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Have been drinking chaga tea for about 3 years now (not regularly), definitely improved immunity. Still get cold or flu from time to time but not as often, and been able to recover without antibiotics. Good stuff, but I have to say, I can't get used to the taste, nasty:) Maybe because it's not just boiling chunks. I haven't found any growing in my area, not too many birches grow here, so I buy this stuff.


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On 10/5/2016 at 7:57 PM, Bradley said:

Chaga should only be harvested around the time the tree goes dormant for winter. it's potency is at its peak at that time. 

Thanks for this tip. I am just about out of my chaga tea. I'll have to start looking right now.

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Are there any similarly looking fungus to chaga?  And if so, are any toxic?


Has anyone found chaga in Virginia or other southern states?  We have some yellow birch here in the mountains and should have a lot of black/river birch too.  I've just learned about chaga so I'll need to go out hunting down some trees soon.

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From what I know, Chaga only grows on birch trees, and perhaps a couple others -- hop hornbeam is supposed to be one.  Most of the lookalikes are found on other trees.  I am not completely sure if EVERY black lump you find on birch will be chaga, but chances are good.  Just be sure it has NO structure at all, like tubes, but looks just like a lump of charcoal on the outside, with a brown center. 

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So I consider the medicinal properties of chaga to be something I'd take the time/money to make tea out of purely for novelty if I happened to find it, but since there's some legitimate evidence of it's success and it's something I've never found I'd like to go out specifically to find it.  Specifically in that I know someone whose had cancer for years off/on and while they are far from dying they aren't going to get any better from where they are now after numerous and different treatments.  I don't expect a miracle, but even a minor benefit would be worth it.

I've read Mycelium Running and re-read the section on chaga, looked up lots of information online from various people, and read all of this thread and it's all very similar so I'm prepared on how to prepare it.

What I'd like to know is the likelihood of finding it?  Now I'm seeing here that people who live in large areas of birch forest find it by the bucketful, but in my region most areas worth visiting for finding fungi have no birch or birch is 1/3 of the total area of woods.  Granted I haven't prioritized going to areas with birch and wandering the sections where the birches grow by choice, but I will now.  I haven't found it in the past I should add.  Then again since I don't look up information on a species until I find it (by trying to identify it) I could have passed samples of Inonotus obliquus and not noticed them due to not realizing it was a fungal growth.

Also on Mushroom Observer the listings for Inonotus obliquus are low in number.

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