Local entrepreneurs Debbie Falborn and Bridget LeRoy are the co-founders of Chaga Island, a company that just recently starting bottling a slow-brewed version of chaga, a medicinal mushroom with known health benefits that is wild harvested and grows on white birch trees in very cold climates.
Their chaga beverage has a mild and earthy flavor that can be modified to your liking. Chaga has been used in China and Russia for hundreds of years to treat cancer and infections, and Memorial Sloan Kettering now utilizes it in some treatments. A registered nurse, Ms. Falborn said that she uses it regularly with her private patients and family and has seen amazing results.
“People have had success with it to the point where rheumatoid arthritis patients that were on IV treatment are not anymore and I have a few diabetic patients that have actually been able to get off insulin and onto oral hypoglycemics,” Ms. Falborn said, adding that no adverse affects have ever been reported. She has had her own share of health problems and back surgeries that left her with nerve damage, numbness and tingling, and credits Chaga with giving her back quality of life.
The pair wanted to bottle it to make it more accessible for people who didn’t want to make it themselves after Ms. LeRoy’s son had success in curing his mono. While chaga has been on sale for years, Ms. LeRoy explained that they are bottling it as a beverage on the shelf that you can drink, and that’s never happened before, and it is a raw beverage that doesn’t need refrigeration.
“We sell the dried chaga cubes and chunks for people to brew their own, for lack of a better word, tea…It’s not beer, and it’s not a tea, in the sense that there’s no black tea in it, it’s just chaga. We’ve been working with a beverage developer for the past almost two years to come up with a way of bottling a slow-brewed, never boiled version of chaga. One only has to go online and Google the world chaga to see that it has been known to have many, many health benefits going way back,” Ms. LeRoy said.
Their bottles retail at $5 for a 16 oz. bottle and are currently only available in stores west of the canal, and will expand to the East End soon. For more information, visit chagaisland.com
— Lindsay Andarakis