CHAGA people! If it's not on your radar yet, you're in for a treat. Chaga, known as the "King of Medicinal Mushrooms" grows on birch trees and has been used for centuries in folk medicine for its exceptional health benefits. It's finally worked its way into the western psyche and is the subject of promising cancer and HIV treatment research. There's so much information available online about chaga and its benefits, that it's a bit overwhelming to try sum it all up. So I won't, I'm really just here to offer a recipe. But I will leave a few links at the bottom of this post in case your interest is piqued and you'd like to find out more.
I only learned about chaga a couple of months ago when a friend mentioned that he had drunk it all winter last year (Canadian winter, people) and never got sick. As it was close to Christmas time, I latched onto the idea of making a chaga tea mix for Christmas gifts. That sent me down the rabbit hole of chaga research and now I'm hooked. (Thanks Kier!)
Here's a bullet point summary of the benefits of chaga:
- Boosts Immune System
- Is an extraordinarily powerful antioxidant
- Is a potent adaptogen
- Has anti-viral, anti-microbrial, and anti-inflammatory properties
- Has anti-tumor effects
More and more health food stores are carrying chaga powder. If you live in Montreal, you can find it at Mycoboutique on St. Denis. But to really get the best price possible, along with no-waste packaging, check out NousRire - a bulk buying club that rocks my world.
On to the recipe!
1 cup chaga powder*
4 tbsp ginger Powder
4 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp ground Star Anise
2 tbsp Green Cardamom Powder
1 tbsp ground cloves
1 tbsp dried stevia leaves, crushed with your fingers (optional)
Fresh grated ginger to taste (optional)
Whole pepper corns to taste (optional)
- Whisk together all ingredients (except for fresh ginger and whole peppercorns) until uniform. Store in an airtight container. This is your tea mix! The stevia leaves add a bit of natural sweetness, but can easily be omitted and/or replaced by your preferred sweetener.
- To Brew: Add 1 to 2 tsp of powder per cup of boiling water and allow to steep/simmer for at least 15 minutes. To spice it up, add freshly grated ginger and a few whole peppercorns to the steeping liquid. Strain and enjoy.
*Pictured here are chaga chunks. They have to be steeped for at least an hour. Grind those chunks into a powder and you can steep your tea for just 15 minutes.