Mushroom Tea: The Complete Guide

mushroom tea

​Mushrooms like Chaga have proven health benefits for just about every part of the body, but do you ever find it difficult figuring out how to incorporate them into your daily life? One easy way is to make mushroom tea. Steeping mushrooms in hot water is an excellent way of extracting their valuable compounds and produces a soothing and rejuvenating drink.

Different Types of Mushrooms for Tea

In this post we'll be discussing five mushrooms: Chaga, Reishi, Cordyceps, Lion's Mane, and Maitake. Each has a story all its own, with different geographies and health applications. We'll also be providing a mushroom tea recipe for each of these five mushrooms - so keep reading until end!

Chaga

chaga mushroom tea

The Chaga mushroom, Inonotus obliquus, is taking the West by storm as people learn of its many healthful properties. Chaga grows on the trunks of birch trees, usually in the cold forests of northern Europe and North America, though it's also found in a few other locations, such as at higher elevations in North Carolina.

Chaga has been used in folk medicine in Russia and other parts of eastern Europe and Asia for thousands of years. The people there cut it into small pieces to make Chaga mushroom tea. Chaga tea is mild and the taste benefits from a natural component of Chaga related to vanilla.

Chaga contains chemicals that allow it to survive and grow in such harsh environments. Fortunately, many of these chemicals are also bioactive in humans, promoting positive health effects when they get into our bodies.

One of the most important things Chaga does is boost our immune systems. There are two ways it does this. The first is by increasing our natural production of antibodies, which fight pathogens. The second is by interfering with how bacteria communicate, a process called quorum sensing, making it harder for them to organize and grow after entering the body.

Chaga is an excellent source of antioxidants. Antioxidants defend cellular DNA against free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can lead to a cell's death or mutation. These mutations may eventually result in the growth of cancer cells. Scientific research has shown that the antioxidants in Chaga also slow the progression of existing cancer cells. The damage free radicals do also contributes to heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Free radicals even attack skin cells, causing premature aging.

Another important compound in Chaga is betulinic acid, which can lower LDL cholesterol (the "bad cholesterol") and helps prevent and treat gastrointestinal ailments.

Chaga is primarily used for making tea, but it can be incorporated into other beverages like a chai latte or even a smoothie.

If you want to learn more about Chaga, here's a great video from our friends at FOUR SIGMATIC:

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Reishi

reishi mushroom tea

First utilized by the Chinese more than two thousand years ago, the Reishi mushroom is also called the Lingzhi and is known to science as Ganoderma lucidum. The Reishi prefers warmer forests and is widely distributed, growing on decaying hardwood trees across Asia, Europe, Australia, South America, and the southeastern United States. Reishi mushrooms are well known for their large, vibrant red umbrella caps, though depending on the environment they can also grow like antlers.

Reishi has been used by the Chinese since before the first unified Chinese dynasty. It was consumed to strengthen the heart qi, or life force, and was considered so potent that it was rumored to grant immortality.

While falling short of immortality, Reishi does offer many health benefits. Like the Chaga, it contains antioxidants that can help prevent cancer and reduce metastasis of existing cancer cells. Additionally, the Reishi has specific compounds that lessen the risk of prostate and colorectal cancers. Perhaps its most impressive feature is that the Reishi can double the body's production of "natural killer" cells that fight tumor production as well as viruses.

The Reishi mushroom is also tied to the relief of some allergy symptoms, such as those of hay fever and allergy to cats. In addition to tea, Reishi can be added to a number of other consumables, including coffee, chocolate, and energy drinks.

If you want to learn more about Reishi, here's a great video from our friends at FOUR SIGMATIC:

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Cordyceps

cordyceps mushroom tea

The Cordyceps are a collection of species, the most common of which is Ophiocordyceps sinensis, and they're not your garden variety mushroom.

Cordyceps grow in an unusual way that has gained them the nickname "zombie mushrooms." O. sinensis spores infect caterpillars that live underground in the grassy shrublands of the ten thousand-foot-high Tibetan Plateau. The spores kill the caterpillars and sprout out their heads like stems. Another member of the Cordyceps family, O. militaris, does the same thing to ants.

Cordyceps have been used in Tibetan and Chinese folk medicine for at least six hundred years. Traditionally, these mushrooms were used as a libido and fertility booster. Indeed, O. sinensis has been shown to slightly elevate testosterone and estrogen levels.

Both O. sinensis and O. militaris are excellent sources of antioxidants, demonstrating not only preventative effects on cancer but also opposing the proliferation of cancer cells in cases of melanoma, leukemia, and breast, colorectal, and bladder cancers.

O. sinensis has also been studied for use with patients following kidney transplants, and it was found that the Cordyceps reduced the required dosage of medications needed to keep the body from rejecting the new organ.

Cordyceps are versatile in the kitchen and are popular additions to soups with various proteins like chicken, pork, and fish.

If you want to learn more about Cordyceps, here's a great video from our friends at FOUR SIGMATIC:

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Lion's Mane

lions mane mushroom tea

The Lion's Mane mushroom is so-named because it consists of lush, flowing tendrils. Its striking appearance has led to many other nicknames, including Bearded Tooth, Old Man's Beard, Pom Pom, and Tree Hedgehog. To science, it is known as Hericium erinaceus.

Lion's Mane grows on both living and dead broad-leaf trees in the temperate latitudes of Asia, Europe, and North America. It is rarer than other kinds of mushrooms, to the extent that some countries have placed it on threatened-species lists. Fortunately, Lion's Mane is very receptive to cultivation and can even be grown at home as the video below explains.

Because it is uncommon in the wild, Lion's Mane was traditionally reserved for the royalty and nobility. It was prized for its medicinal qualities in treating digestive ailments, but its most important properties relate to brain health.

Lion's Mane improves cognitive and emotional functions. It was found by Japanese researchers to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms, and at the same time increase concentration.

The brain is made up of neurons, and many of these neurons send vital info along a connected wire-like structure. Lion's Mane contains compounds that protect both. It enhances the body's production of nerve growth factor, which is key to neuron development and survival. It also protects the insulation, myelin, of the neural "wires" (axons). This is important since some of the most vexing diseases, including Alzheimer's, involve the degradation of myelin, negatively impacting nerve function.

Additionally, Lion's Mane has been shown to boost metabolism and lower blood glucose levels.

Lion's Mane can be incorporated into any dish or enjoyed alone. Its savory taste when pan-fried led one blogger to pronounce it "lobster of the woods".

If you want to learn more about Lion's Mane, here's a great video from our friends at FOUR SIGMATIC:

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On all their products when you use the code chagahq at checkout

Maitake

maitake mushroom tea

Last but not least is the Maitake mushroom. Maitake is Japanese for "dancing mushroom," which harkens back to the traditional story of its discovery. According to the tale, a group of Buddhist nuns first found the Maitake while picking flowers and took a chance eating them. They were edible and delicious, and the nuns celebrated with a dance. The scientific name is Grifola frondosa.

Maitake mushrooms grow in the northeastern parts of Japan and the United States. They are often found in clusters around oak trees. The Maitake can grow to a whopping one hundred pounds and has been used for centuries in both Japanese and Chinese cultures for not only culinary but medicinal applications.

Maitake is one of nature's great cancer fighters. Not only does it possess the antioxidants present in other mushrooms that protect against cellular mutations that can become cancer, but it also enhances the immune system's natural weapons against cancer. Specifically, the compound known as D-Fraction causes greater production of natural killer cells like the Reishi mushroom, but also boosts T cells and special white blood cells called macrophages. Macrophages clean up inside the body, wrapping around and digesting various cellular debris, but they also destroy tumors. Because of this D-Fraction has been studied as a complementary supplement to chemotherapy, and has been shown to improve its effectiveness.

