This time of year I often find myself craving a cold flavored beverage.
Rather than reaching for soft-drinks, teas, or juice, I skip the
calories and caffeine by drinking mushroom tea. Whether it is plain
chaga or reishi tea embellished with mint and lemon balm from my
garden I try to keep a batch cold in the fridge all summer long.
Of course you don’t need to drink the tea cold. Warm is wonderful as
well. My friend Maria Kateri McGuire, LMT- Healing Artist says it
best, “Lingering over a warm cup of chaga or reishi tea can help
infuse an anxious body with a sense of calm and renewed purpose. It
allows you to replenish your vital force and is good for your Chi.
Learn to allow the tea to carry you away from preoccupations.”
In Asia and Eastern Europe mushroom teas have been used for centuries as
remedies for almost every ailment known to man. Chaga (
and reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) are a couple of
the most widely used and well studied medicinal mushroom teas. Not
only may these teas heal but the generations of use have demonstrated
that these teas when used in moderation have little or no adverse
recognized for its anti-tumor properties, chaga was made popular to
the western world by the Russian Nobel laureate Alexander
Solzhenitsyn in the publication of his book “ the Cancer Ward” in
1969. Recent studies have shown it can inhibit tumor growth in
breast, ovarian, testicular and colon cancers. Other research
suggests that it is a strong anti-oxidant, immuno-stimulant, and can
be effective at treating viruses. Chaga is also being explored as a
possible treatment for a wide variety of diseases including chronic
fatigue syndrome, diabetes, gastritis, ulcers, cardiovascular and
mushroom grows exclusively on birch trees which give the tea a
lovely hint of birch Flavor. Chunks of Chaga can be steeped in a
crock pot on low for days giving a ready supply of delicious tea. At
everything mushrooms we keep our brewing continually, everyone is
welcome to come have a leisurely talk while enjoying some Chaga Tea,
we run out of cups all the time so bring your own.
can also be prepared from ground chaga short order by steeping in
hot water in a french press or tea ball. Chaga can be enjoyed hot or
cold, drink plain or enhance the natural flavors with honey or lime.
China, reishi is known as the the mushroom of immortality, believed
to improve mind and memory and retain youth. Recent studies have
reported reishi is an anti-inflammatory and can be used to treat a
plethora of diseases that have inflammation at their root including
osteo-arthritus, gout, rheumatism, allergies, asthma, and
cardiovascular disease. Other studies support its use for various
conditions including hypertension and hypothyroidism, migraines,
cholesterol reduction and regulation of the immune system.
Tea can be broken into pieces or ground in a coffee grinder steeped
in a hot water using a french press or tea ball. The taste of reishi
is somewhat bitter, it is made more palatable by steeping with
another tea. Many teas work well but my favorites are peppermint or
black tea with a little milk and honey.
not everyone will agree with the healing effects of mushroom teas,
most experts will agree that drinking tea to distract you from
grabbing a snack or a soft drink will have numerous health benefits
including weight loss. Only recently in combination with drugs have
any side effects been found with these teas. Constituents of chaga
and reishi mushroom extract may magnify the effects of blood
thinners. Chaga can also lower blood sugar so it could interact with
diabetic medicines like insulin. Ask your doctor about possible
reactions with any anticoagulant and anti-diabetic drugs before
enjoying these teas.