Chaga

Discussion in 'Bush Medicine' started by gohammergo, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Greetings to one and all.

    I'm sure there have been plenty of threads about Chaga, but figured one more wouldn't hurt. :)

    Just kind of wondering who all regularly uses Chaga for tea or mixed with coffee, or whatever. Do you honestly think it benefits you?

    I've read a lot about it. Studies and such. I'm looking more for actual folks here who use it and found that it either helped them in some way. Or didn't. I understand that there is a psychological aspect of this. That if you are convinced that it helps that you can make yourself believe it does.

    I have used it in coffee. I'd put equal measures of it and coffee in my drip coffee maker. I felt that it helped my body feel not so sore. It wasn't an instant thing, like if you hurt your arm and you take a pain pill. It was more of a gradual thing, like I never really noticed how much good it did, until I stopped doing it.

    I first noticed this with multi vitamins. I would take them religiously, for long periods of time. But I hate taking pills. After awhile I'd stop. When I was taking them, I wouldn't feel all energized, like a young kid. BUT, I would notice a decline in energy about a week or so after I QUIT taking them.

    So I'm looking for opinions from folks about Chaga. Folks who use it, or used to.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I guess I'm too young to notice any benefits(knock on wood), but I agree that taking it regularly will/ should make a difference if it does do anything. It's high levels of antioxidants can help limit flaws in cell replication, thus possibly staving off future mutations, which lends it to it's current status as a magical super fungus.

    I can attest for it keeping me my youthful glow seeing I'm really 1,456 years old.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  3. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I was actually thinking about you this morning @Primordial . I was getting ready to take our Pug for a walk. I dug out my Malone wool pants and remember seeing you wearing similar on your trip report. I would never have guessed your age.

    I know you look pretty new yet, but I would have guessed you wouldn't have been a day over 1000 years old. I guess my eyes must be getting old. :)
     
  4. SamD

    SamD Scout

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    Well after I passed the half century mark some years back I decided,
    "I am going to live forever! SO FAR SO GOOD!" :4::dblthumb:
    Need more :44:
     
  5. mtnoutdoors

    mtnoutdoors Prov 27:17 Supporter

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    A brother on here sent me some to try I going to try here soon with my health and stuff I have read there is lots of good stuff that comes from chaga. Prov 27 : 17
     
  6. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

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    I make my oatmeal with it (1 cup Chaga tea water) every morning with cinnamon, honey and red cayenne pepper for the past 50 years (70 now) and I take no medications so I'll stick with it. Have eaten oatmeal every morning since I was a kid but then we only had molasses and fresh cream on it.
     
  7. x39

    x39 Bushmaster

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    I make a combination of chaga and green tea into which I put a spoonful of organic cacao every morning. All good stuff, can't hurt!
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  8. RavenLoon

    RavenLoon axology student Supporter

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    I mix it with my coffee too for the last few years. I've been noticing a lot more harvest in popular areas than I used to. I also eat pure maple syrup every day which contains a lot of antioxidents. I got sick as a dog last winter so I don't know if it helps any but I like the taste.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  9. bumma

    bumma Supporter Supporter

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    I made a tincture using chaga and a good vodka. Took 5 weeks of soaking for the tincture to be finished, Rendered 4 oz of dark brown goodness. 1 drop under my tongue every day. It's only been 2 weeks so I can't give results yet. I made a winter green tincture as well.

    My plan is to make more in the spring and come up with a tutorial for posting on this forum.
     
  10. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Thanks for the input. :)

    I have some kind of rasp that is used for some kind of kitchen use. Maybe for nutmeg or ginger? I use that to rasp the Chaga. Gets it to a sawdust consistency. That's what I put in the coffee.

    @RavenLoon , I've been seeing a lot of local Chaga for sale lately. Actual legit company advertising on the local radio station. Not sure of the legality of them harvesting for profit on that kind of scale, unless it's coming from private land. :)
     
  11. PAcanis

    PAcanis Supporter Supporter

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    A microplane maybe?
    A hardware item that is "grate" for Parmesan and whatnot.
     
