What is Chaga?

Mushrooms 101 

Mushrooms belong to the Fungi Kingdom but each species can differ greatly. Not all fungi are mushrooms, but all mushrooms are fungi.  Mushrooms are not truly considered to be plants, as they do not have chlorophyll to produce energy. The body of the mushroom is called the mycelium, which is a web of miniscule filaments called hyphae.  Typically, we do not see the mycelium, but the fruiting body, which is produced after the mycelium have enough energy and material stored to produce the fruiting body. The cell walls that make up the mushroom body are made from chitin, a polymer that is present in the exoskeletons of arthropods (animals with exoskeletons).

Chaga Mushrooms 

Chaga is slightly different from typical fungi, specifically in the way the mushrooms grow. Instead of having hidden mycelium, the mycelium are the exposed portion we see forming on the tree as huge, dark masses due to the large content of melanin. Typically, chaga grows on a birch tree. In Celtic symbology, the birch tree represents fresh starts and regeneration,  an interesting tidbit for this wonder mushroom that gives the body regeneration of sorts.

At Rishi, we work with wild crafters across various regions in North America to sustainably harvest our mushrooms. The wild crafters are experienced in maintaining the biodiversity of regions. The crafters skillfully understand the amount of chaga that can be foraged at a time and to harvest only within a specific season to achieve this balance. This process enables them to slow the growth rate of the chaga and harvest multiple times. The methods used and quantities of chaga foraged are enforced by an organic certification board.

Each production batch contains more than 50kg of organic chaga mushrooms steeped to perfection. The long-simmering method is the traditional way used to extract the benefits and most flavor from the mushrooms. Balanced with cocoa nibs, ginger and cinnamon, Chaga Chai is a delicious treat and can be integrated into menus quite easily. For more information check out our entry: Beyond the Latte: Five Ways to Experience Rishi’s Chaga Chai.

  

Traditional Benefits of Chaga 

Chaga is considered to be the “king of mushrooms,” while reishi is considered to be the “queen.” Both are renowned for their ability to aid the body in fighting foreign invaders and keeping the body balanced and thriving. According to herbalists, chaga would be considered an immunomodulator, which is similar to an adaptogen, but has to do specifically with the immune system.  The beta-glucans (a polysaccharide found in chaga) have the ability to increase the production of certain white blood cells which regulate the immune response to foreign invaders in the body.

Chaga Chai Concentrate

Chaga Chai

Chaga Chai is a remarkable brew that blends wildcrafted chaga mushrooms with roasted dandelion root, chicory and adaptogenic astragalus root. A touch of cocoa nibs and a hint of sweetness bring this grounding yet decadent treat to life.c blackened lemons.

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