How to Find, Harvest and Process Chaga Mushrooms

If you’ve ever taken a walk through the jungle and thought you saw a big lump of mud on a birch tree, you’ve probably seen the Chiga before. This highly beneficial fungus grows especially on birch species in the Northern Hemisphere. It has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and now you can benefit from it!

In this article, I give you some suggestions about the discovery, harvesting and processing of Chaga. You will learn how to identify it, how to cut it safely, and how to get the most from this amazing superfood.

What is Chaga, exactly?

Chaga (Inonotus obicius) Is a parasitic fungus found on birch (Betula) Species of tree. It looks like mud or a piece of wood, usually sticking out on one side of a tree.

In some Canadian regions, the fungus is named Cree. Kavishankar or Wiskokkomikih. It has been used medicinally and spiritually by the people of the First Nation for thousands of years. It has also been used for both purposes throughout Europe and Asia as long as!

Chaga is prized in Russia and Siberia for its many health benefits. In fact, the Nobel Prize-winning Russian writer Aleksandr Solgenitsyn mentions this healing fungus in his semi-autobiographical book Cancer ward.

Solzhenitsyn was writing about her experience with testicular cancer, and in a chapter entitled “Cancer in Birch Tree, “He mentions the strange-looking mushroom, and how he used it to treat himself.

“He could not have imagined any greater joy than to have gone into the woods for months on end, to break this choga, to uproot it, to boil it over a campfire, to drink it and be well like an animal. Getting from. “
~ Aleksandra Solzenitsyn, Cancer Ward (1968)

This fungus has been used to treat cancer in Russia for centuries. Interestingly, Solgenitsin’s own cancer went into remission shortly after, when he started taking Chaga extracts. There is (super) food for thought!

Chaga contains high amounts of beetulinic acid, which gives it such powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-viral properties. This is why we In college Harvest from the birch trees for medicinal use. Although parasitic fungi develop on other tree species, they do not contain betulin.

How is this fungus beneficial?

Well, for one thing, it has amazing antioxidant properties. It is an immune-regulating adaptogen that is loaded with anti-inflammatory terpenes and also has exceptional antioxidant properties.

If you start seeing the many benefits of Shaiga, you will find yourself down the rabbit hole. This fungus has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and recent studies show that it is beneficial for countless health issues. Many people use it to treat autoimmune conditions, IBS, diabetes, and the good effects of arthritis. just to name a few.

Other studies show that not only can it slow down the growth of many different types of cancer cells,[1] It can also cause them to self-destruct! [2]

In addition to its amazing antioxidant and anticancer properties, Chhaga is remarkably nutrient-dense. This item contains a range of B-complex vitamins, copper, selenium, vitamin D, manganese, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium.

As you can imagine, consuming a little chaga daily can increase one’s nutritional content.

How to identify Chaga

This fungus In college Grows in cold climates. You will find it on the above birch species in places like Canada, Russia, Siberia, Scandinavian countries, Alaska and North Korea. It grows mainly on yellow and paper birch, which you can easily identify.

The Chaga looks like a black, thickly textured lump, affixed to the edge of a birch tree. Some people mistake birch garners for this fungus, but it is quite easy to distinguish between the two. Garners are darker growths that smooth outward. If you cut them, you will see that they are beautifully (!) Inside.

In contrast, Chaga is always Black and rough on the outside, and a beautiful golden color inside.

Chhaga comes in various shapes and sizes, but you will know that if you open it, you have found the right stuff that looks like turmeric. As an additional identifier, Chaga is usually fairly easy to extract from a tree. You may need some elbow grease to seal it off, but the garnels must be cut with saws.

Harvesting tips

First and foremost, only the Chaga harvested from living trees. It is a parasitic fungus, which means that when the tree dies, it will also die. You want fresh chagas that are lukewarm with health. Although some people recommend harvesting this fungus in winter, but I do not.

This is because it is very difficult to identify dead trees in winter. If trees have grown this year, you are good. You can definitely harvest it at any time of the year. Just know that if you collect it when it rains, it will take longer to dry.

As mentioned, it is usually fairly easy to remove a free Chaga from a tree. That said, although some rare specimens will just fall into your hands, most need something more… incentive to go.

Essential Tools and Tricks

When I am leaving for Chaga, I take some essential equipment with me. Typically, a small cap, a chisel and a bag are included to carry these items. The bag comes in handy for taking my crop home.