Maitake's other health benefits include a general anti-inflammatory effect and similar anti-diabetic properties to Lion's Mane mushrooms by decreasing insulin resistance.

Maitake mushrooms have a delicate texture and go well with lots of different foods. They are as at home on a pizza as in a stew or sauteed by themselves. Here's a blog post with some recipe ideas.

Mushroom Tea Recipes

In this section we'll show you a great recipe for each of the mushrooms discussed above, with a list of the things you'll need and step-by-step directions.

Simple Chaga Mushroom Tea

  • Makes: About 400 milliliters (13.5 ounces)
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 10 grams (.35 ounces) Chaga chunks
  • Hot water

Visit our buying guide to see where to get the best Chaga chunks.

Equipment

  • Blender or coffee grinder
  • Tea kettle
  • Tea infuser
  • Teaspoon
  • Mug

If you don't have any electrical means of grinding, you can use a mortar and pestle. You can also get by without a tea infuser by straining the tea after steeping.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Put about 500 milliliters of water (to allow for some loss as steam) into a traditional or electric kettle and begin heating it.

2. Grind 10 grams of Chaga into powder.

3. Use a teaspoon to transfer one or two scoops of Chaga powder into a tea infuser, depending on how strong you want your tea.

4. Place the filled tea infuser into a mug.

5. When the water has reached a gentle boil, remove from heat and carefully pour the water into the mug.

6. Let the Chaga steep for at least 5 minutes. The longer it steeps, the more beneficial compounds will mix into the tea.

7. Remove the infuser and enjoy!

You can also use this tea as the starting point to a Chaga Tea Latte. Click here for the recipe!

Reishi Peppermint and Honey Tea

Adapted from a MarxFoods recipe.

  • Makes: About 240 milliliters (8 ounces)
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • About 9 sliced Reishi pieces
  • 8 crushed fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 drops peppermint oil
  • Hot water

Equipment

  • Glass or stainless steel pot
  • Strainer
  • Tablespoon
  • Mug

Because Reishi mushrooms are dry and woody, it's necessary to steep them for longer. To achieve this, we're going to steep the reishi directly in the pot or pan used to heat the water. Also, some people find the Reishi's taste bitter, which is why we're adding some extra flavor. You can swap these for other flavors you enjoy.

Step-by-Step

1. Heat the water in a pot on the stove top.

2. When the water reaches a boil, add the Reishi pieces. Let this steep at least 30 minutes.

3. Back down the heat to about 75% and stir in the honey, mint leaves, and peppermint oil.

4. Once the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, strain the liquid into a mug and enjoy!

Cordyceps Ginger Tea

Adapted from a SuperFoodies recipe.

  • Makes: About 400 milliliters (13.5 ounces)
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients

  • About 7 grams (.25 ounces) Cordyceps pieces
  • Dash of lemon juice
  • 4 slices fresh ginger
  • Hot water

Equipment

  • Glass or stainless steel pot
  • Strainer
  • Tablespoon
  • Mug

This recipe will be prepared similarly to the Reishi tea, in a pot or pan right on a cooking surface. These flavors are also meant to subdue any bitterness in the mushroom, though of course they can be substituted or omitted altogether if you wish.

Step-by-Step

1. Heat the water in a pot on the stove top.

2. When the water reaches a boil, add the Cordyceps pieces. Let this steep at least 10 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat a little and add the ginger and lemon juice.

4. Stir the mixture and let sit for another 5 minutes.

5. Strain the tea into a mug and enjoy!

This recipe also makes a refreshing iced tea, just refrigerate and serve cold with ice and a slice of lemon.

Lion's Mane Brain Boost Tea

Adapted from a Hybrid Herbs recipe.

  • Makes: About 240 milliliters (8 ounces)
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients

  • About 3 grams (.11 ounces) Lion's Mane
  • Pea-sized piece of shilajit
  • Hot water

Shilajit is an ancient mixture of minerals that, like Lion's Mane, promotes brain health and cognitive sharpness. You can learn more about it here.

Equipment

  • Blender or coffee grinder
  • Tea kettle
  • Tea infuser
  • Teaspoon
  • Mug

Lion's Mane is also available in powdered form, which saves you the effort of grinding it yourself.

Step-by-Step

1. Put about 500 milliliters of water (again to allow for some loss as steam) into a kettle heat it.

2. Grind 3grams of Lion's Mane into powder.

3. Transfer the Lion's Mane powder into a tea infuser.

4. Place the tea infuser into a mug.

5. When the water has reached a gentle boil, remove from heat and carefully pour into the mug. Add the bit of shilajit.

6. Let it steep for at least 10 minutes and make sure the shilajit is fully dissolved.

7. Remove the infuser and enjoy!

Maitake Green Tea

Adapted from a Food52 recipe.

  • Makes: About 400 milliliters (13.5 ounces)
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients

  • About 10 grams (.35 ounces) Maitake pieces
  • 1/2 split vanilla bean
  • 1 tablespoon loose green tea
  • Hot water

The vanilla bean can be replaced with a few drops of vanilla extract.

Equipment

  • Glass or stainless steel pot
  • Strainer
  • Tablespoon
  • Mug

Step-by-Step

1. Bring the water to a gentle boil in a pot or pan.

2. Add in Maitake pieces and let steep for at least 10 minutes.

3. Turn down the heat a bit and add in the vanilla and green tea, and let steep another 5 minutes.

4. Strain the mixture into a mug and enjoy!

We hope you enjoyed reading about these mushrooms and learned about the many ways they can help you achieve better health with just some simple mushroom tea recipes.

Please consider sharing this article and let us know what you think by leaving a comment. We'd love to hear from you.

Chaga mushrooms and cancer: what does the science say?

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is one of the most widely researched medicinal mushrooms. People all over the world now routinely drink Chaga tea as a means to keep their body strong in the cold and flu season.

The health benefits of Chaga extract have been explored in more than 1,600 scientific papers. Much of this research focuses on the ability of Chaga mushrooms to enhance our immune systems and serve as an anti-oxidant (Glamočlija, 2015).

Interestingly, there is an additional health aspect of Chaga that is actively being explored by scientists. Preliminary data suggests the capacity for Chaga to fight certain cancers. I want to stress that this research is preliminary. I am unaware of any human, clinical data on the subject. That said, there are some interesting cell culture and animal studies showing anti-tumor and pro-apoptotic results. I think these reports are intriguing and worth exploring.

Chaga and Cancer

In general, when you want to prove that a plant, fungus or a synthetic drug can fight cancer, there is a chain of experiments that needs to be worked through. Let’s walk through this process while thinking about Chaga extract.​

First, you need to show that the extract can reduce cancer cells in cell culture. These are cells growing in a plastic dish in a laboratory setting. These are called cell culture experiments.

If these cell culture experiments show positive results, then you’ll want to see if a similar extract can reduce a tumor that is growing in a lab animal. Usually this is done with a mouse. These are called animal studies.

If the extract proves to be effective at reducing an animal tumor and is non-toxic to the mouse, then you can start to think about repeating the results in human patients. These are the human, clinical studies.

All of these steps are laborious and costly, especially the clinical work. In regards to Chaga and cancer, no clinical experiments have been performed. However, there are published results that explore Chaga and cancer using cell culture and animal studies. We will briefly summarize some of these results below.

