::: Birch Polypore As Medicine ::: We all know about the amazing health benefits of the Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus), and we also know that this type of medicinal mushroom is often over harvested, with so many going out to the woods and chopping off the whole fungus from the tree without care of it regrowing. But did you know that there is another type of medicinal mushroom that grows on birch, and which boasts amazing health benefits, similar to the Chaga? The birch polypore (Piptoporus betulinus) grows on fallen or dead birch trees, and the host tree often has 6 or more of these mushrooms growing on the trunk. This year I have seen over 100 of these polypores in the woods, while the Chaga mushroom is getting harder and harder to find. I'm excited about the research being done on this mushroom and what it can mean for us who wild harvest our medicines.
The birch polypore boosts the immune system, is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibiotic and antiviral. It has also been used as tinder in dry form, used to carry an ember when moving camp, and as a powder sprinkled on skin wounds. As a tea it can also help dispel worms as it is a laxative, helps the digestive system and the tea can be taken today to soothe the nerves or alleviate fatigue. Powerful indeed!
This medicinal mushroom is easy to identify, but please do take care and harvest only what you need! I am sure you've all seen this mushroom grow on birch when out walking in the woods, it is one that is abundant in the wild. A few of these mushrooms sliced up, dried and stored in a jar will be more than enough for the year.
I like to slice this mushroom when freshly picked, and dry in my dehydrator until the slice easily snaps in two. I make a very tasty chai tea with it included in the mix.
Wild medicine is very much needed in our world today, and I am so grateful that these mushrooms are abundant and easy to find.