Chaga birch mushroom: harvesting and use for medicinal purposes
Whenever a hike for mushrooms leads me to a mixed forest, I not only study the root zones of trees and the space between them in search of boletus, boletus, chanterelles and others edible mushrooms.
From time to time, when an adult birch with a thick trunk meets, I lift my head up, examining this trunk from all sides in the hope of finding another mushroom that can grow not near the ground and not near the stump, like honey agarics, but at a height of one meter to ten or more meters. This mushroom, popularly called black birch mushroom, - chaga.
It is formed on damaged areas of the bark of a tree, and not necessarily only birch, but also hornbeam, alder, rowan, elm, maple after infection of such a site with a fungus parasite (Inonotus obliquus) families Hymenochetes... After that, an irregular growth of dark brown, almost black color begins to form on the damaged area. Inside, it is painted dark brown. This growth can reach a width of up to 40 cm or more and a thickness of up to 15 cm. The weight of chaga mushrooms found in the forest can be up to several kilograms, although there are even smaller specimens - this mushroom is just beginning to develop.
Alas, only once, while hunting for mushrooms, I saw a chaga mushroom on an old birch tree, but I could not get to it - it was too high. And there was nothing to cut it down. They say that sometimes hunters, seeing such a mushroom, shoot it down with a shot from a gun loaded with a jacan bullet.
Only birch trees are of interest to collectors of this mushroom, because it is the chaga that appeared on the trunks of trees of this species, considered curative.
I first became acquainted with the healing properties of chaga shortly after my military service. There, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with gastritis, which now and then made itself felt in civilian life. Doctors advised to take infusions of chaga mushroom along with pills. He, of course, was in almost every pharmacy and was then worth a penny. I bought several bags with large pieces of dried chaga and brewed this mushroom, but I really wanted to try fresh, only harvested, moreover, the excitement of the mushroom picker affected, so I was looking for chaga in the forest.
The infusion of this mushroom has a brown color and woody flavor, but it is drunk easily and without effort. By the way, it quenches thirst well. And it is no coincidence that Russians living next to large forests have been preparing a drink from chaga for a long time, replacing expensive tea with it. At the same time, they noticed some healing properties, which were confirmed and even expanded later by scientific research.
The chaga mushroom can be harvested at any time of the year, its beneficial properties will not change from this, but collectors prefer to do this when the birch is without leaves - in autumn, winter and spring, then the mushroom is easier to notice, foliage does not hide it. Chaga is separated from the birch trunk with an ax or a large cleaver, cleaned of wood, bark, then chopped into pieces and dried. It is very important that the drying temperature does not exceed + 60 ° C.
Studies have shown that chaga contains many active substances - humic-like chagic acid, oxalic, tartaric, acetic, formic acids, polysaccharides, steroid, sterol and other compounds, manganese, potassium and sodium, silver, nickel, cobalt, iron, magnesium, and resinous and dyes, fiber.
Chaga preparations increase the body's defenses, helping it cope with the disease. They regulate the activity of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
Chaga in official medicine is used as a symptomatic remedy for peptic ulcer disease, gastritis, malignant tumors, especially in cancer of the stomach, lungs and other organs in cases where radiation therapy and surgery are not recommended. In addition, the infusion of chaga helps to strengthen the body after operations or serious illnesses.
The medical industry produces dry, already crushed, chaga mushroom, packaged in bags of 50 g. It is recommended to make infusions and teas from this raw material. There are other preparations using this mushroom.
Infusion of birch mushroom chaga
To prepare it, you need to rinse the dry chaga mushroom in water and then soak it in boiled water so that it is completely immersed in the liquid, and leave for 4-5 hours. You do not need to pour out water after insisting, it will still come in handy. After that, the mushroom is chopped on a grater or in a meat grinder, and then one part of the chopped mushroom is poured with five parts (by volume) of water in which the mushroom was infused.
It only needs to be heated to a temperature of + 50 ° C. And put it on for two days for further insisting. Then the infusion is carefully drained, and the moist crushed root is squeezed through cheesecloth. The resulting thick infusion is diluted with boiled water to the original volume.
They drink the infusion in small portions, with tumors, at least three glasses a day are recommended. It is used as an immunostimulant, gastric remedy. Also has a moderate tonic effect on the central nervous system.