Cell culture experiments

Two separate groups have explored the ability of Chaga extract to fight cancer cells that are growing in a dish. While performing these cell culture experiments, both groups also observed that Chaga can alter Bcl-2 gene activity.

Ning et al. showed that neurogliocytoma cells growing in a plastic dish were inhibited when treated with Chaga extract. Neurogliocytoma cells are neurons, or brain cells, that have become cancerous (Ning, 2014). After observing Chaga extract inhibits the growth of these cancer cells, the researchers then measured the expression of Bcl-2. Bcl-2 is a very important gene in cancer progression. Among other things, this gene prevents cell suicide, which is also known as apoptosis. We need a certain amount of cell suicide in our body. Apoptosis allows us to stay healthy and helps keep tumor growth in check. Therefore, if Chaga can turn down, or down-regulate Bcl-2, then that is a good indicator that Chaga can help fight tumors.

Another group reported a similar cell culture result in human colon cancer cells. Lee et al. found that a 1.0 mg/ml Chaga water extract resulted in a 56% inhibition of colon cancer cell growth (Lee, 2009). When looking at gene expression changes, this group also observed a down-regulation of Bcl-2. As mentioned above, this down-regulation of an anti-apoptotic gene suggests that Chaga extract can help shift mammalian cells into a tumor fighting mode.

Live animal study

The last paper I’ll mention also looked at cell culture, but in addition, they performed an experiment on a live animal.

In regards to cell culture, this group showed that Chaga treatment slowed down the growth and development of B16 mouse melanoma cells. B16 cells are routinely used to study the development of melanoma. Melanoma is the cancer of our pigmented skin cells, called melanocytes. After seeing a positive result with B16 cells in culture, this group then performed an animal study. They tested the ability of their Chaga water extract to reduce a live tumor growing in a mouse (Youn, 2009).

Healthy laboratory mice were first implanted with B16 melanoma cells. This melanoma cell implantation caused the growth of a tumor mass in the mouse. Lee et al. then observed that treatment with 20 mg/kg/day of Chaga extract significantly reduced the tumor mass growing in the mouse. This animal tumor experiment will need to be repeated by other groups. But, it is interesting to see that Chaga extract can reduce a tumor in a live, mammalian creature.

In summary, when thinking about the 3 reports mentioned above, I find it compelling that Chaga extract can:

  • Reduce cancer growth in different types of cultured cells
  • Induce the down-regulation of Bcl-2, an anti-apoptotic gene
  • Reduce a tumor in a live animal model​

As stated at the beginning, all of these reports are preliminary. Before anyone can say anything conclusive about Chaga and cancer, the results need to be repeated and tested in human studies.

I certainly look forward to seeing how this particular line of research develops over time.

You can find more health related articles by Dr. Kevin Curran at EthnoHerbalist.com

References

Glamočlija, Jasmina, et al. “Chemical characterization and biological activity of Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), a medicinal “mushroom”.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 162 (2015): 323-332.

Lee, Sung Hak, Hee Sun Hwang, and Jong Won Yun. “Antitumor activity of water extract of a mushroom, Inonotus obliquus, against HT‐29 human colon cancer cells.” Phytotherapy Research 23.12 (2009): 1784-1789.

Ning, Xianbin, et al. “Inhibitory Effects of a Polysaccharide Extract from the Chaga Medicinal Mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (Higher Basidiomycetes), on the Proliferation of Human Neurogliocytoma Cells.” International journal of medicinal mushrooms 16.1 (2014).

Youn, Myung-Ja, et al. “Potential anticancer properties of the water extract of Inontus obliquus by induction of apoptosis in melanoma B16-F10 cells.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 121.2 (2009): 221-228.​

Chaga Extract, the world’s most potent supplement?

Chaga, or Inonotus Obliquus to give it its scientific name, is a medicinal mushroom with very special ingredients.

Chaga can be found growing on birch trees throughout the colder regions of the Northern Hemisphere, most notably Siberia, parts of China, North America, and North-Korea.

It's health benefits have been used for centuries by eastern cultures and native Americans. More recently, Chaga is being discovered in western cultures after years of scientific studies into it's medicinal benefits.

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IMPORTANT NOTE: Please consult with your doctor and read the latest information provided by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center before taking Chaga for any health condition.

What are these special ingredients?

The most important active ingredients of chaga are beta-glucans (a type of polysaccharides) and betulinic acid.

Chaga also contains phytosterols (mostlyinotodiol and lanosterol) plus an extremely large level of melanin.

Melanin is a natural antioxidant that gives chaga its external black color, but, more importantly, provides the highest level of antioxidants found in any food.

What do these ingredients do?

Beta-Glucans/Polysaccharides

Beta-glucans are often found within medicinal mushrooms, and scientific research has shown that they normalize and balance the immune system.

Quite simply, they keep us healthy by regulating the body's immune system. Due to these immune-regulating properties, we can also say that the chaga mushroom contains both anti-viral and anti-inflammatory qualities.

Betulinic Acid

Betulinic acid found in Chaga comes from the birch trees from which it grows and gives chaga additional health benefits. Most notably, it normalizes the body's cholesterol levels

Also, research has shown that betulinic acid is able to remove cancerous cells without negatively affecting healthy cells. However, how it does this is not yet fully understood. Therefore, more research is required before we fully understand the properties and benefits of betulinic acid.

When you combine the immune-regulating properties of polysaccharides with the effects of betulinic acid, you have yourself a potentially potent anti-cancer supplement. 

Antioxidants and Phytosterols

Furthermore, the phytosterols present within Chaga were found to contain potent anti-cancer properties. So when you have all 3 of these components (betulinic acid, polysaccharides, and phytosterols), you can see why Chaga is one of the most valuable health supplements out there.

But there's more still, its antioxidant properties! The melanin found within chaga provides protection against the tough environment in which it grows. The components of melanin were found to have protective and DNA-regenerating properties. Melanin can be compared to a natural "anti-rust" layer.

A measure of antioxidants is the ORAC score (oxygen radical absorbance capacity). Chaga has one of the highest scores ever found and this is illustrated in the table below. These antioxidants add anti-aging properties to the already impressive collection of Chaga's qualities.

chaga orac

​Please note that much more research is needed before we know the full extent of chaga extract as potential anti-cancer supplement. Please read this post by Dr. Kevin Curran to learn more.

Summary of Health Benefits:

  • Regulates the immune system
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-gastritis
  • Anti-viral
  • Normalizes cholesterol levels
  • Anti-aging
  • Nutritional support in the fight against Cancer

Finding the right Chaga Extract Supplement

The Problem with many Chaga Supplements

Although Chaga is clearly beneficial to your health, you have to be very careful which chaga product you buy, as many on the market today are worthless.

Why? Because chaga is a raw mushroom. Raw mushrooms are mostly indigestible as we lack the enzyme chitinase which is required to digest the chitin cells that they are constructed of.

Unprocessed raw chaga simply passes through the human body without providing much nutritional value. You will find that most of the chaga extract supplements on the market today, are exactly that - unprocessed raw chaga.

Look for Genuine Chaga Extract Supplements

So for the human body to fully digest all the nutritional benefits of chaga, we must use an extraction process. There are two main extraction methods - Hot Water Extraction and Alcohol/Ethanol Extraction.

Hot Water Extraction Only

Extracts based solely on the hot water extraction method (similar to steeping tea) will contain only the water soluble compounds. I.e. polyphenolics and polysaccharides. They will NOT contain the phytosterols and betulinic acid (the non-water solubles).

