Chaga mushroom tea is not as well known as some other medicinal teas, but this earthy mix has many health advantages as a medicinal remedy. Chaga mushroom tea is a healthy caffeine-free alternative to tea and coffee that offers many other botanical benefits.
Chaga mushroom tea can be prepared by either steeping the chaga in hot water or boiling water and pouring it over the chaga. Some herbalists claim that boiling the water removes some of the mushroom’s healthy botanicals, while other chemicals in the tea need boiling to activate.
Chaga mushroom tea can be a healthy addition to your day, but there are a few potential health risks you should keep in mind before you drink it. Read on to learn more about chaga and how you can prepare your own.
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Making Chaga Mushroom Tea
Chaga is a type of mushroom that grows on birch trees across Europe and North America. This mushroom has been foraged for hundreds of years to act as a nutritional supplement for hunting and gathering societies. This slow-growing fungus is easily identified by its large protrusions, which look like chunks of charcoal emerging from the tree’s trunk.
To prepare chaga mushroom tea, acquire some prepared chaga mushrooms and perform the following:
- Get your chaga. Chaga is usually sold and stored in three major forms – chunked, coarsely ground, and finely ground. Large chunks of chaga are typically soaked in slow cookers for large batches of tea, while coarsely ground chaga is placed in tea balls and finely ground chaga can be added directly to water for tea or other foods.
- Prepare your water. If you’re making a large batch of chaga, water can be heated in a slow cooker or stock pot. For a pot of chaga tea, boil or heat a kettle of water. For a single serving cup of chaga tea, you can use a microwave to heat your mug.
- Place the chaga in the water. If you’re using chunked chaga, you can place three or four large chunks of chaga directly in the pot for a large batch of chaga. Otherwise, pour the heated water over a tea ball of coarsely ground chaga or a spoonful of finely ground chaga and allow the mixture to steep.
- Stir and drink. If you prefer your chaga cold, it can be chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours before pouring over ice with a splash of lemon. Many people also prefer to dress chaga mushroom tea with milk and honey.
In many ways, preparing chaga tea isn’t very different from preparing black tea or any other type of herbal tea. The main difference is that you may want to either steep or boil the tea depending on which chemicals in it you’re trying to take advantage of.
Either method will result in a healthy drink that can help prevent many system health problems related to blood sugar and inflammation. To get the health benefits of drinking chaga mushroom tea, a cup or two should be drunk daily as a nutritional supplement. Chaga doesn’t contain caffeine, so it’s a good alternative for those trying to quit coffee.
Active anticancer components in chaga mushroom tea can only be accessed by boiling it at 212F or above. To drink it for these benefits, boiling is the preferred method of preparation. Otherwise, most other botanical benefits of chaga mushroom can be derived at lower steeping temperatures.
Daily Dosage of Chaga Mushroom Tea
There is no way to overdose on chaga mushroom tea, but the daily recommended dosage of the tea is only one to two cups. This is because of the level of oxalates that chaga mushroom tea contains.
Oxalates are chemicals that can cause kidney stones in people prone to them and can also cause other kidney issues, so they should only be ingested in relatively small amounts.
What Does Chaga Mushroom Tea Taste Like?
Like most mushroom teas, chaga mushroom tea has an earthy flavor with notes of bitterness. Because it has a somewhat muddy flavor, many people prefer not to drink it straight. Instead, it is often accompanied by other aromatics that can help cut its flavor, such as lemon, turmeric, honeybush, and ginger.
Health Benefits of Chaga Mushroom Tea
Aside from its general usefulness as a foraged food common in birch forests, chaga mushroom tea is collected primarily for its health benefits as a nutritional supplement. chaga mushroom tea is associated with many positive health impacts, including some of the following:
- Boosted immune system: chaga mushroom tea contains Beta-D-glucans, chemicals that help balance your immune system. This means it can reduce immune system response in overactive immune systems, such as people with allergies, and can increase immune response to help ward off disease.
- Reduced inflammation: chaga mushroom tea contains beneficial chemicals that help reduce inflammation in the body. These chemicals include ergosterol peroxide, betulinic acid, and inotodial. This reduced inflammation has been shown to reduce the risk of many systemic disorders such as heart disease and stroke.
- Lowered blood sugar: chaga mushroom tea has been shown to reduce blood sugar and increase insulin resistance in laboratory mice with diabetes. For this reason, many people use it to help stabilize high blood sugar levels.
Health Risks of Chaga Mushroom Tea
While chaga mushroom tea is generally healthy for you, there are a few health risks to keep in mind. Chaga mushroom tea can cause a drop in blood sugar levels, which can negatively impact people with diabetes or other metabolic disorders.
Chaga also contains a protein which may cause blood clotting difficulty, especially in people who already have reduced clotting abilities. People who are preparing to have a surgical procedure or those who are on blood-thinning drugs should consult their general physician before drinking chaga mushroom tea, just to be safe.
Chaga Mushroom Tea Has Many Medicinal Benefits
If you’re looking for herbal and mushroom teas to help expand your tea cabinet, chaga mushroom tea or tisane is a good option to try for an earthy brew that pairs well with aromatic flavors. Along with the health benefits it offers, many people enjoy this mushroom tonic hot and cold for the wild ambiance it brings to their table. If you’re interested in broadening your herbal tisane palate, why not try the exotically blue Palo Azul tea? If you find you love the earthy taste of mushrooms, check out this article on Shroom Tea (a tisane made from magic mushrooms).