November 23, 2015
Every month, my wife Jessa releases a new issue of her digital magazine, which includes her latest meal plans and recipes, kitchen tips, do-it-yourself personal care and household cleaning products, gardening secrets, and much more (and occasionally I jump in, usually in my underwear, to include a few bonus videos).
It's called the “Healthy Home Workshop” and below, you'll get a taste of one of the videos and .pdf's from this month's issue (covering an especially useful topic if you want to boost your immunity this winter). If you want to get each issue of the Healthy Home Workshop delivered to you digitally via e-mail, simply click here to join now!
See that photo above?
That's me, holding a handful of precious “chaga” shavings that I harvested from a birch tree while foraging in Finland last month after speaking at the Biohackers Summit in Helsinki. Below, you can see me cutting the chaga (also known as “black gold) from the tree with a pocketknife.
So what the heck is chaga?
It's basically a mushroom – a parasitic fungus that lives on birch trees. In the Northern Hemisphere, it grows in many regions, including Siberia, Japan (Hokkaido), the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries and areas of northern North America. Chaga is known to have been in the folk medicine of northern Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries; its Norwegian name, “kreftkjuke,” translates as “cancer fungus.”
In his 1950’s research for the novel Cancer Ward, Russian author and Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn spoke of the fungus in the book, lauding the healing powers of chaga in treating cancer:
“He could not imagine any greater joy than to go away into the woods for months on end, to break off this chaga, crumble it, boil it up on a campfire, drink it and get well like an animal. To walk through the forest for months, to know no other care that to get better! Just as a dog goes to search for some mysterious grass that will save him…”
Compared with other medicinal mushrooms, chaga contains extraordinarily large amounts of superoxide dismutase (SOD) – 25 to 50 times more, in fact – and SOD happens to be one of the body’s most powerful antioxidants. Chaga has been proven to increase the activity of natural killer cells by 300%. These cells play a major role in eradicating tumors and removing virus-infected cells. Because it is such a potent source of natural antioxidants, chaga is one of the most effective immune system tonics you can consume.
More than 1600 scientific research studies examining chaga have proven it to be one of nature’s most potent cancer-fighting and immune-system boosting agents. It includes 215 different phytonutrients, with anti-oxidative, immune-stimulative, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Chaga is also a powerful adaptogen, helping your body adapt to both internal and external stresses. As a “tonic herb,” it is non-toxic and can be taken in large quantities and over long periods, with no ill effects. You can read up on all the medical and scientific research on chaga here, check out the infographic below, and keep reading to learn how to extract all the mushroom goodness out of chagae.
How To Get All The Goodness Out Of Chaga
Don't have time to forage for chaga in Finland but still want to boost your immunity this winter? You can order your own raw chaga chunks from places like Amazon or, if you want a “done-for-you” approach that is already in edible form you can get your own dual-extracted powders from FourSigmaFoods.
If you decide to get your own raw mushroom chunks, you can't just eat them by the handful or dump them into tea. Instead, you need to extract all the beta-glucans, terpenes, and other bioactive compounds from the mushroom so that your body can actually absorb and utilize these compounds.
So in the video and .pdf below, straight from the Healthy Home Workshop, you're going to see exactly how to do this (and what I did with my own chaga chunks), using a technique called “dual-extraction” with both water and alcohol. Enjoy, and leave any questions in the comments section.
Download the Chaga Dual-Extraction manual here.
Don't have time to get your own chaga and do this kind of dual-extraction? Simply click here to order dual-extracted, wild-harvest chaga extract from one of my favorite sources straight out of Finland – FourSigmaFoods.
Leave your questions, comments or feedback below, and click here to join the Healthy Home Workshop if you want plenty of other little-known healthy living tips just like this!
30 thoughts on “The Little-Known “Black Gold” Mushroom That Stops Cold And Flus In Their Tracks.”
Do I need to boil the Chaga powder or can I add it to a cold protein shake? Will I still receive the benefits if I eat/drink the raw powder? I don’t drink coffee, tea or anything hot really.
Just wondering what would happen if you ground the chaga into a very fine powder and sprinkled it on food? Would it not be bioavailable?
