Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Wednesday Wonders #4 Chaga - King of the medicinal mushrooms

As daylight saving ends and fall really starts to kick in, it seems like the perfect time to introduce you to Chaga, king of the medicinal mushrooms!

Weeks ago, I mentioned my crazy trip to Edmonton for the blender workshop with David Wolfe. The main focus of this event was to introduce us to Cacao and Chaga and how to mix the two in completely mind blowing drinks! Since then, I have been having lots of fun with Chaga and I can definitely feel the benefits. It has one of the best sources of antioxidants, a ton of important vitamins and minerals and a full assortment of healing nutrients. Research has found a lot of health benefits from Chaga being an anticancer, antiviral, blood sugar balancer, intestinal protector, liver protector, immune system booster, antiallergenic and antibacterial, just to name a few. It’s so amazing you can even use it to start a fire! Talk about multitasking. lol

Right about now you are probably thinking… WHAT? This is weird, it’s probably expensive, and the usual, I’m sure it tastes gross!

Well, it’s not that weird, it’s incredibly cheap, taste pretty amazing and is totally versatile. Yep, I just shut down all your negative thoughts. The truth is you are not actually eating the mushroom, although some do and you can buy a mushroom powder and put it in everything, so yeah sorry I guess you are totally eating it! That being said, the most common way to take in all the benefits of it is to make a tea. That leads me to write about a bit of history.

The Chaga mushroom mostly grows on yellow and white birch trees. It’s usually black and brown on the outside while the inside has rich earthy tones. The ideal mushroom ready for consumption is about 25 years old. Its growth is rare (will only grow in 0.025% of trees) which makes it very precious. Some say the Chaga is a parasite to the tree, some say it grows in a symbiotic relationship with it. We all need each other in a way, so I like to believe this is true.
Chaga has been consumed as a tea in Siberia for more than 4600 years. They also used it on their skin and inhaled the smoke of it because it’s so special you have to use it all! There are so many stories on Chaga and they're all really interesting and mysterious! There's even a theory claiming that Chaga mushrooms were transported into space by meteorites and other debris falling on earth where they attach themselves to trees and sprout to establish an ecosystem of multicellular organisms. That’s a pretty crazy incredibly interesting idea.
There's so much to learn about Chaga but I wanted to pick your curiosity while keeping some mystery for you to shape you own journey with it!

All this information to finally say, yeah just make a tea out of it. I find the best way to make tea is to just buy dry chunks of it and boil it. The great thing about this is that you can reuse the mushrooms so many times (about 30 times) unlike regular tea. Just strain the chunks and let them dry until the next day and you are good to go again. I have read different ways to make it but being extremely time conscious, I don’t boil it for as long and I skip a few steps. Here is how I like it:
6 cups of water
4 Tbsp of dry Chaga Chunks

Bring the water to a boil with the Chaga in it and let it simmer for 45 minutes (or until you can’t wait any longer). Pour the tea out of the pot using a fine mesh strainer to catch all the chunks. I like to just boil it in a regular pot as I find it too long to get all the chaga out of a tea pot. I like it on its own, or with vanilla and sugar. I also like to keep some in the fridge and make some ice tea out of it. It’s very versatile and fun to experiment with. Here is my favorite recipe which is also a great electrolyte for workouts or post-workouts.

           Orange Chaga Electrolyte Drink

2 Cups cold Chaga tea
Juice of 1 orange
1 Tsp Agave Nectar
¼ Tsp Vanilla extract
½ Cup water
¼ Tsp Sea Salt
1 slice of Orange zest.
Mix everything in a food processor or blender except orange zest. Add the zest and let it sit for about 5 minutes before drinking it. It’s so refreshing I just want to go for run so I can drink one. Oh wait, I can’t run for 6 weeks because I’m injured! Major downer.

No comments:

Post a Comment