We received a great amount on interest in our Chaga Jun recipe so thought we should post another going into more detail of how this brilliant fungus can be used medicinally. We will share a how to make a double extraction Chaga tincture as well as how to use it, why we should be utilising it’s amazing properties and cautions we should take.
Chaga has been drunk in a tea form for a very long time, anyone who has tried it will tell you that it tastes superb! It has a rich, deep earthiness with an almost vanilla-esque flavour. It brews to a beautiful dark brown colour thanks to its extremely high melanin content (a naturally occurring pigment in the eyes, skin and hair. Also responsible for tanning your skin in the sun).
Chaga is full of vitamins and minerals as well as lots of phytonutrients (chemicals in the plant/fungus that protect it from viruses, bacteria etc) that are of great benefit to us.
As well as this, Chaga contains many essential trace minerals such as;
- Selenium, which is essential for cognitive function and is thought to even help protect against cancer, Alzheimer’s, memory loss and asthma in some promising studies.
- Copper, again essential for body function, immune support and maintaining nerve cells.
- Calcium, vital for bone health, Vitamin D is needed for proper assimilation and use of calcium in the body and Chaga is also rich in this!
The melanin content is Chaga is the highest found in nature, it has been linked to helping the de-calcification of the pineal gland, the gland responsible for regulating our natural bodily rhythms including sleep pattern. There is plenty of information out there on the internet about this if you would like to know more!
Double Extraction Chaga Tincture
You will need:
- Clean jar
- 40% abv vodka or higher
- Chaga chunks
You will need to first make the chaga chunks smaller, to increase the surface area that is exposed to the alcohol, this makes it easier for the vodka to extract the medicinal properties from the fungus.
Once the Chaga is smaller, empty this into the jar you will be using to macerate the tincture in.
Fill the jar with the vodka, making sure to cover the Chaga.
Leave this to extract for a minimum of 8 weeks.
After 8 weeks, strain the vodka from the Chaga and put into a clean jar or vessel.
Do not throw the Chaga away – we need this for the next part of the extraction.
Put the Chaga in a saucepan and cover with filtered water, heat the water on medium low until you reach a steady simmer. You do not want the water to boil as this could kill of or harm some of the medicinal properties.
Over the next hour or so, let the Chaga water reduce to 1/3 or half of the original water content, top up with fresh filtered water and reduce again. Do this 4 or 5 times to create a strong decoction.
Once you have let the decoction cool, add it to the alcohol infusion. You now have a double extraction Chaga tincture.
Once your Chaga tincture is complete, we recommmend storing in jars that have a pipette attachment. As tinctures are only needed in minute quantities this makes it easier to work with.
As well as most herbal medicine, preventative use is better that prescriptive use. Using Chaga daily is the best way to reap its benefits rather than as an instant ‘cure’.
Take a few drops in water or herbal tea daily.
Due to the nature of Chaga, a double extraction is necessary to capture all of its medicinal benefits, it has both water soluble and alcohol soluble properties.
We believe the best plant medicine is wholistic plant medicine, meaning using the entirety of the plant and its beneficial compounds in natural medicine.
We also recommend using plants/fungus etc from the same land you live on, you share the same energy and environment as it and will most likely be more receptive to its medicine. We used British Chaga for our tincture, however Chaga is found all over the northern hemisphere! Obviously this doesn’t mean you can’t use it if it doesn’t grow in your country, but if you have the option to use native then please do!
Chaga is gaining in popularity, however please be mindful that this fungus is a slow growing one that is usually in a symbiotic relationship with the tree it is growing on. Please only harvest a small amount at a time, don’t damage the tree it is growing from, and try to find multiple sources.
We hope you have a lovely day,
The Plant Path Folk x
Disclaimer: As always, we recommend you do your own research before using any of our recipes. If you are foraging please make sure you are 100% sure of what you are picking. Speak to your healthcare professional before taking any herbal medicine and ALWAYS double check if it is okay to use if you are pregnant or taking any other medication.