Chaga has become one of the world’s leading superfoods for a reason. With a battery of proven health benefits, from immune-boosting properties to anti-aging effects, countless people every day are discovering what chaga can do for them. However, chaga newbies may be wondering how, exactly, to use the substance.
The most common means of using chaga is through brewing tea, but there are a number of other methods used to prepare it, including making tinctures and coffee. Here are a number of ways you can use chaga depending on your needs and preferences.
What Type of Chaga Do You Have?
The physical form of chaga that you possess will affect how you are able to use it. Chaga is commonly sold in chunks that are designed for making tea. The advantage of chunks is that they can be reused, unlike chaga mushroom powder or tea bags. However, in many cases, you will need to prepare chaga chunks before use by breaking them into smaller pieces or grinding them up.
Chaga mushroom powder is generally easier to use than chaga chunks, making it an ideal option for newcomers to the world of chaga. Powder doesn’t require any additional preparation; you simply add it to your recipe and go. Chaga tea bags are also sold by some vendors and require even less work, though their function is more limited.
In general, if you wish to use chaga for anything other than making tea, you will want to own chaga mushroom powder. While chaga chunks can be used, you will need to prepare them appropriately.
Making Chaga Tea
The most common way of using chaga—indeed, the way it has been used for generations—is by making a tea. The fastest way to do this is to boil water in a pot, then submerge your chaga in it for a few minutes or longer depending on how much tea you are planning to make. After steeping, strain your tea, then enjoy.
This is the easiest way to use chaga because it requires the least amount of effort. You can speed up the process even more by steeping chaga in a cup instead of boiling an entire pot of water. With chaga tea, you get most of the nutritional value of chaga in a convenient, drinkable form. You can also add honey and/or lemon juice for additional benefits. You can also make chaga iced tea by refrigerating your tea after steeping.
Making a Chaga Tincture
To unlock the full nutritional potential of chaga as well as give yourself added flexibility in consuming it, you can create a chaga tincture. A tincture can be added to any food or drink you desire and it also allows you to take advantage of the beta-glucans and polyphenols found in chaga, which are not water-soluble and thus cannot be acquired by drinking chaga tea.
To make a chaga tincture, add chaga mushroom powder to a one-gallon glass jar, then fill the jar with water save for the top two inches. Top off the jar with 100-proof vodka, then let the jar sit for eight weeks, making sure to shake the jar on a daily basis.
At the end of the eight weeks, use a cheesecloth to filter out the alcohol in the jar. Measure this amount, then measure out the same amount of water in another cup. Place the chaga in a clay pot and then add the measured water. Add the rest of your chaga mixture and water to the clay pot and then mark the water level so you know when the tincture is finished. Following this, add an amount of water that is twice as large as your first measurement.
Heat your chaga until it starts to boil, then allow it to simmer on low heat. Once the water has reached the mark you made earlier, turn off the heat and allow it to cool for one day. Repeat this process for two more days so that you have done it for three days total, then add the alcohol and allow the mixture to sit in a glass jar.
While this process is time-consuming, the usefulness and nutritional content of a chaga tincture makes it well-worth the effort. Note that this recipe will create a powerful tincture, meaning you will only need to consume small amounts in order to get the maximum nutritional value from your chaga.
Making a Chaga Chai Latte
If you enjoy chai lattes, it’s possible to make a special chai latte containing chaga. To do this, you will need one to two cups of milk, one tablespoon of chaga powder or chaga extract, black pepper, three cups of water, and a mixture of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom.
To create the chaga chai latte, boil the water and milk together in a pan, add the chaga and spices, then cover and allow the mixture to simmer for twenty minutes. Afterwards, use a hand blender to create a froth. Finally, strain the mixture, pour it into your cup, and enjoy. This chai latte recipe will give you all the benefits of consuming chaga while retaining that unique chai latte taste.
Making Chaga Coffee
While some chaga users consume chaga in lieu of coffee, others like to combine the two for a caffeinated kick. To make chaga coffee, you need chaga mushroom powder, ground coffee beans, and a French press.
To make chaga coffee, grind coffee beans and boil water like you normally would. Add your coffee, chaga, and hot water to the French press, then let the mixture sit for one to two minutes. Add more hot water to fill up the French press, then let it sit for a few more minutes. Afterwards, pour and enjoy this nice hot drink that will pep you up when you’re feeling down.
Making a Chaga Smoothie
Numerous individuals have created smoothie recipes using chaga, a nice, refreshing drink for days. To make a cacao smoothie using chaga, you need a cup of chaga tea, one frozen banana, a tablespoon of raw cacao powder, a tablespoon of almond butter, a half-teaspoon of raw honey, and a little bit of Himalayan sea salt and nutmeg.
Blend these ingredients together for a low-calorie chaga smoothie that makes a great dessert. The best part is that you can make this smoothie with leftover chaga tea.
Other Chaga Recipes
There are numerous recipes and ways to use chaga. Chaga enthusiasts have used the mushroom to make everything from spiced nuts to ice cream to coconut tea and everything in between. The ways in which chaga can be utilized are limitless depending on your tastes and how much work you’re willing to put in.
Enjoyed as a tea for generations, the opening of chaga to the wider world has created a universe of possibilities with the substance. If you want to take advantage of chaga’s restorative properties, there are countless ways in which you can do so. There’s no “right” way to use chaga provided you are brewing it properly, so let your imagination run wild.