Chaga Mushroom: The Diamond of the Forest
The mushroom of longevity, the king of herbs, the diamond of the forest - whatever the title - chaga brings such a wide range of fantastic benefits - that is is entitled to such headlines!
For those who don't know, or haven't heard of chaga; this is one of our 'medicinal mushroom', this one in particular grows on certain species of trees, such as birch.
You can see pictured exactly what chaga looks like. It is hard like wood, instead of soft like other fungi. It is also our most nutrient dense tree growth, containing over 215 potent nutrients! Chaga functions to keep the tree that it grows on, healthy enough to survive a variety of harsh weather conditions, and is a super concentrated source of nutrition.
Chaga is found and used most commonly as a tea, however it can also be found in capsules, powders, and tinctures. The tea or powder version is my favourite, as I love the taste of chaga! It takes on a rich amber colour and has a light yet earthy taste, and makes a great replacement for coffee!
Chaga contains powerful antioxidants that have the potential to repair damaged cells, prevent against disease and have anti-aging effects. Chaga works naturally as an adaptogen, naturally working to balance the body. There are a wide variety of health benefits associated!
Beneficial properties of Chaga
Supports and modulates the immune system
Supports liver health & function
Anti-viral, anti-fungal & anti-microbial properties
Normalizes cholesterol levels
Supports healthy blood pressure
Chaga can be found in various parts of the world, you may have come across it already while on a nature walk! However, if you do come across chaga, while you are able to safely harvest it - when possible, it is best to leave the Chaga be, as it serves a purpose for the tree. With the growing popularity for the medicinal uses of chaga, this fungi is being over foraged, and if you are looking to benefit from this medicinal mushroom, I would look into Host Defense, a passionate fungi company which cultivates this mushroom in a controlled environment and does not alter the balance of the forest.
If you are still looking to safely harvest the mushroom, the best time to do so is in the winter, when the tree, and you will not cause any damage to the tree. If you find chaga, never take more than 60% of the growth. It is also necessary to cover the foraged part of the growth with beeswax to prevent bugs and bacteria from entering and harming the tree.