Chaga Mushroom Tea (Inonotus obliquus)
Chaga Mushroom Tea (Inonotus obliquus) is available for sale in ground, small chunks, as a Chaga Chai mix, or Chaga Chocolate Mix. We even make Chaga Soap. Chaga is an amazing wild fungi contains significant amounts of antioxidant compounds.
The light vanilla flavour and nutty aroma of wild Chaga mushroom tea will help you clear your head and harness that extra energy you need to finish a hectic day (without the caffeine!). Wild Chaga can also be blended with other teas, beverages or enjoyed chilled on a hot day. Wild Chaga Fungi is popular in North America as a super-food. All of the Wild Chaga we sell is hand harvested in an ethical manner from birch trees in Northern Canada.
Chaga chunks can be re-used for multiple pots of tea, or if you prefer a stronger flavour, try the ground – the ground change requires straining just like other loose teas. Only a small amount of Chaga is required to make tea (1/8th of a cup will make 2 liters of brew!). We also use this fantastic fungi in our favourite baking recipes, especially brownies. For an added kickstart to your day check out our Organic Chaga Chai, as well as our gourmet Organic Chaga Chocolate Mix.
Chaga Biology and Facts
Laughing Lichen began harvesting Chaga and sharing it with our customers in 2010. At that time we were the only business harvesting chaga ourselves and marketing it for sale in western Canada. Since that time with its popularity growing there are now hundreds of small scale business’s harvesting and marketing Chaga products across North America. Some of the Chaga sold in Canada is not Canadian. The Chaga Laughing Lichen collects is harvested from birch trees only. You might find look alikes on species of aspen, willow, or poplar and beech in southern Canada. Please avoid these specimens. Birch bark consists of brown inner bark ~75% and white outer bark ~25%. The outer bark contains fats, fatty acids, resins, suberin and in particular betulin – up to 30%. When harvested directly from the birch tree, betulin is difficult for our bodies to break down and utilize. When wild Chaga develops on birch trees they change the betulin’s chemistry, transforming the compound into a form digestible by humans. The betulin is absorbed by the Chaga mushroom as it grows. Betulinic acid may be the most important triterpene sterol found in chaga. It is said to be useful in supporting healthy function of the immune system, healthy cell division, and a healthy inflammation response There have been many studies conducted on the medicinal properties of Chaga to date. There are many different claims on the internet regarding the health benefits of Chaga but one should be careful and ensure that the facts are true from proven scientific research articles. For information on Chaga and its use its use for cancer please refer to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre as a resource for further information. This site has printouts that you can share with your medical provider too. Here is the link: https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/chaga-mushroom
Life Cycle of Chaga Mushroom
Wild Chaga Fungi (Inonotus obliquus) is found in the world’s northern regions. In Canada it can be found growing from coast to coast. This elusive fungi has a unique symbiotic relationship with it’s host the birch tree. Some also call it a parasitic relationship. In some cases Chaga causes its host tree’s eventual death but not always as there are many factors involved. When the host birch tree dies, so does the Chaga growing with it. Once this happens a rare event occurs in which the fruiting body erupts on the trunk of the birch tree. This fruiting body of the Chaga looks nothing like the sterile conk/mycelial mass of Chaga that we collect for tea. Instead, it forms a thick 1-2 inch layer comprised of thousands of tiny spores that blow away in the wind. Insects, other creatures and wind can also carry the spores to new birch trees. Thus the life cycle of Chaga begins once again.
To ensure that the entire life cycle of wild Chaga is completed we do not harm the host birch trees with logging spikes (used to climb trees to reach higher Chagas) or cut living trees down to access out of reach chaga. This practice is becoming increasingly common in Canada and in no way does Laughing Lichen support this type of wildcrafting. If you are collecting Chaga in the wild please do not dig deep into the mycelium layer (A fuzzy mass of branching thread-like fungal threads) found between the Chaga conk and the trunk of the tree. Damaging this layer will cause conk will stop growing. If you leave it intact you can usually return to the same tree within 3-5 years to re-harvest more Chaga. As a rule of thumb Chaga specimen’s that are smaller than your fist should be eft to grow and mature on its host tree. Birch trees growing in polluted or contaminated environments should never be harvested.
It is very important to only use Chaga that is collected from unpolluted environments and living birch trees. If you are a mushroom and Fungi lover like us, check out this awesome magazine it has some wonderful scientific based articles about Chaga: FUNGI Magazine