Chaga (Genus species: Inonotus obliquus) is a mushroom that may provide numerous health benefits to humans and other animals. Sometimes referred to as “The King of Herbs” or “Tinder Fungus”, it is found growing on living trees (including birch trees) at cold northern latitudes. Chaga has the appearance of a black bulge protruding from the tree. While the outer region of the mushroom is black, the inner region is an orange mass of mycelium. Typically inhabiting northern regions of the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, it is well-known for its medicinal use in Siberia where it grows at roughly the same latitude as it does in Alaska. It is known as 차가 버섯 in Korean and 恰加蘑菇 in Chinese.
When a food is measured for antioxidant potential, it is measured on a scale known as Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC). Chaga has been shown to have one of the highest ORAC values of any food tested. Levels of antioxidants in foods harvested closer to the magnetic poles of earth are generally higher than in those collected closer to the equator. While the Chaga Mushroom is obtained through much of the United States, Alaskan Chaga has higher potential levels of antioxidants compared to that which is found in the Lower 48.
The Siberian Chaga Mushroom has been found to contain over 215 phytonutrients – plant chemicals which are non-nutritive with protective and potential disease-preventing properties. The World Trade Organization has classified Chaga as a Medicinal Mushroom while it has also been approved by the U.S.F.D.A. as safe for “Food” Use/Supplement. The prime phytonutrient found in Chaga is betulinic acid which has been shown to have potential anti-retroviral, anti-malarial, and anti-inflammatory properties as well as recently discovered anti-cancer properties. Other useful phytonutients present in Chaga include: 29 Beta Glucans, Saponins, SOD (superoxide dismutase), amino acids, Germanium, Triterpenes, organic minerals, polysaccharides and Triterpenes. There are also many important vitamins and minerals contained within the Chaga mushroom.
The Chaga mushroom is typically consumed in two different ways. Since its texture is hard and woody, it cannot be eaten like many other mushrooms found in the grocery store. Also, heat is needed to release the beneficial chemicals from the chitin that makes up the cellular walls of the mushroom. The first, most common method is to make a tea from ground Chaga. In fact, Chaga tea has been consumed by Siberians and Russians since the 16th century! For the more adventurous types, it is possible to produce a Chaga tincture using heat and alcohol or any other solvent which traps some of the other beneficial chemicals that do not migrate into water. The Winking Moose currently sells Wild Alaska Chaga in tea bags, loose ground tea, chunks, and a dual extract tincture for those looking to harness some of the compounds that aren’t present in homemade Chaga tea.
Harvest and Processing:
Wild Alaska Chaga is harvested near Fairbanks, Alaska at the sub polar latitude of 65 N. Alaskan Chaga is only collected from birch trees because betulin in these trees is converted into betulinic acid (potential anti-cancer agent) by the Chaga Mushroom. After the Chaga is died to eliminate excess water, it is then stored in a cool, dry place. We truly are bringing the wilderness of Alaska directly to your doorstep! By collecting Chaga at such extreme northern latitude (higher levels of antioxidants) and processing the mushroom to preserve freshness, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of our Chaga more than almost any other on earth.
Alaska Chaga Tea Bags
Alaska Chaga Chunks 4 oz
Alaska Ground Chaga 4 oz
Alaska Chaga Extract Tincture 1 oz
Please keep in mind that Chaga is a detoxifying homeopathic remedy. It should not be consumed by people currently taking Penicillin or Glucose intravenously. The statements made on this page are not evaluated by the FDA and are for educational purposes only. Please do not use these statements to treat or diagnose any condition and be sure to consult your health care professional for treatment, diagnosis, and concerns before use.