In folk medicine, a decoction of the mushroom is used to lower arterial and venous pressure, pulse rate, and blood sugar levels.
Chaga mushroom extract can also be found in pharmacies. True, it is not cheap. Anyone who cannot afford it can look for a mushroom in the forest. Scientists have noticed that in those areas where villagers often drink infusions of this mushroom as a thirst-quenching drink, there are significantly fewer cancers.
Chaga birch mushroom thick extract
It is sold in pharmacies in bottles of 50 g under the name "Befungin". Cobalt salts are also added to this extract. It has a tonic and analgesic effect. Prescribe "Befungin" for chronic gastritis, dyskinesia of the gastrointestinal tract, and gastric ulcer.
The daily dose of the extract is 3.5 g. It is convenient to prepare the drug for three days at once. To do this, a bottle with an open stopper is immersed in water heated to a temperature of + 70 ° C, and kept there until it and the contents are heated. Then 2 teaspoons of the extract are diluted in 3/4 cup of heated boiled water. Take the resulting drug 1 tablespoon three times a day half an hour before meals.
Chaga mushroom granules
Chaga mushroom granules of 25-500 g are also produced.They are prescribed as a symptomatic agent for malignant formations to improve the general condition of patients and reduce pain, as well as an analgesic and tonic agent for chronic gastritis, gastrointestinal dyskinesia, and gastric ulcer (without exacerbation) ...
Also, "Chaga" syrup is produced - it is a biologically active food supplement made on the basis of chaga extract. It improves metabolism, normalizes the general condition and well-being of patients, improves the functional state of the cardiovascular and nervous systems, the gastrointestinal tract, helps in the treatment of heart diseases, as well as acute and chronic gastritis.
Recommended for adults and children over 12 years of age, one teaspoon 3-4 times a day with food. The syrup is contraindicated in diabetes mellitus.
The cream-balm "Chaga" is also produced
It is prepared using chaga extract and other medicinal herbs and is recommended for the prevention of exacerbations and in the complex treatment of osteochondrosis, radiculitis, gout, arthritis and other joint diseases, as well as for myositis and neuralgia. Cream-balm counteracts the destruction of cartilage tissue, helps to restore joint fluid, relieves muscle spasm. It also helps with arthritis, including rheumatoid, quickly relieving pain.
Traditional medicine also offers a huge number of effective recipes. It uses teas, decoctions and infusions based on the chaga birch mushroom.
Chaga mushroom tea
To obtain it, the chopped mushroom is placed in a mug or cup and poured with hot water (not boiling water) in a ratio of 1: 5 (one part of the mushroom and five parts of water). The tea is infused for 10-15 minutes, then it needs to be filtered into a mug and you can drink.
It is recommended to strengthen the immune system, with spasms of internal organs, gastrointestinal diseases.
It is prepared in the same way as recommended in official medicine (see above).
And they take it as an immunostimulating, tonic and gastric remedy, as well as for tumors.
Chaga mushroom tincture
To obtain it, 50 g of dry crushed mushroom is poured with half a liter of vodka and insisted for three weeks in a dark and cool place. After that, strain the tincture and take one dessert spoon three times a day before meals. This tincture is used for cancer and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
It can be prepared at home. To do this, you need to mix 1 teaspoon of chaga infusion with 2.5 tablespoons of olive oil and let this mixture brew for one day in a dark cool place. This oil can lubricate painful areas of the skin, it helps to eliminate muscle pain, joint aches.
Homemade chaga extract
If you don't have the money to buy a pharmacy extract, you can try making it at home. You need two teaspoons of chopped mushroom, pour 150 ml of warm boiled water and leave for 48 hours in a cool dark place. Take 1 tablespoon 10 minutes before meals.
Chaga preparations are contraindicated in chronic colitis, dysentery and hyperexcitability. Also, women should refrain from taking them during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Individual intolerance to his drugs is also possible. Chaga is a fairly strong remedy, and therefore it is worth consulting a doctor before starting treatment.
