This article is a simple introduction to Inonotus obliquus, commonly known as Chaga mushroom.
The Dutch name is berkenweerschijnzwam (birch glow mushroom).
The Chaga mushroom is a parasitic fungus, living primarily on birch trees, but also on a few other hardwood species. It grows in the Northern cold climates including Canada, parts of Scandinavia (Finland, Sweden and Norway), Russia, China and Japan. It grows very slowly, taking many years to develop on the tree.
It has a pleasant flavor and makes a useful coffee substitute.
More than 1,600 scientific research studies have been conducted to investigate Chaga during the past 40 years. Chaga is classified as a tonic herb, which means it can be used in large quantities and for long periods, without having to worry about side effects or overdosing. Chaga has been used as a folk remedy in Russia and other North-European countries for centuries and is traditionally considered to be a potent cancer fighter.
It’s main benefits include a very high ORAC rating which means it has a very high anti-oxidant level.
It has a very powerful effect on the immune system, helping the body to fight all kinds of viral and bacterial infections.
Contains the triterpene betulinic acid. Chaga grows pre-dominantly on birches, and birch bark contains up to 22% of betulin. The Chaga mushroom converts betulin into the more bioactive betulinic acid.
29 different Polysaccharide derivatives.
50 times the SOD (Superoxide dismutase) compared to other medicinal mushrooms
215 Phytochemical found in Chaga
300% proven increase in natural killer cell activity
The highest quality Chaga is harvested in the wild from natural areas free from pollution. This is why we have carefully sourced our Chaga from Finland rather than from China or Russia where industrialisation has polluted many environments in which it grows. Chaga has proved to be difficult to cultivate so the limited supply has so far prevented it from reaching a mass market. The cultivated products have also been found to contain much less bio-active properties.
How to use chaga
Break up the chunks, gently boil for 15 minutes, and drink the resulting tea. It can be grated into a fine powder and used to brew a beverage resembling coffee or tea. A simple hot water preparation will extract some of the medicinal benefits, however to get maximum value, an additional alcohol or ethanol extraction process can be used to make additional bio-active components available.
It can be used as a base for soups or smoothies or any recipes which ask for a liquid base.
Article by Diana Store