Combine both Hot Water Extraction and Alcohol/Ethanol Extraction

To extract both the water soluble AND the non-water solubles, an extra step is required in the extraction process - the Alcohol/Ethanol Extraction method. When these two extraction methods are combined correctly, it will produce a Chaga Extract Supplement that contains all theabove mentioned ingredients and thus the many benefits of Chaga.

What to look for in a quality Chaga Extract Supplement

So how can you tell the good from the bad? Simple, READ THE SUPPLEMENTS FACTS LABEL! If you only see vague statements on the label, you're most likely dealing with raw unprocessed chaga powder. Avoid these types of Chaga Extract Supplements. In contrast, if you see a detailed breakdown of ingredients, then this is a good sign of quality. However, to be certain of the quality, always request the Certificate of Analysis (COA), as only reputable manufacturers will provide this.

Oriveda's Chaga Extract

If you've read our other posts, most notably: "Chaga Supplements: What to look out for when buying" and "Where to Buy Chaga", you will know that at Chaga HQ, we're huge fans of Oriveda's Extracts which are prepared to the highest quality by combining both hot water and alcohol extraction. This is why they can list the percentage of both betulinic acid and polysaccharides on their labels.

Oriveda's chaga extracts are similar to the extracts used in scientific research and their mushroom extracts have the highest levels of active ingredients worldwide. This can all be verified by their Certificates of Analysis (COA) which is available upon request.

10% off at ORIVeDA

On all their products when you use the code &ChQ at checkout

What makes a good Chaga Supplement?

Are you looking for a great Chaga Supplement? If so, pay close attention to the bioactive ingredients included, and their bioavailability (the body’s ability to absorb the ingredient).

After much research over the years, we now know that the bioactive components of chaga include; beta-glucans (specific type of polysaccharides), polyphenols,phyto-sterols and triterpenes. For more on Chaga’s ingredients, check out our Chaga Antioxidants and Key Ingredients post.

Bioavailability is a very important factor that is sadly overlooked by many consumers. We need to ask ourselves this question when we're looking to buy a chaga supplement: “will the human body actually absorb the bioactive components of this supplement?”

Unless the chaga has been prepared using an extraction process, the bioactive components are indigestible for most people and you will experience little therapeutic effects. Many of chaga products on the market today have NOT gone through an extraction process, andtherefore the bioavailability of the bioactive ingredients is low at best when compared to a genuine extract ( roughly ± 1/30th to 1/50th of a genuine extract).

In a genuine dual extract, from ORIVeDA for example, all these bioactive components become bioavailable. In a simple extract made from hot water extraction alone, just the polyphenols and polysaccharides are bioavailable.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please consult with your doctor and read the latest information provided by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center before taking Chaga for any health condition.

Why the need for an Extract Supplement?

Bioavailability is limited in non-extracted chaga supplements because chaga cells are made of chitin, which is the same material that covers crabs and lobsters. Chitin is the hardest all-natural material known to man. Locked inside the chitincell-walls of chaga are the bioactive components which are considered verytherapeutic . The important word here is 'locked'.

As humans, we cannot digest chitin properly as the enzyme chitinase (needed to break down chitin), is not very active in our stomach acid.

Due to its simplicity and cost, the most common extraction technique is hot-water extraction (single step extract, e.g. chaga tea). With a hot water extraction, the hot water will 'melt' the chitin and help release the water-soluble bioactive components of chaga.

However, the highest yield of bioactive components is achieved using atwo step extraction process. The first step is combining high temperature with high pressure to release the water-soluble components. The second step is to use a hot ethanol extraction process to release the non-water solubles. By using thistwo step extraction process, most, if not all, the bioactive ingredients will become bioavailable. Extracts made this way are known as dual extracts.

What makes a good Chaga Supplement?

The only way to be sure about the quality of anextract, is to read the chaga supplement's facts label and ignore the website/brochure filled with marketing statements.

The supplement's facts label will tell you everything you need to know. Below are examples of supplement labels, one from a quality extract and one from a questionable one:

A good example of a supplement's facts label from a quality extract:

chaga supplement good label

An example of a chaga supplements fact label from a questionable extract:

chaga supplement bad label

Only if the label gives you details like "40%polysaccharides" "10 mgergosterol" "2% betulinic acid" can you be 100% sure that you’re looking at a genuine dual extract. General statements like "contains a high level of beta-glucans", "over 200 phytonutrients", or "contains PSP/PSK" are only found on non-extracted products.

Remember that genuine dual extracts will always state the exact numbers because they can. By law, suppliers cannot list false numbers on their chagasupplement-facts label.

Product Value

When determining product value, let's look at the following example: Vendor A offer’s 100 grams of chaga mushroom extract for $100. In comparison, another vendor offers 150 grams for only $50. When only looking at this information, you would think that vendor A's product costs three times as much. However, this thinking may well beincorrect, as the weight of the product shouldn't be the key factor. The key factor should be the bioactive components provided per dollar, as this is what provides the therapeutic power of the extract.

Product Value Example:

  • Product A: Costs $10 and contains 60 capsules. Each capsule contains 500mg of chaga extract powder, with 10% being polysaccharides. This equals 50mg of polysaccharides per capsule (10% of 500mg = 50mg).
  • Product B: Costs $20 and also contains 60 capsules. Each capsule contains 400mg of chaga extract powder with 30% being polysaccharides. This equals 120mg of polysaccharides per capsule (30% of 400mg = 120 mg).

From the example above, you can clearly see that Product B offersbest value to the consumer. It may cost 2 times as much, BUT you get 2.4 times the bioactive components.

In summary, the true value of a chaga supplement is determined bythe amount of bioactive components you get for your money, not just by the weight or size of the supplement. To measure this, you should pay close attention to the supplement's facts label. A supplement without guaranteed levels ofbioactives should be dismissed, because as a consumer, you have no idea what you are really buying.

Certificates of Analysis (COA)

To be certain about the quality of the product you're thinking of buying, requesting a COA (Certificate of Analysis) is the best option, especially when dealing with online sellers. However, few sellers will share the original COA (issued by the producer) with you. Excuses about proprietary information are a common way to avoid giving any verifiable details. This can often be considered a red flag, as just blocking the manufacturer's name on the COA would be enough to alleviate any such fears that the seller may have.

Lab Grown Chaga Supplements

Some of Chaga’s key bioactive components develop as a result of the fight between the fungus and its host. This is especially true when it comes to the polyphenols and phytosterols which provide the antioxidant properties. Myceliagown in thelab therefore has a very different chemical composition. Also, Betulinic acid is missing from mycelia grown in the lab, because in nature the fungus absorbs this from its host (the birch tree). As a result, only a wild-harvested, dual extracted, chaga supplement will provide the full spectrum ofbioactives.

Chaga Supplements: Summary

A chaga supplement should always beextracted, because only extracts can deliver noteworthy therapeutic effects. Furthermore, the only chaga supplements worth considering are extracts that guarantee at least one bioactive ingredient (usually polysaccharides) on their supplement's facts label. In general, the best extracts in terms of therapeutic potency, are dual extracts which guarantee several bioactive components on their chaga supplement facts label (e.g. polysaccharides + triterpenes).

If you plan on purchasing chaga, please click here to check out our Buying Guide.

For recipe ideas on how to prepare chaga, click the button below to receive your FREE Chaga Recipes eBook.

