I searched the internet for information on Chaga tea. It appears that Russians have been making and drinking Chaga tea for centuries. It was used as a substitute for real tea by people who could not afford the real thing. It is hard to believe that they went through an intricate recipe given below. Most likely they broke the Chaga into small pieces, put it in a tea kettle with water and boiled it until the tea was dark in color. The first recipe stresses that Chaga should not be boiled. The fifth recipe says that you have to boil it in order to activate the anti cancer part of the Chaga. Some say to boil it up to 2 hrs. This does not seam reasonable since most if not all the water would boil away.
#1. Preparation: The dried, shredded inner part of the conk is softened by soaking in cold but previously boiled water for 4 hours. Filter and save both the liquid portion as well as the softened fungus. An infusion is prepared by pouring sterilized boiled water, cooled to 50º C (122º F), over the fungus (use a weight ratio of about 1:5 fungus to water). Let stand at room temperature for 48 hours. The mixture is then filtered (coffee filter) and the water in which the fungus was originally soaked is added to the filtrate.
Dosage: The infusion can be used for up to 4 days. Three glasses should be taken per 24-hour period,
approximately 30 minutes before meals. It takes some 7 kg a month of the fungus for a course of treatment, lasting 4 to 7 months, with short breaks if necessary.
Note: It is important to never overheat the fungus and to treat it as you would yeast, never subjecting it to too much heat or cold.
The above was the most common recipe found on the Internet. It appears to be based on the recipe used to make an infusion to treat illnesses in Russia in a formal setting such as a hospital or other treatment center. After harvesting the Chaga from a living birch, remove the brown part that was growing closest to the tree. They say use the first three layers next to the tree. They do not explain how to recognize the layers. They do say that the most potent part of the Chaga is that which has the white veins running through it.
I used a wood drill to remove the desired
Chaga but it is a messy process and is best done outside. Also try to do
this soon after harvest while the Chaga is relatively soft. After it dries
it becomes much harder to work. By using a drill you shred it to desired
state. Set it out to dry, then you can store it in air tight containers
Dry Chaga is very light, like cork. The 1:5 ratio given above must be for the pre soaked Chaga. How much water you use in the pre soak stage is not given but I assume it would be minimum to wet the dry Chaga. If not all the water is soaked up by Chaga in this stage then It is saved. If the Chaga is dripping wet after 4 hours of soaking I would press it by hand to remove the excess water before weighing it. So for each ounce of wet Chaga you would add 5 ounces of 122º F water. The statement The infusion can be used for up to 4 days. Should have said "The infusion should be used up within 4 days." I appears that the infusion starts to lose its potency after 4 days. If you are using it to treat a serious medical condition you should have a fresh batch ready for the 5th day.
#2. This is a variation of recipe #1 that I came up with. It is something half way between an infusion and a tea. Right after harvesting remove the black part of the Chaga by using a wood chisel. Using different size wood chisels enables you to remove the black part with minimum amount of waste of the good brown part. Bill Neill came up with the good idea of removing the black from the Chaga while it is still on the tree. He used a wood chisel and hammer. This way it stays put while you are cleaning it. After cleaning, cut it up into 1" or thereabout cubes. These you can put in a dehydrator and dry them at about 105º F. Put them in an air tight container for storage. It should keep for years if stored in a cool dry place. An advantage of using these cubes rather than drill shavings is that you do not have to filter the liquid. Filters tend to get plugged up quickly when Chaga powder is used to make the infusion. I use a 2 gallon stainless steel pot to make the infusion. I fill it with water and bring it to a boil. Take it off the heat and let it cool until I can touch the pot and not get burned. Then I take 3 or 4 handfuls of the dry cubes and put them into the water. Cover the pot with a lid and let it stand 48 hrs or so. I then strain the liquid into plastic soda bottles and store them in the refrigerator. The used cubes can be used at least two more times. The last time I even put them in boiling water and boil them for about 10 minutes. There is another school of thought that say that the anti cancer ingredients of Chaga are released only when boiled.
#3. Put 5-10cm
pieces of Chaga into a pot and fill it with boiled and cooled water (not more
than 50-60 degrees Celsius ) and infuse for 4 hours. For medical purposes the mushroom Chaga should be gathered only from live birch and is prepared from the dried, ground Chaga.
