CHAGA: Brewing Mushroom Tea
Chaga is a medicinal mushroom and one of my all-time favourite adaptogens to incorporate into my diet. You may have heard of this along with other familiar medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, shiitake, maitake, cordyceps, and more. It acts as an antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, has anti-cancer properties, and helps to support the immune system. It's wonderful for supporting the body at this time of year, before we transition into fall and the colder months.
When you brew this hearty tough mushroom, you wind up with a wonderful tea that nourishes your organs and your glands. Being an adaptogen, this does exactly what it says: it helps our bodies "adapt" to our inward and outward biological, chemical, and physical environments. Adaptogens also keep our stress hormones in check, preventing us from releasing more than we need in times of crisis and our "fight or flight" mode. Overall, adaptogens provide a balancing and calming effect on the whole body, especially the nervous and endocrine systems, allowing us to cope with the things life throws our way.
Special care should always be taken when harvesting this mushroom. It's always best to ensure that wherever you are purchasing your chaga from, the company maintains practices that keep parts of the mushroom behind so the spores can repopulate and it may grow again.
Some of my favourites include Giddy Yoyo in Canada and Sunday Natural in Europe.
I personally enjoy brewing up a big batch of tea and adding this as this liquid portion into my daily smoothie or making a delicious hot chocolate.
Bonus: Your bag of chaga will last you forever. The pieces you brew can be used again another 3-4x so you can really have your entire supply last your throughout season.
Below, I'll share how to make chaga tea so you can have a supply of this mighty mushroom on hand to add into your own recipes.
1/4 cup chaga
1 litre of water
Optional: 1 vanilla bean (I like to keep the "shell" from used vanilla beans stored in a jar and pop them into my pot when I make chaga tea)
Add your chaga to a big pot and fill with water. Bring this to a boil then allow to simmer for 3-4 hours.
Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for another hour, or overnight.
Drain the liquid and dispense into a jar(s). Reserve your chaga in a bag and store in the freezer for future use.
Store the freshly brewed chaga in the fridge and use within a week.