Published on 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.ChagaExtraction
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!