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Mushrooms Your Top 7 Questions about Chaga Mushrooms Answered So you discovered chaga! (The mushroom that looks nothing like a mushroom.) And it has you wondering, “what does it taste like?” and “what is it used for?” 🤔Lucky for you, our founder Tero Isokauppila has the answers. Shop Immune Supporting Chaga

Finland’s Emergency Coffee Replacement

Growing up in Finland, chaga is the functional mushroom closest to my heart.

Finns have been brewing chaga tea for centuries. In fact, during World War II we were under strict coffee rations, so the whole country switched over to brewed chaga as a replacement. Chaga tea has a very similar taste to coffee, so we barely suffered.

Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) was a key functional mushroom in my path to being mushrooms’ top PR agency. We now use “The King of Mushrooms” in many Four Sigmatic products.

But there are a couple questions I consistently get about chaga. I think it’s time I answered them.

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1. Are chaga mushrooms good for you?

Chaga mushrooms have been an important part of Nordic folk medicine and healthcare for hundreds of years. Us Finns used it as a coffee substitute back in WWII when beans weren’t available. The most wonderful feature of chaga is its antioxidant properties. It’s loaded with antioxidant properties to support your immune system and overall wellbeing. (You’ll notice it first with your hair, nails, and skin!).

So consider chaga your daily bodyguard. Add to your coffee, tea or smoothie to support your immune system. It's best sipped daily to keep your guard up.If you have specific questions about a health condition be sure to talk to your healthcare practitioner (dietitian, doctor, naturopath, or herbalist) for medical advice

 

Discover Chaga for Immune Support

The most wonderful feature of chaga is its antioxidant properties. It’s loaded with antioxidants–about 1,300x more than blueberries. This helps support your immune system and overall wellbeing. (But you’ll notice it first with your hair, nails, and skin!).

What makes chaga even more amazing is its abundance of melanin. This is the pigment that gives color to our skin, hair, and eyes. Melanin acts like a shield. It protects our skin from the harmful effects of oxidative stress like sun damage. 

But that's not all! Chaga has a triple threat for your immune system with beta-glucans, antioxidants, and triterpenes. 🦠 With special compounds, like Inonotus obliquus polysaccharides (IOPS), chaga can help combat stress on a cellular level. One study found that these superhero polysaccharides from Chaga can slow down cell death and keep our mitochondria, the powerhouse of our cells, alive longer. So, chaga is not only an antioxidant powerhouse. It's also a stress-fighting, age-defying champion for our wellness!

Tips for use: Consider chaga your daily bodyguard. 

  1. Add to your coffee, tea or smoothie to support your immune system.
  2. It's best sipped daily to keep your guard up. The benefits build over time!
  3. Start with 500mg a day of extracted, fruiting body chaga mushrooms

If you have specific questions about a health condition be sure to talk to your healthcare practitioner (dietitian, doctor, naturopath, or herbalist) for medical advice. 

To learn more about the benefits of chaga, check out our blog Deepdive on the Benefits of Chaga Mushrooms.

2. Where do Chaga mushrooms grow?

Chaga grows in colder climates in the Northern Hemisphere on birch trees. It is a black-gold mushroom that grows for 10–20 years on a birch tree into a hard, woody mass. 

It will grow on maple or ash trees, but it’s important to get it from birch trees for the most benefits. Most chaga mushroom powder you can buy is grown in Scandinavia, Russia, Siberia, Canada, or the United States. You can also find chaga in your local park or forest if you live in a cooler climate.

Tips for sourcing: Chaga gets all its nutrients from what it's growing on

  1. Avoid chaga grown on grains. Substrates like oat or rice don’t provide chaga mushrooms with the same nutrients as birch trees
  2. Make sure it's organic! As a bio-accumulator, chaga will absorb pesticides like a sponge
  3. Wildharvested means the chaga was taken right from nature rather than grown on logs

Curious how to forage for chaga? Come harvest chaga with us here.

3. What does chaga mushroom taste like?

It really does taste like coffee! It’s earthy and slightly bitter, but still smooth. It’s much less bitter than reishi. I’ve heard people say it tastes like a campfire or medium-roast coffee. ☕

Tips for taste: Chaga gets all its nutrients from what it's growing on

  1. Replace or combine with other bitter foods like chocolate or coffee like our Protect Organic Coffee
  2. Hide the flavor in the natural sweetness of monk fruit and real vanilla beans in our Sweet Vanilla Protein

4. Does Chaga have caffeine?

Chaga does not have caffeine and will not keep you awake. It has adaptogenic properties and can help your body adapt to stress and calm down. It’s good to drink chaga at any time of the day.

Of course, Four Sigmatic Ground Coffees that have chaga will have caffeine in them. So if you’re trying chaga for the first time in a coffee, I recommend drinking that in the morning or early afternoon.

5. Are chaga mushrooms psychedelic (and legal)?

Chaga is not a psychedelic mushroom. But they’re still magical to us! Chaga is a functional mushrooms. These types of mushrooms are known for thier (totally legal) health benefits. No hallucinations required. 

Chaga is not on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list and is legal all around the world. Functional mushrooms have been used over 5,000 years so it is very unlikely that they will ever make the list or become illegal.

6. Which Chaga recipes are good?

Well, chaga “tea” really tastes like coffee, so I like adding it to any recipe that would use coffee, from a latte to a smoothie. Heck you can even make ice cream or “nice” cream with it in it! 

7. Which Four Sigmatic products have chaga?

Out of all our beloved functional mushrooms, chaga is used the most frequently. You’ll find chaga in:

We only use the conk  (or sclerotium), of chaga, free from fillers or carriers. This chaga extract is wild-crafted and wild-harvested from birch trees in Siberia with sustainable practice, and without harming the host tree. It is both hot water-extracted and alcohol-extracted so you get the most benefits per serving.

You can shop Four Sigmatic chaga products here.

How to make a caffeine-free coffee alternative with Chaga mushrooms
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TERO ISOKAUPPILA
Tero Isokauppila is the founder of Four Sigmatic. Tero’s roots (or mycelium, if you will) are in Finland, where he grew up growing and foraging natural foods on his 13th generation family's farm. He later earned a degree in Chemistry, Business, and a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition at Cornell University. An expert in all things related to nutrition, health, and wellness. Tero is the author of two best-selling books: Healing Mushrooms and Healing Adaptogens.

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