Chaga, Inonotus obliquus, is a polypore fungus which grows on birch trees. The fungus produces a black perennial woody growth called a “conk”.  Chaga contains 215 phyto-nutrients including 29 polysaccharides or beta glucans (known to be immune activators), compounds such as betulinic acid, special pigments including melanins, amino acids and nucleosides. 

Hundreds of modern scientific publications have indicated that these compounds could offer solutions to fight virus and fungal diseases, stimulate the central nervous system, delay growth of tumor and cancer cells, lower white blood cell counts, lower arterial and venous blood pressure, decrease sugar levels, improve skin color and elasticity, detoxify the liver, kidney, and spleen to name a few. Pharmaceutical uses include treatment for TB of bone, high blood pressure, HIV, herpes and other skin disorders, and as an anti-tumor agent. Traditional uses have been recorded for treatment of gastritis, ulcers, digestive complaints, urinary tract disorders, bronchitis, asthma, skin eczemas and of course, to control blood pressure and improve immunity and longevity.

Over 2000 years ago, in 100 B.C., the Chinese Monk Shen Nong in the book “The Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing” called Chaga “The King of the Herbs”. According to Oriental medicine, chaga increases longevity and boosts life energy or “Chi.” In Chinese medicine, chaga has been revered for its life enhancing properties.

As with many herbs, natural medicines and foods, science has only been isolating the reasons why in recent years. Chaga, unlike the other medicinal mushrooms, contains over 35,000 units/gm of SOD (super oxide dismutase). This is exceptional for a medicinal mushroom and far surpasses what is found in known superfoods. SOD is one of the most important anti-oxidants in our body. SOD decreases as we age. Living well and exercising keep levels up. SOD’s are used in/for skin creams, burns, wounds and inflammation. SODs are enzymes that keep our cell membranes supple and healthy. Research indicates that super oxide dismutase can be used for arthritis and side effects of cancer treatment.

Chaga also has the highest reported ORAC score in natural foods or oils (Anti-oxidant levels are measured in ORAC, which stand for oxygen radical absorbent capacity).

For centuries, people in parts of Russia have drunk Chaga tea daily for promoting good health. Nobel Prize winner Russian novelist Alexandr Solzenitsyn introduced the amazing cancer treating properties of Chaga in his 1968 novel, “The Cancer Ward”. It’s the BETULINIC ACID that attacks the cancer cells.

In 1998 a study in Poland demonstrated Chaga’s inhibiting effects on tumor growth. The study found that betulin worked highly selectively on tumor cells because the interior pH of tumor tissues is generally lower than that of normal tissues, and betulinic acid is only active at those lower levels. Once inside the cells, betulinic acid destroys the tumors. In 2005, at Department of Medical Nutrition in South Korea, Chaga Mushroom was evaluated for its potential in protecting against oxidative damage to DNA in human lymphocytes.

David Wolfe’s recent book “CHAGA; The King of the Medicinal Mushrooms” is the most literarily accessible and most widely marketed source of english info I could find. He outlines the healing properties of chaga as follows:
“Adaptogenic (Combats Stress); a blood purifier; the most potent anti-oxidant source ever discovered on the face of the planet, with a remarkable potential for scavenging free-radicals; one of the most alkalizing aubstances known to Man 10; It is shown to be immune enhancing and balancing, anti-cancer, anti-viral & anti-inflammatory! These are thanks once again to polysaccharides. These essential nutrients for the immune-system enhance the body’s ability to produce NK (Natural Killer) cells and activates white blood cell (Macrophage) activity; rich source of the anti-oxidant pigment melanin, which is needed throughout the body. It is known to be geno-protective, protecting our DNA from damage due to oxidative-stress; rich source of the yellow polyphenol pigments, which give chaga its deep orange colour inside. These are known to be anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-platelet aggregation, anti-diabetic and anti-dementia; rich source of selenium, iron, zinc, chromium, manganese, copper and magnesium. (zinc being essential to the production of the body’s own anti-oxidant SOD as well as required for cell growth, differentiation and survival, not to mention male reproductive health!)”

a nice pot of vitality

To steep your chaga and get the most benefit from it you can pour boiling water over it and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. But the longer you steep it the more value is imbued into the water. You can steep it overnight. This chaga can be infused at least 3 times and still have benefits. The flavour is mild. If you have a large chunk you can simmer it in a pot as you would a stock and sip on it all day long. This form can sit there for up to two weeks, I’ve read, like a forever soup. I personally prefer the smaller granules in Take Charge Tea’s chaga and after a 3rd infusion, I dry the granules on a piece of towel and store in the freezer steeping in a jar of vodka. You see some of the medicine from chaga is water soluble and some is alcohol soluble (specifically the betulinic acid). I don’t want to miss a single bit of it. It can be taken as you would a tincture from a dropper or as an occasional chaga “martini”. We have added vanilla and cacao to our Chaga and it’s now available where you find Take Charge Tea

Chaga is recorded as being used by North American indigenous nomads as an eternal flame…that is to say that the chaga was carried around in a pot as a burning ember to start fires because it has incredible capacity and value as tinder and smoulders as a coal for an extraordinarily long time. Being mostly found on the mighty birch tree it has been a revered Boreal medicine ally since before recorded time. OUR chaga is being sourced and harvested ethically and intentionally with respect to the trees and the integrity of the delicate symbiotic ecosystem.


