What is chaga mushroom?
Chaga is a fungus which grows on the side of hardwood, usually birches, in colder climates. After infecting a birch tree it grows as a dark chaga mushroom. Chaga is collected from naturally-grown trees and in order to respond to the great demand of this superfood, chaga has also begun to be cultivated in Finland.
Chaga has been used since the 17th century in Northern Europe, Russia, Baltic countries, Japan and Korea. Earliest documentation of its usage is from the 13th century. Chaga is known as a folk medicine around the world. Tea prepared from chaga has been used as natural medicine for centuries especially in Russia and other Slavic countries. During the world wars, coffee was brewed from chaga as a substitute for regular coffee in Finland.
Chaga is one of the most powerful herbs found in the Finnish woods as it contains plenty of antioxidants. The health effects of chaga are nowadays under great interest. Though clinical trials haven’t yet been made of chaga, scientific research on the effects of chaga has been conducted in cell cultures.
Chaga in drinks
Chaga has a mild and a slightly sweet taste. You can also note the mushroom flavour in drinks made of chaga. Honey and cardamom are often used to complement the flavor of chaga tea. Chaga is also used to brew coffee.
Chaga extracts are convenient to use in hot or cold drinks, smoothies or in yogurt. Chaga extracts are made from dried and ground chaga.
Chaga is also used in cosmetics
Chaga contains betulin which can be found in birch sap and bark. Betulin efficiently reduces inflammation and stimulates the production of healthy cells. Many kinds of creams and salves have been made from chaga to treat atopic skin, psoriasis, varicose veins, insect bites and small wounds.