What is chaga?
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a fungus that grows on the side of a birch and other deciduous trees. Chaga tea has been used as a beverage and in traditional medicine for hundreds of years. The antioxidant value in chaga is very high.
Chaga is an adaptogen which enhances the body's ability to adapt to environmental factors and to avoid damage caused by them, strengthening the immune system. Chaga contains over 200 identified compounds, for example, phenols, sterols, beta-glucans, triterpene, melanin and the anti-bacterial betulin.
Did you know that in Finland, everyman’s right allows anyone to pick wild berries, herbs or forest mushrooms freely, even on privately owned land (not private yards), as long as one does not cause any disturbance or damage to the landowner. Sometimes, if you are lucky you can find chaga, an immune-boosting superfood. Keep in mind that for harvesting chaga you need to get a permission of the landowner.
NOTE: Antibiotics and intravenous glucose are antagonists of chaga, and their use together with chaga is not recommended. Chaga is a fungus, and for those who are allergic to mushrooms should also take this into account.
Chaga drink recipe
1. 1/4 dl Natural Nordic chaga (groats; rougher texture than powder) for 2 liters of water
2. Let the beverage boil in low heat for a minimum of one hour to get all the beneficial nutrients.
3. Leave it to simmer for a while after you have switched off the stove.
4. Then strain the drink. Sweeten with honey if needed. You can vary the flavor by adding different berry powders to a ready drink.
Traditional use of chaga
Chaga has been used in North European folk medicine since the 1500s: in Siberia, for example, to cure stomach problems and the Khanty people have used it for heart and liver ailments. Traditionally chaga has also been ingested to combat fatigue and to refresh oneself, as well as its external use as a powder to help to heal wounds and rashes.
How to use chaga?
In addition to drink, chaga can be used to make tinctures (in alcohol and/or water), all which can be used internally, for external use, you can make chaga-oil for skin rashes.
If you think that chaga drink is the only way to use chaga, you might be surprised to find how we have used chaga in our recipes.