I use my handcuffs for stubborn Chaga development which are below chest level. This allows me to use enough power and speed to hack it. If the heal is more on the tree, I would use chisel instead. I would hold a large rock or wooden stump to stand, as well as a fist-sized rock to drive the chisel.

Then I cut it in the Cajan, where it meets the tree, as far as I can reach, making small cuts. It usually loosens it so I can break it.

Just make sure you are not harvesting from trees that are right next to the highway. Trees of inner cities are not great options either. You are going to use this material for its highly healing, immune-enhancing properties, so do not harvest samples that have absorbed a ton of urban chemicals from the air and water.

Processing and storage

Clean the Chaga as soon as you bring it home by brushing it thoroughly with a dry, clean paintbrush or toothbrush. This will get rid of any insects or detritus.

Some remove all the black stuff from the Shaiga and use only the golden inner core medicinally. The research I’ve done implies that the black exterior is actually the most nutritious part. This dark layer seems to have the highest antioxidant concentrations! I suggest doing additional research to determine if you want to use the whole fungus in your preparation or just the inner part.

You can use as many bits as you like, but it is important to break the Shaga into small pieces as soon as possible. This stuff hardens like a rock, making it quite difficult to use later. You can hit it with a knife, but I put it in a pillow and cut it several times with a hammer. # the heir

Once you break it into 1/2 ″ to 1, chunks, place it in a newspaper in a warm, dry place and leave it there for a few months. Fold the pieces occasionally. Some people dry their water in an oven or dehydrator, but I recommend the natural air-dry method.

After that, you can either store it in an airtight jar or grind it into a powder with a coffee grinder. I like to do one of the two. That way, I can add the powder to the coffee or toss the chunks in the soup stock.

how to use it

Some people add dried healed powder to their morning coffee or tea. Others put it in gel capsules. You can also make a powerful Chaga tincture.

The easiest method is to make a simple tincture through the folk method. Fill a jar 2/3 full of sliced ​​dried healed flakes or chunks. Then fill the rest of the jar with high-alcohol wine. Everclair (100-proof) is ideal, but vodka is a good choice. Keep it in a dark cupboard for 6-8 weeks, then strain into a clean jar.

There is also a double power extraction method, but I’ve never tried this one. If you are interested, check out the tutorial on the Birch Boys website.

If you make bone broth or other type of homemade soup stock, try bouncing some shaga chickens there too. In fact, when you’re at it, try adding a little with dried sage and turkey tail. These fungi all have a ton of health-enhancing properties! You can make every batch of soup a powerhouse full of antioxidants.

Common Caviet: If you are worried about taking Chaga, you can talk to a herbalist or your healthcare practitioner. People with liver problems or autoimmune conditions may have adverse reactions to it. Oh, and if you are allergic to mushrooms in general, you might not want to try this stuff.

Final notes

When you are forcing Chaga, look for samples that are about the size of an apple. It takes 4-6 years to grow in size, as this fungus develops very slowly. By harvesting large pieces, you have let them grow to maturity.

Additionally, always leave a part behind so that it comes back again. The advice is different on how much to leave, but I aim for about 20%. This leaves the fungus far away from the “root”. Not only is it more thoughtful and respectful for Shaiga, but it is also a little selfish altruism. If you leave to get it again, you can come back in a few years and will cut it again.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I cut anything from the forest, I try to show respect and respect. So, with my hammer and chisel, I usually have something with me that I can use to give something back. In spring and summer, it is usually a packet of local wildflower seeds that I can scatter. In autumn, I give nuts and dried fruits to the animals to eat.

If you have nothing to offer, the action also works. Like pulling some creeping ivy by hitting a tree, or shaking an obstacle in the river, etc. Nature gives us a lot, and not much to give a little back in return.

Happy forging, and enjoy your good health!

References:

  1. SH Lee et al: HT-29 Antitumor activity of a mushroom water extract against human colon cancer cells, Inonotus strabismus. Phytother Res. 15 April 2009.
  2. MJ Chung et al: Anticancer activity of sub-fractions of purified compounds of Shaga mushroom (Inonotus oriscus) extract in human cancer cells and in Balbc / c mice affecting sarcoma-180 cells, Korean Nutrition Society and Korean Society of Community Nutrition, published online on June 29, 2010. https://doi.org/10.4162/nrp.2010.4.3.177

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