In the making of Chaga tincture, single extraction, alcohol is used as the soaking agent. The Chaga chunks are combined with alcohol and soaked for a set period of time, often months, in a glass jar. After it sits, the solid parts are removed, leaving a concentrated extract.
As different extraction methods make different micronutrients bioavailable for human consumption, it’s important to know which benefits you seek from the medicinal mushroom. Alcohol aka ethanol Chaga tincture, also known as single extraction delivers higher levels of triterpenes, therefore sterols, and lignin, which are some of Chaga’s most significant characteristics, including anticancer activity, immunomodulatory activity, inflammation management, and the facilitation of healthy cell regeneration.
Tinctures are the most concentrated way to consume Chaga. They are also easy to store since they don’t need refrigeration. A cool, dark location is ideal for storing a Chaga tincture.
Single extraction Chaga tincture
- 600 ml 40% (or higher) clear alcohol, like vodka or rum
- 80 g Chaga chunks or powder
- 2 jars Glass bottle or jar with a tight cap to store the tincture
- Combine the chaga and alcohol in the glass jar.
- Tightly seal so the alcohol won't evaporate.
- Write the date on the jar, or make a mark on your calendar so you don't forget when you started it!
- Place in a cool, dark location.
- Once a week, give the jar a good shake.
- Continue this for two months.
- Strain the Chaga out of the alcohol tincture, reserving both in separate containers.
- The tincture is done. The Chaga should be saved to be reused again for another tincture or tea.
How does Chaga taste?
Chaga tastes and smells like tree bark–but, and that in a positive way. Once processed, Chaga has beautiful sweet undertones to it. Taste is often a good indicator of the mushrooms’ source and quality. If you’ve ever had kukicha or twig tea, the Chaga flavor resonates with them.
As we have mentioned before, it’s easy to be fooled by money-hungry suppliers. That is because it’s hard to distinguish the quality of Chaga by looks alone.
You need to know what you’re asking for and trust the integrity of your seller if you’ve decided to purchase Chaga. Often times Chaga tastes off when it has been harvested from a dead tree, or as a result of bad processing, your fungus might be contaminated.
Chaga tincture single extraction is a great way to consume the superfood in high potency, without having to appreciate the flavors of the mushroom.
What does Chaga contain?
Chaga grows mainly on birch trees. These trees have long been known to have medicinal qualities on their own. Among ancient cultures, birch tree extracts, bark, and teas were used to treat pain, relieve inflammation, and specifically for treating arthritis and rheumatism. Whilst siphoning the life out of the tree, Chaga is also drawing out the medicinal qualities of it, in a concentrated form.
Chaga is known as one of the highest natural melanin sources in the world. We all have melanin in our skin, it’s the pigment responsible for our beautiful variety of skin tones and shades, eye colors, and hair colors. However, when we discuss melanin, that discussion rarely includes its actual biological benefits. Turns out that melanin has high antioxidant levels due to the number of polyphenols it contains, meaning consuming the fungus will keep your cells healthy. In fact, Chaga has the highest Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) score of any superfood, ranking three times higher on the scale than acai berries.
Related: Does Chaga increase melanin?
The mushrooms are also rich in a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, including the following: B-complex vitamins, vitamin D, potassium, rubidium, cesium, amino acids, fiber, copper, selenium, zinc, iron, manganese, magnesium, calcium.
Related: 5 benefits of Chaga for skin health
Which other properties are found in Chaga?
- Betulinic acid, to fight viral infections and tumors.
- Polysaccharides, that enhance the immune system, help to treat cancer, HIV and other bacterial or viral infections
- Triteoenes that lower cholesterol, improve blood circulation, detoxify the liver, help with hepatitis. Strenghten and support the resaritory system, therefore support the healing of bronchitis, asthma and coughs.
- Geranium, that as a free-radical scavenger cleanses the blood, normalizes blood pressure, as well as prevents tumors.
- Nucleosides, phytonutrients, minerals, including amino acids like chronium, kalium, beta-glucan, isoprenoid, inotodiol, iron, saponin and much more.
There is a lot to be said about Chaga, and most importantly that there is still so much to be learned about the Inonotus obliquus.
Related: Health benefits of Chaga mushroom
How to determine the quality of your Chaga?
- There’s a lot of talk about the health benefits of the mushroom but not enough information on how to source or prepare Chaga so that all the healthy compounds are bioavailable for your body. We have invested a lot of time into getting to know as much as possible about this fungus, and wish to share some advice with you to make sure everyone has access to the highest quality Chaga.
- Chaga will only stay alive and sterile whilst the host tree is living. Meaning that once the birch tree has died, the mushroom has died along with it and will only develop fruiting bodies to start another life cycle. That’s why trusting your supplier’s integrity to provide you with living, high-quality Chaga is very important.
- In order for us to keep using Chaga, the fungus needs to be harvested sustainably as it can take up to 20 years for it to mature. Sustainable harvesting of Chaga means that 40-50% of the fungus will be left on the tree. Unfortunately, many bigger companies are irresponsibly damaging the trees in the forest to harvest Chaga and selfishly taking the entire piece of Chaga they find, leaving the once thriving and beautiful birch tree to die. That’s why we encourage people to do their research on the companies they wish to purchase from.
Related: How to harvest healthy Chaga?
- Drying can make or break the quality of your product. The biggest problem with harvested Chaga is mold. There are two most prevalent types, of which the more common is white mold on the Sclerotium – black outer layer and a greenish-blue mold in the inner layer. Both develop with improper processing and storage. Once contaminated, we suggest getting rid of the Chaga entirely.
- Sclerotium is a precious part of the superfood, containing high amounts of melanin. This is where a lot of your antioxidants hide, which is why it’s incredibly important to note whether sclerotium is still intact when sourcing the fungus.