Lonely Planet Writer

Arctic tree fungus boosts Alaska health industry

Birch trees in Alaska.
Birch trees in Alaska. Image by Jeff / CC BY-SA 2.0

Chaga, a fungus found on birch trees, has long been used in Eastern European and Russian folk medicine, and it’s now at the center of a small but growing business in Alaska. The fungus, which looks like a lumpy piece of coal, can be used in teas, and users say the tea is high in antioxidants and offers a range of health benefits. Kahiltna Birchworks in Talkeetna sell the tea on their website and craft fairs around the state. The health claims have not been evaluated by clinical trials, but a few laboratory studies have showed promise. Read more: adn.com