Wild chaga mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus), which are the source of chaga mushroom powder, have grown in popularity as it has been proved that they are beneficial to the human body in many ways. The powder obtained after the mushrooms are dried and ground contains excellent anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. One of the issues of most concern is how it is harvested.
Before harvesting the wild mushrooms, the first step is to determine whether the birch tree is in the best shape for harvesting to take place. The tree ought to be vibrant and alive and this is determined by its color, firmness and posture. The gracefulness of the colour determines the tree’s liveliness. The most nutritious chaga mushrooms are those found on living trees as they contain additional living enzymes which you wouldn’t find on a felled tree. Normally, there is a symbiotic relationship between the magical mushrooms and the trees which host them. Also, the reason why it is necessary to harvest chaga mushroom from a live tree is because, once the host tree dies, the chaga mushroom also dies slowly. Also, chances are high it could become toxic through being dislodged with various molds, fungus and mycotoxins.
Secondly, chaga mushrooms used to come up with the powder ought to be growing on the right trees. Almost entirely, chaga grows on birch trees. However, there are a few rare instances where chaga mushrooms can be found on such hardwoods as beech and maple. This is considerable difference in medicinal value for chaga mushrooms that grow on the different tree species. Those that grow on the birch tree are quite superior. White and yellow birches are the most popular hosts for the chaga mushrooms. In the process of harvesting the chaga, it is preferable to leave out a substantial amount of the fungus and let it continue growing on the tree. This means that more mushroom will be available for harvest in the preceding seasons.
Also, the right tools ought to be used when it comes to chopping of the exact chaga mushrooms you need. The mushroom should be properly harvested from the tree to avoid spoiling it due to its delicate nature. Some of the most commonly used tools include an axe, knife or hatchet. You could break off a portion of the chaga or the whole bit if caution is not taken. A hatchet is the most preferred. There have been huge concerns over the rampant cases of improper harvesting of chaga mushrooms which affects their existence and that of the birch trees for posterity uses. Harvesting mushrooms poorly could also cause infections on the host tree.
The larger the chaga mushroom the better it is for harvesting. Generally, it will have a higher constitution of beneficial nutrients than a smaller mushroom since it has taken longer to develop and store the respective nutrients. The preferred chaga that are suitable for harvesting are those that are larger than a grapefruit. The wild chaga mushrooms grow quite slowly and it could take up to 15 years for them to mature fully. This is more reason to harvest them sustainably since they could easily run out taking away all the benefits associated with them.
It is also advisable to seek and harvest chaga mushroom in sections that are devoid of the different forms of pollution. The best birch trees to source chaga mushrooms are those that are not in close proximity to cities and urban areas, and near roads. Pollution could affect the quality of the mushrooms since the toxins obtained from the substandard environments could find their way to the final user. The most ideal locations to source your chaga mushrooms is deep in the forest, away from all the potential pollution dangers associated with urban and densely populated areas.