Want to know about the chaga mushroom tea benefits? For starters, this hearty fungus has potent anti cancer and anti inflammatory properties. Learn more about this hearty medicinal mushroom….
Mushrooms might taste appetizing in a stir fry. But drinking fungus? Sounds gross, right?
Well, why not? Kombucha is enjoying its 15 minutes of fame.
Actually, kombucha isn’t technically a ‘shroom. But we’ll let that slide for now.
There is one true medicinal fungus that’s becoming more popular in natural health circles.
It’s called chaga. This specific fungus is the focus of well over 1,000 research studies. Perhaps the biggest chaga mushroom tea benefit is its potential to kill tumors.
Although there are no clinical trials on humans that prove it’s a cure, chaga mushrooms for cancer prevention has been a growing area of interest.
What is Chaga?
If you live in Miami, you’re not likely to find growing in your backyard chaga mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus). That’s because it grows in very cold, thick-forested areas. Think: Russia, Alaska, Maine and Canada, northern Europe (Scandinavia), and the island of Hokkaido in northern Japan.
Essentially, it grows anywhere where you’d need a warm jacket and where there are birch trees. And technically, it’s a parasite. At least to the birch tree. But don’t worry, drinking it won’t give you a parasite in your belly!
The birch tree actually benefits from the parasite. The fungus protects the tree from infection. In exchange, the tree provides the parasite with nutrients.
Like many herbs and other natural therapeutic ingredients, it’s been used for thousands of years. But the benefits of it are only recently becoming apparent to the masses as of late.
If you’re wondering if the benefits of it are worth the taste, there’s good news.
While it may sound unappealing to drink a mushroom, this particular one almost tastes like vanilla ice cream!
Well, not exactly. There is a hint of vanilla, albeit with a way more earthy note and none of the mouthfeel of ice cream.
Although there are thousands of medicinal herbs and several therapeutic fungi on the planet, only a tiny percentage are considered adaptogens.
Herbalists define an adaptogen as a plant (or, less common, a fungus) as an adaptogen if three criteria are met:
- Helps the body adapt to stress
- It is non-toxic
- It helps normalize bodily functions
By these three standards, chaga is widely considered by those who study chaga and other medicinal plants and fungi, as an adaptogen.
This means that chaga mushroom tea benefits may include lowering stress and anxiety.
More Chaga Mushroom Tea Benefits
Medical textbooks from centuries ago allude to its treatment for gastrointestinal problems as well as infections of the lungs.
As for modern research, much of the focus on Inonotus obliquus has been on its ability to prevent oxidation in the cells.
What’s oxidation? Think of an apple sitting out that turns brown. Just like oxidation turns an apple bad, in humans, oxidation kills your cells.
That’s why it’s so important to not only cut out junk food, but also consume superfoods. Superfoods such as reishi, another medicinal fungus, neutralize free radical damage to protect the immune system. Oxidation is a form of free radical damage.
The biggest benefits of drinking this elixir may be cancer prevention (because it prevents oxidative damage to the cells).
The other advantage you may get from drinking it is stress reduction. As an adaptogen, it helps you relax and feel calmer.
There may be other reasons you may want to sip this elixir. It can help lower blood sugar levels (at least according to a study on diabetic mice). And it may also prevent bacterial infections.
Speaking of preventing bacterial infections, the antibiotic, penicillin, is also a fungus.
In addition, this medicinal ‘shroom lowers inflammation and relieves pain. But that’s not all, it’s been shown to do in lab studies. As an adaptogen, it can also boost stamina and counteract the effects of fatigue.
As for its folk use treating digestion problems, modern research offers some backing. In one study, compounds extracted from the fungus were found to reduce symptoms of irritable bowel disease.
How do you make chaga tea?
In order to get these impressive health benefits, do you have to go foraging through the forest in the Alaskan taiga?
No. It’s much easier than that. As with almost every known medicinal ingredient, it’s easy to order online. But the best kind might not be as simple as a tea bag.
Certain brands, such as this one from Alaska, come in chunks. This particular Alaskan brand claims to be superior to those in that are sourced in the lower 48 states. The reason why, says the company, is if it comes from the warmer lower 48, it’s not as nutrient-rich.
(Anybody who is a resident of northern Maine would likely dispute this claim.)
Anyhow, the Alaskan company states on its website that it’s actually quite easy to use the tea. All you need to do is add a nickel-sized chunk to hot water. This amount will yield two pots of tea.
For the second pot of tea, wrap the used chunk and place it in a dry location. Like dandelion tea, chaga can be used as a substitute for coffee. It may give you natural energy, but without the caffeine.
If you need to sweeten it, add a teaspoon of maple syrup. Although maple syrup is relatively high in carbs, it’s very rich in minerals. By combining maple syrup with this ‘shroom, you get a double dose of nutrient-rich ingredients.
Chaga tea dosage
If you want to get the health benefits, how much should you drink to strengthen your immune cells? Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut answer. It’s not like your doctor or the federal nutrition guidelines have an official recommendation.
That being said, however, if you drink a nickel-size chunk per day, this amount will likely be sufficient, effective, and safe.
But if you’re already sick, you may want to drink 3 cups per day.
Can you drink too much of it?
At least one person on the planet did. There’s a study in which an elderly Japanse woman who had liver cancer developed liver failure. She drank up to 5 grams of the tea every day for about 6 months.
The only other people that seem to be at risk drinking it is those taking diabetes drugs or blood-thinning medication, such as Coumadin (warfarin).
As for most people, be it through drinking chunks of it or consuming it via chaga powder, it’s most likely safe.
Whether this liquid fungal beverage will be as popular as kombucha remains to be seen….
Are you a fan of drinking chaga mushroom tea? Leave a comment.
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