How to Find and Harvest Chaga Mushroom : The Renegade Health Show Episode #715

Monday Dec 6, 2010 | BY |
| Comments (58)

Last week, you met Dr. Cass Ingram…

This week, you get to come into the woods with us in northern Manitoba, Canada.

In the episode, we’re going to show you how to find chaga mushroom and harvest it. Dr. Ingram also talks about what you can use it for too.

Take a look…

Your question of the day: Have you seen or harvested chaga mushroom before?

Click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave your comments now!

To read more about Dr. Cass Ingram and North American Herb and Spice, please click here: http://www.p-73.com/

Live Awesome!
Kev

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

58 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Mary Ellen says:

    when i tried 2 view this video on chaga it said that it was unavailable.

  2. Jan says:

    Was not able to view the video. It starts to come up the says – This video is unavailable.

  3. Margaret says:

    it worked for me just fine. loved it. thank you !

  4. Matt from FL says:

    AWESOME Content, Thanks guys for bringing it! =)

  5. Joy Askew says:

    This is awesome! Thank you for sharing this information. My husband and I recently saw Chaga while on a hike but didn’t know what it was. We took photos of it and was trying to figure out what it was with out any luck. Now I’m really looking forward to going back and actually harvesting some.

  6. Brianna says:

    I have never seen Chaga before (at least, not that I am aware of). Thanks! I’ll be looking next time I take a hike in the woods :)

  7. Jan says:

    Never seen chaga growing before. Awesome information

  8. RawGuru says:

    I have not had the pleasure of harvesting wild chaga before but it’s something i’d like to do in this life!!!

  9. I have seen it, have not harvested it myself. One day I was at a big lots store and to my surprise they had many cases of bottled chaga tea. for 40 cents a piece! I bought a couple, for noveltea. but prefer to make my own. Thanks for the video. i’ve got to find some birch trees

  10. Sharon says:

    I have spent many hours looking for Chaga here in BC but have yet to see any.

  11. David says:

    Was a great video! Am curious to know the difference between the Birch Conch and the Chaga – Thought they were the same. Dr. Ingram pointed out that the large one up high in the tree was different from the Chaga he was harvesting down closer to the ground – He called it the Birch Conch. Did I misunderstand? I’ve been out harvesting this in Southern Ontario, Canada and have found Chaga up high on Birch and lower to the ground – Have I been harvesting two different fungus?

  12. Jennifer says:

    Yes, have seen & harvested Chaga in Wisconsin! We go hunting for Chaga & I keep a hand saw & hatchet in my backpack…Super FUN! Thanks for the video, Kevin :)LOVE

  13. LeAnn says:

    Hi Kevin,

    It is not uncommon on a diet that is mostly raw vegan for cholesteral to get TOO LOW. How do you increase it naturally and still remain raw vegan (dealing with a chronic condition so need to stay strict with diet).

    Also, You have mentioned several times that candida is over-diagnosed…although I agree that we should be careful making blanket statements about people, wouldn’t it stand to reason that given the SAD diet, that most people will indeed have Candida overgrowth issues? Thanks so much, LeAnn

  14. I”ve never seen it growing before but I have had it given to me where I had to break it up in the vita mix. LOVE IT

    THANKS for the video

  15. becca says:

    yes and i drink my harvest daily!!! love it with a little honey or maple syrup. my problem is that i’ve moved and need to find new places to harvest it. i live in vermont. i’m curious about dr. ingram’s havesting method. i’ve been told to leave some of the chaga so that it can grow back and be sustainable. it seemed he was going for it all. am i misinformed?

  16. Angie Leigh says:

    NEVER! WOW!

    I am going to go on the search for Chaga!

    Kevin, I live in Canada, what would be the best season to harvest Chaga?

    Great Episode. I love learning how to find medicine and foods in the wild. I hope you show more of these videos.

    Angie

  17. Mary Harris says:

    Hi Kevin and Anne Marie, I have never seen it. Thanks so much for the continual education you provide us. It is so much fun learning all the right things to do for our bodies!!!!!! Sincerely, Mary Harris

  18. Joseph says:

    I’ve been *wanting* to do this for a year now… but sadly, I’m not sure we have Birch trees here in Boulder, CO. Loads of Aspen, but no Birch. ;( Wish I knew this back when I lived in good ‘ol Pennsylvania!!!

    ;)

  19. lol. I’ve been researching chaga all weekend. can’t wait to go on a harvest.

  20. Glo says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Maybe I missed it, but where are you in Mexico. I have lived here for 11 years and have never gotten cheese on my guacamole. I just am tired of Mexico getting such a bad rap all the time these days. There are different areas with different recipes for things, but everything doesn’t have cream or cheese in it. Not even close!

    Thanks for all your info though, as I do enjoy reading it.

  21. nick says:

    I have seen it before I knew what it was. Ever since I knew how good it is I never see it ;( I will continue to look for Chaga it should be easier to find in the winter with no leaves but I wonder if it will be harder to harvest when it is freezing out. Hopefully I will find out soon.

