Chaga has been taking the world by storm in the past few years, as the secrets of this far northern mushroom become common knowledge. Used as a folk remedy in Alaska and Siberia for generations, chaga confers anti-aging benefits through its high antioxidant content, helps boost the immune system, and has a host of other amazing qualities. While typically consumed as a tea, the only way to get the full benefit of chaga is through using an extract, or tincture.
Extracts boil a supplement down to its bare essentials, and a chaga double extraction tincture gives you all the benefits of chaga tea and then some. While time-consuming and difficult, tinctures are well worth the price. Here is how to make your very own chaga double extraction tincture.
Why Make Chaga Extract?
While traditionally consumed as a tea, chaga’s full potential can only be unlocked through the use of an extract. Chaga is rich in beta-glucans and polyphenols, neither of which are water-soluble and thus cannot be absorbed into the body through chaga tea. However, they can be absorbed through an extract, along with all the other nutrients that make chaga the superfood that it is.
Extracts typically come in the form of purified liquids that are created through immersion in high-proof alcohol over a long period of time. They are typically consumed with water or other drinks, though they can also be combined with various foods. Due to the concentrated nature of extracts, only a very small amount—usually a few drops—is necessary to get the full nutritional value that the extract provides.
In addition to these benefits, chaga extract is extremely long-lasting, longer than chaga itself. It is also very portable, making it ideal for traveling, when you don’t have the time or equipment to make tea. Finally, chaga extract is necessary for a number of other recipes, such as chaga face masks. While some vendors sell chaga extract, it is possible for users to make their own using readily available household equipment.
How to Make Chaga Extract
Chaga extracts are sometimes referred to as double extraction tinctures because the process of making them involves using two extraction methods: the hot water method and the alcohol method. This is due to the fact that that alcohol alone is not enough to break down chaga’s tough chitin walls.
To begin with, you need chaga powder to make an extract, as chaga chunks are simply too big and inefficient. Steep the chaga powder in 80 proof or stronger vodka for a minimum of three weeks. Afterwards, use a cheesecloth to separate the alcohol from the chaga powder, then steep the chaga in hot water for 25 minutes. Once this is complete, mix the alcohol with the chaga and water to complete your extract.
This recipe will create a reasonably strong extract that will last you several years, provided your final extract has at least 25 percent alcohol by volume. You can calculate the alcohol content of your extract mathematically, or if you would rather skip the math, simply use a 100 proof vodka in the double extraction process, then mix in a small amount of chaga tea for the final product.
It is possible to create stronger extracts by using a longer and more thorough double extraction process. For example, some recipes recommend steeping the chaga in the alcohol for eight or more weeks, or repeating the hot water extraction process over a couple of days. Feel free to experiment based on your needs.
The number of ways in which chaga can be used is multiplying by the day. From a humble tea brewed by native Alaskans and Siberians, modern chaga consumers have come up with countless uses for the substance, from face masks to spiced nuts to ice cream and much more. However, many of these recipes utilize not chaga itself, but chaga extract due to its greater potency.
Chaga extract is easily the best way to take advantage of all of chaga’s nutritional content. While not as tasty as a tea, the portability of an extract makes it an ideal option for those who lack the time or ability to brew their own tea. Its concentrated nature means that you only need to take a small amount to reap its full benefits, and properly stored extracts can last for years, further adding to their value.
If you are looking to maximize the benefits you get from chaga, using chaga extract is the easiest way to do it. Whether you want to use the extract in your own chaga recipes or consume it raw, chaga extract will allow you to reap the full benefits of this amazing superfood. While making chaga extract is a complex process, the numerous advantages of an extract make it well worth the effort.