Living Locally

by TeaLady on January 20, 2013

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Take Charge Tea was thrilled to be in attendance at the fifth annual Living Locally fair put on by the Russel Horticultural Society. This very special event gathers producers, farmers, educators and volunteers together for a dynamic experience of a thriving local economy. People there want to talk about sustainability and yesterday I was in a room full of solutions; a room full of energy and hope for the future. This kind of event always gets me thinking and I thought it was about time for a blog post on the issue that is an important part of what we are actually selling here, at Take Charge Tea.
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Oatstraw is a powerful Ally

by TeaLady on January 4, 2013

Resolutions in the sand

Overall the tendency to set new years resolutions, I’ve noticed, is falling out of favour. In one sense, that is good. Setting unrealistic goals because it’s a certain date, or because everyone else is doing it may not be conducive to success. Also, many people after the holidays find themselves burnt out and weak from all the excitement and extra activity. Travelling or hosting can disrupt healthy sleep patterns; along with the extra sweets, carbs and alcohol that offer an irresistible indulgence. This doesn’t make January 2nd the ideal time to embark on a self improvement journey for most people.
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Anti-Viral Elderberry

by TeaLady on October 23, 2012

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One day, many years ago at the Carp Farmers Market…this older guy with a dirty t-shirt and wild hair came up to my booth. He was so excited to see the elderberry tea. He told me that he was a scientist, and he said to me “you know, we have just begun studying the amazing properties of elderberries as anti-viral” he said “you see, they have the unique ability to coat the cells so the virus can not latch on to them! I can not believe you have them here” The fellow seemed shocked and he bought several bags.

When putting together the TCT elderberry blend I felt intuitively that elderberries were the right main ingredient knowing that they had been used traditionally and were native to our area. I didn’t know what to make of this guy…he seemed kind of crazy; but he was not. Indeed he reminded me of Einstein with the hair like that. Over the next 5 or 6 years the articles began flying around about just that which he spoke of. Over the past decade I have many customers who experience an optimal level of health throughout the cold and flu season. As the weather gets nippy I have to remember to prepare larger bags of the elderberry and double my inventory because they know. If they forget to get some…soon something comes along to remind them.

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Steeping and Brewing Temperatures

September 27, 2012 Q&A

1. Hi there, I finally found your tea at the Piggy Market and picked up some new ones. I am really enjoying the white tea. Can you expand on temperature of water and shortened brew time instructions pleas? How is it important?
Regarding water temp and brew time: for herbs it is [...]

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A taste of roses for Herbfest – Rose 2012 herb of the year

July 27, 2012 Uncategorized
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The rose is the flower chosen by the International Herb Association for the 2012 Herb of the Year. The rose can be hearty, wild and prolific like the provincial flower of Alberta, or as spoiled and fragile as a variegated hybrid tea rose. Either way, there is no mistaking the scent, the tight [...]

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Rosy Red Clover TCT for fertility; and the estrogen question.

June 13, 2012 Q&A
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1. Is Raspberry Leaf Tea on it’s own good for fertility?
Raspberry leaf is “good” for fertility only in that it is nourishing deeply, and specifically indicated for the health of reproductive organs. For example, often fertility is compromised by the presence of fibroids…which are common and natural in women over 35 [...]

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The Power of Raw Chocolate

May 18, 2012 Teazine
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Chocolate as “Health Food”
People sometimes forget that chocolate, like wine and tea, starts out as a natural product. Chocolate comes from the cacao bean (the seed of the fruit of the cacao tree) which is a particularly potent source of antioxidants. The antioxidants are part of a large class of compounds called polyphenols. [...]

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Easter Market 2012

April 6, 2012 Events

Carp Farmers Market is one of the oldest running markets in the Ottawa area and certainly one of the nicest. This year’s Easter Market is on April 7…it’s always on the Saturday of Easter weekend. Come out and sample some of the local fare and sweet Easter treats. Handmade chocolate has a [...]

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More talk about nettle

March 13, 2012 Teazine
Nettle close-up

A while back we did a facebook contest asking people to share what they know about the benefits of nettle. WOW! we got some pretty indepth responses; and each of these participants received a free bag of Take Charge Tea’s nettle blend.
Teresa Bowden:
Nettle tea is quite rich in a large number of [...]

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A Bit about Camellia Sinensis and Caffeine

February 7, 2012 Teazine

If you have been curious about white tea but were not sure what it is, here I intend to clarify this once and for all. White tea, Green tea, Oolong tea, orange pekoe and black tea are all derived from the same plant. Camellia Sinensis. There are many different strains of [...]

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Spirit of the Lotus

February 6, 2012 Teazine
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Several years ago, during Asian Heritage Month, I attended a workshop on the Vietnamese Lotus Tea Ceremony. We learned how to make Vietnamese sweets, and then Rebecca Craig from Camellia Teas presented a wonderful slide show and story about the Lotus tea ceremony from Viet Nam.
Because it was a while ago my [...]

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