What is Chaga?
“Chaga” is the dense black mass of mycelia that appears on the outside of birch trees, infected with the non-toxic parasitic fungus Inonotus Obliquus. The hard cracked black exterior, which looks like burnt charcoal, is called the sclerotium. Due to its fungal nature many refer to Chaga as being a mushroom, despite this not being technically correct. In Asia and the far East Chaga has been consumed for centuries, most typically as tea. Historically it is well known for its health benefits, although the Western world are only just starting to catch on. Many foodies and health gurus in the west have started to recognise its health benefits, and are tweeting, instagramming and blogging all about it!
Why is it good for me?
The health benefits of Chaga have always been known, and there are plenty, many of which can be attributed to its immune-boosting ingredients and antioxidants;
- They support your immune system due to its high volume of Beta-D-Glucans. Some research also implies that they may activate immune cells responsible for combating cancer.
- Researchers have stated that they may have soothing properties as they supports your blood vessels by providing help in times of irritation.
- They may help blood pressure levels. As chaga contains betulinic acid, a substance often considered to bad cholesterols in your body.
- They have also been associated with having strong antioxidant properties, helping fight of illness and helping to keep your body fit and healthy.
Many bloggers vloggers and foodies are raving about chaga, especially the like of the Hemsley sisters. You can buy it in its tea form, original form, or even a powdered form, each beneficial to its different forms of consumption. Here are three delicious recipes for you to try out:
- Combine the chaga powder and 4 cups cold water in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and let steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Strain and serve with maple sugar for sweetness, if desired.
- 500g Wild Mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
- 1 Onion – Chopped
- 1 Large Carrot – Sliced
- 2 – 3 Cloves Chopped Garlic
- 4 Cups Strongly Brewed Chaga Tea
- Sprig of Fresh Thyme
- Melt the Coconut Oil in a large pan and fry the mushrooms
- Season with the thyme, salt and pepper
- Add the carrot, garlic and onion – cook until fragrant
- Add in the Chaga Tea, bring to the boil then simmer for about 15 minutes
- Let the soup cool then blend up to half of the mixture
- Mix together, reheat and prepare to have your socks blown off!
- 3 C Hot, brewed Chaga tea/ 3 C hot water + 2 sachets instant chaga powder
- 1/4 C Hemp seeds
- 1/4 C Cashews (preferably soaked)
- 3 Tbsp Cacao powder
- 3 Tbsp Coconut sugar
- 1 Tbsp Lucuma (optional)
- 1-1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/8-1/4 tsp Cayenne powder
- 1/4 tsp Vanilla powder
- Pinch of salt
- Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend on high for a few minutes until you have a warm and creamy drink.
- Taste and adjust any flavours to your preference (more sweetness, more spiciness, etc.).
- If you prefer your elixir extra hot, pour into a pan and warm gently over low heat.