’m pretty sure that just like any other mushrooms you would still be able to absorb any of the alkaloids if you simply use it as a food condiment
Ben, you say boil the chaga for four hours. Boil at what temperature? Isn’t chaga hurt if you boil above 122°? How long should I let it sit before I strain it?
I suppose I should have said simmer. If you refer to the instructions it goes into more detail and reads "simmer".
Ben could something like the four sigmatic mushroom coffee with lion’s mane be a good choice as a pre workout due to the high levels of antioxidants and adaptogens?
Lion’s Mane is more for cognition. For a pre-workout, I would go with the Cordyceps Elixer. And if you want the full circle mushroom experience, use Reishi to wind down and relieve stress. You can find them all here: http://www.foursigmatic.com/greenfield Be sure to use code BENGREENFIELD to save 15%.
Ok, I already have the Lions mane version though and want to use that up first. Just was not sure with he adaptogens etc if it would negate the benefits of the workout. But I will def do that after I use this up
so ben i have doing my tea from Maine that hunter friends have given me in my crock pot for two days on low setting then on warm setting for day or two for a total of 3-4 DAYS AND I REUSE THE GROUNDS!
Grounds then are composted in my plants.
Oh and by the way I douse all my food and this one is 100% beneficial for the human body.
can you eat chaga chunks raw?
No, they're super tough.
Is it safe for kids? I have a 6 and 8 year old.
Yes, Chaga is fine for kids
So if one doesn’t want to ingest alcohol, what is an alternative for the 2nd step or a post-process to the second step?
You can only do an alcohol extraction with alcohol I'm afraid! But the alcohol is to dissolve the components which are insoluble in water (terpenoids or triterpenoids). These relatively nonpolar compounds should theoretically dissolve in any nonpolar solvent, e.g. fats and oils…so ou could TRY someone like vegetable glycerin for example. No guarantees though. ;)
MAYBE you could make the alcohol evaporate from the tincture after you dissolve the chaga in it if the chemicals from chaga have greater boiling temperature. If I am correct in saying that alcohol boils at 68°C (and therefore evaporates the quickest), you could warm up the brewed tincture to say 75°C and keep it like that for some time… Not all of the alcohol will evaporate like that and some of the chaga chemicals might evaporate as well. I am not sure, though.
I have read that you can do a glycerin substitute for alcohol, have you seen that as well Ben?
Recently on pubmed, an article describing the toxic affects of this mushroom makes for a good read and just shows how dangerous it is to take advice from self proclaimed health and fitness experts.
Couldn’t find anything on chaga being toxic in med journals. Could you post a link?
I didn’t realize that chaga has been proven to be one of the best cancer-fighting and immune system boosting agents. My friend has cancer. I will have to tell her about chaga to see if it will help her immune system fight. Thanks for the information!
All very interesting.. I Sounds really good But imagine that Chaga would be on the WADA list? As the list seems to be growing bigger all the time.
Nope, totally safe on WADA.
Do not boil! Simmer only.
www.superiorwildchaga.com has tons of factual information not internet hype or misleading information.
Great Post….Thanks for Sharing
Recently read not to boil this but only simmer on low heat. Any truth to fact boiling is bad for the process?
There are no conclusive studies done on this topic. It is clear however that the active components are really heat stable so the heat doesn't destroy them even if you boiled it. Also the longer you boil/simmer, obviously the more more concentrated the extract will be.
Ok, so I'm not quite crafty enough to make my own extractions. But I do get my mushroom powders from Four Sigma Foods (chaga, reishi, lion's mane and cordyceps). Berrytime in Hong Kong delivers super quick.
The Chaga makes a good complement to coffee or tea, especially pu-erh. Under normal conditions, i generally do a packet once every 3-4 days for prophylactic measures, although I would ramp if I felt like I was coming down with a cold. But that hasn't happened in a while…
Thanks for the excellent video instruction!
Go Greenfield family! Greets from Finland. Come by anytime for some more chaga ;)
Is Chaga effective in combating asthma issues. It would be gteat if I can get off my asthma meds.
Check this out: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/06/245-what…