Last spring we had the beloved birch tree, that stood beside our house, sawed down. It had died the year before and so we thought we’d better get it taken down. It had a black hard chunky looking fungus about the size of a pie plate, growing at arm’s height, that some friends had excitedly pointed out as being Chaga. Chaga is one of the latest trendy health products that is supposed to be very good for you.
Once the birch was down and I begin bucking it up for firewood, I cut out the big chunk of Chaga and stored it away in my shop. A month ago I was looking for something else in the shop and came across the container with the Chaga, so decided it wasn’t doing anyone any good being in continual storage, so brought some in and Joan and I have been having chaga tea most every afternoon after our walk.
People ask me how it tastes, and I never really know what to tell them. It doesn’t have much of a distinctive taste, a faint earthy flavor maybe, but not unlike a weak Pekoe tea. Anyway it is not objectionable at all.
As I said it is touted to have a wide variety of health benefits, including “tumor prevention” and being an “extremely powerful anti-oxidant”. I think a lot of that stuff is unproven, but the internet is full of information about it if you want more information.
I was surprised at our last visit to the health food store in Prince George to see a huge poster for Chaga in the window. I thought it was interesting that beside the photo of a slim girl doing yoga on a big rock my the ocean and the bottle of Chaga on the poster, were a bunch of mushrooms. Chaga is an ugly black crusty growth on a tree and doesn’t look anything like mushrooms, so I was immediately suspicious of the commercial product.
I remain sort of skeptical about things that have a lot of health claims, but since we have Chaga thanks to our old birch tree, we are using it.
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