Chaga tea is my new favorite staple in my home. I used to think that only green tea, chamomile tea, and ginseng tea had health benefits until I learned about the health benefits of Chaga tea.
Chaga tea is arguably the healthiest herbal tea out there and is packed with powerful nutrients for excellent bodily functions. It has long been used and highly valued by people throughout Asia and Europe as a health superfood, tonic, brain booster, and potent medicine.
In recent years I noticed that more and more research has been done on the health benefits of Chaga tea. This resulted in a little more exposure, but Chaga tea remains somewhat undisclosed to most people in the west.
Chaga tea is one of the most exciting medicinal drinks out there and the Chaga mushroom is often deemed as the king of mushrooms by those who are familiar with its medicinal powers.At first glance, the Chaga mushroom does not look very appealing. It’s very dark, almost black on the outside. The inside is more of a golden brown. However, like the saying goes, appearances can be deceiving. The numerous health benefits of this mushroom will have you forget about its ugliness and you’ll want to try it immediately.
Health Benefits of Chaga Tea
My research found the following claimed benefits. As studies on Chaga continue, I’m sure we will be hearing more about it. I drink it because I believe it boosts my immune system. My personal experience is that my body is better able to fight off the flu and colds even when I’m around people who are sick.
Some potential health benefits of Chaga tea are:
- Chaga aids in relieving pain.
- Slows aging.
- Chaga has immune-boosting ingredients and antioxidants.
- Chaga helps fight cancer.
- Detoxifies the blood and liver.
- Drinking Chaga tea will bring back your body to its natural balance.
- Chaga has beneficial effects on the nervous system.
- Chaga helps you cope with stress and may help lift one out of depression.
- Chaga lowers cholesterol.
- Chaga balances blood sugar and improves blood circulation.
- Chaga fights inflammation, and is a great source of fiber and antioxidants.
MedicalNewsToday.com reported that Chaga contains the following nutrients, vitamins, and minerals:
- B-complex vitamins
- Vitamin D
- amino acids
When to Harvest Chaga – Timing is Important!
Chaga mushrooms grow predominantly on wild birch trees in colder climates. Living in the northwoods of Wisconsin, I am lucky enough to have a few birch trees in my yard with Chaga mushrooms growing on it.
Harvesting of Chaga must be done in the autumn, winter or spring when the tree has optimal nutrients in the Chaga. During summer months, the Chaga is comprised of 80% water, so the nutritional benefit is minimal.
Go for the larger chunks. It doesn’t break off easily, so I use a hammer and chisel to harvest Chaga. For sustainability, it’s important to leave 15-20% of the Chaga attached to the tree. It will then regrow and can be harvested again in the future. Be careful to not harm the tree, simply remove just the mushroom portion.
When a tree dies, so does the Chaga growing on it. All nutritional value is lost, so don’t bother harvesting Chaga from a dead or fallen tree, unless the tree just fell (like in a bad storm).
After harvesting, Chaga must be dried in sunlight for a couple of days or near a heat source, such as a fireplace. If it’s not dried properly, it will mold. Do NOT place it in an oven to dry it.
Where to Buy Chaga
Most natural food stores sell Chaga. Amazon is another source for quality Chaga. Click here to check out all of their Chaga products, or click on the photos below to read more about that specific product. I’ve only used the whole chunks, but I am tempted to buy some tea bags just for convenience. I have not tried the capsules or extract. Consider the purchase, it’s so worth the investment in your health!
Preparing Chaga Tea – So Simple!
Preparing Chaga tea from Chaga chunks is quite easy. All you will need is dried Chaga and water.
After the Chaga is dry, break it into smaller chunks or grind the smaller pieces using a pestle and mortar or a blender. I put the chunks into a pan of water and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. If ground up, use it in a tea ball one cup at a time. It is recommended to have about 80 grams of Chaga per gallon of water. I like to add cinnamon while it’s simmering. I freeze the chunks after simmering and reuse them five times, freezing after each use.
You’ll need strain it to get rid of the Chaga debris. The tea is then ready to be served. Chaga tea can be served hot or cold. I wouldn’t call it great tasting, but it’s certainly not bad. There’s really just not a lot of flavor to it,. Add a little honey if you prefer a sweeter taste.
Although I’ve only consumed Chaga by making it into tea and drinking it, you can grind it into a powder and add it to smoothies, soups, stews, etc. Using Chaga for cooking doesn’t add any flavor, it just adds nutritional value. Using Chaga in smoothies and for cooking is just another way to get the health benefits offered by Chaga.
How Much Chaga Do I Need to “Chug-a”? 🙂
It is recommend that you drink a cup of Chaga tea at least twice a day to experience the numerous health benefits of this magical medicinal plant. I try to stay in the habit of drinking about 12 ounces during my morning commute, and then another 12 ounces after my evening dinner.
Chaga is not a substitute for traditional medicine and it’s is not monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As always, talk with your doctor! Let me know in the comments below if you have ever tried Chaga tea, how it helped you, or how you prepare it. Drink up, and enjoy the incredible health benefits of Chaga tea! You may also enjoy my post about healthy on-the-go breakfast cookies.