Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) is a type of fungus that belongs to the Hymenochaetaceae family. Unlike the regular mushrooms that grow on the ground, Chaga is a parasitic fungus that grows only on birch trees from which they extract the nutrients. Because of the enormous amounts of melanin found in Chaga mushrooms, it looks like a mass of burned and blackened growth on the trunk of birch trees. Chaga mushroom has been used as a herbal cure for various ailments in Russia and eastern parts of Europe for hundreds of years. It thrives generally in the northern hemisphere countries, growing on the birch trees of Canada, the northern United States, North Carolina mountains, northern Europe, and Korea.
Ways to Consume Chaga Mushroom
Chaga is prepared in various ways to make it easy to consume as a health supplement. It can be consumed raw, as a tincture, in capsules, in powdered form, and can be drunk as tea. Each method of preparation has its own distinct strengths and weaknesses.
Chaga Mushroom Extract
The Chaga mushroom extract is a method of preparation where chaga goes through any of these extraction processes:
- Extraction through hot water
- Extraction using ethanol or methanol
- Extraction through fermentation
It would be difficult for humans to completely digest raw Chaga mushroom and obtain its beneficial nutrients. The extraction process helps make some of Chaga’s active components bioavailable, which means making it easily digestible by humans to fully gain from the mushroom’s health benefits.
How Chaga Mushroom Extract is Taken
As a supplement, Chaga mushroom extract can be taken in several ways:
- It is available as a liquid extract. You can take the extract from the bottle using the provided dropper and drop some into your mouth or in your tea, coffee, or favorite juice. While it may have a slightly tangy taste due to its alcohol ingredient, it will not alter the taste of your drink.
- Chaga mushroom extract is also available in capsule form.
- You can also purchase Siberian Chaga mushroom extract powder in 2-ounce packs.
Before dosing yourself with Chaga mushroom extract, you will need to consider your weight and what you need the supplement for. For strengthening the immune system, an individual should take 30 drops per day for every 100 pounds of body weight. For instance, a 300-pound man should take 90 drops per day. For chronic ailments, the recommended dose is 60 drops per day for every 100 pounds of body weight. Check with your doctor before taking Chaga mushroom supplement. If you should take Chaga extract, read the manufacturer’s recommendations and follow their directions carefully.
Chaga Mushroom Tincture
Chaga mushroom tincture is a form of extraction that uses alcohol. Many claims that the tincture form is more effective than Chaga tea. Due to the double extraction method, it goes through, a lot more nutrients are extracted from the mushroom. Chaga mushroom tea likewise provides many health benefits in and by itself, as you will find out later. Many people think that the tincture’s alcohol content provides that extra boost of health benefits. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Alcohol helps to extract Chaga’s components more efficiently and helps to keep it in storage longer. More of the mushroom’s healthful nutrients are highly concentrated in Chaga tincture. It has 10 to 100 times more nutrient concentration than tea.
Chaga Mushroom Powder
If you want more versatility in chaga preparation, then you should consider using Chaga mushroom powder. It is widely used for several reasons. The powdered form is considered better than the raw or chunked form due to the greater amount of surface area covered. This makes Chaga’s active components soak out faster for immediate consumption. In the case of chaga chunks, more time is required for the nutrients to soak out from the inner parts of the mushroom. Chaga mushroom’s versatility makes it perfect for a lot of recipes and drinks. In fact, the powdered form is usually included in most suggestions and recipes for food preparations. It can be used in such beverages as coffee, tea, smoothies, or even cocktails. It is also a primary ingredient in soap production.
Chaga Mushroom Tea
Drinking warm liquid can provide some comfort and keep the body hydrated but doesn’t provide more health benefits. Tea is the most employed method of consuming Chaga mushroom and, since its use dates back to 100 B.C., perhaps the oldest as well. Chaga mushroom tea provides all of the nutritional goodness of chaga concentrated in an easily consumable form. It only takes a short time to prepare Chaga tea. This herbal drink has the advantage of speed when it comes to preparation. In just about ten minutes you can enjoy a very healthy cup of tea. See the end of this article for a Chaga tea making guide.
Fermented Chaga Mushroom
The fermentation process is not used a great deal for Chaga mushroom. This process is the most expensive and takes a lot of time. The fermentation methods for Chaga are not yet confirmed to any standards as different types of bacteria can be used in the process. Thus, the results are not conclusive.
Chaga Mushroom Dosing
At present, no standardized dosing for Chaga has been set, although some authority on the subject advises about a gram of powder a day or approximately one teaspoon. If you are trying to heal a certain disorder, then you can consume 2 to 3 teaspoons a day until your condition improves. No sufficient information is presently available about the dangers of consuming too much chaga. The best advice is to travel down the safer path and observe the time-revered rule that too much of anything may be harmful. For maintaining good health, obey the one gram of powder a day rule. Take 2 to 3 teaspoons to treat a specific condition. When you take Chaga mushroom tincture, place a few drops under your tongue and keep it there for a minute or more before swallowing. Keeping the drops under your tongue for a while makes certain that chaga is distributed through most of your body instead of just going down your digestive tract. Keeping the drops under your tongue also enables chaga to work instantly to produce results in the shortest time. To maximize the benefits of Chaga’s detoxifying properties, it is recommended to take 1 to 3 drops of the tincture once or twice daily. Try to stick to these steps for one to three months to make sure that the adaptogens in chaga have ample time to work on your condition. To handle stress better, take two drops of Chaga tincture if you are aware of a stressful situation coming up. Take the tincture with meals if you need to normalize your blood sugar.
Side Effects of Chaga Mushroom and Other Considerations
Chaga has been in use for hundreds of years without harmful side effects reported. On the other hand, no clinical trials have been conducted to verify its safety, particularly for expectant women and children. If you intend to take Chaga mushroom supplement, be sure to first consult your doctor in the event it might interfere with certain medications you are taking such as insulin or blood thinners.
Pros and Cons of Using Chaga Mushroom Supplements
As in most medications, we need to be aware of and be able to accept, the good and not so good side of Chaga mushroom.
Pros of Using Chaga Mushroom Supplements
- As a supplement, it is available in various forms that include powder, tincture, and tea.
- Chaga may be best known for its capability to prevent cancer.
- It gives the mind a calming effect and acts as a natural stress-reliever.
- It is a great energy booster.
- Chaga is a potent natural treatment with exceptional immune boosting and antioxidant properties.
Cons of Using Chaga Mushroom Supplements
- It can potentially interact with certain treatments and medications you are on.
- Taking it near your bedtime may cause insomnia.
- Its bitter taste may not appeal to some users.
If you’re looking for even more nutritional help, Balance of Nature sells a potent nutritional supplement that provides whole food nutrients.