How to Make a Chaga Tincture

Written by laura crawley
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How to Make a Chaga Tincture
Chaga is found in northern forests in Russia, Europe and North America. (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The chaga ("Inonotus obliquus") is a mushroom often used in traditional Russian herbal medicine. It grows in the forests of Siberia, northern Europe and North America. A parasitic fungus that looks like charcoal on the outside with a yellow interior, it grows in the wounds of birch trees, eventually destroying the tree after several years. Chaga has many phytochemicals and is used to cure a variety of ailments, but it is best known as a herbal treatment for cancer; Russian author Solzhenitsyn believed it cured his cancer in the 1950s. Chaga is consumed primarily as a tea or a tincture, both of which can be made at home.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Chaga mushrooms or chaga powder
  • Baking tray
  • Oven
  • Meat grinder
  • Blender
  • Container with lid
  • 80- or 100-proof vodka
  • Second container with lid
  • Sieve
  • Unbleached coffee filter

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Instructions

    Making Chaga Tincture

  1. 1

    Buy or make chaga powder. If you make it from fresh chaga, dry it thoroughly first. Chop the chaga into small pieces to ensure it dries completely. Place the pieces on a baking tray and put in the oven at 43.3 to 51.7 degrees Celsius for at least 24 hours. Take the pieces out and let air dry for a few days so the pieces dry completely on the inside. Oven-dry at the same temperature as before for another 24 hour period.

    How to Make a Chaga Tincture
    Dry fresh chaga pieces in an oven before pulverising. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    When the chaga pieces are totally dry, put them in a meat grinder and grind to a powder. Grind them again in a blender to make a finer powder, if desired.

    How to Make a Chaga Tincture
    Grind the chaga pieces in a grinder. (Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)
  3. 3

    Fill a container with a lid halfway with chaga powder. Fill the container to the top with 80- or 100-proof vodka. Replace the lid on the container and let the mixture sit in a cool, dry place for at least a few days. You may leave the mixture to steep for up to a few weeks, if you wish.

    How to Make a Chaga Tincture
    Use vodka to make your chaga tincture. (Paul Katz/Photodisc/Getty Images)
  4. 4

    Remove the lid from the container and strain the mixture into another container through a sieve lined with an unbleached coffee filter. When all the liquid goes through the filter-lined sieve, squeeze the filter to get the remaining moisture out. Cover the container and store the tincture.

    How to Make a Chaga Tincture
    Strain the chaga-vodka mixture through a filter-lined sieve. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)
  5. 5

    The tincture you made is known as a "single extraction." To make a stronger "double extraction" tincture, simply take the leftover chaga mash (solid remains) out of the sieve. Put it into a pot with a few cups of water. Boil the water and mash mixture until the liquid is reduced by half. Add this to the original single extraction, making the alcohol concentration in this "double extraction" at least 25 per cent.

    How to Make a Chaga Tincture
    Boil the chaga mash with water to increase tincture strength. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Tips and warnings

  • If you do not wish to make chaga powder yourself, or don't have access to fresh chaga, you can purchase chaga powder online.

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