If you've enjoyed reading this post, please share it using the social share buttons below and/or leave a comment below. Thanks!

Sources:

https://oriveda.wordpress.com/what-you-should-know-before-buying-mushroom-supplements/

http://supplement-facts.org/2012-6.php#.VMP-5v7F_zh

Chaga Antioxidants and Key Ingredients

As you may have read in our Health Benefits post, chaga provides many health benefits, namely its high level of antioxidants. In this post, we'll cover the key ingredients and chaga antioxidants that make it so healthy.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please consult with your doctor and read the latest information provided by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center before taking Chaga for any health condition.

1. Polysaccharides

There are two types of Polysaccharides - Storage Polysaccharides (similar to starch) and Structural Polysaccharides (e.g. cellulose and chitin).

The cell walls of chaga are mainly built from chitin, which is the hardest all-natural material on earth. Locked in the chitin cell walls are the bioactive ingredients that make Chaga such a powerful medicinal mushroom. An extraction process is needed to make them bioavailable as humans cannot digest chitin very well.

2. Beta-D-Glucans (a type of polysaccharide)

The most important components found in the cell walls of chaga are Beta-Glucans which are known for their ability to regulate the immune system. I.e. normalize an overactive and underactive immune system. Beta-Glucans also help with normalizing cholesterol levels and blood sugar.

Note: Do not make the mistake of mixing up polysaccharides and Beta-Glucans. Remember that all Beta-Glucans are polysaccharides but not all polysaccharides are Beta-Glucans.

3. Phytosterols

Phytosterols are powerful therapeutic ingredients. Of the phytosterols present in chaga, 45% is Lanosterol, 25% is Inotodiols and the remaining 30% consists of Ergosterol, Fecosterol, and several others. In vivo and in-vitro testing, research showed a direct anti-cancer effect of both Lanosterol and Inotodiols. Lanosterol also has an anti-viral effect.

4. Betulin and Betulinic Acid (Triterpenes)

Betulin and Betulinic acid are two components unique to Chaga and derive from the birches on which it grows. Betulin and betulinic acid are powerful therapeutic agents that are currently being researched for their anti-viral (e.g. anti-HIV) and anti-cancer action (animal tests have shown great potential). They also have cholesterol-lowering effects. In fact, a recent study found them to be able to break down cholesterol in the bloodstream, instead of just preventing its absorption (the more common approach).

5. Melanin/Polyphenols/SODs - Chaga Antioxidants

The biological processes that make our body function such as digesting our food and breathing are fueled by oxidative processes. However, uncontrolled oxidation can produce many diseases, such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, and the degenerative processes associated with aging. A side effect of oxidation is the production of so-called ‘free radicals’, which can cause cellular damage.

Our body has its own built-in antioxidant defense systems to deal with these threats, which is part of our immune system. When this is unbalanced or starts declining because of factors such as stress and aging, deterioration of physiological functions may occur.

Some foods contain powerful antioxidants, like fresh fruits, honey, tea, and olives. Thebioactives responsible for this antioxidant action are in particular polyphenols and natural phenols.

The majority of Chaga Antioxidants are found in the black outside of the fungus, the sclerotium. The sclerotium contains massive amounts of the natural black pigment known as melanin, which has a high antioxidant potential.

Chaga Antioxidants: ORAC

The antioxidant potency of a food or supplement can be expressed in an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) score. The ORAC scale (developed by the USDA) combines the ORAC power of both the water-soluble (ORAC-hydro) and the non-water soluble (ORAC-lipo) components in order to compare foods on their anti-oxidant potential. Chaga can have a very high ORAC-score, depending on where it was harvested, under which conditions it grew and how it was processed.

Chaga Antioxidants: SODs

SODs are another important antioxidant present in chaga. SOD refers to a group of enzymes called Superoxide Dismutase. These enzymes are present in human cells and also play an important role in protecting our body against the destructive effects of uncontrolled oxidation and free radicals. The levels of SODs in our body decrease with aging.
SOD potency in supplements can be expressed as S-ORAC. It’s important to note that taking SOD orally is mostly useless unless it is taken in a time-release capsule or tablet. This is because SOD is destroyed by our stomach acid before it can reach the small intestines, where it should be absorbed. However, chaga stimulates the production of SOD in our own body, so it is still very worthwhile to take a chaga extract orally.

Many Chaga producers are using ORAC and S-ORAC values when marketing the chaga antioxidants power of their products. The values given should be indicative of chaga’s ability to neutralize oxidative stress, fix and prevent DNA damage caused by free radicals, provide geno-protective qualities and to protect against the damaging effects of ultraviolet (sunlight) and gamma radiation. Quite simply, antioxidant power can be compared to ‘anti-rust and polishing for the body and its inner organs‘.

If you plan on purchasing chaga, please click here to check out our Buying Guide. Or, if you plan on harvesting your own, please check out our Harvest Guide.

For recipe ideas on how to prepare chaga, click the button below to receive your FREE Chaga Recipes eBook.

If you've enjoyed reading this post, please share it using the social share buttons below and/or leave a comment below. Thanks!

Sources:

oriveda.wordpress.com/chaga-the-facts/

Chaga Tincture vs Chaga Tea

If you are new to the world of chaga, you may wonder what the best way to consume the mushroom is in order to reap the most benefits. Chaga Tea and Chaga Tincture are two of the most popular methods, and each can be made at home, using simple ingredients.

Note: If you're simply looking to make Chaga Tea or Tincture, please check out our Chaga Preparation Guide or our Chaga Recipes posts.

This in depth look at the different forms of chaga lays out the pros and cons of chaga tea and chaga tincture.

Each form of chaga extraction may not be ideal for each person. The best way to determine which method works most effectively for you is to try them and see how each one influences your health and body.

Preparation Time

The obvious advantage of chaga tea is the quick preparation time as compared to that of making a chaga tincture. If you purchase the chaga already ground into a powder form, preparing the tea only takes a short time. Many people enjoy chaga tea after five to ten minutes of steeping to ensure the flavor and nutrients are infused into the water.

15% off at FOUR SIGMATIC

On all their products when you use the code chagahq at checkout

By contrast, making a chaga tincture is a long term process that requires planning and patience. Once the process of creating a tincture is underway, it will typically take at least a month for the tincture to steep and be ready for consumption. A tincture requires time to properly come together, but can be made in a larger quantity which can then be kept and used at a moment’s notice. Alcohol based tinctures can last for several years, and are typically taken in small quantities, so even a small bottle can last a long time.

Effectiveness of Different Forms of Chaga Extraction

The effectiveness of a chaga tincture is said to be greater than that of a chaga tea. While both forms of chaga are beneficial to the system, the process of creating a tincture allows more of the nutrients from the chaga to soak into the liquid.

When making a tincture, the effective nutrients are filtered through theprocess at least two times. This helps to synthesize the most powerful parts of the fungus into the liquor.

Tinctures are typically made with alcohol, such as rum or vodka, but they can also be made using a vinegar base or even glycerin.

Depending on your preference, the chaga can be left to soak into the base liquid for as little as three weeks or as long as six months. Once completed, the alcohol base will allow the tincture to last the longest and be stored anywhere, such as in the pantry or medicine cabinet.

A vinegar based tincture needs to remain refrigerated in order to last up to six months. Read our Tincture recipe here to learn more.

Flavor and Taste of Chaga Tea vs. Chaga Tincture

The taste of chaga tea is often said to be an earthy, natural flavor with a hint of vanilla. Most people say it is inoffensive, particularly when sweetened with a touch of honey or agave nectar.

