Mushroom Medicine: Chaga

As the new paradigm unfolds, let’s look to one of the oldest life forms on the planet that can offer profound healing and support for the current time — fungus.

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) has cycled through my kitchen over the past many years. Recently, it has become a staple and one of the most beneficial allies of this time. Chaga is a type of shelf mushroom that grows mainly on Birch trees in colder climates. It has been called the “King of Mushrooms” and was used traditionally in Siberian folk medicine.

Studies show that Chaga contains anti-retroviral properties, supporting the body’s defenses against RNA viruses. Chaga is also useful in treatment of some cancers, for sleep and nervous system disorders, and to boost the immune system. It is an adaptogen and is full of phytonutrients and antioxidants.

My favorite way to prepare Chaga is to purchase it as chunks (as opposed to powder) and then to cook it on a low temperature for many hours. I use a slow cooker (or Instant Pot) and place about 3 liters of water and 4 chunks of Chaga and let it simmer for about 12 hours. When it’s ready, pour the liquid into mason jars and store in the fridge. I enjoy drinking a warm mug in the morning with a splash of milk. It is delicious and very grounding.

After preparation, dry out the chunks and they can be reused for 3-4 batches of tea!

Because of its medicinal qualities, check with your doctor if you have underlying health concerns or are taking medication.