce, it nourishes them. Rhodiola literally balances the adrenaline and cortisol levels in the body, raising or lowering them as needed using it’s own wisdom. That’s why this herb is particularly useful at the time of stress and for the prevention of stress-related conditions.

Hence, the plant’s popularity among athletes. It increases endurance, boosts athletic performance and allows to do vigorous exercises with less effort. It also aids in muscle recovery by increasing the level of enzymes and proteins in the body, effectively shortening the recovery time between workouts.

But wait! There is more! If you experience fatigue, mental fog, and have trouble concentrating, rhodiola will address it. It enhances cognitive abilities, including memory, associative thinking, calculation, concentration and capacity for mental work.

What else is rhodiola good for?

  • It eases anxiety as well as physical and cognitive fatigue (including moodiness or headache).
  • It alleviates mild to moderate depression if taken twice a day on a daily basis.
  • In Tibet and Mongolia, it’s traditionally used to alleviate lung problems, such as cough, asthma and other respiratory infections .
  • It reduces the risk of cardiac problems by eliminating harmful blood lipids.
  • It reduces stress hormones that may raise blood pressure, cholesterol and potassium.
  • It protects the liver from environmental toxins and positively affects brain function. 
  • Rhodiola tea is considered an effective treatment for cold and flu.

Most people who take rhodiola start noticing the difference within a few weeks to a month. Severity of side effects is usually mild to moderate, the most common being dizziness and dry mouth. Other side effects can include

  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Vivid dreams that may interfere with sleep (usually occurs during the first weeks of taking rhodiola)
  • Blood pressure fluctuations

Because Rhodiola has a general energizing effect, individuals with bipolar disorder should not be taking Rhodiola as its antidepressant effect may cause them to become manic. People with insomnia or overwhelming anxiety should not be taking Rhodiola as well. People that are generally very hyper, highly irritable, or anxious, as well as people with spleen, liver or digestive disorders, should not be taking rhodiola and look to wild Siberian red root or Chaga Mushroom instead.

Rhodiola is not compatible with stimulants so if you are addicted to coffee and caffeinated drinks, lower their consumption to a minimum before starting rhodiola.

How You Can Benefit From Wild Siberian Red Root

Benefits of Wild Siberian Red Root
As I write this, I am sipping a red, delicious, aromatic brew. I steeped it from a special plant called wild siberian red root (radices hedysarae theinae) not to be confused with red root (ceanothus americanus) as they are two separate and distinct varieties with different properties.

The wild siberian red root (radices hedysarae theinae) also called bear root and blood root, grows mostly in the mountains of Altai region where it’s roots reach up to 18 feet in length and 4 inches in diameter. Imagine, pulling that out of the ground. Altayans, who are famous for their longevity, vitality and strength, used to pull it out of the ground with the help of horses.

Read More

The plant prefers cool, subalpine climate with moist rich soil or tundra. Locals called it bear root because they observed bears eating the root after hibernation for restoring vitality. Siberian hunters now have a tradition of drinking bear root before hunting since it allows them to stay strong and alert without food for many hours.

For clarity of distinction from regional red root (ceanothus americanus), I will refer to the plant as siberian red root or blood root (old Russian name for radices hedysarae theinae).

While blood root has amazing benefits for both sexes, it’s worth emphasizing it’s effects on gender specific issues. Unlike ginseng that mainly targets men’s health, blood root works equally well for both. Let’s start with women.

The Biggie for Women – blood root is effectively used for treating infertility and gynocological issues. Whether you are at a stage dealing with breast tenderness, PMS and menstrual cramps or a stage where uterine bleeding, rectal prolapse, uterine prolapse, or bladder infections has taken place – blood root will address these issues. It rejuvenates the reproductive system and restores the reproductive function. In Russia, Siberian red root is given to women going into labor since it supports the muscle tone. Furthermore, it is excellent at dealing with extreme emotions, nervous breakdowns, headaches, and neurasthenia. It really knows how to treat a girl, but doesn’t leave men behind either.

