It is enjoyed most commonly as brewed tea, but it can be even extracted to make an alcohol tincture. As enthusiasm for superfood diets and interest in exploring natural remedies grows globally, Chaga is gaining popularity in the world superfood market. Finland is a forerunner in utilising the mushroom.
Those convinced of the health impact of consuming Chaga, are not concerned with the suspicious appearance of the black fungus but enjoy its benefits. And why not? An increasing amount of academic research backs up the use of Chaga for health reasons. Most notably, in research conducted at the University of California’s immunology department, a Chaga extract was noted to positively improve immunity by reducing inflammation and fighting harmful bacteria and viruses.
Similar results have been seen in studies conducted at Shenyang University in China. Chaga mushrooms work by assisting the formation of proteins called cytokines, which are responsible for regulating the immune system.
Chaga is commonly found throughout Finland on the trunks of birch and iron birches, and less frequently on the trunks of other deciduous trees, such as alder and beech. The best growing places are old deciduous forests left in their natural state. Trees bearing tobacco crops usually do not look too healthy. Wetlands, lakeshores, and swamp edges are good habitats for the heather. They are more common in sand birches than in iron birches.
Chaga is a tree's own growth disorder and consists of a tree cell. Wood crumbs, i.e. deformations on tree trunks, may look far away from the packers, but on closer inspection, the difference is clearly noticeable. The tobacco crop is pitch black and resembles burnt coal. It also has a much softer texture than bad.
The shape of the gourd is woody and asymmetrical and does not have the typical "coffin" or externally visible whistling typical of common birch-dwelling dwarfs. Black-faced birch tufts such as the carrier dwarf (Fomitopsis Pinicola) or the grate dwarf (Phellinus Ignatius) may initially confuse an inexperienced gourd collector. In these twigs, the legal spore base is different in upper and lower surface and protrudes from its substrate either hoofed, cap-shaped, clawed, footed or footless. The rarer pitch ball sponge (Daldinia concentrica) and karst wart (Kretzschmaria deusta) may also look distantly like a snail.
Harvest time and collection:
The collection of a chaga is not part of everyone's rights but requires the permission of the landowner. The Chaga is not an ordinary dwarf, as its mode of growth differs from other dwarfs, and it is not the dwarf that is collected, but the growth that it causes,
It is advisable to collect the chaga only from living trees. In dead trees, their active ingredients diminish rapidly. Small snacks should not be collected but should be left to grow. Elderly 20-25-year-old puppies are considered to be of the highest quality. The freezer should also not be collected in vain. For example, one medium-sized packer is enough for one person for tea needs for a year.
A trunk can be collected from tree trunks all year round. The collection should be done between the beginning of July and the end of November or as soon as the snow closes in the spring, because the plants absorb the most nutrients in the spring and autumn. Leaves dripping from trees make it easier to spot dwarves, especially in the fall. In winter, icy freezers can be more difficult to remove and the wood can easily be damaged.
The squeegee can be removed, for example, with a small ax neatly close to the bark of a tree. Other good tools include a chisel, hammer, wire saw, jigsaw, sledgehammer or a large stone. In summer, growers growing in the lower parts of trees may also come off by kicking or by hand, e.g. by hitting the bottom of the palm. The use of goggles is recommended when collecting, as small sharp pieces of the cigarette holder can damage the eyes when removing the dwarf with tools. The packer should be transported from the forest in a wooden basket or other bag made of a stronger material.
The compactor is also traditionally utilized by "milking", in which case part of the black skin layer of the surface is carefully scraped off. As a result, the gourd grows its black bark layer back within a year and the same growth can be utilized in the same way again the following year.
After collection, the gourd is dried to prevent mold. Drying should be done, for example, with a plant dryer at a temperature of less than 50 to 60 degrees Celsius, so long that the moisture content of the material is less than 14%. Cutting into pieces of about 5x5 cm shortens the drying time. The freezer should be stored in a dry and cool place. It is good to use within a year of collection. Dried and ground