This blog post goes out to the several hundred people who have downloaded The Reactive Body Handbook. This month we will explore the medicinal mushroom known as Chaga.

Chaga or Inonotus obliquus is an intense immune system boosting mushroom that grows on birch trees. Called the King of Medicinal Mushrooms, chaga is one of the most powerful, health building and anti-oxidant herbal remedies known. It is found around the world in a ring around the Arctic. Everywhere it grows it is revered for its efficacy. Chaga concentrates Betalin into Betalinic acid from birch trees. This is a potent immune system building molecule produced in the bark of the white birch that is normally not absorbable by humans. Chaga also gathers trace minerals like rubidium and cesium necessary in very minute amounts for optimum health. Plus chaga is a major source of melanin supplementation.

I take chaga on rotation with other adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogenic is a great word and a terrific concept. When something is said to be adaptogenic we mean that it boosts the immune system via multiple pathways. This is EXACTLY what Reactive Bodies need to stay on top of Flare Ups.

Chaga can have profound effects when taken over time. You may find your need for sleep reduced, additional sexual energy, and the ability to quickly shake off colds that seem to grab onto other people. It can help to clear the cobwebs from your head, and is healing to your liver.

Most people like to make brewed tea from ground chaga. You get most of the chaga goodies out this way but I like to tincture it in bottles of Vodka for a month. Mighty tasty! Alcohol releases the oil soluble factions inside which have notable antiviral properties.

The most powerful chaga I ever took was made by boiling it in maple sap until it was reduced to a syrup. The potency was probably triple that of the alcohol extraction but this is a subjective judgement. Some sources do not recommend hot extraction, however I must respectfully disagree based on personal experience.

Mix and rotate chaga with rishi mushrooms. They complement each other well. Many natural healers recommend rotating tonic herbs every six weeks, which is what I recommend in The Reactive Body Handbook. However, in practice, I find myself rotating tonics about every 12 weeks so follow your instincts. Chaga and rishi are particularly useful as a tincture during the winter cold and flu months. But once I am eating fresh organic veggies and herbs from my spring garden, I stop taking winter tonics and rely instead on healthy food grown in mineralized soil to keep the old immune system buffer in tip top shape.

Help other people to take back their lives by passing on the (still) free Reactive Body Handbook link at   Having a sensitive system does not make one a lunatic – nor a hypochondriac.

In Peace,

Larry Plesent

Larry Plesent is a writer, organic gardener, amateur herbalist and CEO of Vermont Soap, a certified organic personal care products manufacturer for people with sensitivity issues.