We are blessed here in Canada to have wild Chaga mushrooms growing on our own birch tree, offering us wild medicine from mother nature herself. Chaga tea offers a slight vanilla flavour which tastes great on its own, and also makes a great base for a chaga turmeric golden mylk latte. Golden Mylk is a modern spin on the Auryvedic drink of warm milk and turmeric. Found at health food stores and specialty cafes, it is creamy and delicious and offers a wide nutrient profile provided by the anti-inflammatory curcuminoids in turmeric and the gingerols in ginger. Golden Mylk generally uses coconut milk as the liquid base, and as the fat source to facilitate absorption of any fat-soluble compounds. Hemp milk from our own Canadian grown hemp seeds can be used instead and offers a creamy consistency that rivals that of coconut milk (see How to Make Your Own Hemp Milk). The combination of the immunoprotective benefits of chaga and the anti-inflammatory aspects of turmeric make this an essential cold weather drink to help nourish and nuture the body.
“Chaga is a rich source of beta-glucans which display immunomodulating effecs, as well as betulinic acid from the Birch trees which is a potent antioxidant and has anti-tumour properties in vitro.“
Chaga has been widely used in folk medicine in Russia, Poland and other Baltic countries for a wide variety of gastric problems, cancer, tuberculosis, as well as heart and liver concerns. Closer to home the Chaga mushrooms have long been prized and used by our First Nations people. Cliﬀord Cardinal, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Alberta is a Cree medicine man. He boils chaga for viral-related conditions, in the form of ingested tea. The Gitksan First Nations of British Columbia used the lit black “coals” of the fungi to relieve rheumatic pain. Chaga also produces a sweet-smelling incense and may be added to ceremonial smoking pipes to ensure a continuous burn.
Chaga grows as a sterile conk on birch trees, where the bark has been compromised. Rather than displaying a parasitic relationship with dead or dying trees, chaga has a symbiotic relationship with Birch, exchanging in a way that benefits both organisms. Chaga can impressively pull nutrients out of the soil that the roots of the tree are unable to get at. Chaga contains a number of compounds that can be found in numerous other herbs and mushrooms, including polyphenols, melanins, beta-glucans, sterols, triterpenes, amino acids, etc. according to Robert Rogers of the University of Alberta.
As blessed as we are to have this highly medicinal wild mushroom growing on our soil, we need to consider the sustainability of this potentially vulnerable medicine. Overharvesting is happening as we speak, and with Chaga mushrooms only appearing on 0.025% of Birch trees this makes it all the more important that we purchase Chaga from a reputable source. Harmonic Arts is where I purchase my Chaga from. They are a Vancouver Island Based company that has their values deeply embedded in harvesting medicinal mushrooms and herbs in a sustainable matter.
So what else makes this Chaga Turmeric Golden Mylk Latte ‘Local”? Alongside Chaga, we have our very own Canadian hemp hearts (see Vegan Hemp Ranch Salad Dressing and Hemp Sunflower Seed Pate for more information on the sustainability of hemp and nutritional qualities). Honey can be used in place of dates, for another local ingredient. As important as it is to consider food miles, according to David Suzuki organisation the distance a food travels only makes up 11 percent of its carbon footprint, with the remaining 89 percent being made up of how the food is grown. Choose organic products where possible, especially if using fresh ginger and turmeric. These rhizomes, or roots, readily absorb any pesticides from the soil they are grown in. Choosing organic spices including organic cinnamon and black pepper guarantees the spices haven’t been exposed to pesticides and irradiation.
How to Brew Chaga
- Bring water to a boil, turn heat down and add chaga.
- Lightly simmer for 20 minutes to 5 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Strain off the liquid and serve.
- The grounds can be re-brewed or stored in the fridge to brew again later. Up to 20% of its bio-active compounds are released with each brew, so it is a good idea to brew it at least 3-4 times.
- The flavour has been compared to that of a sweet mild coffee with hints of vanilla.
Local Chaga Turmeric Golden Mylk Latte
Yield: 2 Servings
Ingredients for Local Chaga Turmeric Golden Mylk
1/3 organic hemp hearts
1/4 cup water or warm chaga
2″ fresh turmeric, organic (or 1 tsp organic turmeric powder)
2″ gresh ginger, organic
1 to 2 tsp unpasterised honey or maple syrup (or 1 to 2 dates)
1/4 tsp cinnamon (or 1 cinnamon stick)
pinch of ground black pepper
1 3/4 cups brewed Harmonic Arts Chaga tea, warm (or warm water)
Method for Local Chaga Turmeric Golden Mylk
- First brew the chaga as per above instructions. If using a cinnamon stick, add at this step.
- If you are using fresh turmeric and ginger and have a powerful blender you can break the fresh turmeric and ginger into smaller pieces before blending, otherwise mince them finely.
- Add the turmeric, ginger, hemp hearts, water, sweetener (honey, maple syrup or dates), ground cinnamon and pepper to your blender and blend until all the ingredients are well combined and a hemp milk is formed.
- Once all of your ingredients are blended well, add the strained warm Chaga tea and quickly blend to incorporate.
- Taste, and adjust for sweetness.
- You may prefer to strain your mixture before consuming. If so you can use the remnants for your next batch of Golden Mylk latte. I like to add the leftover pulp to my oatmeal in the morning.
- If you are not consuming the whole batch right away, store in a thermos to keep warm as the hemp milk does not re-heat well on the stove top. Shake well before consuming. It also tastes great cold!
Amount per one of two servings
Total Fat: 11.6g
Saturated Fat: 1.4g
Vitamin C: 6mg