Chaga Tea

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a fungus from the Hymenochaetaceae family, growing rarely on birch trunks – about one in every fifteen thousand trees. Tea made from the chaga mushroom (as commonly referred to) has been used in folk medicine in the past. Containing a lot of minerals like manganese, copper, iron, potassium, zinc, selenium and calcium, this tea is widely popular because of its immense health benefits.

Chaga Tea

Chaga Tea

Chaga Tea

History and Origin

The usage of Chaga tea dates back to the 16th century. It was used in Siberia, Russia, and other Baltic countries in the form of a tonic, to treat gastric problems and other ailments. This herbal tea also became a popular drink in South-East Asia where the Chinese believed that the decoction of this mushroom fungus would result in a long life span. Villagers in Korea and Japan used chaga as a food supplement for longevity.Because of its innumerable utilities, Chaga has been referred to as “The Diamond of the Forest” by Japanese, “King of Plants” by Chinese and “Gift of God” and “Mushroom of Immortality” by the people of Siberia.

Chaga mushroom tea health benefits

Rich in antioxidants 

This herbal tea is a rich source of antioxidant, thus being effective in protecting against cell damage brought about by the free radicals present in our body.

Good stress reliever

Chaga tea acts as a strong adaptogen, helping in reducing anxiety, depression and fatigue that arises from stress, by balancing and energizing the systems of our body.  The presence of Vitamin B5 and Vitamin D also has a positive impact on stress reduction. In the 1950s, the Russian government advised its astronauts and athletes to include chaga in their diet after the stress relieving functions of adaptogens were proved.

Chaga Mushroom

Chaga Mushroom

Chaga Tea Pictures

Chaga Tea Pictures

Useful for skin

The anti-inflammatory properties present in this tea provides relief from skin conditions like acne, eczema and rashes and psoriasis. The melanin content in this tea makes it beneficial in protecting our skin from ultraviolet radiation of the sun.

Promotes liver function

Chaga tea facilitates the functioning of the liver by stimulating bile production, thereby helping in flushing out the toxins.

Aids in cancer prevention

Through several kinds of research and studies the ability of chaga extracts in preventing lung, cervical, colon, liver, breast, uterine and other cancers has been revealed. The presence of betulinic acid in this tea, along with its anti-microbial properties, makes it useful in killing the malignant cells without affecting the healthy ones. Drinking this herbal infusion helps in boosting the immune system, therefore lessening the severe effects of chemotherapy, also preventing metastasis.

Ensures a healthy heart

Having a high concentration of the enzyme, superoxide dismutase, this tea helps in protecting the cells from being damaged by free radicals, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis. Containing betulinic acid, it aids in maintaining the cholesterol levels, lessening the possibility of cardiovascular diseases.

For weight loss

Being a powerful appetite suppressant, this herbal decoction is functional in weight loss. It is also a rich source of pantothenic acid or Vitamin B5, which helps in metabolizing fat, thereby aiding in cutting down the extra calories as well as providing energy.

Chaga Fungus

Chaga Fungus

Chaga Tea Images

Chaga Tea Images

Effective for diabetes

Studies conducted on diabetic mice have revealed the hypoglycemic effect of this tea. Drinking the tea or any infusion made from chaga can help in lowering the blood sugar level.

Helps to treat arthritis

The Vitamin D, calcium and phosphorous content in this caffeine-free tea help in strengthening cartilage bones, preventing them from wearing out. Therefore, it gives relief to people suffering from osteoarthritis. Its anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties makes this tea useful in lessening rheumatoid arthritis.

Good for fever

It has antipyretic properties, thus helping in reducing fever and other symptoms associated with it.

Beneficial for bowel problems

Being a good laxative and having a high amount of fiber chaga tea is useful for providing relief from constipation. Its anti-inflammatory properties also make it beneficial in treating colon cancers, as well as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

How to make chaga tea

  • Take some chaga chunks
  • Soak them in cold water
  • Simmer for about 2 hours or even longer if you want your tea to be strong. A crockpot can be used for this purpose. Maintain a low temperature as an increased heat will take away the melanin and polysaccharide present in it.
  • Add lemon, honey or sugar for taste.
  • If you desire to have it cold, place the tea in the refrigerator. It can be stored for up to 14 days.

You can also prepare tea by using powdered chaga or tea bags. The chunks or powder left after straining can be reused for about three to five times.

Safety information: Are there any side effects

Although there are no known side effects, overconsumption of this tea may result in headache, nausea, and other symptoms. If you are taking penicillin, then avoid drinking this tea. It also interferes with the action of anti-diabetic and anti-coagulant medicines resulting in hypoglycemia and bleeding respectively.

Use during pregnancy

Though this tea is said to be good for pregnancy, it is best to consult your doctor before consuming it in order to avoid any complications. Breastfeeding mothers should also seek advice from their gynecologist prior to drinking this tea.

Where to buy

Chaga tea can be purchased online or in stores selling herbal teas.

Article was last reviewed on 3rd November 2017

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