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Guest Vlad

Chaga

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Guest Vlad

Yes in Siberia it grows on White Birch. I heard that Stalin used slave labor to infect many of the birch in Siberia with Inonotus obliquus. If this is true, that is one good thing he did for the Russian people :)

That is what I like about Chaga, there does not appear to be any wrong way to prepare the tea. It does not matter how strong you make or how much of it you drink. You can not overdose.

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The second and third photos (see a few posts above) are the same piece of Chaga... outer side and inner side. I don't recall if the tree was completely dead. It was a Yellow Birch.

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Guest Vlad

Dave,

The third piece is what the Chaga looks like which was closest to the trunk of the tree. It is composed of mycelium that came out of the tree last. Take a look at my updated page where I give my theory about the difference in appearance of Chaga pieces from the same Chaga.

http://www.mushroomhunter.net/010411.htm

The link at the bottom of the page takes you to another page where I show one clinker that might be mistaken for Chaga.

Since your third piece shows good marbling the birch could not have been dead long, if it is dead. I think that what you got is worth using. After the birch dies the nutrients in the Chaga are slowly leached out by rain and all of it would turn the color of your first piece.

I forgot to answer your question about where does Chaga end and wood begin. I use a wood chisel and hammer to remove the Chaga. I drive in the chisel on the side of the Chaga until I feel it hit solid wood. I then back it up about a quarter inch and pry off the Chaga with the chisel. Chaga has flesh that is relatively soft and corky so that it is easy to tell when the chisel hits solid wood. I also remove smaller pieces of Chaga with the chisel and hammer after removing the first large piece. This is the Chaga that is closest to the tree trunk and therefore most rich in nutrients.

I have found dead Chaga on a live Yellow Birch and the inside was the same color as your first piece.

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Me I use an axe to get my Chaga... when you get use to it one hit on the line between the chaga and the birch and you get your conch in one piece... work way bettre in winter when everything is frozen... I don't know if Stalin was a Chaga fan but I read an article on Chaga inoculation in Poland... absolutely no positif results...

when I make tea I ofen add 1 cup of trametes versicolor 1 cup of ganoderma resinaceum 1 cup of ganoderma applanatum and 1 cup of fomes fomentarius (they are all growing in my area...)... plus the 4 cup of chaga... add 20 cup of water... 2-3 hours of boilling ( I add the trametes in the last 15 minutes... they seem less heat tolerant) filter and enjoy... very very pleasant taste...

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I never use my chaga twice for tea... but you can use the left over chaga for other use... in Siberia it was use for hand cleaning and to clean the newborn... really effective to remove feet odors (or other body odors)... just soak in it after your shower... It's use in Japan in cosmetic cream to remove coloration spot on the skin... rub your face with it... another advantage to use grinded chaga... you can even add a small amount to dog food... if you keep it in chunk just let them dry and use it as a fire starter... or even as a kind of frankincense... It was use in this way by Plains Indians in healing ceremony... or even to predict futur... If you want to know wich of two event will happen make two similar line of chaga powder... one for each event and light it... to first one to burn completely will happen... never try that...

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Guest Vlad

Guill,

It is good to hear how different people do the Chaga tea. What do you use to grind the Chaga?

I was wondering if it would help my toe nail that is under attack by fungus? I would experiment on that if there was an easy way to grind it up. Also, have you heard what you could use to make a paste? Vasaline?

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When I made my second batch of Chaga a few weeks ago, I stored the used mushroom in the fridge. As was recommended by Vlad, I used this to make a my third batch yesterday, and to my surprise it came out dark and flavorful... maybe not quite as rich as the first time around, but very good.

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Guest Vlad

It is nice to have unlimited supply of Chaga as it appears that Guill has since he throws it out after one use but the tea on the 3rd 4th and 5th brew from the same chunks still has a lot of nutrients so it really depends on your taste preference when you stop reusing the chunks. People who like weak tea might be able to use the chunks up to 8 or 10 times.

I noticed a white residue on the pot surface in which I boil Chaga after it stands overnight. At first I thought it might be due to lime or calcium in the water but it turns out that it is due to something in the Chaga. Nothing to worry about.

