Within the last year or so, I have learned all about elixirs, in the sense of hot or cold concoctions that bring together several superfoods in a powerful formula.
Recently, I have also learned about the medicinal impact of mushrooms. More specifically, Chaga and Reishi varieties.
My first exposure to mushroom tea was at the Whole Foods Expo in Toronto, ON in the Fall of 2014, where I first tasted a sample of this tea. While it was a very unique taste, a taste far from your traditional herbal teas and a taste I wasn't sure I could get used to, I could nevertheless tell that it was a nutritionally-powerful beverage.
From there I became aware of the American company Four Sigma Foods (now known as Four Sigmatic). This company produces various mushroom tea-based products. While I will be doing a future post specifically on a sampling of their products, the recipe that follows includes their “Chaga Tea”.
Chaga mushrooms are not your typical, soft mushroom. In fact, they are quite hard, like wood, and the most nutritionally dense of all tree growths when it comes to mushrooms.[i] Due to the fact that they grow in rather harsh climates, they concentrate natural compounds for their protection.[ii] Therefore, this concentration of natural compounds makes them highly healthful and potent; humans have utilized them to support health for years.[iii]
Chaga mushrooms contain several phytonutrients (plant nutrients), including B vitamins, riboflavin and niacin; they also possess a high density of pantothenic acid (which is utilized and required by the adrenal glands and digestive system).[iv] In terms of minerals, Chaga is high in calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc[v], so let’s get going with this superfood!
Knowing this about this tea, and knowing the other varieties of mushroom teas this company produces, I try to incorporate it into my weekly meal plan, even if just once weekly. Rather than just always enjoying it as a tea (black, or with a splash of my favourite nut/seed milk), I recently set out to mix together some of my favourite superfoods to transform the tea into a warming and comforting hot chocolate-like treat!
*The Chaga Mushroom tea mix contains: wildcrafted Chaga extract, eleuthero (Siberian ginseng), wild mint and rose hip.
Ingredients (serves 2):
3 cups boiled water
2 sachets of “Four Sigma Foods Chaga Mushroom Drink Mix”
2-3 tbsp. raw cacao (I used 2, as I personally don’t like mine too chocolaty)
3 tbsp. hulled hemp seeds
1 tsp. maca powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of sea salt (I used Himalayan pink sea salt)
Raw, unpasteurized honey (to sweeten, as desired – I used about 1 tsp.)
Boil 3 cups of water and add the water to 2 sachets of Chaga Mushroom Drink Mix. (Each sachet indicates that the contents should be dissolved in 1 cup of water, but I used 3 cups water total for 2 sachets so it wasn’t quite as concentrated.)
After this tea has steeped for a few minutes, pour it into a high speed blender.
Add the remainder of the ingredients to the blender, with the exception of the honey.
Blend until smooth.
Pour into two mugs, using honey to sweeten (if and as desired).
*You may also let the serving cool, enjoying it chilled with a few ice cubes.
*Four Sigmatic tea products should be available at your local health food store. They may be purchased inexpensively by the sachet, or by small box.
Additional Nutritional Benefits:
Raw Cacao – anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, vitamin- and mineral-dense
Hulled Hemp Seeds – a complete protein (contains all essential amino acids the body requires from dietary sources)
Maca Powder – immune-boosting, energy boosting, mood-balancing
Ground Cinnamon – balances blood sugar, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties,
Pink Sea Salt – numerous essential minerals, balances body pH and electrolytes, eliminates toxins, increases circulation and supports nutrient absorption[vi]
Raw, Unpasteurized Honey – anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties
Time to cozy up and enjoy!
[i]-[v] Wild Forest Chaga – The King of All Herbs, Mushroom of Immortality. Retrieved February 11, 2016 from www.chagaknowledge.com
[vi] Himalayan Pink Salt. Retrieved February 11, 2016 from https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/himalayan-pink-salt/profile