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  12. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    You pinned it!

    IMG_20180113_143833306-1002x1336.jpg

    I didn't even know what it was when I bought it. Thrift store, new, for $0.50. For half a buck, can't go wrong. :) My daughter has dreams of being a chef, so I thought this might be something she could use. I found something I could use it for first. :)
     
  13. PAcanis

    PAcanis Supporter Supporter

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    They work great for zesting limes and lemons, too :)
    I'll have to try it on the chaga you sent me.
     
  14. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    You must be a chef? Or just like cooking? :)
     
  15. PAcanis

    PAcanis Supporter Supporter

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    I used to be a foodie. You know, the eating equivalent of gun nut? :rolleyes:
    It still gets used a couple times a month though.

    I've been holding out until I get a tickle in my throat to try some chaga tea. But I never get sick it seems. Not since I quite smoking 8-9-10 years ago.
    Does chaga go bad?
    Does it get moved from the food tin to the fire tinder tin?
     
  16. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    @PAcanis , it doesn't go bad to my knowledge.

    Give it a shot. I think you'll like the taste. :)
     
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  17. PAcanis

    PAcanis Supporter Supporter

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    I will.
    Tomorrow.
     
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  18. camp casey

    camp casey Guide

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    image.jpg 8 ounces a day with breakfast, I add more warm water to the jar as needed.
    Store in the fridge, when it quits turning black/brown I replace the Chaga with fresh, as a preventive.
    I thin it out a little with water b4 using.
     
  19. halo2

    halo2 Supporter Supporter

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    I've been wondering that myself. I have a lot of old chaga not suitable for tinder.
     
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  20. PAcanis

    PAcanis Supporter Supporter

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    Ouch. That's not good.
    I was hoping it went bad for tea before being used as a tinder.
     
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  21. chekmate

    chekmate Scout

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    I dehydrate most of my chaga. I can't tell the difference between the dehydrated or fresh. I use my chaga over and over until I can only get a weak tea. Then I dry it and use it for tinder.

    Keep Your Tinder Dry
    Chekmate
     
  22. sweeper54

    sweeper54 Scout

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    We make a double extract of chaga and if I gave you the recipe I'd have to kill you.

    I had Hives for 40+ years until I started using Chaga. GONE. Cholesterol DOWN.

    I you have birch trees available to you, find it, use it.
    Learn about Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tails they are good.

    And it beats the heck out of Char Cloth
     
  23. Medicine maker

    Medicine maker Guide

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    So you just steep the chaga like anything else?
     
  24. sweeper54

    sweeper54 Scout

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    Yes but try not to boil it. I make an extract and heat a pound of Chaga to 180˚F for about 4 hours an it comes out like thick coffee.

    Its best to make a larger batch instead of individual servings, but it only keep for about 4 days.
     
  25. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    Just an FYI... Chaga will go bad if not stored properly. It is prone to being infected with other fungi esp if left wet. Just a PSA. I have a chunk in my truck right now I harvested. I dont use it really anymore, I tend to give it away or trade it. I do have a cup on occasion (usually mixed with some tasty hot cocoa). I drank it daily for a couple months but didn't have a constant supply source so I stopped drinking it when I ran out. Didn't feel any different when I stopped. I drink a lot of other teas though so maybe that is why. The cancer fighting aspects of the Chaga are not extracted when you make tea. You need alcohol to tease them out as they are chemically bound and not water soluble (per Russian research).
     
  26. sweeper54

    sweeper54 Scout

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    Alcohol is the second part of our process. Before you 'tease' it with alcohol you need to cook it in hot water to break down the cell walls so the alcohol can get in.

    When making tea with chaga you can reuse the chunks until the favor it used up, but as Vanitas said above you need to dry the chunks out between use.
     
