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The Jewels of the Forest Chaga Mushrooms!

chaga mushroomsIf you have ever taken a stroll in the Manitoba wilderness you may have noticed some large black masses growing on birch trees. I’ve always assumed they were malformations or infections on the trees but low and behold they are a fungal growth called Chaga mushrooms!

The botanical name for Chaga mushrooms is Inonotus obliquus, and you will find these lovely treasures on mainly birch tress in northern climates such as Canada, Russia, China etc. They have a black outer bark and are golden brown in the middle, this fungus is parasitic on birch trees and will eventually kill them if they are not removed. The excitement around Chaga mushrooms is that they have many healing properties as well as a high mineral and vitamin content.

A glance at the benefits of consuming chaga mushooms:

Chaga mushrooms are a powerful antioxidant: Oxidants are free radicals that are created by the body, but can also be created by external forces such as air pollution, alcohol, cigarette smoke etc. When the body is too overwhelmed by too many free radicals, problems can occur. By ingesting chaga as a tea or tincture it aids the body in removing free radicals from the body.

Chaga mushrooms aid digestion: the digestive system is a powerhouse. Breaking down food and sorting out nutrients and by products is a big job for the body. Chaga mushrooms stimulate bile production, bile is made by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Bile is used by the body to break down fats.

Chaga mushrooms are a nutrient dense food: they are very high in B-vitamins, potassium, zinc, iron, calcium, copper, flavanols and phenols. These nutrients are used by the body everyday to powerhouse many different systems in the body.

Chaga mushrooms may bolster immunity: they are a good source of beta glucans, and polysaccharides. Beta glucans are found in the cell walls of fungi, lichens, some plants and yeasts, polysaccharides are a form on carbohydrate molecule, together they are used by the immune system to fight off bad bacteria and viruses.

What does Chaga taste like?

Although it is a fungus, it does not taste like button mushrooms that you would find in the supermarket, nor is it pungent like the truffle mushroom. I describe it as having a very earthy, kind of woody taste, a pleasant taste.

There are different ways to add Chaga mushrooms to your diet; you can take in capsule form, as a powder that you can add to smoothies, a tincture, but my favorite is as a tea. The nice thing about using it as a tea is that Chaga chunks or pebbles may be used repeatedly, once the chunks begin to run clear when making tea then they have been exhausted. Chaga tea is also a nice substitute for coffee as it is naturally caffeine free but can still satisfy that rich roasted taste the coffee does.

If you are looking to boost your immunity and aid digestion Chaga is a great option to add to your diet, it will make a nutritious addition to your beverage options!!

Get the Chaga Tea Recipe Here

A note of caution: for those with kidney issues or diseases, Chaga is very high in oxalates. Please consult your doctor before consuming.

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only, it is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any illness or disease. Please consult a professional for your healthcare needs.

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