Are you tired of drinking the same old tea over and over? Chaga mushroom tea may be a good option for you. Chaga tea has been used in the East for hundreds of years to boost immunity and improve overall health. It is now gaining popularity in Western countries, as numerous studies are touting the nutritional components chaga mushrooms are filled with.
Continue reading this article to learn more about the impressive health benefits of chaga tea and how you can include it in your daily routine.
What Is Chaga Tea?
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a parasitic fungus commonly found in cold climates, typically in Siberia, Alaska and Northern Canada.1 It is usually found attached to birch trees, with the infection eventually killing the tree and the mushroom dying soon after.2
While chaga may look like something you wouldn’t want anywhere near you or your beloved trees, it is actually popular for its wide array of health benefits. The high concentration of vitamins, minerals and nutrients it contains paved the way for chaga to be lauded as a superfood.3
Due to its unique appearance, experts are not quite sure whether chaga is a mushroom or another type of fungus. Trees infected with it develop a black growth on their bark reminiscent of charcoal, with a yellow-brown interior. The exterior is brittle, while the interior is cork-like. It typically grows in a conic shape, appearing to push out of the tree bark.4
After numerous studies showed the benefits of chaga consumption, chaga product availability in the market has increased. These products range from raw chaga mushroom chunks, chaga tea, skin cream, lip balm and joint rubs. However, brewing chaga tea may be the easiest way for you to benefit from this mushroom.
The Health Benefits of Chaga Tea
Before it started becoming popular, chaga tea was being widely utilized in Russia, Poland and other Baltic countries. It has been used to help reduce the risk of tumor growth, aid in tuberculosis treatment and improve stomach problems.5 Some of the other health benefits that you can get from chaga are:
Boosts immune function. Chaga is famous for its high antioxidant content and Beta-D-Glucans, compounds that are important for balancing the immune response in the body.
The compounds in chaga tea do not attack pathogens directly, but aid the body in fighting them off.6
It contains high levels of superoxide dismutase as well, a compound that targets singlet oxygen to stop them from damaging healthy tissues.8
Improves gastrointestinal health. Chaga tea can help treat digestion problems by regulating bile production, improving food breakdown.
It also aids in breaking down fats and other hard-to-digest foods to help the body absorb minerals and nutrients more easily.9
Helps in detoxification. Chaga assists in the digestion and expulsion of toxins and synthetic materials from the body.10
Regulates blood pressure. The high levels of antioxidants in chaga tea may help reduce oxidative stress, which is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure.
Fights against infections. Chaga contains strong antiviral and antibacterial properties, which may stop you from getting viral and bacterial infections.
Chaga Nutrition Facts
Chaga tea contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals that are essential to keeping the body at peak condition. It is rich in vitamin B2, vitamin D, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, cesium, silicon and a lot more.11 If you’re trying to keep track of the nutrients you’re getting from your diet, here are the nutrition facts of chaga tea:12
|Amt. Per |
|% Daily |
|Calories from Fat||0|
|Total Fat||0 g||0%|
|Saturated Fat||0 g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrates||0 g||0%|
|Dietary Fiber||0 g||0%|
|Vitamin A 0%||Vitamin C||0%|
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Does Chaga Tea Contain Caffeine?
If you’re caffeine-sensitive or you’re trying to limit your caffeine intake, the good news is that chaga tea is caffeine-free. But note that even while chaga tea is free of caffeine, it can still provide you with an energy boost, sans the usual side effects of caffeine overload. Drinking chaga tea can provide you with enough energy for the whole day without messing up your sleep pattern at night.13
Here’s How You Can Brew Chaga Tea
Making chaga tea can require a lot of patience as it may need to brew for a few hours in order to extract as much nutrients as possible. You should also make sure that it doesn’t reach the boiling point to avoid accidentally damaging chaga’s healthful components. The amount of chaga mushroom depends entirely on the chaga product on-hand and the amount of water. Here is a table you can use as a guide plus steps on how to brew the tea:14
Grams per liter of water
3 to 5 hours
2 to 3 hours
1 to 2 hours
1. Put some water in a clean pot, and then add the chaga.
2. Place the pot on the stove and cook over medium heat. Be careful not to let the pot boil to avoid destroying some of the beneficial components of the chaga.
3. Brew the tea depending on the recommended time for the different forms of chaga.
4. Wait for the liquid to develop a dark color to know whether the tea is ready.
5. Strain the tea. Serve.
Note that chaga pieces can be reused multiple times before all the nutrients are completely extracted. Just store them in the freezer and use them the next time you need to brew a new batch.
How to Correctly Store Chaga Tea
If you’re fortunate enough to live in a region where you can get fresh chaga, you’d need to know how to correctly store the mushrooms. Fresh chaga is susceptible to mold, so any type of moisture may be extremely damaging to it. If you have fresh chaga on-hand, make sure that your supply is completely dry before storage. Here is a guide on how to store your fresh chaga correctly:15
• Cut up the fresh chaga into small pieces and let them dry completely.
• Once the chaga pieces are dry, place them in small sealed glass containers.
• Place the containers in a dry and dark place. Be careful not to expose the containers to extreme heat, as this will damage your stock. If chaga is stored correctly, you can use this mushroom for up to two years.
For leftover chaga tea, don’t throw it out. Pour the chaga tea in sealable glass containers and refrigerate. You can also put the tea in ice cube trays and freeze. You can then add the chaga tea ice cubes to other beverages to boost nutrition.
Chaga Tea Side Effects and Contraindications
Chaga tea can either render different medications useless or magnify their effects. If you’re on any of the following medications, refrain from consuming chaga tea:
• Blood thinners (Aspirin, Plavix, Coumadin, etc.): With chaga tea having natural blood thinning properties, patients on blood thinners should not take chaga tea. Taking these together will heighten your risk of bleeding out or hemorrhaging. It can also adversely affect your hemoglobin levels.16
• Insulin: Taking chaga tea with insulin may cause your blood sugar to drop to critical levels, causing hypoglycemia.17
Boost Your Immune System With Chaga Tea
With its antioxidants and nutrients that are up to par with both green tea and moringa,18 chaga tea may just be the next big thing in health maintenance. Its ability to help strengthen the immune system, ease inflammation and detoxify the body is enough reason to add this herbal tea to your routine.
Just make sure you get chaga mushrooms from trustworthy sources so you can be entirely sure that you’ll be getting all the health benefits they have to offer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Chaga Tea
Q: How much chaga tea should I drink?
A: Most people typically drink one to three cups of chaga tea to maintain good health. However, it's best that you consult a health practitioner for the exact amount recommended for you.19
Q: How long does chaga tea last?
A: When refrigerated, chaga tea may last for up to 14 days.20
Q: Where can I buy chaga tea?
A: There are numerous stores that sell different types of chaga mushrooms. You can get them in chunks or in powdered form. Some health stores also offer chaga teabags for an easier brewing experience. However, make sure that you're getting chaga from reputable sources to guarantee that you're getting only the highest quality possible.
Q: What does chaga tea taste like?
A: People note that chaga tea tastes earthy and a little bitter, but not unpleasant. Note that the taste may vary depending on the quality of the chaga mushrooms.21