Afterwards, the soaked pieces of Chaga should be crushed through mincing machine or grater. For each 1 part of crushed Chaga add 5 parts of boiled and cooled water (t<60 C) and
infuse for 48 hours at room temperature. Pour out the liquid into another pot through filter (or through a gauze) and add the liquid left from first infusion. The decoction can be stored for 4 days in a cool, dark place. Take three glasses (200g glass = 1 cup= 8oz.) a day minimum, not only against bowel cancer but against other tumors. When having a pelvis minor cancer (prostate cancer, rectum cancer) take an enema with 50-100 ml of warm Chaga decoction
additionally early in the morning and before going to sleep in the evening
TO PREPARE A LIQUEUR
Put three table spoons of milled Chaga into 0,5 liter of vodka and keep it for
two weeks in a cool dark place. Shake from time to time. In two weeks filter
the contents, squeezing the liquid out of the remaining pieces of Chaga.
Dosage: take 3 table spoons of the liquid 3-6 times a day.
While taking Chaga beverages do not take penicillin and do not use
intravenous injections of glucose. Those substances are antagonists to Chaga.
The above recipe was obtained from a Russian web site. I corrected some poor translation plus added English measure equivalents. This recipe is basically the same as #1 but is made from cubes of Chaga instead of ground powder.
#4 In David Arora's "All That the Rain
Promises, and More..." has the following Chaga tea recipe: Tea prepared from
widely used by Siberians and Russians ... to enhance
the immune system and combat or prevent cancer. To
make Chaga tea: cut into pieces with an ax and soak
for 6-8 hours, then powder the soaked chunks by
running them through a meat grinder. Bring 5 ups of
water to a boil and stir in 1 cup of ground Chaga.
Steep for an hour or two, then filter and drink,
reheating it if desired (excess can be kept in a
thermos). The tea is richly colored with a very mild
It looks like this recipe does not use dry Chaga. It sounds like they chop the Chaga off the tree and make tea right away. I am sure you will not ruin the recipe if you use a knife to cut up the Chaga :o) I do not even use an ax to remove the Chaga from the tree. I use wood chisels and a hammer. My aim with an ax is not that good plus the thing that you chop off tends to fly off into the next county. I like to use a sharp cleaver and a sturdy cutting board to cut up the Chaga. I place the cleaver on the piece of Chaga and then press it slowly in. This works only when the Chaga is fresh. If it is air dried first, I use a wood chisel to cut up the Chaga.
#5 Chaga has
been prepared as a tea, decoction, extract, syrup injection, suppository, tablet
and aerosol (Hartwell 1971). Use the inner yellow and golden mass closer to the
tree. Prepare a tea by boiling the ingredients for a few minutes. Use
approximately 3 square centimeters or one tablespoon of crushed mushroom. It
will produce 2.5 - 3 liters of tea to be to be taken in a dose of 3 cups per
day, ½ hour before meals. Continue for 15-20 weeks with intervals of 7-10 days.
According to anti-tumour studies, boiling activates anti-tumour particles
leading to tumour inhibition in mice (Lucas 1960). So, it seems that both
folklore and laboratory evidence point toward boiling the fungus in making the tea.
This recipe, from a Russian web site, contradicts the others where you are warned not to boil the Chaga. The Russian peasants that used Chaga for centuries most likely used boiling water to make their tea. So it appears that you can make the tea anyway you want and still get the benefits of the healing power of Chaga.
Here Is the recipe that I currently use:
This is the recipe that I currently use for Chaga tea. I think of this as the lazy man's Chaga tea. After I harvest the Chaga I bring it home and break it up into small pieces of half inch cubes or so, dry it and put in an air tight container. I throw out any pieces which have mostly black in them. Some I air dry since I do not always have time to cut it up right away. I have never seen any Chaga that went moldy. It does not allow mold to form. It is harder to break up after it dries. I break up just enough for one use and leave the rest whole. I like my Chaga tea strong so it is black in color. I just add Chaga to the water by eye and previous experience. I bring the pot of water and Chaga to a boil then turn down the heat so that it simmers. I let it simmer for about an hour then shut off the heat and let it stand for 24 hours, then strain it into bottles and store in the refrigerator. I like to drink it cold. Sometimes I drink it straight, other times I will spike it with ginger ale. I use the same Chaga pieces about 3 to 5 times before throwing them out. One Russian recipe I read calls for the boiling of Chaga to bring out its anti cancer properties. This why I simmer mine for about an hour.
I corresponded with one person who used a quart sized mason jar in which he placed the Chaga pieces, filled it with tap water and sealed it with a lid. He put the jar on a window sill where the sunlight could get at it. After a day or two he strained the tea and refilled the jar with fresh water. When the tea became too weak he replaced the used Chaga pieces.
Another fellow liked his alcohol. He made his own beer and used Chaga to flavor it. He also put Chaga into bottles filled with vodka. This gave an interesting color and taste to vodka. I hope he did not start drinking more alcohol and turned into an alcoholic :o)