The History of Siberian Chaga
Documented as early as 4600 years ago, ancient Asian folk medicine practitioners relied upon Chaga, a medicinal mushroom, to maintain a healthy life energy balance (“Chi”), preserve youth, promote longevity, and boost the body’s immune system. As a folk medicine, Chaga was ingested by the local people of the Siberian mountain regions in tea or powder form, inhaled from smoke, and applied to the skin. Indigenous people from that area have been documented to live beyond 100 years of age.*
The Chinese Monk Shen Nong, in his work Shen Nong Ben Cao Jin, the first of the three ancient medical books that serve as the foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine, proclaimed Chaga as a superior class medicinal herb, for its diverse and complete homeopathic properties and as a daily supplement for maintaining the body’s immune system and increasing longevity.*
Siberian Chaga, Inonotus Obliquus, naturally found in the black birch forests of the Siberian mountain regions is the most potent of all the varieties of Chaga mushrooms. Chaga is a parasitic carpophore that enters a wound on a mature tree then grows under the bark until it blisters through the bark forming a grotesque black charcoal-like conk on the tree trunk, hence the Latin epithet “Obliquus”. The Chaga conk grows with the tree over a 5 to 7 year period, thriving in the harsh Siberian winter environment, absorbing life-sustaining nutrients from the black birch tree, until the conk flower fully ripens, falling to the forest floor, followed shortly by the death of the host tree, completing a 20 year micro-ecological cycle.
Russian culture has embraced the medicinal uses of Siberian Chaga, and its uses have spread westward to the Urals and Baltic regions of the European continent. Today, Chaga tea is commonly used in Russian cultures as a family cupboard remedy to support a healthy immune system and as a powerful antioxidant.*