Thursday, 19 October 2017

Magic mushroom - To boost the immune system

photo credit: Olien Webb

With the season changing and my immune system being out of balance I ended up catching a cold last week. That makes me go straight to my favourite hot chocolate “exilir”, adding chaga mushroom tea to make it magical. I can’t claim that this drink is miraculous but it works wonders for me… I was introduced to chaga tea a while ago and, on Sunday, when my cold was at its worse I ate a nourishing meal and drank chaga mushroom tea. Placebo effect or not, next day I was feeling like a new person.

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a type of mushroom that grows on birch trees, mostly in cold countries. It doesn’t look much like a mushroom, more like a lump or a cluster of burnt wood. Some research shows that chaga boosts the immune system, helping the body to fight off bacteria and viruses. It is also known to boost energy, improve sleep quality, support blood sugar levels and healthy digestion, and reduce inflammation.

It may sound odd to have mushroom in a cup of hot chocolate, I appreciate that the flavours sound incompatible. It would probably be true for other mushrooms, but I guarantee you the chaga won’t ruin your hot choc, on the contrary: it won’t affect the taste and it will increase the nutritional benefits. 

You can make chaga mushroom tea using raw chunks of chaga or the powder. I buy mine from here

You can also use chaga tea on your soups, smoothies or as a stock in any meal.


Chaga mushroom chunks.
Chaga mushrooms chunks in simmering water.
Ingredients for the hot chocolate.
Cashew milk and chaga tea before boiling.
The boiled mushrooms can be reused...
...and stored in the freezer.
My hot chocolate with chaga.

Hot chocolate with chaga mushroom

For the tea

Ingredients 


3-4 chaga chunks
1 litre of water

Method


Bring 1 litre of water to a boil and add the chaga chunks to the water. Turn down to a simmer and cover for 1 hour. Keep an eye to make sure it is not boiling.

Remove the chaga chunks from the water. The tea will have a dark brown colour.

The chaga mushroom chunks can be reused up to five times. Keep them in the freezer to prevent mould.

You can store your chaga tea in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and you can enjoy it hot or cold.

For the hot chocolate

Ingredients
 

180ml cashew, almond, oat, hemp or any milk of your choice
80ml chaga mushroom tea 
2 tablespoons hot chocolate powder (I used one with chilli)*
¼ teaspoon cinnamon or at your taste
*If you’re using plain cacao powder, add coconut sugar or honey to taste.

Method

In a pot, add the tea and the milk and let them almost boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate powder and cinnamon.  Use a frother if you have one.
 

Warning: To date, side effects and dosage safety of chaga mushrooms are unclear. However, chaga mushroom is very high in oxalates, which can affect absorption of certain nutrients and toxic in high dosage, specially for people with kidney disease.  


Till next week!
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