For those who dislike the flavor, or just do not like tea in general, tincture may be preferable. Taken in small quantities, the taste of tincture wears off quickly.

Chaga Tincture can also be made using an ingredient that decreases the natural flavor of chaga while still absorbing the nutrients from the mushroom, such as apple cider vinegar.

Cost of Chaga Tincture or Tea

Pre-made tincture tends to cost more than tea, however if you are willing to try and make your own preparations, each one can be made using the same chaga powder.

Tincture can be made using an affordable brand of liquor or a bottle of vinegar, which is typically cost effective for any budget.

If you plan on purchasing chaga, please click here to check out our Buying Guide first.

10% off at ORIVeDA

On all their products when you use the code &ChQ at checkout

Which is Superior?

Tea and tincture each have their own merits, but when compared directly, tincture does serve as a more effective way of taking the nutrients and beneficial metabolites from the chaga and delivering them into the bloodstream.

For those who don’t have time to wait a few months to get a tincture made up, tea is still a viable substitute.

If you want to make Chaga Tea or Tincture for yourself, please check out our Chaga Preparation Guide or our Chaga Recipes posts.

For recipe ideas on how to prepare chaga, click the button below to receive your FREE Chaga Recipes eBook.

If you've enjoyed reading this post, please share it using the social share buttons below and/or leave a comment. Thanks!

Chaga Mushroom Recipes: The Best of the Web

Once you have mastered the art of steeping the perfect cup or pot of chaga tea, you can expand your repertoire to include a variety of different drinks and eventually create your own recipes. Chaga mushroom recipes are growing in popularity as chaga has become a popular ingredient in vegan and clean eating diets, as well as natural and alternative healing. Here are some of the best chaga mushroom recipes to get started with, collected from some of the best clean eating, vegan and mainstream recipe websites and lifestyle blogs.

George Martin’s Chaga Tea

Most chaga tea drinkers start with a straightforward tea recipe that allows them to reap the water soluble benefits of chaga. After a while, you may want to change things up and add to the natural flavor. This recipe is perfect for beginners who want to try a new take on chaga tea. Using maple sugar, the tea is naturally infused with sweetness. This tea is ideal for cooling and drinking as iced tea on a hot summer day.

Chocolate Chaga Smoothie from elephant journal

Although the flavor of chocolate automatically makes most people think a recipe unhealthy or decadent, this chocolate chaga smoothie is actually good for the body, with plenty of antioxidants and no added sugar or sweeteners. The berries add a natural tinge of sweetness and the chocolate flavor in the smoothie comes from cocoa powder. You can change up the flavor by adding different types of berries, cinnamon, cloves or any type of spices you like.

Chaga Superfood Smoothie from mindful yoga health

This chaga smoothie is inspired by one from the Ft.Lauderdale based Eat the Tea Superfood Café, where patrons can actually purchase chaga powder and other natural extracts to take home with them. The addition of kale, raw cacao powder and chia seeds, along with freshly ground chaga powder, elevates this smoothie to true superfood status. The presence of so many powerful ingredients makes this recipe a perfect choice for breakfast, as it will provide sustained energy throughout the day. Many of the superfood ingredients can be used in other meals throughout the day to up your natural energy levels.

Chaga Liqueur from Oregon Mushrooms

If you’ve never tried to infuse vodka with herbs and spices, making a chaga flavored vodka is a great, easy way to start. Infusing chaga into a quality bottle of vodka is a process that can take a few weeks of patience and waiting. Once you have waited the required time, you will find that the vodka has a subtle flavor of chaga that nicely contrasts the sharp taste of the alcohol. This process is considered a single extraction, and is therefore less potent than a tincture, which is considered a double extraction method.

Iced Coconut Chaga Tea Shake from Alison Smith

Adding coconut and vanilla through natural ingredients, this shake has a robust flavor that is ideal for those who are just starting to drink chaga and might not be fans of the undiluted taste of chaga just yet. The vanilla flavor in this chaga tea shake comes from the vanilla liquid stevia, which is derived from natural ingredients and a good option if you are looking to cut your sugar intake while keeping your sweet tooth satisfied. The coconut and vanilla make a nice complement to the earthy flavor the chaga tea brings to the mix. Toss this in the blender for a slushy treat on a hot day, or add almond milk to intensify the coconut flavor.

Chaga Tincture from Plant Based Runners

You may have heard of a tincture before, as a form of natural or alternative medicine. The process of making a tincture is hundreds of years old, and involves many steps, but is not difficult. A chaga tincture is a concentrated form of chaga liqueur, typically made with a vodka base. Prepared by cooking the chaga infused vodka after it sits for a few weeks, a tincture extracts a large part of the medicinal ingredients within the chaga. The result is a highly concentrated form of chaga that you can use sparingly to great results.

Starner’s Masala Chai

I've always been a huge fan of Masala Chai Tea which I've been making for years. However, I always made it with a strong black tea (highly caffeinated) and late evening after a nice homemade curry. This translated into a poor nights sleep (or maybe that was just the curry) so I've been looking for an alternative and Lisa at Burdock and Rose has gone & found it. Moreover, she replaced black tea with my favorite ingredient - Chaga! This is a great recipe that every Chai/Chaga tea enthusiast should try.

Chaga Fudge Recipe

Yes, you can even use chaga in Fudge! This is a very original and tasty recipe by Rose Bear Medicinals. I also like the idea of adding Goji so that you're doubling down on the antioxidants!

Chaga Hot Chocolate and more from Keirsten's Kitchen

Who doesn't like hot chocolate, right? It's even better when you combine it with the medicinal power of Chaga, which is exactly what Keirsten has done in this great post. Note only does she provide tasty hot chocolate and chaga tea recipes, but she also provides a nice introduction to chaga, including how to identify it in the wild, it's benefits and how it should be prepared.

Spiced Chaga & Elderberry Tea

Packed with plenty of flavorful ingredients, this is a great alternative to regular ChagaTea, and is also said to help with the common cold.

Chaga Mushroom Recipes: Summary

We hope you enjoyed reading through, and hopefully trying the collection of delicious chaga mushroom recipes above. If you have your own chaga mushroom recipes that you'd like to share, please let us know using the comments section below.

For more recipe ideas on how to prepare chaga, click the button below to receive your FREE Chaga Recipes eBook.

How To Prepare Chaga Tea and Tincture

Prepare Chaga

As you will read in our Chaga Antioxidants and Key Ingredients and Chaga Health Benefits posts, chaga contains many healthy bioactive ingredients that can improve our overall health.

But how do we prepare chaga to get the most from it and extract and consume all these healthy ingredients?

This post explains how to prepare chaga by covering the two main preparation/extraction methods and a delicious recipe for each one.

Before you get started, you will obviously need some chaga to begin with! If you plan on buying some, please click here to check out our Buying Guide. Or, if you plan on harvesting your own, please check out our Harvest Guide.

Why Do We Need To Prepare Chaga?

Locked inside the cell walls of chaga are all the healthy bioactive ingredients, such as the beta-glucans.

These cell walls are made of chitin, which is the hardest all-natural material known to man and, therefore, indigestible without proper preparation.

This means that an extraction process is required in order to release these bioactive ingredients and to prepare chaga for human consumption.

What Are The Extraction Methods?

There are two main methods to prepare chaga at home, each having its own pros & cons. Let's look at both...

1

Hot Water Extraction: Chaga Tea

Hot water extraction is the most common, easiest and cheapest method to prepare chaga.

