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My Berry Organics

What Kind of Chaga Should I Buy?   

Chaga 101:  Types of chaga products:

1.  Maine Chaga fine powder (raw)

All raw chaga products are required to be steeped like tea in very hot water as they are not water-soluble.   There is limited benefit in ingesting raw powder.  It is most beneficial to steep in hot water to extract the abundant nutrients. Our chaga fine powder may contain white flecks of nutritious birch bark.  The fine particles of chaga can be filtered with a tight mesh filter or one can allow the particles to float to the bottom of the cup without the need for a filter. Plants love the leftover chaga grounds!

2. Maine Chaga Ground Powder (raw)

The particle size of this chaga is similar to ground coffee and is larger than fine powder and is not for ingesting raw. This must also be steeped with very hot water as one would with tea. Our ground chaga may also contain white flecks of nutritious birch bark. 

3.  Maine Chaga Extract (liquid) and Maine Chaga With Birch Bark Extract (liquid):

Our Maine Chaga Extract has undergone a double extraction with hot water and grain alcohol through a long process.  In this method all of the water-soluble AND non-water soluble components have been released.  This can be ingested directly or added to any food or drink. Many people use this liquid extract along with any of the chaga teas. 

Our Maine Chaga & Birch Bark Extract is similar to our Maine Chaga Extract but has the addition of white birch bark extraction. The white powdery substance on white birch bark contains a highly desirable nutrient, betulin. It is a premium extraction and one that is growing in popularity as the benefits of betulin becomes more well known. The benefits of betulin or betulinic acid can be found on the internet. 

4. Maine Chaga Tea Chunks 4oz. or Maine Chaga Bulk Chunks 15oz.

4 oz bag of chunks are our premium chunks. They are more uniform in size and shape and contain more chunks with the black crust than our 15oz bulk bag. Only the black crusted chunks make the tea water dark in color whereas, the orange inner core chunks make the water very light colored. Both black crusted chunks and orange chunks are highly nutritious. Note: Our square sized chunks of the inner core of the whole mushroom may resemble wood to some, but know that it is not wood, but the lightweight highly nutritious inner mushroom core. 

15 oz Bulk Chunks:  This is an affordable option for purchasing in bulk because they are of various sizes, shapes and densities. Some chunks are heavier and some are light-weight like cork.  They will not be precise cut and many will be irregular in shape. The bag contains approx. 25-30% of chunks with the black crust so the chunks without any black crust will steep a much lighter color and have minimal taste. The color and taste of the steeped tea does not reflect the nutritious quality of the chaga because both inner and outer chunks of the chaga mushroom are highly nutritious. 

5. Chaga Extract Powder

We do not sell a chaga extract powder as this product is only currently grown and manufactured overseas. I have personally invested financially in a third party professional lab analysis on random samples of chaga extract powder (mainly China and Russia) from overseas and the results were astonishing. Most all of the claims that the extract powders were from the whole wild-harvested mushroom (that grows the important black crust) were fraudulent. Only one sample was in fact, from the whole black crusted mushroom. The majority were not wild-harvested but were cultivated. Cultivated chaga mushroom does not have the nutritional benefit from growing in a forest, and lacks the coveted black crust. 

6. Chaga Capsules

Raw chaga must be steeped in hot water to release the nutrients, so ingesting a chaga capsule of raw chaga powder will not provide the valuable benefits that chaga provides. A capsule containing an extracted powder will provide the nutrients, but beware if the chaga is imported. 

Our chaga is grown 100% on birch trees in the wild and not cultivated or grown on rice, mycelium or wood shavings. If it does not say "100% wild-harvested", then all or part of the mushroom is cultivated in a greenhouse and lacks the complete nutritional profile that only wild-harvested offers. Cultivated chaga does not grow the black outer crust which contains an important antioxidant, melanin.

Chaga (chemical name is Inonotus Obliquus) is a slow-growing wild mushroom that is found mainly on birch trees in select cold regions of the world, including our Western Maine Mountain region of North America near the Canadian border.

Birch chaga mushroom in the woods of Maine.
Birch chaga mushroom in the woods of Maine.

The mushroom feeds on the birch for many years. When the tree eventually dies the fungus then falls off and the spores are released into the air. The airborne spores then land on another host tree that has a deep bark injury to begin the process again. Chaga is wild harvested after it has sustained a growth of 10-35 plus years. Laboratory cultivating of this mushroom is being done by a handful of companies world-wide. However, the "whole food" chaga mushroom is a more desirable than one grown in a commercial setting. Cultivated chaga does not grow the black outer crust as it does in the wild. Our chaga is 100% grown on birch trees in the wild as nature intended and commercially grown. We use sustainable harvesting practices to help reduce any risk of over harvesting.

Chaga is odorless, near tasteless and light to dark brown in color depending upon how much of the black crust is used in steeping.

Maine Chaga Extract Liquid:

When an alcohol extract is made, the taste of the alcohol will be present.  It may be taken with any liquid. The alcohol contained in the extract has several functions. It acts as a natural preservative and releases the water-soluble AND non water-soluble components.  When chaga is cultivated and grown on grain, rice, or wood shavings, in a greenhouse, the black outer crust will be absent.  For the "whole food", chaga needs to feed directly on a live birch tree in the forest. 

A large chaga conk deep in the Maine woods
A large chaga conk deep in the Maine woods
Four eyes are better than two for spotting the elusive chaga
Four eyes are better than two for spotting the elusive chaga
Chaga loves growing near water
Chaga loves growing near water

 

Disclaimer: This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Sustainable Harvesting:  We are selective as to where our chaga is harvested and we are very conscientious to use sustainable harvesting practices. We are pleased to find that the chaga that we had harvested previously is regenerating as we follow proper harvesting guidelines.

Licensing:

 Our processing facility is registered with the FDA, registration #18195837554.

My Berry Organics/Maine Chaga has been inspected and licensed by the State Of Maine as a food manufacturer, license #2-31452.

Precautions: Do not take if you are allergic to mushrooms. 

*Maine Chaga Extract is not gluten-free as we use grain alcohol in our process.