Photo by the author
Birch bread with chaga
The bread is prepared on the basis of wheat flour with the addition of powdered chaga. Chaga contains a substance called betulin, which will help you lose weight and improve your body's health. The bread is kneaded without yeast, with healthy additions of seeds and nuts. The composition and proportions of the nuts can be varied. Wheat flour can be substituted for a gluten-free counterpart. Any fermented milk drink of your choice is suitable for the recipe - kefir, yogurt, yogurt or fermented baked milk. For the vegetarian version, you can use soy milk, nut milk, or plant-based yogurt.
- kefir - 120 ml
- wheat flour - 1.3 cups
- chaga - 15 g
- boiled wheat (optional) - 10 g
- chopped pistachios - 5 g
- sunflower seeds - 5 g
- walnuts - 1 piece
- salt - 0.5 teaspoon
- sugar - 1 teaspoon
- baking powder - 1 dessert spoon
- olive oil - 15 ml.
Put salt, sugar, baking powder in a bowl for kneading the dough. Pour in kefir and olive oil. Stir the mixture.
Put the chaga in a coffee grinder, grind it to flour, sift it through a sieve. Add to total weight.
Add wheat, seeds and nuts, stir.
A mixture of salt, sugar, baking powder, kefir and olive oil Sift chaga, add to other ingredients Add wheat, seeds and nuts
Sift flour, add portions to the mass. Knead first with a spatula, then with greased hands. The mass should be a little sticky.
Tighten the dough with cling film and leave for 20 minutes to activate the flour gluten.
Roll the dough into a bun, roll in flour, make cuts. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees for about 40 minutes.
Sift, gradually add flour to the mixture Dough left under plastic wrap for 20 minutes Dip the resulting dough in flour, make cuts before baking
Check bread for readiness with a "dry toothpick". Cool the finished product on a wire rack under a towel.
Cool the finished bread under a towel
The finished bread has an incredible taste, unlike ordinary baked goods, an interesting dense heavy structure.
The texture of the bread looks especially appetizing
After cooling, the product is perfectly cut with a sharp knife, does not crumble and does not stale for a long time.
The result of our work is homemade birch bread with chaga
The bread goes well with garlic cream cheese, herbs and fresh vegetables.
Try chaga, a drug synthesized by nature itself, into your diet. It's simple, inexpensive and enjoyable. And one fine day you will find that you no longer suffer from meteorological dependence, you rarely get a viral disease, the manifestations of allergies have disappeared somewhere, and your state of health and mood is close to ideal.
This is the magic of the wonderful, unusual chaga mushroom that grows right under our noses. I wish you health and delicious experiments!
7 recipes for chaga tea (+ useful properties and contraindications)
Chaga is a parasitic fungus that grows on damaged areas of the tree. Chaga can form on many trees, but mainly birch growth is used for medicinal purposes. It is not known exactly when people learned about the beneficial properties and contraindications of tea made from this mushroom. Avicenna also mentioned him. Also, historical chronicles talk about the cure of Vladimir Monomakh's tumor with the help of chaga.
Useful properties and harm
The medicinal properties of this mushroom are quite extensive. Thanks to the substances and microelements it contains, chaga is able to cure many diseases. The inhabitants of Siberia call it "the mushroom of immortality." In the 70s of the last century, doctors became interested in the healing effects of this miracle mushroom.
Chaga grows on damaged areas of a birch tree
The most widespread use is the preparation of tea. The use of various teas, which are made from chaga, can increase immunity, normalize blood sugar, and improve the functioning of almost all human organs. The application will be useful for diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, oncology, kidney, liver, gynecology, eye and skin diseases.
At the same time, there are contraindications for people suffering from dysentery, taking antibiotics, and prone to allergies. Pregnant and lactating women should not drink this tea. It is also very important to refrain from those giving glucose injections.
Chaga strengthens the body's defenses and normalizes the digestive tract
Collection and correct application
The collection can be carried out at any time of the year. In spring and autumn, harvesting is more convenient, because at this time nutrients are more concentrated in the mushroom, and the absence of foliage makes it more likely to find it. There is no need to collect chaga from dead trees, cut off the mushroom near the ground. The higher the growth on the tree, the more medicinal substances it contains.
The part adjacent to the trunk must be removed, since there is nothing useful there. Only dry and hard parts of the mushroom are collected. After harvesting, the crop should be dried. Do not dry in a damp room or in the oven. The fungus will either grow moldy or lose most of its nutrients.
