Maine is blessed to host one of the most esteemed medicinal mushrooms in the world: Inonotus obliquus, known commonly as Chaga. Considered one of the three ‘mushrooms of immortality’ (alongside Reishi and Shiitake), Chaga has been used for hundreds of years by people living in the Siberian mountain region of northern Russia. It is known to concentrate health-boosting compounds found in living birch trees and, when turned into a tea, makes a delicious and warming beverage known for its use as preventative medicine.
North Spore starts by seeking out native Chaga conks in the Maine woods. We carefully breakdown the Chaga into smaller chunks that we air-dry. When the Chaga has hardened and lost its moisture content we grind it using a turn-of-the-century food mill that allows for easy preparation of our tea.
How to prepare: Simmer 1 tbsp in 4-6 cups of water for at least 20 minutes, or until the water is opaque and resembles back coffee. Strain the grounds out of the water and set aside. Grounds may be reused 2 or 3 times (make sure to simmer for extra time or follow the ‘looks like black coffee’ rule). Add cream and maple syrup to taste.
Please check out this article on Chaga written by our friend Dr. Kevin Curran, a Ph.D. in molecular biology and professor at the University of San Diego, for more detailed information on the ethnomycology of Chaga, medicinal properties, and identification!