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 health benefits chaga 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.
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.
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