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  27. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    What ratio do you folks use? It doesn't grow around here so I bought a highly regarded/reviewed brand from Amazon. The chunks are very thoroughly dried, hard like driftwood. The directions said to put it in a crock pot but that sounds like a pain, plus modern crock pots generally run pretty close to boiling even on low. I watched Dan Wolwack (sorry if I misspelled that, Dan!) of Coalcracker's youtube video on it and he dropped a few chunks in a pot of hot-but-not-boiling water and let it steep for "a while". As a chef there's a maddening vagueness to the "recipes" I find!:mad: I'm fine with making a good sized batch but this stuff isn't cheap so I don't want to waste it.

    Plus, how do you dry it between batches? Just let it sit out at room temp. Do dogs like the stuff?;) That could impact where it sits out.

    Thanks, all! I made just a 2 cup batch tonight with one large chunk. I added green tea and a bit of orange pekoe to make a kind of regular tea out of it. I get a touch of bitter in it, is that the chaga?
     
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  28. sweeper54

    sweeper54 Scout

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    I don't make a lot of tea, I use a Double Extract most of the time, and haven' read a recipe in a while.

    My dog don't eat the chucks, when I'm processing it there are usually a couple chunks on the floor. They sniff thumbnut don't eat them.

    The tea is supposed to be good for 4 days

    Don't drink it at night until you know how it effects you some people get a caffeine like buzz from it.

    Don't boil it destroys the Cancer fighting compounds
     
  29. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Okay, I have a bag of the best chaga (by reviews) that I could find on Amazon, but I may have leapt in a bit prematurely. From all the research I've done, chaga extract might be better. There are components of chaga that are water soluble but some that are only alcohol soluble. As a chef this is a pretty familiar concept, and one need look only as far the tomato to see an example of this. Tomatoes have some components that are water soluble but some that only dissolve in alcohol. That's one reason that penne alla vodka is a classic. At any rate steeping the stuff in hot water is certainly healthy and better than not using chaga but to get all the benefits it seems you need to use dual extraction (as some posters above have alluded to). So I'm still going to use my chaga but I just ordered a powder produced by dual extraction.

    I'm not really a health nut (or maybe we are all health nuts with regards to our own health?) but I am trying to be smarter about nutrition and lifestyle as I get older. Well, since I can't go back in time and make the younger me smarter.;) I take tumeric w/curcumin and cayenne right now, wanting to integrate the chaga into my daily dose of supplements.
     
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  30. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    How do you use the cacao? I have four bags of the stuff, subscribed from Amazon and forgot to cancel.:18: I've heard a lot of great stuff about it but I never got around to figuring out what to do with the stuff. Do you steep it? Grind it? Boil it? Thanks!
     
  31. x39

    x39 Bushmaster

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    The cacao I have is in powder form. I just stir a heaping spoonful into the tea after it has steeped and the tea bag has been removed. Best to keep the spoon in the cup because it needs an occasional stir to keep the cacao in suspension instead of sinking to the bottom.
     
  32. sweeper54

    sweeper54 Scout

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    @Scotchmon Hack Saw?

    That's why you process into the final product the whole conk when its fresh, then dry.

    @Midwest.Bushlore With a limited amount of Chaga what you could do is make tea with some of the Chaga until the flavor is gone, then take the spent grounds and combine that with an equal part of alcohol for a month/shaking daily and you would end up with an alcohol extract that you can combined with your tea you're making with fresh chaga and end up with a Duel Extract. You need to cook the Chaga in water before you put it in alcohol. You need to break down the cell walls with water then alcohol can get in.
     
  33. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I also picked up a highly rated tincture that's 2X extract but the stuff is 40% alcohol! That's something I have to be very careful with. I quit drinking five years ago and take great pains to avoid the stuff in medicines (eg. Nyquill is really high in alcohol). In very small amounts I wouldn't think it would be an issue but my risk tolerance for booze is very very low.
     