The Biggie for Men – blood root is natural, non hormonal stimulator of sexual drive. Unlike quick and short lived action of Viagara, blood root produces subtle but sustained results without side effects. Discrete and effective, stimulating effect of the plant constituents restore sexual function. Psst! In Russia, guys take it to prevent impotence. In Russian folk medicine blood root is used for treatment of prostatitis – the curse of men in general, but especially of men with sedentary life style (computers, video games, watching TV, etc). Lack of physical activity tends to cut off blood circulation to the pelvic area, causing stagnation in the bladder, kidneys and prostate. The results are ache and discomfort in the groin, urethritis, erectile disfunction, low sperm count and impotence. Blood root to the rescue! Active constituents of Siberian red root, such as vitamin P, strengthen the walls of the blood vessels and normalize blood circulation in the organs of pelvic cavity. Unique flavonoids relax the musculature of prostate, which restores its blood circulation and sperm count. Timely use of bear root prevents complications of prostatitis and stops it’s progression.

The benefits of blood root go far beyond the reproductive systems of men and women. Blood root rejuvenates the entire organism and it’s systems. According to Altai legend it is energetically warm and belongs to the spirit of water, meaning it regulates the balance of water in the body. A diuretic, it expels only stagnant water and in the process treats fluid retention, edema, puffiness, resolves swellings, improves electrolyte balance and muscle tone.

Siberian red root helps with all kinds of bladder problems. It normalizes urination by fully emptying the bladder thus decreasing frequency of urination, especially useful to middle-aged people with bladder issues. Treats bladder prolapse and is used for cystitis. Also used for the diseases of kidneys

Siberian red root reinforces the walls of small blood vessels and increases permeability of capillaries thanks to vitamin P that acts as chelating agent, detoxifying body from heavy metals and neutralizing the free radicals. This, in turn, improves blood circulation, facilitating the work of heart muscle, making the heart muscle stronger and sturdier so it could circulate more blood and oxygen. Blood root is incredibly effective for treatment of anemia, improving hemoglobin and red blood cells count.

Siberian red root affects brain activity by improving blood circulation to the brain. It improves psycho-emotional states and can be used as an antidepressant or to treat anxiety. Both men and women of certain age want to pay attention to this plant. 

Used for respiratory tract infections: bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma. Blood root is an expectorant; it clears lungs and bronchioles from phlegm and reduces the intensity of the cough. It treats lungs and bronchial passages, unproductive cough and nasal congestion.

Immune Sustem:
Blood root revitalizes the immune system, increases endurance, and assists in restoring the health of the body after illness. Immunostimulant, it decreases the risk of epidemics and restores the immune function.

Gastrointestinal system:
Tannins in the root deal with acute gastro-intestinal issues. It stops gastro-intestinal spasms, alleviates pain and stops diarrhea.


  • Alleviates fatigue and normalizes sleep.
  • Breaks high fever. Deals with problems of the central nervous system.
  • In old days blood root was used to treat epilepsy.
  • It is anti-inflammatory as well as a natural pain-killer.

Siberian red root contains amino-acids, unique bioflavonoids that give the tea its red color, antioxidants, alkaloids, and polysaccharides. Do not worry if your urine takes on reddish color as blood root is a powerful dye.

Please remember that no herb is a magic wand. One plant can not undo damage that took many years to form. It is a supplement that contains many nutrients used best before the pathology had a chance to settle.

Contraindications: Do not take blood root

  • If you had a heart attack.
  • If you have bad hypertension.
  • If you have a liver pathology.
  • If you have a history of alcoholism.
  • If you had brain trauma.
  • If you are pregnant or lactating.
  • Not for small children and adolescents.

1 heaping tablespoon of Siberian red root.
1 quart of water.

Bring blood root to boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. It’s ready to drink at this point, but if you want a stronger effect and to get more nutrients out of it, pour the hot liquid into a thermos including the root and let it rest for two hours right after cooking. Be aware that it will make the taste of the tea stronger.

Similarly, if you want to make a slightly lighter tea for a pleasant restorative brew word to fight off cold and flue infections, follow the same proportions but do not simmer the root. Simply put the root into a thermos, pour hot water on it, cover and let stand for 1-2 hours.

Drink 2 cups a day adding honey or milk to taste. Don’t exceed 2 cups a day. Drink the last cup at least 2 hours before going to sleep.

*The materials contained on this website are provided for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. BewitcheryInc does not accept any responsibility for any loss, injury and harm which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Our products and statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your health care provider. The information contained in this site has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.