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She Makes, Sells Products From Wild Chaga Mushrooms
It took Lynnel Anderson 6 mos. to find her first Chaga mushroom. Five years later she has developed an eye for finding the mushroom that looks like a lump of burnt charcoal on birch trees. Passionate about the benefits of the mushroom, the Pillager, Minn., entrepreneur has also developed a business processing Chaga into a tincture and as an ingredient in lotions, soaps and balms.
    For centuries, Chaga has been considered a medicinal mushroom in Russian and Eastern European folk medicine. The mushroom starts to grow when a limb breaks off or the tree sustains damage. Spores grow, pulling nutrients from the tree. The inside of the mushroom is bright orange. The mushrooms Anderson collects are typically the size of a cantaloupe, about 6 or 7 lbs., though she once harvested one that was 18 lbs.
    Anderson became intrigued with Chaga after taking a class on edible Minnesota mushrooms. When she finally found them, she and family members used Chaga to make tea for its healthful properties high in antioxidants, including betulinic acid and beta glucans. To concentrate the benefits, she learned how to make tincture, a long process that involves chopping, alcohol extraction, cooking in distilled water, freezing, more cooking and finally straining and bottling. She is licensed to collect, process the Chaga in a certified kitchen, and sell the tincture and other products.
    Anderson harvests most of the Chaga in the winter from birch trees.
    “In Minnesota a license from the Department of Agriculture is required to harvest and sell Chaga. I won’t buy Chaga from another person because I have to be the only one that handles it. Unfortunately people are harvesting it in hopes of selling it without a license,” she says, noting it’s important to only buy products from people who are licensed.
    She doesn’t make any claims about Chaga, and suggests customers do their own research. Many of them have skin conditions, cancer or tick-related diseases and say they find relief from Chaga’s vitamin D-3, and anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities. Because Chaga is an adaptogen, it is non-toxic and doesn’t interfere with traditional medications.
    However, Anderson cautions that people with some health conditions should not use Chaga in any form because it is a blood sugar stabilizer. Conditions include diabetes and anyone who suffers from a glucose or metabolism disorder or is taking an immune suppressant drug.
    Anderson and her family take the tincture daily for a sense of well being and to boost immunity. She sells the tincture for $22 for 2 oz., and has it in about a dozen local stores.
    “A lot of people sell the tea, but I can help more people (with tincture) than selling it as tea,” she says.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lynnel Anderson, Pillager, Minn. (ph 218 821-2385; www.cha-cha-chaga.com; lynnelhazel@yahoo.com).

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2017 - Volume #41, Issue #4