Because chaga is widely known and had been used for centuries across Russia, Canada, and some parts of Asia it has many names: Siberian Chaga, Russian Chaga, Canadian Chaga, and so on. In folk medicine, It is also called “Gift from God,“ “The King of Herbs,“ and “The Mushroom of immortality.”
Bottom line: It is believed that chaga that is coming from the colder regions is more abundant in vitamins and minerals. Overwise, Siberian or Canadian, or any other chaga is just that - chaga.
All chaga is raw when it's just harvested; it is mostly water and has to be dried. Raw Chaga is somewhat heavy, for example, 10-15″ in diameter piece weighs around 2-3 lbs, when dried, it loses about 70-80% of its weight.
Only dried chaga is suitable for consumption! To make drying more efficient prevent mold from growing many producers crack chaga into smaller pieces while it’s soft and put them out to dry in a cool, dry location until it is light and bone dry. After about 4 to 8 weeks chaga is ready for use.
Bottom line: When a seller offers you a "raw" chaga, make sure they don't mean "freshly harvested and not dried," because you will be getting an unfinished product. Otherwise, all chaga is technically raw because it never undergoes any further cooking or preservation.
Chaga grows naturally on birch trees in severely cold environments such as ones of Northern areas of the United States and Canada, Eastern and Northern Europe, and Russia (Siberia). Just by its nature chaga can't be farmed or mass produced in the controlled environment. Chaga foragers have to actually go into the wilderness and harvest chaga in the woods. There is no other or easy way to harvest chaga.
Bottom line: All chaga is wild.
Picking the right "grind" of chaga can be a bit confusing if not intimidating for a beginner. Well, it shouldn't. First of all, please, remember that despite the grind, you still get the same chaga. The key difference between the three is in the extraction time and batch size.
Go for chaga chunks if you are:
Planning to make large batches of Chaga Tea overnight in a slow cooker. You can store cooled tea can in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
You will need 3-5 chunks per 2-3 liters (0.5 - 1 gal.).
Extraction Time: 4-12 hours.
Pick chaga crumbs if you are:
Brewing chaga tea in a teapot or single brew steeper (infuser).
You will need about one teaspoon per mug.
Extraction Time: 20 minutes - 3 hours.
You need chaga powder if you are:
Planning on making a single cup of Chaga Tea or add chaga directly to the food or add to the smoothies. It's excellent for making your own chaga capsules or Chaga Mushroom Tincture.
Extraction Time: 5 – 15 min.
* Note: unlike chaga chunks and crumbs, the chaga powder can be used only once.
** You can quickly turn chaga chunks or chaga crumbs into the powder by grinding them in a coffee or any other food grinder.
In general, chaga has a shelf life of one to two years. That's why you should look at the "Harvested" date or "Best by" date on the chaga you buy. The lifespan of chaga also depends on how it is stored. Keep your chaga in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place.
Bottom line: Although chaga can last longer when it is stored correctly be cautious of its expiration date, as old chaga loses its potency.
Chaga is jam-packed with nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Regardless of whether or not Chaga is the miracle cure, it is promoted to be, the abundance of vitamins, essential minerals, and nutrients chaga carries can boost your immune function improving overall health and wellbeing.
Chaga is nutrient-dense.
Chaga mushroom is rich in a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, including amino acids; B-complex vitamins; calcium; cesium; copper; iron; magnesium; manganese; potassium; rubidium; selenium; vitamin D; zinc.
Chaga Boosts Immune System and Fights Inflammation.
Chaga extract can positively impact immunity by reducing long-term inflammation and fighting harmful bacteria and viruses. Chaga is a unique polypore fungus that is also anti-viral, anti-fungal.
Chaga is a powerful antioxidant.
Chaga sclerotium contains massive amounts of the natural black pigment known as melanin, which has high antioxidant levels due to the amount of polyphenols it contains. In fact, chaga has the highest ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity -- the measure of antioxidant potency) of any superfood.
Chaga Protects and Improves Skin.
Chaga is excellent for both internal and external use. In addition to containing melanin (the pigment in your skin responsible for sun-protection), Chaga also combats infection, promotes good circulation, and reduces inflammation. Chaga is an invaluable supplement for robust and healthy skin!
Chaga is an Adaptogen.
Adaptogens can “adapt” their function depending on our body specific needs. Adaptogens help balance various body systems, stimulating some without harming others. Taking chaga tea is especially helpful to strengthen the body’s response to stress and increase its ability to deal with anxiety and fight fatigue – slowly and gently, without jolts or crashes.
As with all other supplements and medications, chaga carries some risks. It can also trigger side effects and may interact dangerously with some medications.
For example, because chaga lowers blood sugar, it can be dangerous for people taking insulin and other blood sugar-lowering supplements.
To reduce the risks of using chaga mushrooms, please consider the following:
Chaga is a healthy and tasty alternative to coffee and other warm drinks. It tastes good, easy to prepare, and carries out a ton of health benefits.