Welcome Friends, Foodies, and Foragers! For the last several years I have talked more about Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) than any other wild foraged food or medicine.
For those who don't know, Chaga is a fungal sclerotium with notable anti-cancer terpines (such as betulinic acid) and immune system modulating sugars (called beta glucans). More than any other medicinal mushroom, this has been my number one herbal/fungal ally. In fact, for much of the year I use it almost daily and have for several years now...
Chaga is normally decocted (boiled in water to produce a broth or tea) for about two hours, yielding a very mild vanilla like flavor (it contains vanillin as one of its components) which is great to drink on its own, with added cream and a sweetener (I like maple syrup) to create a drink much like coffee. It is also an excellent blended drink or soup base.
This video post is about peeling Chaga, which is its traditional preparation method in Siberia (it is from their folk medicine that we have learned of Chaga). For years I used this fungus without peeling it, which yielded wonderful results, but now that I have included the traditional preparation method, it would be difficult to depart from. De-barking Chaga yields a far more mild, pleasant tasting, less medicinal and more tonic tea.
There are of course wonderful uses for Chaga with its bark on as well, particularly as an anti-neoplastic medicine. Still for my daily use this is now my preferred method.
Here is another video from my archive showing how to identify and harvest Chaga if you are interested in trying this yourself. If you are looking for a premier Chaga extract you can find it at my company, SurThrival.
Thanks for watching and I can't wait to hear your results!