Chaga is a powerful medicinal mushroom known already from folklore. The irregularly shaped black mass with rough and cracking surface grows on tree trunks and resembles burnt charcoal. It takes a long time for chaga to grow in the wild, at least a decade before it starts to show. The mushroom may be harvested only from living trees. Records of the use of chaga for treatment date back more than 5000 years.
Numerous researches have been conducted over long periods of time to study the medicinal properties of chaga; these have demonstrated its anticancer effects. Chaga is surprisingly rich in fibre, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and D2, proteins, potassium, and iodine; and at the same time very low in calories. It increases the activity of natural killer cells by 300%. It is the strongest natural antibiotic, which, if consumed regularly for a longer period of time, boosts the immune system, increases energy levels and reduces sugar cravings. It is recommended not to use the mushroom simultaneously with other antibiotics. Chaga has a stimulating and toning effect; it improves sleep, memory, concentration and efficiency; soothes nervousness and anxiety; relieves blood pressure disorders, muscle and joint pains, bronchitis, asthma and especially gastrointestinal, liver and skin diseases. The historic roots of chaga go back to Siberia, where it is also known as the mushroom of immortality.
Chaga tea has no distinctive taste or smell. Dried chaga pieces or powder should be boiled in water; extending the boiling time will make the infusion stronger. Still, pure and strong chaga infusion is quite bitter. Prepared infusion can be diluted with water and used with tea, coffee or other drinks. Alternatively, undiluted infusion can be taken by a few millilitres a day.
Preparing the infusion is easy. Fill the kettle with water and add 1-4 small pieces of the mushroom or 1-4 spoonfuls of chaga powder. Let chaga infuse for at least 30 minutes. Consume and let the remainder cool down. In the future, you can just add water to the chaga pieces and reuse them as long as they give out colour. Fresh chaga can be used for making coffee-like infusion and has in fact been used as substitute for coffee.
You can find more information on chaga (Inonotus obliquus) on the internet. Search also for “must pässik” (in Estonian), “чага“ (in Russian), “pakurikääpa” (in Finnish) or “kreftkjuke” (in Norwegian).