It’s similar to the traditional tea-making process, whereby the chaga chunks or powder are steeped in hot water for a period of time, strained and then drunk as a tea.

When using this method, all the water-soluble components, such as the polyphenols and beta-glucans, will be present in the resulting extract.

However, water-insoluble components, such as phytosterols, and betulinic acid will be missing.

Although I personally love drinking a good chaga tea, and it’s still very healthy, missing out on these healthy bioactive ingredients is a big loss.

2

Double Extraction: Chaga Tincture

Another way to prepare chaga is by making a tincture. A tincture is an alcoholic derivative of a plant, mushroom or herb.

Tinctures are more effective in extracting the medicinal components and preserving them for longer periods of time.

Tinctures are also useful because they're simple to use, quickly absorbed, and easily added to recipes, drinks, etc.

A tincture uses the alcohol extraction method. This method extracts some of the water-insoluble components, such as betulinic acid, and phytosterols that the hot water extraction alone cannot do.

This extraction process is generally used in combination with hot-water extraction since alcohol alone will not break down chitin effectively.

Chaga Recipes

Before we get started - Cleaning and Drying

Before we can begin any Chaga recipe, raw unprocessed Chaga must first have any parts of the tree bark removed.

It then needs to be chopped into smaller chunks and dried. It can then be left as chunks or ground into a powder, depending on how you want to use it.

If you're buying processed Chaga from a reputable supplier, this part is most likely taken care of.

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If you're like me, you often don't have time for preparing the delicious recipes below. A great alternative is to purchase Chaga Elixir from FOUR SIGMATIC.

You simply open the packet, mix the contents with some hot water, and that's it!

To check it out, click the 'Shop Now' button below and remember to use the code chagahq to receive 15% off at check out

Simple Chaga Tea Recipe

prepare chaga

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Break up the chaga into smaller chunks, roughly 1 inch in size.
  • In a 1 litre pot of water, drop in a handful of chunks and bring to a boil. Let them simmer until the water turns a reddish brown color, or, at least, an hour to extract more of the bioactive ingredients.
  • Strain the tea into a mug and add some maple syrup or honey to taste.

You can reuse the chaga chunks several times before they start to lose their strength. Simply put them in a mason jar without a lid, and store in the fridge.

For other mushroom tea recipes, check out this post.​

Chaga Tincture Recipe

chaga tincture recipe

Ingredients

  • Sayan Chaga Chunks. Use enough to almost fill a one-gallon jar after it's ground into a powder.
  • At least 100 proof vodka, but the stronger the better!

Instructions

The recipe below combines both the alcohol (part 1) and hot water (part 2) extraction methods and requires a lot of patience.

Note that this recipe is based upon a 1-gallon size jar of tincture but any size jar will do. Just try to keep the ratio of chaga to alcohol the same. However, given that it takes so long to make, it makes sense to make it in large batches.

If you don't feel you have the time or patience for the recipe below, but still want to experience all the health benefits of dual extract chaga, we recommend you check out the offer below:

10% off at ORIVeDA

On all their products when you use the code &ChQ at checkout

Part 1 - Preparing the Chaga and Alcohol Extraction

1. Break up the chaga into smaller chunks, roughly 1 inch in size.

2. Grind the pieces into a powder. You can use a coffee/spice grinder or a good blender to do this.

3. Almost fill a 1-gallon glass jar with the chaga powder, BUT leave close to 2 inches of room at the top.

4. Fill up the rest of the jar with vodka.

5. Let it sit for at least 8 weeks and shake the jar every day.

Part 2 - Hot Water Extraction

1. After at least 8 weeks, strain out the alcohol into another glass jar using a cheesecloth.

2. Put the chaga into a clay pot.

3. Measure an amount of water equal to alcohol that was strained in step 1.

4. Pour the water into the pot of chaga and then use a wooden chopstick to measure the water level. Use a sharp knife to mark the exact water level on the chopstick. This is where you want the final water level to be after the decoction is complete. Fill the pot with twice that amount of water.

5. Bring the pot to boil and let it simmer on low heat.

6. Keep checking the water level with the chopstick. When the water level is the same or less than the mark on the chopstick, take it off the heat and let it cool.

7. The next day, add more water and do another decoction. Repeat for a total of three decoctions.

8. Once the third decoction is finished, let it cool. Then mix the decoction with the alcohol saved from earlier and store in a glass jar.

That's it, you now have a Chaga Tincture! Note: 1tsp is enough to add to a single 8oz drink.

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Where to Buy Chaga

buy chaga

If you're not already familiar with the benefits of chaga, please check out all the other pages on this site where we cover everything you could ever want to know about chaga.

However, if you are already familiar with chaga, and you're looking to purchase some online, you're in the right place! Read on for all the critical info you need to know when buying chaga...

The Basics of Buying Chaga

There are many products and suppliers where you can buy Chaga from today, so the choice can become overwhelming. The aim of this guide is to help you make educated decisions and buy chaga products that fit your needs and budget. 

There are three main product groups when it comes to chaga for sale; Dual Extract (either in capsule, tablet or powder form), Raw Powder/Tea Bags and Dried Chunks.

Let's go through each group so that you can make better decisions when you buy chaga online:

Snap Review: 3 of the Best Chaga Products

Chaga

Type

Quality

Our Rating

ORIVeDA Chaga Extract

Note: get 10% off using this code at checkout: &ChQ

Dual Extract

A+

Four Sigmatic Chaga Mushroom Elixir

Note: get 15% off using this code at checkout: chagahq

Instant Tea Bags

A

Sayan Raw Chaga Chunks

Dried Chunks

B+

  • Scroll down to read more detailed reviews or click above to see prices and reviews now

Chaga Product Groups

There are three main chaga product groups, and each one is described in detail below.

1

Dual Extract

The major advantage of Chaga Extract over other forms of chaga is that you receive all the healthy benefits of BOTH the water-soluble AND non-water soluble bioactive ingredients. With Raw Powder/Tea Bags and Dried Chunks, you can only get the water-soluble ingredients.

Here you should be looking for a genuine dual extract, either in its powder, capsule or tablet form. 

Dual extract is based upon the double extraction method, which extracts both the water-soluble and non-water-soluble bioactive ingredients of chaga.

For this reason, you will notice that genuine dual extract is much more expensive than raw/unprocessed chaga, due to the sophisticated methods required to extract all of the bioactive ingredients.

For more information about dual extracts, check out our guide to Chaga Supplements.

The double extraction method typically uses high temperatures combined with high pressure and hot ethanol to extract the bioactive ingredients. This method extracts the non-water-soluble bioactive ingredients, such as betulinic acid and phytosterols that hot water extraction (e.g. chaga tea) alone cannot do.

For more information about chaga's key ingredients, check out our Chaga Antioxidants and Key Ingredients post.

One key metric in determining the antioxidant potency of the chaga is by looking at the ORAC score. See ORAC note at the bottom of this post for more details.

2

Raw Powder/Tea Bags

Chaga powder is simply chunks ground down, and in some cases with extra ingredients added such as birch bark and oregano.

The powder can be used to make chaga tea (via loose tea or tea bags) or a tincture. See our How to Prepare Chaga or Chaga Recipes posts for more info.

When ​looking for raw chaga powder/tea bags, try to buy products that contain some dual extract.

You may also want to consider products that have been mixed with other beneficial ingredients such as siberian ginseng, mint or rose hip. Not only do these extra ingredients add nutrition, they can also make the tea taste much better, as some people find the taste of pure chaga tea a little too 'earthy'.

