Let's talk about Chaga!
Also known as Hua Jie Kong Jun in Chinese and as "The Gift of God", this powerful fungus has been used as medicine in ancient times for cancer. Shen Nung, the "Father of Chinese Medicine" called Chaga "King of the Herbs".
Fun fact, Otzi, the Iceman who was preserved in a sheet of ice and thought to have lived around 3400 BC, had Chaga in his pouch.
Chaga is native to Siberia and the forests of the Northern Hemisphere where it grows like a lump on birch trees. (It is interesting that it would grow this way when studies have shown this fungus to best help cancers of the breast and genitals.) Also interesting to note that birch tree bark contains betulin, which is a compound used in cancer treatment. However, if extracted directly from the tree it is not safe to use. Chaga synthesizes the betulin making it safe for humans to consume.
Energetically, Chaga is sweet, slightly bitter, and warming.
Cree healers have been known to use Chaga as moxibustion to promote the flow of energy or Qi.
Chaga is traditionally boiled over a long period of time to make a decoction (really strong tea) when used medicinally for its anti-cancer, anti-tumor, and anti-viral properties.
It is also known for improving cognitive function, supporting the immune system, preventing liver and stomach cancers, building blood, and increasing strength and stamina.
The Khanty people of western Russia would mix the Chaga decoction with lard to make an anti-bacterial soap for ritual washes, and washing of newborns and women on their menses.
Truly a powerful herb, we had to include it in our Shroomed Herbal Koffee blend.
Cheers to longevity in 2023!