Medicinal mushrooms are cousins to the culinary mushroom. They are consumed for their amazing health benefits. Medicinal mushrooms are typically found in dried, or powdered form, or in the form of a tincture, which is an alcohol extraction. Chaga Mushrooms (Chaga) is considered to be one of the most superior of all the medicinal mushrooms.
There is much lore about the origins of Chaga, but the most credible is from Khanty legend. The Khanty people lived around 500 AD in the area of Western Siberia. They used Chaga in a variety of ways and kept accounts of its uses. They recorded that it was helpful as a tea to aid in digestion, they smoked it to improved lung health. They also used Chaga as a natural soap combined with lard and ash due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Much of Chaga’s recent history of use can be found in Russia. In the 1950’s, the Moscow Medical Institute began conducting clinical trials of Chaga and its uses for increased immune function. By 1955, Chaga was intensely studied and recognized as a medical treatment. It was soon accepted for use in medical clinics all around Russia, and researchers at the Russian Medical Academy of Science agreed that Chaga helped improve immune function.
Chaga was introduced to the world following the publication of “Cancer Ward“ by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Doctors and scientists from around the world began to investigate the medicinal qualities of Chaga. Doctors found that cancer rates were far lower in parts of the Soviet Union than the world average due to the consumption of Chaga tea. They also discovered the use of Chaga for cancer treatment.
Chaga Mushrooms typically grow on birch trees. It is a black-brownish fungus which resembles burnt charcoal. If you don’t know what you are looking for you might mistake it for a clump of dirt. It is full of nutrients; and high in potassium, selenium, zinc, vitamin D, B-complex.
Some research shows that Chaga may help your body promote cytokines. These are the proteins which help to regulate inflammation, bacteria, and viruses. Many studies suggest that Chaga may slow cancer growth in the liver, lung, breast, prostate and colon. This is due to its rich levels of antioxidants.
One of the newest ways to enjoy Chaga, which is all the rage, is mushroom coffee. There are several companies which offer Chaga blends. I love to make Chaga lattes in the morning. They give me a nice energy for the day. Chaga doesn’t have a strong flavor, but could be described as earthy; it takes on the flavor of the ingredients that you add.
Chaga Mushroom Coffee Recipe
1 tsp mushroom powder of choice (Four Sigmatics, or Mudwater are two of my favorites)
1 tsp maple syrup (which is high in minerals and your body recognizes it as a food)
Pinch of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger (all or one depending on your preference)
1 shot of espresso
1 cup of milk of choice (I love oat milk because it is creamy and froths well)
Add mushroom powder, maple syrup, and spices to a small blender. Steam or heat milk and add to the blender along with the espresso. Blend on high until frothy and well-blended.
Disclaimer: The Content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.