I am pleasantly surprised by the amount of information there is on the Internet about Chaga now. When I started out about 5 years ago, there was very little information. On this page I gathered a few U Tube videos on harvesting Chaga and brewing the tea. I do not recommend harvesting the Chaga by kicking it with your bare feet as the hippy does but this shows you what different methods people use. Also the guy that machete chops his Chaga while he has it lying on the lawn does not appeal to me. He must like to spike his Chaga with grass :D

http://www.mushroomhunter.net/chagavid.htm

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That true that my family and I are probably the only one to harvest chaga in a few thousand miles radius... and we harvest it in winter(easier... no leaf)... and the winter is long around here...this morning it was -45F... without the windchill... so we got around 6-7 month with no mushrooms exept polypores...

Vlad... I grind my chaga with a meat grinder... the manual one... but I need to soak the chaga for 12-24h first...

and I think that you can use this powder in any hydrating cream(neutral base with urea...) We already try it with great succes for fungus in toe nail, or with fungal dermatitis...

to change the taste remember that you can add other species of medicinal polypores...

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Guest Vlad

Guill,

Good to hear from you. You young people have to take time off from mushrooms to make a living :)

I do not have a manual meat grinder but I have some Chaga which was used to make tea 4 times, so it has soaked for a week or two. I just experimented with a small cheap food processor. I think I paid about $10 for it when it was new. I just bought a new Ninja food processor and kept the old one to try it on Chaga. It did a pretty good job but there were still some pieces as large as a small pea. I then put the Chaga in a coffee grinder and that ground it to powder like espresso coffee. I think I will try mixing with Hydrocortisone 1% cream and then apply it to the fungus infected toenail.

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I made two batches of chaga tea today. The second batch was just as dark and flavorful as the first and I too stored the used pieces in the fridge. Will make more tomorrow as I drink what's in the fridge now.

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post-20-0-79531100-1354390055_thumb.jpg

It's been about 2 years since this discussion began. I've been making/consuming Chaga since then, although not on a regular basis. I'm currently trying to get into the habit of having two half-gallon containers in the fridge. I make it in 1/2-1 gallon batches.

Here's Vlad's original link to recipes and commentary.

http://www.mushroomh...aga_recipes.htm

I've been using my own procedure outlined below. I don't put much effort into scraping/chipping the black crusty part away from the yellow. The inner yellow stuff, woody in texture, is supposed to be the part that's useful.

Recipe is for dried material (Inonotus obliquus). Use a chisel/hammer/axe to knock off a piece like you see inside the pot, maybe 3 or 4 cubic inches. Then, a nut-cracker may be used to break it up into small pieces.

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Cover with cold water and place on the stove on low heat. A temperature that brings the water up to boil in about an hour is good.

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Once it boils for a few minutes, I turn the heat down so that the liquid is just below boiling and I let it sit on the stove for a an hour or two. I carefully ladel the settled liquid into a bowl for filtering. Add more cold water to the previously boiled Chaga solids and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat and let it steep just below boiling or lightly simmer for another hour. Filtering through coffee filters is the most bothersome part.

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The filters get clogged. I use several filters so that I can occasionally switch to a new/clean one, and I wash/rotate them. While ladeling the Chaga liquid into the filter, I try to avoid stirring up the sediment. The last cup or so, where all the sediment collects, sits in a filter until all the liquid drips through. We have an unheated closed-in room attached to our kitchen. During chilly months, it's a nice area to let the Chaga chill overnight.

I like my Chaga with a bit of brown sugar. A friend of mine loves it unsweetened. I heat individual cups in the microwave.

post-20-0-00239500-1354390046_thumb.jpg

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Dave, have you felt any different (health wise) after consuming Chaga tea for the past 2 years?

I'm getting very interested in Chaga and will attempt to harvest some soon. Just curious how exactly amazing it is.

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Well, I guess I've been kinda lucky with not having been seriously affected by the flu during these past few years. But I haven't consumed the Chaga on a regular basis. Maybe just having some occasionally is helpful? At least it tastes pretty good :-)

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I was in northern Minnesota last week mushroom hunting. I managed to hit the only dry period that they had in that area all summer. I still found a lot of mushrooms. One find that did not depend on the rain was chaga. My wife and I are 3 cup a day chaga drinkers. So, I could not pass up the opportunity to add to my chaga stash. In all, I collected around 20 pounds of fresh chaga. I brought home 9 pounds for myself and left the rest with my hosts. I located approximately another 20 pounds and marked them on my GPS. I plan on hitting this area again next summer.

To add to this discussion, I have been drinking chaga for around 19 months. During this period, I found that I can still get a cold but the duration would be days rather than weeks, I never get anything that seems to settle in my chest or sinus passages any more. I found that it helps with my arthritis. If you want to get the full benefit from the chaga, you should use both the black portion and the inner core. The black portion is said to have the best anti cancer properties. Having had prostrate cancer 13 years ago, this is important to me. Since I had the radioactive see implants in 2000. My PSA levels have been a steady 0.02 which my doctors think is amazing. Since I started drinking chaga, they are at 0.00. That was an eye opener. I highly recommend it.