Chaga accumulates most of the nutrients by the spring.
Be sure to cut the collected material into small pieces and dry in a warm, dry room with good ventilation at a temperature of no more than 60 degrees, until the pieces become hard and begin to crumble easily. The storage of the finished product must be carried out in an airtight environment. The shelf life of the mushroom is 2 years.
How to make chaga tea: a classic recipe
There are cases when people were cured of cancer and stomach ulcers by taking this tea.
Pour small pieces of chaga with warm water
For cooking, you can use both fresh and dried mushrooms.Grind the mushroom pieces with a knife or meat grinder. It is better to soak dried chaga in water for several hours, and then it will be easier to crumble it. It should be noted that when poured with boiling water, most of the nutrients are lost. Therefore, water with a temperature of 50-60 degrees is used for tea. Add chopped chaga to a teapot or mug. 1 part mushroom to 5 parts water. Close the container with a lid, cover with a towel and brew for 2 hours. Strain. This tea can be stored for 24 hours. Take 30 minutes before meals.
A hiking chaga tea recipe
Sometimes there is no time and conditions for making tea according to all the rules, if a person, being in the forest, has found a mushroom and wants to drink tea with chaga. You just need to put pieces of fresh mushroom in boiling water and brew like regular tea. Useful substances will be lost, of course, but some of them will remain.
A healthy drink can be prepared immediately on the hike
Recipe for making tea in a thermos or in a jar
This method is convenient in that after brewing, the remaining chaga is used several times.
You can cook chaga for future use. The tea will retain its properties for three days. Put a few pieces of mushroom in a liter thermos and pour water over it. Insist for a day. Strain.
You will need boiling water to make tea in a jar. 250 grams of chaga are poured with boiling water and infused for 5 hours. The finished drink is filtered. Take three times daily before meals.
When brewing in a jar, chaga is preliminarily poured with boiling water
Chaga drink recipe
This method of preparing a drink allows you to get the largest amount of nutrients.
Rinse well, and leave the chaga for 7 hours in a glass container. Ceramic is also suitable. After that, the mushroom is crushed and added to, the water in which it was infused. This water must be heated to 40 degrees. The proportion is one to five. Insist 2 more days. Strain and add water to the volume you want. Store the infusion in the refrigerator for no more than 4 days. Take half a glass twice a day.
In order for a drink from chaga to be as useful as possible for the body, it must be insisted for several days
Chaga decoction recipe
Since the beneficial properties of chaga are lost when interacting with boiling water, you can prepare the broth in a water bath. Pour 300 g of mushroom with a liter of water and insist for half an hour, stirring the broth from time to time. The spoon should be wooden. Strain. Take 100 ml twice a day.
Chaga decoction will help get rid of stomach diseases
Chaga herbal tea recipe
Scientists have developed three unique recipes for herbal tea based on birch mushroom.
- Chaga tea with addition of cordyceps and thyme extract. Prevents the development of viral infections. Take in the morning.
- Tea with chaga, reishi mushroom and ginger will help fight tumors, allergic reactions, and poisoning. Ginger inhibits the aging process of the body. Reishi mushroom helps with chronic fatigue. Take in the afternoon.
- When added to tea from chaga fir and peach leaf, a unique drink is obtained that helps to strengthen the immune system. Take in the evening.
Healing tea is taken for allergic and even oncological diseases.
These three teas are prepared using the same technology. Brew at a water temperature of 80-90 degrees for 5-7 minutes.
Mongolian chaga tea recipe
30 g of mushroom, 10 g of dried hawthorn and irgi berries, also pour 10 g into a thermos with hot water heated to 80-90 degrees. Insist within 6-10 hours. If desired, you can add other medicinal herbs, berries and fruits. Strain. Take it diluted with water in a 1: 1 ratio.
It is important to remember that when treating chaga, as with other drugs, it is very important to follow a diet.
Exclude fatty, smoked and fried foods. Increase lactic acid foods in your diet. Do not take medicines containing penicillin, as it negates the healing effect of chaga.
Read also what types of tea are and when to drink lemon tea.
