Chaga is new on my radar and with interest in boosting immunity I decided to give it a shot!
This fungus grows on the bark of birch trees in cold climates and looks just like burnt charcoal. However, once it is removed from the tree you will see a soft orange core.
Chaga has deep roots in the traditional medicine practices of Northern Europe, Canada, Alaska, and Russia where it has been used for centuries to boost immunity and improve overall health.
Benefits of Chaga:
Immune Boosting– the consumption of chaga has been shown increase the number of helpful cytokines, which support immune regulation. Additionally, it has been shown to increase the production of white blood cells, which help to fight bacterial and viral infections.
Decrease Inflammation– on the other hand, chaga has been shown to decrease the production of inflammatory cytokines. These immune cells are associated with chronic disease and gut inflammation. Additionally, the antioxidant content of chaga may help protect healthy cells from damage by free radicals.
How to prepare:
Fresh/Dried - fill a large stock pot with roughly two liters of filtered water, add 2-3 sizeable chunks of chaga, bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer and cover. Leave on a simmer until water levels drop, add another two liters and repeat the process until the tea is no longer the color of coffee.
Powder– boil filtered water on the stove, add 1 tsp chaga powder to a mug, add almost boiling water, stir, and enjoy!
Diabetes– due to the blood sugar lowering qualities of chaga, people with diabetes and taking insulin should be cautious because sugars could drop too low.
Autoimmunity– as mentioned above, chaga can stimulate the immune system, always consult your doctor before supplementing.
Blood Thinners– chaga contains a protein that reduces the blood’s ability to clot. If you are on blood thinners, practice caution and discuss with your doctor.
Overall chaga is a well-tolerated and safe mushroom to add into your immune boosting routine. Drink it as a tea or consume as a supplement, just make sure it is coming from a reputable source. I trust Four Sigmatic for all of my mushroom needs.
4 oz unsweetened Almond Milk
6 oz brewed chaga
1 tsp MCT oil
1 TBS grass fed collagen
Heat almond milk in a small sauce pan. Transfer to a measuring cup, add MCT oil and collagen. Froth using a handheld frother or place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 45 seconds.
Add warm chaga to a mug, pour frothed almond milk and top with a little cinnamon.
Have you tried it? Please share your thoughts and experiences!