Folk medicine and alternative medicine has been a staple of human civilization for thousands of years. In recent decades, the use of folk and alternative medicine has become popular due to the potential health benefits of using natural ingredients and herbs. One of the more popular ingredients in folk remedies is the chaga mushroom, which has been a part of folk medicine in various regions for hundreds of years and has recently become internationally popular.
If you are interested in preparing chaga mushrooms for consumption, there are a few key things you need to know. Let’s take a closer look at the chaga mushroom, how you can use it, and finally how you can prepare it for your own use.
All About Chaga Mushrooms
The chaga mushroom is a parasitic fungus which is found most often in cold regions such as certain areas of Russia, Canada, North America, Korea, and Eastern Europe. Contrary to popular belief, the chaga mushroom is actually not the flowering mushroom of the chaga, but the sterile conk. It is best known for its strange appearance, which makes it look more like a large piece of misshapen charcoal than a normal smooth, rounded mushroom cap. Because the chaga mushroom is parasitic, it is believed that its dark appearance may be derived from melanin absorbed from its host birch trees.
Chaga Mushroom Uses
There are many ways that chaga mushrooms are used as a folk or alternative remedy. The most common method of using chaga is through direct consumption, since the chaga mushroom can be consumed in various ways and it is the easiest way to receive the benefits of chaga. The most well-known and popular method of consuming chaga is through creating chaga tea, although chaga is edible and can be consumed as a part of a solid food recipe as well.
How to Prepare Chaga Mushrooms
The way that you prepare chaga mushrooms will depend on how you want to consume them.
If you want to consume chaga by making chaga tea, you will need to either purchase a premade chaga tea mix or prepare your own tea using chaga mushroom pieces or powder. If you are preparing the tea from scratch using chaga mushroom pieces, you can use one of two popular preparation methods. The first method involves bringing the chaga mushroom pieces to a rolling boil, and then straining the water to create a strained, liquid only chaga tea. For the second method, you bring the chaga mushroom pieces to a rolling boil and consume the tea without straining it; if you want to eat the chaga mushroom pieces along with the liquid tea, you may want to chop and process them until they are small and fine.
You can also prepare chaga mushrooms for solid food recipes. The most common way that chaga mushrooms are prepared for food recipes is through simple boiling and adding them to another recipe, such as granola, oatmeal, rice, or even yogurt.