Collection and preparation of birch chaga
Ever since the medicinal properties of this mushroom were proven, the industrial harvesting of chaga began throughout the country. By 1975, their volumes reached 500 tons in one year - this is a lot. Chaga was sold in pharmacies in the form of tinctures, extracts and in cut form, as medicinal herbs are sold now. In principle, preparations from chaga in the pharmacy chain are quite common and you can buy dried chaga, or you can combine business with pleasure and, walking through a birch forest, prepare it yourself. This can be done in any season of the year, but usually chaga is harvested in spring, winter or autumn - at a time when there is no foliage on the trees and when this mushroom is clearly visible. Since it adjoins the trunk quite tightly, you can separate it with a good knife, or it is best to take an ax with you.
The fungus is detached from the trunk. The part that was adjacent to the tree is slightly trimmed so that as few wood cells as possible get into your future medical product. And already at home, it can be prepared as follows. To begin with, the mushroom is cut into small pieces (cubes, strips) no more than 3 - 5 cm in size and dried on a flat surface at a temperature not higher than 50 - 60 ° C. This can be done both in the dryer and in the oven with good ventilation, or it can simply be done naturally, but it will take longer. The mushroom dried in this way is stored in a glass, tightly closed container for no more than two years and it is advisable to do this in a place protected from light.
It should also be noted that the collection of chaga is best done as far as possible from the soil surface. The higher the mushroom is on the trunk, the more nutrients it will contain. We must also remember that only chaga collected from birch has medicinal properties. Never use chaga, which grows on other trees. And you can't cut this mushroom from dead, fallen or dry trees. We must also remember that the appearance of this mushroom is very characteristic, and it cannot be confused with any other mushrooms.
For example, a tinder fungus always has a relatively flat shape and on its underside there will be pores in which spores are located, that is, the very cells with which this fungus multiplies. Polypores are not used in medicine.
At home, you can make chaga oil, which consists of olive oil and mushroom decoction. With such an oil solution, sinusitis is treated by lubricating the sinuses of the nose.
Chaga oil recipe: 2.5 tablespoons of olive oil must be mixed with 1 teaspoon of chaga infusion and insisted in a cool, dark place for 24 hours. During this time, beneficial substances saturate the olive oil with pterins, which have an antitumor effect, and other beneficial substances. This oil can lubricate painful areas of the skin, eliminate muscle pain, joint aches. It is effective in the presence of a capillary network and asterisks on the skin, it helps to strengthen blood vessels. Lubricating trophic ulcers with oil, one can hope for a quick recovery from this unpleasant ailment.
Chaga-based oil products are most widely used in the treatment of the following forms of malignant tumors:
advanced forms of metastases to regional lymph nodes
These superficial cancers can be treated with chaga oil and ointments. Ointments are prepared on the basis of infusion. Pork lard is used most often as an ointment base. It is necessary to mix the infusion of chaga and fresh lard in a 1: 1 ratio. The mixture is put on low heat and stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil. Next, the resulting mass must be removed from the heat and wrap the container, cover with a lid and insist for a day. Then the mass is filtered. The resulting ointment must be stored in the refrigerator.
You can collect chaga at any time of the year. But, like any growing creature, it has its own peaks of activity when the concentration of nutrients is highest. This happens in late autumn, with the onset of frost and early spring. It is convenient to pick chaga at this time, because there is no foliage on the trees and the mushroom is easier to notice.
Only the hard part of the mushroom build-up is considered curative. It must be separated from the tree with an ax, cleaned of wood and chopped off the soft part of the mushroom. It is lighter and more prone to clipping.
It is pointless to collect chaga fruit bodies, since there are very few active substances in them.
The resulting mass must be chopped into small pieces and dried. Drying takes place in specially equipped mushroom dryers or in an oven at temperatures up to 60 ° C. The dried raw material should contain no more than 12% moisture content.
Application of tinctures and decoctions from chaga mushroom
In folk medicine, tincture of the chaga mushroom and decoctions from it are a therapeutic agent against a number of diseases, including beneficial in the treatment of stomach problems. The drug relieves ulcer attacks, stabilizes blood pressure, improves metabolic processes and has antitumor properties.
Application of tinctures and decoctions from chaga mushroom