Chaga has rapidly become one of the world’s number one superfoods in recent years. Historically used as a folk remedy in Alaska, Siberia, and other northern parts of the globe, chaga has been proven to improve immune system health, aid digestion, combat aging, and much more. Chaga is traditionally consumed as a tea, but consumers around the world have increasingly found new and creative uses for it. This begs the question: is it possible to eat raw chaga?
The answer is yes. While most people will gravitate towards using chaga to make tea or other foods, it is possible to eat raw chaga and take advantage of many of its benefits. Learn how to consume raw chaga by reading below.
How to Eat Raw Chaga
In general, consuming raw chaga isn’t the best way to get all of its benefits. This is because boiling chaga in hot water is necessary to break down its tough chitin walls and accrue all of its nutritional value. While eating raw chaga can still boost your health, there are other, better ways to take advantage of this superfood’s nutritional content.
Chaga chunks, whether found in the wild or purchased from a vendor, can be chewed and swallowed. Chaga possesses an unusual gummy structure that gives it a unique taste and sensation when eaten. While somewhat tough, chaga found in the wild often contains moisture, which makes chewing it considerably easier. Keep in mind that overindulging in chaga can make you nauseous due to the presence of fungi in your stomach, so sticking to small pieces of chaga is best for your health.
When eating chaga purchased from a vendor, you won’t have to worry about dirt or other impurities, because the seller will have taken care of those for you. However, when you eat chaga that you find in the wild yourself, you will want to wash it off beforehand in order to reduce the risk of eating something that might not be good for you. This is one of many reasons why eating chaga is not an ideal way of consuming the mushroom.
Another problem with eating chaga is that it is inefficient. As mentioned above, a considerable amount of chaga’s nutritional value can only be obtained through boiling it in water, releasing it from the mushroom’s chitin walls. Not only that, while a single chaga chunk can be used to make entire pots of tea that can be consumed by multiple people, eating a chaga chunk means that only you can enjoy the chaga. Chaga chunks can also be reused once for making tea, further adding to their value.
Another big problem with eating raw chaga is that chaga is very hard, particularly when dried out for sale. Chewing through the hard chitin walls of the mushroom could potentially damage your teeth depending on your dental health and eating habits. This makes eating raw chaga a risky proposition for older users and those with existing dental problems. At the bare minimum, chaga’s toughness makes chewing large portions of it a painful exercise over time.
Ultimately, while chaga can be eaten right off the tree, doing so is not the best way of taking advantage of its nutritional content; not even close. You’re depriving yourself of vital nutrients that can only be obtained through boiling it, you’re wasting chaga that could be used more efficiently, and you’re also risking long-term damage to your teeth. While there’s no harm in consuming small amounts of raw chaga from time to time, it’s not something you should make a habit of.
It is clear that chaga is a miracle food. No other substance out there matches its sheer density of nutrients and its wide array of positive effects. When you consume chaga, you will be able to strengthen your resistance to disease, improve your intestinal health, combat aging by protecting your cells from free radicals, and much more. The benefits of chaga are many and are still being examined by scientists, but you can imagine that more uses for this wondrous mushroom will soon be discovered.
However, eating raw chaga is not the best way to harness this mushroom’s power. You can eat raw chaga and still get some of its nutritional content, but as a general rule, there are more efficient ways to consume chaga. Raw chaga does not allow you to take advantage of the portions of chaga that are locked behind its chitin walls, and extensive chaga chewing runs the risk of damaging your teeth.
If you have no other means of consuming chaga, eating raw chaga can work in terms of harnessing its benefits. However, if you can brew chaga tea, make a tincture, or use chaga in any other way, you should do that instead of chewing on raw chaga.