Inonotus obliquus L., Hymenochaetaceae
`He could not imagine any greater joy than to go away into the woods for months on end, to break off this chaga, crumble it, boil it up on a campfire, drink it and get well like an animal.`
from Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Chaga is a mushroom that grows on birch trees. Chaga is dark-colored, deeply cracked, and very hard on the outside. The inside is yellow to light-brownish, orange, and golden. Chaga draws its nutrients from the birch tree, converting betulin, that`s found in birch bark, into a digestible form. Prepared as tea and tincture, chaga has been used as a tonic, blood cleanser, and pain reliever for many centuries. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn believed that chaga cured him from cancer in the 1950s. Ground into a coarse powder and boiled for a minimum of 15 minutes, chaga is prepared as a mushroom tea with a deliciously rich black tea/coffee taste.
Chaga contains every nutrient except for Vitamins A and K. It is particularly rich in antioxidants (SOD), Vitamin B complex, Vitamin D, triterpenes, betulin, polysaccharides (beta glucan), and soluble lignins.
We wild-harvest our chaga from January through March in northern Saskatchewan.