By Oscar De Los Santos – Medicine Man
Any nature enthusiast knows the importance of making fire as a basic survival skill. Finding a resourceful way to burn embers, produce heat and cook meals was a milestone in our evolution, and like any worthwhile discovery, a certain portion of trial and error was required. Enter the discovery of a rather odd looking, but uniquely beneficial form of fungus, called Chaga.
Though not much to look at, Chaga was identified rather quickly as having the ability to both readily take a spark and to make an ember, immediately catching the attention of our early ancestors. is elusive fungus grows in cold, northern climates on common White Birch trees, and has been revered for centuries across most of Siberia, Russia and parts of Asia for its medicinal benefits.
Although its burnt-like outer surface is unmistakable, Chaga can be quite a challenge to find. It can appear anywhere on the side of dying White Birch trees, but is typically found on only one out of four hundred specimens. If you are indeed one of the lucky few to come across this rare treasure, then prepare your mind, body and soul for a treat.
Truly an all-around, natural remedy, the exterior of the Chaga fungus is high in Betulin, a substance that has been known to arrest the growth of cancer and tumours (in some instances). The soft yellow center is high in Polysaccharides, is an autoimmune adaptogen, and is the single most powerful antioxidant on the planet, 3,500X more powerful than Vitamin C!
Reaping the benefits of this potent beauty could not be easier. Simply simmering a small chunk (about the size of an ice cube), for 20 minutes, produces an entire pot of aromatic tea that is to die for. An earthy flavour with a slight vanilla undertone is the end result, and once you try it, Chaga will be a staple in your tea collection for years to come.