I’ve known about Chaga for awhile and I’ve refused to buy it ever because I grew up and live amongst birch forests, where they grow. Chaga mushrooms are a parasitic mushroom from the Hymenochaetaceae family.
They are known to provide many healing benefits. Apparently the Japanese call it the “Diamond of the Forest.” They’re found on just about every continent. Chaga mushrooms are packed with nutrients, especially pantothenic acid, which is supposed to be very good for your adrenal glands and supposedly, it fights cancer.
I’ve never tried this mystery super food until my dad found some and harvested it with my cousin yesterday (the same beekeeping cousin mentioned before). So far, it’s very difficult to grind up, even if you’re using a powerful food processor (mine is the Cuisinart one that had the blade recall). I used a hammer and makeshift fork chisel to attempt to break it apart. I’ve only taken off about a fifth of it so far.
Since we were so pumped to find the chaga, we immediately made a tea out of the powdered chaga we had already processed last night. It tasted like nothing and I tried to make it a powerful, magical, healing experience, but it still tasted like… nothing… so… yeah. I’m not sure how it has helped me feel anything. I don’t feel like a superhero yet. I will report back.
For now, if you’re looking for chaga or trying to harvest it (which my brother and I have been working on for nearly a year now), look for a black outside with an orange-y yellow inside, looks kinda like cork. The mushroom is found only on birch trees and you can only harvest it in the winter, after it’s been about 40ºF for 5 days in a row. You definitely need a chisel or some kind of axe to take it down. You’re supposed to leave a tennis ball size on the tree so that it can grow more for next year. The tree also MUST be alive. So, good luck.
My brother and I only found dead birch trees with chaga and chaga super high up (maybe too high for ladders) on the tree after almost a year of searching. My dad found good chaga on day one.
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