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The chaga: with this fungus you will make big eyes

The Chaga, also known as Inonotus obliquus, can support you outdoors in the wilderness. Not only as tea, but also as tinder for making fire.

from Martin Gebhardt | Plants / fungi | 1 comment | reading time 4 Min
Updated on 08 June 2023 18.467 views 91% found this guide helpful
The chaga: with this fungus you will make big eyes

Martin Gebhardt

From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.


👉 The key facts from this guide

  • Chaga is a rare tree fungus that mainly grows in Nordic countries and is used in traditional medicine.
  • The fungus can be used as tinder to start a fire.
  • Chaga tea is known for its immune-boosting properties and can be prepared from fresh or dried pieces.
  • The fungus is believed to have preventive and healing effects against cancer and to strengthen the immune system, but there are no studies with humans to prove this.
  • Chaga contains oxalic acid, which can damage the kidneys in large amounts, so consumption should be moderate.
  • It is recommended to only buy wild collected Chaga in whole pieces to obtain the healing effects.

There are not many mushrooms that are versatile.

Some of our ancestors have already used them thousands of years ago.

As medicine, kindling, or food.

Today I want to show you one mushroom in more detail: the Chaga.

You will learn how Chaga can support you in the wilderness.

Let's get started.

The "Gold of the North" is rare in Germany

Chaga is a tree fungus that belongs to the Hymenochaetaceae family. The correct scientific name is Inonotus obliquus. It mainly attacks birch trees and occasionally also alder, beech, oak, maple, rowan, and other deciduous trees. However, Chaga nodules only grow on birch and alder trees. In folk medicine, it is used to treat diseases.

However, for Chaga to develop its healing powers, it must infect a birch tree. The birch protects itself against the fungus with a substance that Chaga stores inside itself.

Encountering Chaga in Germany is tricky because it mainly grows in Nordic countries such as Russia, Poland, Sweden, and Finland. The fungus likes it moist and sunny, so it can be found at forest edges, lakes, swamps, and streams.

Even worse, scientists have reported that even in the north, it is now only found sporadically.

Chaga mainly grows on the trunk of birch trees
Chaga mainly grows on the trunk of birch trees

On the tree, Chaga looks like a knobby and crumbly growth with a black crust.

It can grow up to half to three-quarters of a meter on the trunk of birch trees and live for 10 to 20 years.

The Chaga is harvested with an axe or a knife, depending on its size. It has a slightly fungal smell and the inner color resembles dark honey.

How to obtain tinder from Chaga

Since the Neolithic period, Chaga has been of special importance to humans, as it is one of the few species that can be used to ignite a fire.

When the inside of the fungus is completely dry, a spark will suffice and the fungus will catch fire.

The fire will slowly spread through the Chaga, giving you all the time in the world to ignite the rest of your fire.

Another method is to rub the Chaga on a hard and somewhat rough surface. If you rub fast enough and with enough endurance, a small ember will be created by the friction heat.

In the video below, you can see how it works:

How to make tea from Chaga

Chaga is mainly known for its immune-strengthening ingredients in traditional Russian medicine and is consumed primarily as tea.

The tea can be drunk fresh or brewed from dried pieces.

Chaga is particularly known for its healing effects as tea

I always recommend keeping or buying Chaga in pieces. Powder can mold faster and if you buy it, it is difficult to know what is in the powder.

To make Chaga tea, follow these instructions:

  • Take 8 to 10 grams of dried Chaga
  • Crush it with a mortar and pestle, rub it with a coarse grater or grind it
  • Add the Chaga to 500 milliliters of water
  • Let it simmer for at least 10 minutes, preferably 30 minutes
  • Strain the tea and it's ready
  • Sweeten the tea with sugar, honey, etc.

Tip: Save the pieces and boil them again. You can do this until the tea water no longer turns brown.

Attention: The mushroom contains oxalic acid, which can damage the kidneys in large quantities. Do not drink more than necessary.

Miracle Mushroom with Tradition?

Chaga is said to have a preventive and curative effect against cancer.

It is also said to:

  • help with diabetes (lower blood sugar)
  • protect the liver
  • act against inflammation
  • strengthen the immune system
  • relieve pain
  • enhance endurance and mental performance

The tree mushroom is taken as a tea, tablet, or powder.

In Russia, Chaga has been a popular medicinal remedy for centuries.

But is the healing effect scientifically proven?

I will now clarify this in the questions and answers.

Questions and Answers about Chaga

To make you feel safe when processing Chaga, I will answer important questions.

Are there studies with humans on the healing effect of Chaga?

There are many studies, but only on cultivated cells in the laboratory or on experimental animals. After intensive research, I have found no research results on studies with humans. That means that scientifically, it is not clear whether the Chaga mushroom can cure or prevent diseases in humans.¹

Can Chaga cause kidney damage?

Since Chaga mushrooms contain the substance oxalate in high concentrations, high concentrations can be harmful. Kidney stones form and your kidneys are damaged as a result. However, there are also many other foods that contain oxalic acid (spinach, peppermint, rhubarb).

What does Chaga tea taste like?

When I tried my first Chaga tea, it wasn't an exciting experience. A little mushroomy and woody. Understandably so, as it is a mushroom and also grows on a tree. However, some people compare the taste to coffee or black tea. Just try it for yourself. ;-)

chaga pilz

What kind of Chaga should I buy?

I recommend that you only buy wild-crafted Chaga in chunks. This is very likely to have the healing effects. Traditionally, a Chaga comes from Lapland, grows on a birch tree, and is at least 5 years old. Stay away from cultivated Chagas. These mushrooms grow on algae and do not contain the healing substances of birch. In addition, there is a high chance that the mushrooms have been fertilized or exposed to pesticides.

Here is my recommendation:

Sevenills Wholefoods Bio Chaga Pilz Pulver 200g
4,5 (364)

Data updated 15 hours ago

Sevenills Wholefoods Bio Chaga Pilz Pulver 200g

  • Bekannt als der "König der Pilze" und ein Adaptogen, das dem Körper hilft, mit Stress umzugehen und die Vitalität zu steigern
  • Wird traditionell zur Behandlung verschiedener Beschwerden verwendet
  • Hat einen erdigen und doch bitteren Geschmack, wird oft als Tee getrunken oder kann in die Lieblingssuppe gegeben werden
  • 100 % rein und ohne Zusätze, frei von Allergenen, von der britischen Soil Association als biologisch zertifiziert, umweltverträgliche Praktiken angewandt, frei von GVO, nicht bestrahlt, auf Schwermetalle und Mykotoxine getestet. Registriert bei der UK Vegan Society.
  • Geliefert in wiederverschließbaren, recycelbaren LDPE-Beuteln, die zusammen mit den Tüten im Supermarkt recycelt werden können. *Hinweis: Die Verpackung kann variieren, der Inhalt bleibt gleich*.

no price can be determined (B07JQGMXPC)

View Product

What do you think of Chaga?

Have you ever tried Chaga? Are you convinced of its healing effect? Or have you ever used it as kindling?

Tell me in the comments, I am excited about an exchange.

Take care, Martin
Martin Gebhardt

Author of the guide


Martin Gebhardt

Hey, I'm Martin. On my blog, you will learn the basics and numerous details about living in the wild. I think survival, bushcraft and the good life in nature are the keys to happiness. Find me here on Instagram or on YouTube. You can find more about my mission on the About Me page.

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Free 35 Survival Hacks you'll love!

You will get 35 easy-to-implement survival hacks so that you don't have to stand aimlessly in the forest from tomorrow when things get tough. Take your skills to the next level!

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