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  34. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Kind of belated, but I wanted to say this is me, too. I really struggle with taking pills. Not that I have any qualms about it, it's just very physically difficult for me to do. I'll take a supplement for a while and like the results but the dread of swallowing the capsules just builds in me over time to where I just can't keep doing it. I'd much rather have something I can drink. A capsule has to be a slam-dunk for me or I can't keep taking it.
     
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  35. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Okay, just wanted to chime in with a bit more Chaga lore that I have learned. I claim no expertise, just trying to distill down a few important things I've learned from the real experts. Here are a few interesting things I have gleaned from my research.

    First the country of origin isn't necessarily critical. We often complain about China but they supply about 70% of the world's Chaga. And they know a lot more about it than most since it's been part of their traditional medicine since about the time Rome was founded. They have great expertise in harvesting it, too. Air quality in some parts of China is poor and that can be absorbed by the Chaga. But China is vast and the reputable stuff is outstanding. Russia boasts perhaps better air quality but a long history of nuke testing so it can harbor some fallout by-products. Again, a reputable seller will be testing the stuff to verify it's safe and effective.

    Cultivated Chaga is a poor substitute for the wild stuff. It has to grow on a live tree to absorb Belutin. That's the stuff that kills cancer and is concentrated in the black part of the Chaga (yeah, the gnarly looking part if vital to getting the full potency of the stuff). Some places cultivate/farm it on rice or wood shavings and this will contain basically no Belutin at all. You really want stuff taken from a living tree!

    Raw Chaga has no medicinal value at all- we can't digest any of it. About 70% of the healing powers of Chaga come from components that are soluble in hot water. So Chaga tea is very healthy! But some of the other parts, chiefly the belutin and belutinic acids that are so potent against cancers, are only alcohol soluble. So in addition to teas you really need a 'double extract' to get at all the good stuff. It does seem that some kinds of vinegar will work in place of alcohol.

    Chaga contains incredibly powerful anti-oxidents! Several hundred times more than even blueberries!

    Lastly, this stuff is more complex than I realized when I set out to get the basics in hand. It seems that in addition to Chaga, Reishi is another potent shroom! Chaga is referred to as the King of Mushrooms but Reishi is called the Queen.

    Again, I'm not an expert but this is a fascinating topic! I really envy you folks with a ready supply of Chaga to harvest.
     
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  36. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I have honestly never researched it that deeply. I guess I should though. :)
     
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  37. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Okay, just wanted to chime in with a bit of information on cultivated vs wild chaga. I am including the body of an email sent in response to my query. I don't believe anything about it was secret or 'eyes-only' so I'll share it here:



    Thank you for reaching out to Fungi Perfecti, and for your interest in mushrooms!


    Host Defense® Chaga is made from mycelium and primordia, not the conk (or sclerotium as some call it). Cultivated Chaga does lack betulinic acid (because it's not grown on birch), but contains B-glucans, arabinoxylans, glycoproteins, ergosterols & triterpenes that support immune health.*



    At first, betulin was identified as a primary constituent augmenting immune response. More recently, non-betulin compounds from the mycelium called lanosterols are now known to be responsible for its powerful antioxidant and immune enhancing properties. Clinical studies show Host Defense® Chaga is superior in antioxidant effects, and protecting DNA from free radicals (which cause oxidative stress damage).*



    Wild harvesting of Chaga is not sustainable. Its sterile canker (actually a sclerotium) can be found growing on birch, and unfortunately Chaga must be cut away from the host tree. It will generally not grow back on the same tree and often the harvest will lead to the tree itself dying. Because harvesting wild Chaga isn't a sustainable practice, we happily grow ours in the lab, holding strong to our moral code and sustainable ecological practices.



    While we encourage informed, sustainable mushroom picking from un-polluted environments, it's important to understand how wild-harvesting can impact wild mushroom populations and contribute to the destruction of habits. As mushrooms are the reproductive structure of the fungus, harvesting mushrooms may impact the reproduction of the species. Also, Unless you know that the soil or substrates are toxin-free, wild harvested mushrooms should be tested for safety prior to use as a nutritional supplement.


