Chaga has long been known for its health benefits.
In the X-XI century, the famous Persian physician Avicenna first described the use of chaga for medicinal purposes.
The first written mention of chaga in Kievan Rus dates from the 11th century and is associated with the name of Vladimir II Monomakh. Chronicles say he was treated with an elixir of chaga to cure the tumor of his lips.
Ancient residents of Kievan Rus also treated diseases of the stomach, intestines, kidneys, lungs, and skin with powders, elixirs, and ointments made from chaga.
Some people suggest that chaga got its name from the Old Slavic word "Gaga", which means “lip”. Others say that the Khanty, who inhabited the lands of Western Siberia and were the first who used chaga as a medicinal tonic, gave the mushroom its name.
Chaga is most effective in combating stomach, liver and heart diseases, various infections, and even tuberculosis.
In Russia, this mushroom was often used in making tea and cleansing liquid.
Khanty used to make very simple tea from chaga: they threw bits of dry chaga into hot water and drank such tea until they recovered.
To make cleansing water, the mushroom was cut into pieces and heated on fire. When the pieces turned red, the Khanty threw them into hot water and stirred until the mushroom was dissolved. Thus, the chaga water had cleansing and disinfecting properties.
Chaga has been used by people of different nations and professions for different purposes.
Chaga tea has always been and continues to be, popular among hunters and foresters, since it quenches hunger, relieves fatigue, and freshens. Chaga tea is good for increasing overall tone in extreme conditions.
For example, Siberian hunters drank chaga tea while chasing wild Moose.
Peoples living in Siberian forests tamed wild moose to breed them and drink moose milk.
Siberian hunters trailed moose in the winter forests. In those days, there were no skis, and even in later times, it was impossible to chase a moose on skis through loose snow. The Siberian hunter walked for moose for many kilometers until the moose become tired of being chased by, so the hunter could approach, rope him, and bring the moose home.
All Siberian hunters drank chaga tea along the way. It gave them enough strength and vitality and helped to overcome extreme loads and winter cold.
The Modern use of chaga
Today, chaga mushroom has become widely used in all corners of the world.
In China, chaga mushroom is commonly used in traditional medicine.
In Korea, there is a trend for Chaga cosmetics, namely creams, serums, and oils. Chaga mushroom helps to prolong the youthfulness of the skin, smooth wrinkles, and fight aging processes.
Residents of the tundra and the Far East use the fungus to treat wounds, cuts, and scratches. This is because chaga extract helps to restore the skin due to its unique chemical composition. It is able to accelerate the process of skin regeneration, regulate metabolic processes, and protect the skin from various factors: temperature fluctuations, ultraviolet rays, and dry conditioned air.
North American beekeepers still use the old recipe for treating bees against viruses: bees take a mixture of sugar and water added with chaga powder.
Nowadays, chaga has become widely popular in Europe and America, and one can find it in Hollywood stars' diets.
Chaga is an ingredient of cocktails, smoothies, and pastries, it is a part of the traditional dishes in the daily diet. For many people, the morning starts with a cup of chaga coffee.
The famous American nutritionist David Wolfe, who advises American stars, wrote a popular book praising the benefits of chaga and called it the king of mushrooms.