Chaga Mushroom Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared with boiling water and served hot or cold, as per the person’s taste and preference. After water, it is the most widely consumed drink around the world. These are not only a great drink but also come with many medicinal properties. One tea that is packed with several nutrients and medicinal properties is the Chaga Mushroom Tea.
A mushroom tea? Yes, you have read it right! This tea is prepared from a special kind of rare mushroom called Chaga.
MarketWatch research predicts the global market size of Chaga mushroom extract to grow at an annual rate of 3.4% approximately over the coming five years. By the year 2024, it will reach up to 19 million USD, as compared to 16 million USD, recorded in 2019. Based on geographical analysis, the report suggests this growth for segments, including the Global Chaga Extract Market into the Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, as well as other parts of the world. In short, the Chaga has potential owing to its medicinal properties.
What is Chaga Mushroom?
Chaga mushroom, (scientific name -Inonotus Obliquus) is also known as sterile conk trunk rot, cinder conk, birch canker polypore, clinker polypore, and black mass. This variety of fungus is typically found in regions of cold climates such as Alaska, Northern Canada, Korea, Russia, Siberia, and Northern Europe. Generally, Chaga is found growing on birch tree barks and looks like a clump or mass of burnt charcoal. Each woody clump is roughly 25 to 38 centimeters in size and has a soft orange color from the inside.
Is All Chaga Created Equally?
The short answer is no. When Chaga mushrooms are grown in harsh environments, near the 65th parallel, where temperatures reach -65 F in the winter and +95 F in the summer, the plant must be very strong to survive these conditions. This helps to make Chaga a powerful adaptogen.
Chaga grown in other parts of the world don’t have this type of stressor to give the Chaga mushrooms the environment to grow to its full potential.
The added benefit of these mushrooms growing on a living birch tree, it’s able to harness and concentrate the nutrients present in the tree to make it one of the healthiest plants in the world. It contains vast amounts of the B vitamins as well as many other important minerals, phenols and enzymes.
You might be surprised to know that merely consuming these wild-harvested mushrooms does no good to your body. As a matter of fact, its active compounds that are locked within the cell membranes get released only when Chaga is cooked or heated. A variety of methods are available that help extract the magical properties of this mushroom. Here are the two most common ways.
- Hot Water Extraction
One of the easiest and largely practiced ways for Chaga extraction is done by using hot water. In this, mushrooms are cooked in water with a sub boiling temperature of approximately 80 degrees centigrade. The process is done for 3 to 4 hours. Next, fiber is extracted from the boiled mushroom, leaving a concentrated liquid that is further spray dried. This spray-dried liquid gets converted into mushroom powder, which is ready to be used.
- Alcohol Extractraction
Not all Chaga compounds are water-soluble. The alcohol extraction technique makes it possible to extract even those compounds that cannot be extracted through the water extraction technique. Triterpenes and Phytosterols are two major compounds that are extracted via this technique.
In this method, dried Chaga is soaked in an alcohol solution for several days or weeks at a stretch. Industries use a set solution of alcohol and water for soaking dried Chaga. Once it’s soaked for the desired period, the liquid is converted into powder form with the help of spray dryers.
At Arctic Chaga, we use ultrasonic frequency extraction for its tincture and tonics. This method is an advanced process that intensifies the potency of extracted micronutrients.
Medicinal Properties of Chaga Mushroom
Several studies have been conducted to discover the great potential this mushroom has, and many are still ongoing. Once rightly extracted, Chaga has a large number of proven health benefits to offer.
1- Boosts Immunity
One of the most noted accolades of Chaga mushroom is its antioxidant power. When measured on the ORAC scale or oxygen radical absorption capacity, it scores 360,000 or higher depending on the extraction process. This is ten times higher than its closest competitor – the acai berries, which score a respectable 41, 000. This high capacity helps combat free radicals which makes Chaga a great immunity-booster.
2- Nutrient-dense Superfood
Chaga mushrooms consist of several nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are necessary for our body’s proper functioning. These include fiber, amino acids, cesium, rubidium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, vitamin D and vitamin B complex. Reference
3- Fights Inflammation
Chaga regulates the production of Cytokine, a large group of proteins responsible for inflammation regulation in the body. Thus, consuming Chaga results in improved resistance to inflammation.
4- Lowers Sugar Levels
At least one research result suggests that Chaga holds prospects to be a good alternative treatment for regulating blood sugar levels in the body.
5- Decreases Cholesterol
Amongst other properties, Chaga contains Betulinic acid that breaks down bad low-density lipoprotein or LDL body. This specific protein is responsible for bad cholesterol levels in the body and so, by breaking LDL levels, Chaga helps lower cholesterol. Moreover, animal studies prove that Chaga inhibits platelet aggregation, decreasing the risk of blood clot formation. Such blood clots can lead to life-threatening cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.
6- Slows Aging
Oxidative stress is one major reason behind aging signs like gray hair, sagging and dull skin, wrinkles, etc. Pollution, sun exposure, and dust damage the skin’s outer layer and build several free radicals that the body is required to neutralize. Due to this, the skin’s aging process is accelerated. Regular consumption of Chaga mushroom helps boost the body with additional antioxidants that slow down the aging process.
Potential Side Effects
Chaga mushrooms have vitamin K which works as a natural blood thinner.
We recommend consulting your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have a bleeding disorder.
At Arctic Chaga, we maintain strict quality control methods. We use large stainless steel commercial dehydrators that have the capabilities to dehydrate 1500 lbs at one time. We dehydrate at an optimal temperature to preserve the Chaga.
How to Make Chaga Tea
Ideally, Chaga is best consumed in the form of supplements or tea. Here are the step-by-step instructions that’ll help you prepare the right steaming cup of goodness at your home.
Ingredients: (To make 1 cup of Chaga tea)
- Use 1 Arctic Chaga tea bag or 1 teaspoon of powder or micro blend
- One teaspoon honey or maple syrup (optional)
- Add Chaga mushrooms to cup
- Pour boiling water into the cup over the Chaga, cover and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes
- You may sweeten it with some honey or maple syrup.
Note: The tea can be served hot or iced as per your own preference.
Some additional tips:
- You can also choose to make a large batch of tea and store it in an airtight container or jar.
- You can also add milk to relish its taste even more, without altering its medicinal properties.
- You can use the tea bags more than once and the longer they soak, the more nutrients can be extracted.
Chaga mushrooms do not taste like a typical mushroom found at your local grocery store. It has a somewhat earthy flavor with a slight bitterness. It also contains a naturally occurring form of vanillin, the same compound found in vanilla bean. You can drink Chaga mushroom straight, or add other flavors. We recommend pairing it with cinnamon and/or a sweetener.
Can you Harvest Chaga on Your Own?
Are you thinking about harvesting your own Chaga? Well, it is extremely important to identify Chaga mushrooms accurately from others as there exist a large variety of poisonous mushrooms. Moreover, since the properties need to be extracted properly before consumption, you’d be required to follow the entire procedure for its extraction.
Keeping these factors in mind, it’s best to buy Chaga tea from a retail store, whether online or offline, so you can be sure about its high rate of medicinal properties and need not put in efforts to actually harvest it yourself.
The Bottom Line
Owing to its medicinal properties, Chaga has been actively consumed by people for centuries. Now that you know all about Chaga tea, its extraction, a whole bunch of benefits, side effects and cooking process, you should definitely give it a try.