Botanical name: Inonotus obliquus
Other names: ‘Diamond of the Forest’
Chaga does not look like a mushroom at all, it is in fact an extremely hard black fungus that grows on birch trees in Northern temperate climates and is the most nutritionally dense of all the tree growths. Known by the Siberians as the “Gift from God”, the Japanese refer to it as the “Diamond of the Forest”, and to the Chinese it is the “King of Mushrooms”.
It has been used to support health and vitality for thousands of years, but has been relatively unknown in the West until recently. The Russians, in their extensive research into adaptogens, found it to be the most adaptogenic substance on earth.
Chaga offers immune system support (Beta-D-Glucans balance immune response); is a super antioxidant (ORAC 50,000); super adaptogen (helps body adapt to stress, increased strength & endurance); aids in cancer therapy (activates immune cells, research ongoing); anti-ageing (high in the enzyme superoxide dismutase – SOD); anti-fungal; has high nutrient density (B-vitamins, flavonoids, phenols, minerals and enzymes); and protects skin and DNA.
Preparation: Steep tea bags in hot water for 4 to 6 minutes. Steep small chunks for at least 1 hour using warm water. Don’t throw out the chucks, they can be reused twice more!
Chaga Common Uses
No known effects however you may want to avoid use during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Avoid if you have an “auto-immune disease” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Chaga might cause the immune system to become more active, and increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. Don’t use chaga if you have a bleeding disorder. Chaga might lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use chaga products. Stop using chaga at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.