In The Wild Teal Healing Cauldron This Week: Chaga Tea
This week I received the most glorious gift… two big ‘ol jars of Chaga mushroom, wildcrafted by the healing hands of my friend Emily. I traded her for a half gallon of Black Walnut tincture that I made. It’s good to have herbie friends. 🙂
So, why am I so excited about the rich brown substance in these jars? Because this is one of the most super-powered and magickal fungi on the planet… and it’s DELICIOUS! It does an incredible job replacing coffee. If you are a coffee lover like me, it is nice to have something that satisfies the coffee desire without the caffeine.
Some of the benefits of Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) are:
It’s antiviral, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory
It’s a blood purifier and supports your liver
It’s a powerful detoxifier
It’s packed with antioxidants which prevent free radical damage
It’s great for digestion
Even more amazing, Chaga is a cancer warrior!
How Chaga Helps Our Bodies Fight Cancer
Chaga is a parasitic fungus that grows on Birch trees. The Betulin/betulinic acid is the constituent that kills cancer cells. Research has shown particularly good results with breast, skin, lip and colon cancers. It has been used as a traditional medicine cancer treatment in Russia for centuries. The polysaccharides in this mushroom increase energy and liver function in our bodies. Chaga’s high levels of Melanin mean that it is packed with super antioxidants. Additionally, the hytosterols, lanosterols and inotodiols help prevent harmful microbial growth.
The Magick Of Birch Trees
Birch trees have a long history of magick in many cultures. Birch’s energy helps us to release old patterns and embrace new ones that serve us on our Soul Path. Appropriately, her totem is the phoenix rising from the ashes. She is a powerful creatrix and was often used in rites for fertility or new growth. Since Chaga grows on Birch trees I feel she is energetically imbued with Birch’s creative powers. So as you sip your mug of Chaga tea, tune into what you are creating in your life and ask these two powerful plant allies for their assistance.
Ready To Make Some Chaga Tea?
You can buy ground chaga from The Herbiary here in Asheville (they ship) or at your local herb shop.
Chaga tea is actually a decoction. This means that you simmer the plant for a while, not just steep it in hot water. This is necessary because the chitin in the cell walls of the mushroom is VERY tough and it must be fully broken down so that our bodies can use it. BTW, that is why you need to COOK mushrooms of all kinds to get their nutritional and medicinal benefits. So skip the raw mushrooms on your salad, they are just passing through your body without being absorbed.
Place these ingredients in a stainless steel, glass or ceramic pot:
1 tablespoon ground chaga (or chaga chunks)
1 quart of water
Simmer on low for 1 hour
You can also do this in a Crockpot on low overnight.
Strain and drink hot. You can store your tea in a mason jar in the fridge and reheat it in a pot (NOT in the microwave.)
As I said, these fungi are tough, so you can get more than one boil. After you’ve strained off the liquid from your first batch, add more water and make a second (maybe even a third!)
It’s so good I usually make at least 4 quarts at a time.
You can also add some warm milk and honey or maple syrup. My FAVORITE combo is Chaga tea with hemp milk and a little cinnamon honey from our farmer’s market… SO good! I drink this combo hot, and use the cooled tea to make a “frappacino” version for Mike.
Here is a variation that is delicious and a great blood purifier. Put these additional items in your pot:
2 teaspoons roasted dandelion root
1 tsp roasted chicory root
1 tsp orange peel
1 tsp cinnamon chips
Chaga Chai! Here is a lovely recipe for homemade Chaga Chai. She also gives you some pointers for using Chaga in your food and even face cream!
Chocolate Chaga Smoothie (oh, yeah!)
1 cup Chaga Tea ( or, Chaga Chai)
1/2 a banana (frozen)
A handful of berries (frozen is fine, I use raspberries)
1 Tbs organic Coco powder
a big pinch of cinnamon
Blend well and enjoy. If it’s too thick, add a bit more tea.
So that is a little bit of the medicinal and magickal uses of this beautiful and extremely versatile fungal healer. I hope you will put a little in your cauldron and cup this week. Give her a try! And let me know what you experience. Leave your comments below.
To your health, with all my love,
Questions have been coming in about our August Yoga and Earth Medicine Retreat in Asheville! Here’s a few…
Q: Do I need to know a lot of yoga to come to the retreat?
A: Nope! Our daily yoga sessions will be gentle, but deep, and both beginners and experienced yogin will receive a great practice and learn new things.
Q: Will the food be vegetarian?
A: We will have veggie and non-veggie options in all our meals. Gluten Free will also be accommodated. Basically, our private chef will be cooking exactly what our group needs!
If you have questions, I have answers. Contact me.:-)
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