My wife was a non believer until she started drinking it this past January. It cleared up 3 different medical problems that she had. She is now a regular 3 cup a day chaga drinker.

If you are thinking about trying it, make sure that you give it a fair shot. Give it 30 days and drink 3 cups a day. Some people report mild stomache problems when they first start drinking it. My theory on this is that it may be killing off some parasites in your gut. Try to stick it out if you can. I think this may go away in about a week.

Last but not least, you have to get the taste of the chaga tea to something that you enjoy. We make a gallon jug of the stuff and keep it in the frig. I heat a cup up in the microwave and add some stevia to sweeten it up and green or white tea bag to give it a taste that I enjoy. Experiment to figure out the way that you like it. If you do, you will stick with it.

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I was thinking about collecting some rose hips this fall and dehyrdating them for use with my chaga tea. Has anybody tried this and if the answer is yes, did you like it? My wife and I both drink 3 cups of chaga a day. We make the chaga a gallon at a time and store it in the fridge. I was thinking about brewing a gallon of rose hip tea first and then using it to brew the chaga.

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i live in n. maine and i can pick 50lbs. in one 4hr. outing. its everywhere. i just ride around in my truck on the logging roads. even the loggers pick it for me. funny i havent seen the fruiting body yet. i make my tea by putting small chunks in a crock pot on low for 24 hrs. then strain and drain. refill and do this 5 times or until it starts to get weak. then i put the spent chunks in my raspberry patch or compost heap. i also make a tincture out of 100pf vodka. i fill a half gallon mason jar w/ small chunks. top it off w/ vodka. cap it and give it a shake every few days for a month. i then dump it out into my crock pot. i top off w/ water and heat on low for 3 days. i top off the crock pot as needed. at the end of the 3rd. day i top off one last time. turn off the heat and strain into glass wine jugs. there should be very little alcohol left at this point. i dump a oz. in my drinks 2x's a day plus i drink chaga tea a few times a day. my psoriasis is almost gone. i feel better when i take it. haven't got a cold for 3 years. hopefully it helps w/ the prevention of cancer as its pretty prevalent in my family. like it best strait up w/ just honey as a sweetener. i find mine mostly on yellow birch. sometimes on white. my biggest find was a 20lb. monster growing on a 4ft. wide ancient yellow birch! took some axe work to get it off! if i was any good at posting pics i could put it up here. still have it in my shed as i find its too nice looking to cut up. i also sell some cheap to the old folks and cancer survivors. if they can't afford it i just give it to them. its helped a lot of people around here.

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I would love to do some culinary experimenting with chaga - anyone have a good source? I did a roasted acorn and reishi 'coffee' that was pretty tasty. For my purposes, it doesn't matter what tree it grows on as long as it's not actively toxic and tastes good.

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Chef, I'll find some once the foliage drops and, like maniac above, I can spot it driving down the road. Though I won't find nearly as much as they have up in northern Maine and Vermont.

I have never really consumed chaga as also like maniac I too just pass it on to some local individuals who have battled or are currently battling cancer who may or may not need it more than I do.

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Wish I could find some...I have been searching for over a year (southern Ontario here).

If anyone has an abundance and wants someone to do some tea brewing experimentation/QC....let me know ;)

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Chef, I'll let you know when I track some down and send some your way. Gonna head north in a couple of weeks to try and blow some grouse, quail, and pheasant out of the sky and onto my plate. Probably score a good lot then.

Tic, if you were in the US I'd send some your way too. I've had bad experiences shipping perfectly legal, safe mushrooms across international borders and it hasn't always worked out well. Had 14 pounds of cultivated cordyceps militaris on their way to south korea seized and destroyed......that was costly, financially and ended up wasting about 8 months of effort. Unfortunately the folks that work for us customs aren't always that knowledgeable about anything other than law enforcement tactics, tend to assume the worst, and act rashly.

I have also been aggressively questioned by law enforcement about the legality of the mushrooms I was picking, not that they could actually do anything if I did have a huge basket full of wild psychedelic mushrooms. Weighed, bagged, and in transport would be another story all together.

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Brian, did you get some yummy birds?

It sucks that officers have no idea what they are even trying to enforce. That's a terrible thing to happen to your cordyceps.

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