What exactly is chaga you may be wondering. Well, I’m very excited to tell you all about it! It’s a medicinal mushroom that grows on the trunks of birch trees in the northern hemisphere. Not to be confused with “magic” mushrooms, medicinal mushrooms have awesome health benefits, so I guess you can consider them pretty magical. I sure do! And as medicinal mushrooms go, chaga mushrooms are pretty special. The Japanese call them the “Diamond of the Forest“. I love that! Sounds beautiful, doesn’t it?
And I assure you it’s worthy of that title. Here are some of the health benefits.
Natural source of B Vitamins
B Vitamins play an important role in cell metabolism, and energy production. It’s especially high in B5 which helps reduce stress by supporting the adrenals.
High in minerals
Including potassium, manganese, iron, zinc, calcium and selenium.
I had to do a presentation on selenium in nutrition school and now it’s one of my favourite minerals. It’s a powerful antioxidant, helps protect against cardiovascular disease and protects from the toxic effects of heavy metals. An interesting and probably lesser known fact it that it’s also great for male fertility as it improves sperm production and motility. I included a fun demo involving paper airplanes in my selenium presentation to illustrate this feature :).
Super high in antioxidants
The ORAC scale measures the ability of a food to absorb free radicals, and chaga had the highest antioxidant capabilities of any known food as tested by the USDA. Amazing!(http://www.sgn80.com/blog/tag/orac-values/). So it’s fantastic at protecting against pre-mature aging.
Betulin and Betulinic acid
Chaga contains betulin and betulinic acid which have been studied widely for their cancer cell elimination properties, and have shown to be an effective anti-tumor agent. Very powerful stuff!
Chaga is also an adaptogen, which is really cool because it helps balance the body’s systems naturally. Systems that are low, or fatigued can become energized, while overactive systems will slow down to be brought into balance.
Easy Breezy Chaga Tea Recipe
When I first learned about chaga I was so excited that I went out and bought a bag right away, but I didn’t really drink it regularly until I got a good tea strainer mug. You can brew batches in a big pot, or in a crock pot which is a great idea, but it’s not really practical if you’re on the go or at work all day.
I believe in keeping things simple, and that it has to be easy to make it a habit. So now I throw some chaga chunks into my tea strainer with cinnamon, cardamon and star anise, fill with hot water and away I go!
You can keep refilling with hot water multiple times, so you can drink it all day long.
Star anise has a beautiful and distinct liquorice flavour and has high levels of Vitamin C and A.
Cinnamon flavour goes well with chaga, and it helps with blood sugar control.
Cardamon has anti-inflammatory properties and is also a powerful aphrodisiac!
- 1 tbsp chaga tea
- 1 star anise
- 2-3 cardamon pods
- 1/2 stick cinnamon
- hot water
- Add to strainer
- Pour in hot water
- Enjoy the taste and all the amazing health benefits!
I hope that I’ve given you enough reasons to add chaga tea to your repertoire!
For another great hot drink to add to your morning routine, and dare I say try instead of a coffee, try my Better than Coffee, Mocha Dandy Latte.
And if you’re already drinking it, I’d love to hear your recipe ideas in the comments below.
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