Scientific name: Inonotus obliquus (Ach. ex Pers.) Pilát
Chaga is a black, burl-like fungus found primarily on birch trees, though it is sometimes found on American hop hornbeam. All of our chaga is harvested from birch trees because some of its medicinal elements require betulin to be transformed into orally bioavailable compounds. Native people traditionally used chaga to treat a plethora of problems, including cancer, tuberculosis, liver diseases, worms, stomach issues, ulcers, and general aches or pains. It was also used as a tobacco additive, incense, tinder, and ingredient in alcoholic drinks.
Proponents of chaga for medicinal use cite many potential benefits:
Treatment for high cholesterol
Inhibitor of oxidative stress
Scavenger of free radicals
Treatment for chronic gastritis
Treatment for stomach problems
Treatment for diabetes
Treatment for psoriasis
Apoptosis of cancer cells
Robert Rogers’ book The Fungal Pharmacy, complete with medical references, outlines the possible medicinal properties of over 100 mushrooms. We strongly recommend this text to anyone who is interested in learning about the medicinal properties of Fungi. Additional information and scientific peer-reviewed medical papers on chaga are available at PubMed.gov.
Chaga is best used in teas and tinctures, although some use it in capsule form.
Use ~1 cup ground chaga per gallon of water (~1 1/2 cups if using small chaga chunks). Simmer in a pot for 2-6 hours. Chunks can typically be re-brewed 2-3 times, or until the taste and color have diminished. If the tea is too strong, simply water it down or add some tea bags/honey.
Use 85%-95% grain alcohol at a 4:1 ratio with ground powder of the dried material. For example, a ratio of 14 ounces of high proof alcohol to 3.5 ounces of dried material is common. Let sit for 1 month, shaking periodically. Strain and squeeze as much liquid from the material as possible. Add the left over material to a pot and add enough water to water down the alcohol content to roughly 30%. Let the left over material simmer for 2-4 hours before watering down the alcohol.
The information presented herein by White Mountain Mushrooms is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.