3

Dried Chunks

Chunks are just raw harvested chaga broken into chunks and then dried. Dried chunks can be used to make chaga tea or a tincture. Look out for genuine raw chaga, and avoid any processed chaga.

Where to buy Chaga: Top 3 Products

So now that you understand the different types of chaga products and what to look for in each one, lets go through our favorite three chaga products. After we've gone through all three, you'll find a comparison table that compares the key points of each one.

1. ORIVeDA Chaga Extract Capsules

oriveda chaga extract

At first glance it appears much more expensive to buy genuine chaga extracts. However, when you actually compare the therapeutic potency dollar for dollar with other forms of chaga, you often end up getting more 'bang for your buck'. They also save you a lot of prep time when compared with raw chunks.

Oriveda offers the most potent dual extract on the market. The therapeutic potency is three times higher than its competitors and is the only certified chaga extract (ISO 9001:2008; cGMP, HACCP) with guaranteed levels of bioactive ingredients. This ensures therapeutic effectiveness and safety of use.

10% off all ORIVeDA Mushroom Extracts

When you use the code &ChQ at checkout



2. FOUR SIGMATIC Chaga Mushroom Elixir

four sigmatic instant chaga tea

Dual extracted tea bags for making quick & easy chaga tea when you don't have time for steeping raw chunks or grinding them into powder. They also taste great and include organic ginseng, rose hip and peppermint.

There are plenty of chaga tea brands out there, but we find these guys to be the best, as they really know there stuff and care deeply about medicinal mushrooms.

15% off at FOUR SIGMATIC

On all their products when you use the code chagahq at checkout


3. Sayan Raw Chaga Chunks

sayan raw chaga chunks

High quality dried chaga chunks. Great for making chaga tea or tincture.

However, as with all raw chaga chunks, they require at least an hour to steep if you want to extract all the water soluble ingredients.

FREE delivery at Amazon.com

You can buy these Sayan chunks in 3 sizes (8oz, 1lbs or 2.2lbs) on Amazon, all with free prime delivery

Comparison Table

Brand

Product

Harvested From

Quantity (oz)

Price (US$)

Cost per oz

ORAC

Review Score (out of 5)

ORIVeDA

Chaga Extract Capsules (300mg x 180)

Siberia, Russia

1.9

$69.95

$38.82

110,000-150,000 TEunits/100g

5

FOUR 

SIGMATIC

Chaga Elixir, 20 count (0.053 oz per bag)

Siberia, Russia

1.06

$35

33.02

4.5

Sayan

Chaga Raw Chunks

Siberia, Russia

8

27.98

3.50

4.0

How The List Was Chosen

The list and table above were designed to help you buy chaga products that offer the best value for money. With that goal in mind, we have compiled our top 3 chaga products (one for each type) and listed them in order of preference, along with customer reviews.

We also listed all the key details you should be aware of when you buy chaga products, namely; Quantity, Cost and Quality (reviews and ORAC rating if available).

When looking to buy chaga products, especially extracts, remember to review the supplements facts label as this provides the true value of the product when compared with the price and quantity.

Note that we've expressed the quantity in ounces even when the product lists the number of capsules instead of weight. Here we've just multiplied the number of capsules by the mg per capsule and then converted it to ounces.

Notes About ORAC

When you're looking to buy chaga extract, one of the most important values to understand is the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity) score. This is the antioxidant potency of the chaga.

The ORAC-score depends on where the chaga was harvested, the conditions where it grew and how it has been processed (the extraction method employed).

As the antioxidant level is very important, you must take this value into consideration when comparing chaga products. For example, it may seem like one product has more value than another until you factor in the ORAC score.

Chaga extract, especially high quality genuine dual extract, has a much higher ORAC score than chaga tea (chaga that’s just been processed using the hot water extraction method).

Many suppliers don't provide this score because it's expensive to test and/or their score is much lower than their competitors. Oriveda does a great job here, detailing the exact numbers from verified lab tests. They even provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA) if you ask them for it.

If you've enjoyed reading this post, please share it using the social share buttons below and/or leave a comment. Thanks!

Chaga Recipes: Our Favorite Five

Chaga Mushroom Recipes

Below are my favorite chaga recipes for you to try and enjoy at home.

Before you get started, you will obviously need some chaga to begin with. If you plan on buying some, please click here to check out our Buying Guide.

Alternatively, if you plan on harvesting your own, please check out our Harvest Guide.

1

Simple Chaga Tea

Ingredients

Using Whole Chunks

1. In a 1 litre pot of water, drop in a small handful of chaga chunks and bring to a boil.

2. Let them simmer until the water turns a reddish brown color, or, at least, an hour to extract more of the bioactive ingredients. Afterwards, strain the tea into a mug and add some maple syrup or honey to taste.

3. You can reuse the same chaga chunks several times before they start to lose their strength. Simply put them in a mason jar without a lid, and store in the fridge.

Using Powder

If like me,waiting at least an hour is too long for you, follow the steps below for a quicker alternative.

1. Grind one, roughly 10g, chaga chunk into powder using a blender or coffee grinder. I like to use my spice & nut grinder.

Making Chaga Powder

2. Place, at least, one heaped teaspoon (two if you like a stronger tea), into a regular tea infuser. I use my Bodum tea pot with the built-in infuser.

Making Chaga Tea

3. If using a separate tea infuser, place it into your favorite mug and pour in roughly 400ml of hot water (I set my kettle to 200°C). In my case, I just pour the hot water directly into my teapot.

Chaga Tea Steeping

4. Let the Chaga and hot water steep for at least 5 minutes, but the longer the better to extract more of the bioactive ingredients.

5. Remove the infuser (or in my case, pour the contents of the pot into a mug) and enjoy.

Chaga Tea

Remember, you can always add maple syrup or honey to taste.

Please note that the tea made from the two methods above is required for the Latte, Smoothie and Frosty recipes below.

2

Chaga Chai Latte

1. In a pan, bring to a boil 1 cup of chaga tea with the spices below and simmer for 5 minutes:

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a few green cardamom pods
  • a few black peppercorns
  • a few cloves
  • 1 slice of ginger

2. Add half a cup of milk to the pan and bring to a boil.

3. Remove from heat and strain into your favorite mug.

4. Add some maple syrup or honey to taste. 

3

Chocolate Chaga Smoothie

1. Combine the following in a blender and blend until smooth. 

  • half a slice of frozen banana
  • 1 cup of frozen berries
  • 1 cup of cold chaga tea (see Simple Chaga Tea recipe above)
  • 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • optional: A pinch of cinnamon and/or allspice

Tip: Add more chaga tea if the consistency is too thick.

4

Chaga Maple Frosty

1. Blend all the ingredients below until creamy and the ice breaks down.

  • 1 cup of chilled chaga tea (see Simple Chaga Tea recipe above)
  • 1 cup of ice (small cubes)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp crushed almonds or pecans
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • optional: blueberries, but cut back on the ice
5

Chocolate Chaga Elixir

1. Blend all the ingredients below in a high-powered blender until you have a creamy hot drink.

  • 3 cups of hot water and 2 teaspoons of ORIVeDA Chaga Extract Powder
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 3 tbsp cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
  • a pinch of salt

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On all their products when you use the code &ChQ at checkout

Chaga Recipes: Summary

We hope you enjoyed reading through and hopefully trying the delicious chaga recipes above.

If you have your own chaga recipes that you'd like to share, please let us know using the comments section below.