Dr. G at the end of my last visit with him: “So, I want you to start drinking 2 cups of chaga tea daily. It has one of the highest ORAC values”.
Me: Okay. (While thinking “what the heck is chaga tea”, and not sure for which of my 57 symptoms he was prescribing this.)
Hence, began my exploration into the chaga world.
First of all, what is an ORAC—-
ORAC = Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity
An ORAC score measures a foods antioxidant capacity and the ability to neutralize free radicals. So higher is better. It was difficult to find an exact score on chaga, but they are much higher than blueberries, which are famous for being a high antioxidant food.
Secondly, what is chaga—-
Chaga is a mushroom that grows mainly on birch trees in very cold regions. It has been used for medicinal purposes for many centuries.
15 Benefits of Drinking Chaga Tea
- Anti-tumor, anticancer (may be its most acclaimed attribute)
- Powerful antioxidant
- Immune booster
- Lowers cholesterol
- Lowers blood sugar and reduces insulin resistance
- Can lower blood pressure
- Reduces cytokine production
- Antimicrobial: fungal, viral, parasitic, bacterial
- Mast cell stabilizer
- May reduce food allergy severity
- Stress management -According to Dr. David Jockers, chaga is one of his top 5 adaptogens for stress reduction.
- Energy boosting, improves physical endurance
Things to consider when choosing a chaga tea
- Do not buy if the tea contains anything added like synthetic ingredients or preservatives
- The label should include the species name: Inonotus obliquus
- Harvest location – Mushrooms are very absorbent so avoid those harvested near cities where there would naturally be more pollution.
- Find a reputable source
- Look for certifications from US Pharmacopia (USP), Consumer Lab, or NSF International.
This chaga tea seems to be a great choice; it fits the above criteria and it is harvested in Canada.
So what does it taste like? Not like mushrooms, although I love mushrooms. The one I bought has a mild, maybe earthy flavor. I like it, and so does a couple of people that I have so far introduced it to.
How To Make Chaga Tea
Steep in hot water for 5-10 minutes, but at a temperature no higher than 180 degrees as the enzymes, sterols, polysaccharides, and proteins can be destroyed at higher heats.
Warnings and Cautions
Now before I encourage you to jump on board the chaga tea wagon, there are a few things to consider. Consuming chaga in any form may not be a good idea for some people; other people should use extra caution, and all people should use chaga with respect as a medicinal mushroom, treating it as such.
- If you have an autoimmune disease like lupus, RA, and MS, monitor for increased symptoms, cautions Dr. Josh Axe.
- On the other hand, Dr. David Jockers says that chaga may balance your immune system, being an adaptogenic.
- Be cautious if taking medications for blood sugars as chaga could lower your blood sugar
- Be cautious if you have kidney problems or a history of kidney stones. Chaga is high in oxalates and could increase the risk of a kidney stone. However, chaga is much lower in oxalates compared to spinach, carrots, and rhubarb. Plus I remember recently hearing Dr. Terry Wahls say that oxalates are not a concern for most people.
- Do not take if on blood thinners – may potentiate the effect of the medication
- Do not take before surgery or other invasive procedures
- Do not take if pregnant or breastfeeding
- Do not take if you have had an organ transplant
If I haven’t scared you off of drinking chaga tea yet…
It is always best to discuss with your medical doctor anything you take for medicinal purposes to make sure any new addition is right for you. In my case, my functional medicine internist prescribed it.
Another thing, chaga is a diuretic. I made the mistake of drinking a cup before bed and I woke up in the middle of the night totally parched. So now I just make sure to drink my chaga tea a bit earlier in the day.
So, unless otherwise indicated, enjoy 1-2 cups daily for all of chaga tea’s many health benefits!
Here’s to your wellness!!!
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You might want to check out some other articles I have written:
Dr. Josh Axe – Chaga Mushroom: 5 Benefits and How to Make Chaga Tea
Lisa Marie Conklin – 5 Reasons to Consider Chaga
Jessica Estrada – 6 Promising Chaga Tea Benefits
Dr. David Jockers – Top 5 Adaptogens for Stress Reduction
USDA Agricultural Research Service – High ORAC Foods May Slow Aging
WebMD – Health Benefits of Chaga Tea
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