The Importance of Wildcraft Chaga Tea
The herbal tea world is filled with thousands of herbs from different origins around the world. As many herbal tea enthusiasts understand the importance of maintaining the fresh, natural quality of these herbs, most will seek out exclusively organic herbs for their herbal teas. In most cases, organic herbs all but guarantee the best quality, as they are grown on specially-controlled farms that avoid the use of any chemicals, a much safer method for the consumer, the farmers and for the environment. Chaga, however, proves to be a unique exception. Due to its peculiar method of growth, the best place to find your chaga is not on a farm, but in the same place people have been collecting it for thousands of years – out in the wild.
Why Not Organic?
For generations, chaga has been harvested from its natural source in the birch forests of Asia and North America. In recent years, attempts have been made to try cultivating chaga mushrooms, something that has been successfully done with other medicinal mushrooms, such as shiitake and reishi mushrooms. However, chaga has proved to be much more difficult than its fellow fungi. Tests conducted on chaga that was intentionally cultivated has shown that the cultivated chaga showed virtually none of the medicinal benefits offered by chaga mushrooms harvested in the wild. Although it is not yet known why, some speculate that many of chaga’s nutrients are developed as the chaga struggles to adapt and survive in the harsh wilderness, a struggle it does not face when cultivated. Until a way is found to provide the same strong benefits found in wildcraft chaga through cultivation, harvesting these mushrooms from the wild still remains the best option.
Preparation Also Matters
Not only does chaga mushroom need to be wild-harvested in order to receive its benefits, but it is also important that not only the flesh, but the whole mushroom is used to craft a high-quality chaga tea. Studies have shown that the black outer layer of chaga mushroom, called the sclerotium, contains many of its important nutrients, including melanin, 30% betulin and a good amount of chaga’s antioxidants. Because of this, it is essential to find a supplier of chaga that utilizes the entire mushroom to make their tea, or else many of the best qualities of chaga could be forfeit.