I first heard about Changa, a mushroom found on birch trees, from a friend who harvests it for its health benefits. I’d seen the black blob growing in the forest many times before, I didn’t realize it’s importance until that point.

changa

Image via: changamushroom.com looks like a bear cub.

While Changa is seen in our region quite often, it’s more rare in other places around the globe. Many people aren’t aware of changa or it’s benefits. I haven’t harvested, or tried, changa before as I’m still in the research stage. I’d love to hear your experience with the mushroom. I’ll share what I’ve learned thus far.  I’m reading through ChangaMushroom.com for their information as well.

The benefits of Changa  according to changaknowledge.com:

Changa contains numerous B vitamins, flavonoids, phenols, minerals, and enzymes. Claiming it’s also one of the world’s densest sources of pantothenic acid, and this vitamin is needed by the adrenal glands as well as digestive organs. It also contains riboflavin and niacin in significant amounts.

In particular, it is highly rich in special phenols which are pigment-like. These phenolic compounds are known as chromogenic complex. Chaga can be up to 30% chromogenic complex by weight. The chromogenic complex is highly protective for all tissues and is only found in chaga. In the cream base this chromogenic complex is hightly protective of the skin. Rubbed on the skin it even helps people develop a tan, because it contains the pigment melanin, the same pigment responsible for dark-colored skin.
Chaga contains wild-source minerals and is particularly high in copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, and iron. Yet, its most potent ingredient is a special substance known as superoxide dismutase (SOD). This is an enzyme with great potency. Its function is to halt oxidation, especially the toxicity of a free radical known as singlet oxygen. This is the type of oxygen which is responsible for oxidizing and damaging the tissues, which results in aging. It is the same oxygen which rusts a nail. SOD blocks this damage by quenching the singlet oxygen free radical. The SOD content per gram of chaga is exceedingly high and accounts for many of its historical powers. Tests performed on North American Herb & Spice’s wild chaga prove that it contains some 10,000 to 20,000 active SOD units per gram.

The below video by Far North Bushcraft and Survival helps to explain how to process and make your own tea. The process looks easy enough using a few simple tools found around the house.

 

I’ve always been a little leery of harvesting wild things from the forest, except for berries that I know and recognize. I would feel comfortable harvesting this as it is easily recognizable. The use of changa seems a little mystical, I love the feel of using nature’s harvest in a way people native to the area may have in the past. If you would like to harvest your own changa, fiddleheadheaven.com explains it for you.

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