Wednesday, December 24, 2014

CHAGA MUSHROOM-The King of All Herbs

This fungus is known as "The Mushroom of Immortality" and "The King of All Herbs"

Chaga is a non-toxic fungal parasite that grows on birch trees (as well as a few other types) in Northern climates. It is far from your typical soft and squishy mushroom, it actually looks and feels like burnt wood or charcoal. Chaga is known by the Siberians as the “Gift From God” and the “Mushroom of Immortality.” The Japanese call it “The Diamond of the Forest,” and the Chinese refer to it as the “King of Plants.” The Chinese also regard it as an amazing factor in achieving longevity. Chaga does grow in North America, but most Americans have no clue of its existence, let alone amazing healing properties, which will be listed below.

This mushroom of immortality is said to have the highest level of anti-oxidants of any food in the world and also, the highest level of superoxide dismutase (one of the body’s primary internal anti-oxidant defenses) that can be detected in any food or herb. The active constituents of Chaga are a combination of: amino acids, beta glucans, betulinic acid, calcium, chloride, copper, dietary fiber, enzymes, flavonoids, germanium, iron, lanosterol, manganese, magnesium, melanin, pantothenic acid, phenols, phosphorus, polysaccharides, potassium, saponins, selenium, sodium, sterols, trametenolic acid, tripeptides, triterpenes, triterpenoids, vannillic acid, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, Vitamin D2, Vitamin K and zinc.

Chaga is extremely powerful because it contains within it, the actual life force of trees -the most powerful living beings on this Earth. Trees can live for as long as 10,000 years with some even surpassing that. Chaga concentrates this power, and we can harvest it as well. One of the most important properties of Chaga is betulinic acid, however, in order for chaga to be beneficial, it has to be harvested from birch trees only. Birch trees are the only trees that contain this amazing compound. Betulinic acid has a wide range of biological effects including potent antitumor activity.

Some Other Medicinal Properties Of The Chaga Mushroom Include:

  • Anti-HIV – a study published in The Pharmological Potential of Mushrooms demonstrated chaga’s potential to lessen symptoms of HIV.
  • Antibacterial – Chaga kills or inhibits growth or replication by suppressing or destroying the reproduction of bacteria.
  • Anti-Inflammatory – Chaga is known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, which makes it excellent for conditions such as arthritis.
  • Anti-Candida – Because chaga promotes and protects the liver, candida toxins are processed efficiently.
  • Adaptogen – Chaga is an adaptogen. Its compounds can increase the body’s capability of adapting to stress, fatigue and anxiety. (Something most Americans can definitely benefit from.)
  • Many other potential benefits include the treatment of asthma, hair loss, allergies, boosting the immune system, diabetes, crohn’s disease, psoriasis, anti-aging and literally hundreds of others.

How To Prepare Wild Chaga Mushroom Tea

Chaga mushrooms grow wild in forests in Northern climates on birch trees. If you are lucky enough to find one, you’ll want to harvest it, as chaga can be quite expensive to purchase. DO NOT cut into the tree to retrieve the chaga, doing so could kill the tree. If retrieved correctly the chaga will continue to grow and will be ready to harvest every four years or so, and the tree will continue to thrive.

***It is important to properly identify the chaga mushroom before consumption. To ensure you are getting the correct fungus, make sure that you are harvesting from birch trees only. Chaga has a similar texture to wood and looks a lot like burnt wood or charcoal, inside it should be a golden orangy color. Be sure to look it up before consuming if you are unsure just to be safe!***cup-of-tea
To make the tea, cut a few small pieces off the chaga and place it in a pot. Pour in about 2 liters of filtered water and cover with a lid. Bring the pot to a boil for a minute or so, then reduce the heat to a simmer and keep the lid off. Let this simmer for about an hour and then add in another liter of water and continue to simmer with the lid on for another hour. This will make approximately 1 liter of chaga mushroom tea. It is a time consuming process, but I think that the amazing benefits justify the process, plus it tastes great! It tastes like a nice vanilla flavored black tea. You can add honey or sweetener if you wish, but I think it tastes surprisingly delicious on its own.
You can also grind up the mushroom into a powder form, or make it into a tincture for convenience.

Please see this link for more details.
For more sources and studies about the chaga mushroom, please see this link.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Solar Water Heating

Explaining Solar Water Heating and DIY Instructions

This is an innovative technology which uses sunlight to heat water and is highly efficient! It may be hard to believe that there may be simple methods of heating water all year round using sunlight with inexpensive parts.

Horace-Bénédict de Saussure was the first person to ever devise a means to heat water with solar energy, his work on this was done in the 1760s. He was also the first person to observe the greenhouse effect that occurs when sunlight passes through glass.

There are five general terms used to describe today's Solar Water Heating systems; direct, indirect, passive, active and batch.

A direct system heats the water to be used inside of the solar collector while an indirect system heats a pipe full of liquid to warm a tank of water.

Passive systems allow the natural flow of convection to circulate through the system and active systems use pumps.

Batch systems are comprised of a tank that sits inside of a solar collector, typically using the passive system.

Here's more general information about the types of solar water heating systems.

The solar collectors come in four main types; flate plate, thermosyphon, batch and evacuated tube.
The following link is an example of a Flat Plate Solar Water Collector, they are similar in design to Photovoltaic Solar Panel Collectors. Though these do the job in warmer climates they are rather inefficient for winter heating.

Here is a video concerning Thermosyphon Collectors.

DIY Thermosyphon Collector.

Here is an informational study in pdf format about them.

A video about a Batch Solar Collector.

DIY Batch Solar Collector.

Informational guide on Batch Solar in pdf format.;jsessionid=A74671A50D12E896A48228E0B9F6BC2C?sequence=1

Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors are by far the most efficient collectors, known to heat water to 30 degrees celsius though the temperature outside is -30 celsius! They contain pipes of liquid inside of vacuum tubes which insulate the liquid from outside temperatures.

A video explaining these collectors.
DIY evacuated tubes!

Informational pdf document on tests.

more information on diy evacuated tube solar collectors

this guide is a compilation of snippets taken from our solar water heating album

 A big thank you to
for this great info.  Please do visit their FB sites. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hugelkultur Garden Beds

Hugelkultur Garden Beds

What if you could use the natural landscape to provide food for your crops and create an environment that needs less water and less added nutrients? Hugelkultur is a planting method that involves using recycled waste from the local environment such as tree branches and sticks to create garden beds that create a water-rich planting surface that will last for years.

Hugelkultur garden beds (and hugelkultur ditches and swales) using the same principle to:
-Help retain moisture on site
-Build soil fertility
-Improve drainage
-Use woody debris that is unsuitable for other use

Art and Science of Hugelkultur beds

How to build your own Hugelkultur beds

In-depth guide to hugelkultur

Hugelkultur potatoes

Harnessing Hugelkultur

Using woody waste in composting

Hugelkulture - Permaculture on a budget

Hugelkulture beds in Dayton, MT

Friday, June 13, 2014