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Chaga mushroom, popular in our country, or birch mushroom, is a sterile, that is, sterile, form of the species Tinder mowed, or Inonotus obliquus, and belongs to the department of Basidiomycetes.
Most often, chaga is found on a birch. Thanks to how the mushroom looks and where it is located, Chaga received the household name "black birch mushroom." However, this type of fungus can also affect other deciduous trees, including alder, mountain ash, beech, elm and maple.
According to the description of the fungus, the formation of chaga occurs as a result of damage to the wood by the parasitic fungus Inonotus obliquus, the spores of which can germinate when exposed to damaged areas of the tree bark. As a result of fungal lesions, irregularly shaped growths are formed, the diameter of which can reach 0.45 m with an average thickness of 12-14 cm.
The surface of the formed growths is characterized by black staining and the presence of characteristic numerous crackings. The interior is dark brown with a smooth transition to a reddish-brown color. White veins penetrate the entire thickness of the growth.
The fungus grows for several years, and the result of its vital activity is the death of the host plant. In this case, the fungus’s own fruit body is formed on the opposite side of the trunk. The size and shape of the formed growths mostly depend on the type of damage to the tree before infection with a fungus fungus.
Chaga birch grows quite intensively. Mushroom picking should be best in winter. It is not recommended to collect mushrooms from felled or dry wood. In the process of collecting birch chaga should be chopped with an ax at the stem of the tree.
When processing the fungus, the first thing to do is to clean the loose, light-colored, unsuitable part. It is also necessary to remove residual wood and plant debris. Chaga prepared in this way needs to be divided into several parts and dried, observing the temperature regime at the level of 50-60 ° C. The standard shelf life of dried mushrooms does not exceed a couple of years.
Chaga is widely used in modern herbal medicine. It is important to remember that the fungus growing at the base of the tree has practically no healing and medicinal power, so the collection should be carried out from the highest plants. A properly dried product should have no more than 10-12% moisture and about 20% of extractive elements.
Numerous healing qualities and beneficial properties of chaga have been known for a very long time and are widely used at home. This not too attractive mushroom helps to cure many diseases. It is also suitable for use as a strong prophylactic.
The chemical composition of chaga is as follows:
The therapeutic effect of birch chaga is due to the action of active biogenic stimulants on the body. The fungus is characterized by a tonic, restorative, immunomodulatory, and also antitumor effect. He will not cure oncology, but is able to significantly slow down the growth of malignant cells. In addition, when eating chaga, there is a decrease in arrhythmia and an improvement in brain metabolism. It also helps lower blood sugar, stabilize blood pressure and balance the work of the digestive tract.
Although chaga mushroom is useful, there are some contraindications for use:
It should be remembered that taking chaga-based drugs and products requires a diet. Products of animal origin should be limited or completely excluded, with the exception of milk. You can not eat chaga with alcohol, spicy and smoked foods. Before using birch chaga, it is advisable to obtain medical advice, and the use of this fungus should not replace or exclude the main treatment prescribed by a doctor.
Experts recommend completely giving up smoking during the treatment or prevention of diseases with the help of chaga. It is not recommended to use this mushroom during pregnancy and lactation. Also, there is no confirmed data on the safety of taking chaga by children of preschool and primary school age. If the use of funds based on birch mushroom is too long, increased irritability may be noted, in this case, a dosage reduction or complete cessation of administration is necessary.
The use of chaga as a medicine, coupled with other drugs, is allowed for the following diseases:
The most well-known remedies based on birch chaga include the painkiller and tonic Befungin, which has proven itself in the treatment of chronic gastritis, biliary dyskinesia, and gastric ulcer. No less popular is the infusion of chaga (Tinctura Fungibetulini), used to improve the general condition of cancer patients and as an immunostimulant. The use of the popular freeze-dried extract of birch mushroom called "Bio-Chaga" is practiced in the treatment of diabetes, gastritis and peptic ulcer.
Chaga birch does not belong to edible mushrooms, but it is the most famous mushroom with healing properties in our country. Its medicinal qualities have long been recognized not only by folk, but also by official medicine.