If you’re looking for an alternative to caffeinated beverages (as well as a massive hit of antioxidants!) Chaga tea could be the answer to your prayers.
Used for its healing properties since — at least — the 13th century, learning how to make Chaga tea could give you the wellness jumpstart you’ve been looking for.
Chaga tea — what now?
For the uninitiated, Chaga tea is made with Chaga mushrooms. If you happen to be foraging in Canada, Russia, or Siberia, it’s likely that you’ll come across Chaga in its natural habitat — clinging to a tree trunk. It grows like a big, black mass on mature birch trees and it has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties.
In Russia and Western Siberia, it was used to fight infections. Indigenous people in North America used it to treat pain, and people in Finland used Chaga as a coffee substitute during WW2. These days, medical research into the benefits of Chaga are on-going in China, Korea, Japan, and Russia.
Why learn how to make Chaga tea?
First things first: there are lots of reasons why adding Chaga tea to your diet can improve your wellness. But don’t forget — Chaga is powerful.
Speak to your doctor about whether Chaga mushrooms are right for you because they can interact with other treatments. If you’re taking blood-thinners, diabetic medication, or have kidney disease, it would be good to give Chaga a miss. In the meantime, check out these potential benefits:
Chaga tea for antioxidants
When it comes to antioxidants, Chaga packs a punch. In fact, it has one of the highest ORAC scores of any food. That means it has a very high level of antioxidant activity and may help protect your body from the effects of free radicals and oxidative stress.
That’s great news if you’re wanting to reduce the signs of aging, as well as fatigue, memory loss, and susceptibility to infections. Both fresh and powdered mushrooms hold high antioxidant levels — and mushrooms have heaps of other benefits, too. Learn more about them here.
Chaga tea for endurance
Runners and cyclists — listen up! There is some evidence that the compounds in Chaga may increase your physical endurance. That’s because the complex carbohydrates in Chaga mushrooms can reduce lactate levels — and high levels of lactate can cause fatigue.
Not only that, Chaga activates your peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor, which is a group of nuclear receptor proteins. Activating PPAR can help maintain energy, metabolism, and give your endurance a boost.
Chaga tea for cancer
Everyone knows someone who is affected by cancer, and we get a lot of questions from sufferers and their loved ones about how medicinal mushrooms can help. And here’s what we tell all of them: under no circumstances should you try to use medicinal mushrooms in place of conventional cancer therapies — and always talk to your doctor to be sure you avoid unexpected interactions.
There is a growing field of research that highlights Chaga’s ability to slow the growth of lung, breast, and cervical cancer cells in a petri dish. There is also some evidence that tripertines (the compounds found in Chaga) caused tumour cells to self-destruct. Also, treating people with Chaga mushrooms can prevent them from experiencing the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, as well as various other medications prescribed for chronic illness. More human studies are needed, and we’re keeping our ears to the ground!
How to make Chaga tea
Honestly? Graham (our founder) just adds a teaspoon of our Chaga Medicinal Mushroom powder to whatever he’s brewing. But we understand that you might be keen to put in a bit more effort. If you’re keen to jazz things up a little, we’ve got a few ideas.
Stir ½ to one teaspoon of Chaga medicinal mushroom powder into 250ml of hot water. Sweeten to taste with honey or stevia — then take a lap around the garden. Mint, sage, and lemon all make great additions to Chaga tea. If you prefer a creamier beverage, use hot milk or a milk substitute of your choice.
Make your Chaga tea a hot chocolate
Combine hot water with ½-one teaspoon of Chaga medicinal mushroom powder. Allow this mixture to steep for a few minutes. Top up with ¼ cup of milk or milk substitute (Cat loves oat milk), a teaspoon raw cacao, and a teaspoon of honey.
Blitz in the blender for a foamy top.
Everything in moderation
Wondering how much Chaga tea to drink? Well, it depends. Chaga tea is easy on your nervous system, thanks to the lack of caffeine. Having said that, we recommend starting slowly. Chaga can give the body an energy boost, so one cup each day is a good start.
If you like the effects, you can safely work up to three or more cups a day.
Remember to speak to your doctor before starting any nutritional supplements. If you’re keen to learn more, check out our article about superfoods for new mums.
You might also be interested in making the most of your medicinal mushrooms as well as the method of dual extraction we use to access all the benefits of medicinal mushrooms. Check them out!