An odd-looking birch fungus, named chaga, has amazing medicinal qualities and is most commonly used in teas, coffee and candy. It is poised to become the next gold rush in Alaska.
This little fungus might not look like much, but in Alaska, it has become a new cash crop. The parasitic fungus, named chaga, or Inonotus obliquus, lives on birch trees and is harvested with chisels and hatchets. A new commercial interest has developed for this renewable resource.
Would you consume tea, coffee, or other food or drink items made of chaga? Its reported benefits include anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-HIV properties.
Coffee shop owner, Vena Hamilton of Chaga Monkey, created a simple recipe for her famous chaga tea. She boils water in a two-quart sauce pan, adds in chunks of chaga, and allows the liquid to simmer for 20 minutes. For a lighter tea, just add more water.
Chaga has great potential for many different uses, so keep your eyes open for this fungus in a local coffee shop or herb shop near you.
All images via Alaska Dispatch News.