    Why Mycelium?
    All of our supplements contain both myceliated rice as well as primordia (baby fruiting bodies). Because the FDA does not recognize primordia, for labeling purposes both mycelium and primordia get lumped together under the name "mycelium". If mature fruitbodies are also utilized, the label will reflect this.

    Recent research shows more genetic material is active during the mycelial stage as compared to the fruitbody stage. Mycelium and primordia, (or baby fruiting bodies) are highly concentrated sources of viable compounds. Primordia are concentrated, whereas adult fruit bodies are up to 90% water. Using a younger stage of formation means more concentration and less degradation of beneficial constituents. For more information, check out the Immune Benefits of Mushroom Mycelium and the attached paper "Why we grow mycelium on rice."



    If you would like more information on mushrooms and health, here are some great references:



    Books:


    Internet Resources:


    Paul has also been featured in several reputable magazines such as Discover and Mother Jones. He periodically writes for huffingtonpost.com and has given many interviews, most notably on NPR. There are many videos from his TED talks online as well, including one with his mother. If you're craving more information about our founder and his research, searching "Paul Stamets" in your search engine should yield many helpful results.



    You are welcome to check out our Host Defense website, which has more in-depth information on the products, supporting research, and our company. You can also use our store locator on our Host Defense website to find a location near you.



    We hope this information helps, and welcome any further questions you may have.



    Mush Love!



    Erika Whitney

    Customer Service Representative

    Fungi Perfecti, LLC.
     
  38. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Thanks for the info. :)
     
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  39. sweeper54

    sweeper54 Scout

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    The thing about Chaga and Reishi is Chaga is Mycelium (think of it as the Apple Tree) Reishi is a mushroom (the Apple). Chaga never produces a 'mushroom' it only produces spores when it finally kills the birch tree. Reishi mycelium produces a corp of mushrooms every year, some years way more then others.
    Also Chaga is like a huge storage facility, it concentrates everything in the tree into the conk. You can get a lot of the benefits by cooking birchwood.
     
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  40. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Thanks, @sweeper54 ! Good info. I'm pretty novice at this, just trying to sponge up the knowledge out there as best I can.
     
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  41. sweeper54

    sweeper54 Scout

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    Also you could cook the alcohol off as you use it.
     
  42. Gecco304

    Gecco304 Scout

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    Hey guys,

    I am thinking about ordering some chaga. Where is the best place to order it from?

    Thanks

    Lucky
     
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  43. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    Some of this information is actually not correct. It isn’t the conk removal that kills the tree unless the person removing said conk damages the tree during removal. The fungi kills the tree eventually. Also do keep in mind one should always be skeptical of researchers with financial interest in the results of their research.

    Antioxidants are nice and all but only to a point. Super high levels can actually increase cancer risks especially if you smoke or are genetically predisposed and mess with medications.

    This is just a short and sweet PSA. I’m not saying don’t drink Chaga Tea or anything like that. I’m just saying it’s more complex than what a company selling the stuff will ever tell you.
     
  44. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Yeah, the fungi will eventually kill the tree. I'm not saying the whole email is gospel, just reprinting it as it was sent to me. Good info overall.
     
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  45. 1911srule

    1911srule Scout

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    A lady who uses chaga told me she uses a coffee grinder and then mixes it 50/50 with coffee for her brew. I want to try it for improving health, mainly my blood pressure.
     
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  46. sweeper54

    sweeper54 Scout

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  47. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    This is pretty much what I do too. :)

     
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  48. Kyle363

    Kyle363 Supporter Supporter

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    I'll brew chunks of chaga maybe once or twice a week in the fall/winter/spring and less frequently in the summer. I think it does help with overall health.
     
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  49. Medicine maker

    Medicine maker Guide

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    So what does the chaga become slightly browner and harder at a few small areas mean?
     
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  50. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I think that's just the way it grows.
     
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