  22. Sandy Jo says:

    I was taught a very early age while hunting for morel & other mushrooms in the woods of Wisconsin, not to be greedy and take all of the mushrooms. To always leave at least one third of them so the spores can reseed the area and produce more mushrooms. Then mother earth will bless you with more. I was horrified when they were chopping the tree down to harvest more chaga. Is the chaga mushroom different? It just seemed like the Dr was being “very greedy” and taking all. I praise the previous Harvester that left some chaga on the tree. I will have to learn more about the chaga.

  23. freedom fighter says:

    funny thing when i was just a little kid i used to live right next to a wild preserve of land and animals where they’re were tons of birched trees. i used to climb the trees and used chaga as a footing to climb up the tree oblivious to what it was, funny how things work. I can’t wait to harvest wild chaga thanks for the vid

  24. Rev Bob says:

    From what I heard I believe I am thr thyroid type.

  25. Sophia says:

    can’t wait to try some chaga!

  26. j says:

    do more episodes with this kind of theme!! definitely interesting!

  27. RJ says:

    I have yet to find a Chaga mushroom in my local woods. I did find a Farmer’s Market vendor selling Chaga mushroom that he grew himself (on plastic tubing) I could not believe it. I did not buy that Chaga.

    I’ve been researching the Chaga mushroom online and it seems it gets it’s life-force-energy from it’s natural surroundings. A symbiotic force of nature. Plastic in any form is bad news for mother nature.

    I also ran across some interesting info on YouTube by Daniel Vitalis, “Stalking the Wild Chaga Mushroom”

    ~The mushroom should be harvested only at it’s larger stages. Keep your small Chaga mushrooms a secret for a few years~

    Thank you for the video. I’ll add this info to my research.

  28. JOSEPH says:

    Doesn’t ‘seem’ like a mushroom! Stunning info! Thanks Dr. Ingram/Kevin. Also his other comments on birch/poplar leaves. Trees are some of our best friends. Pine bark extract (pycnogenol) is one of the strongest antioxidents there is. Glutathione aparently is the best. I always gather mushrooms in season when I am up in Haliburton, Ontario. Also fresh water clams from the lake which I use to make a superb clam chowder soup. With some wild leeks in it if I can find them.

    Please give us more from Dr. Ingrams.

  29. Bea says:

    Yes, I learned about chaga from Daniel Vitalis, then told my boyfriend whom I met at the mushroom hunting club. At that time he had no idea what chaga is. 2 months later, he presented me w/ a piece of chaga he harvested up north as a gift for me :)

  30. Dee says:

    What helpful info, loving these videos.

  31. Vitamin B12 says:

    I’d never heard of it before today, but I just ordered some to see what it’s like. It sounds good.

  32. tessa says:

    I have some in my backyard! have made tea many times; very hard to grind though

  33. Tyra McMahon says:

    Thank so much for this video. No I havn’t seen chaga before but am very interested in it. He mentioned he use to have psoriasis which my husband has. I just figured out a great Christmas gift. Dr. Ingram is amazing. I too live in Canada so might think of visiting there one day. My dad use to collect all kinds of mushrooms in the bush when I was little. I remember him cooking them up. Thank God he knew what he was doing.

    Anyways thank you again for sharing this video. Much appreciated.

    Merry Christmas to you all.

  34. Char says:

    Yes I harvest it regularly and make it into a very tasty tea. My daughter found one in Jasper, Alberta bigger than her head. She took a picture of it beside her head. Lots of fun

  35. Cass Ingram says:

    Glad everyone is enjoying the videos and gaining much valuable knowledge. For David’s comment, the conch is a kind of horseshoe-shapped beige-colored fungus that grows on dying birch trees or even dead ones. It was burned by the natives and inhaled for headaches. It is believed to be one of the mushrooms found in the possession of Otzi the Iceman. However, it is not chaga. In fact, chaga does grow up high but there weren’t many in the region. Unfortunately, the camera didn’t pan to show you the conch.

    The first chagas that were found were saved for the native people. A few, very few, were harvested. Regarding Sally Jo’s ctritique about ‘conservation’ your concern is appreciated, however, look at the video again. The tree that was chopped down wasn’t even a tree. Just hitting it with the machette made it move. In fact, it was a dead stump. So, it was an act of conservation to remove the chaga and make use of it. Someone had taken only a chunk of it; the rest would soon rot back into the earth.

    Regarding Becca’s comment of concern about harvesting. A layer is usually left of chaga material in the trees. However, in some cases the trees are nearly dead and there is no likelihood of any re-growth, which was the case with the tree in question.

    It is my hope that people of like mind can find a way to come together. There are plenty of enemies of natural medicine. It is a conservation to use natural medicine instead of synthetics.

    Think about the damage caused by the petrochemical cartel; it is horrifying. The use of natural substances is one of the greatest types of conservation, as long as it is done conscientiously.

    Regarding the question about psoriasis the best form is raw, wild emulsion of chaga in a spice oil base, as sublingual drops. This is not a medical claim but merely a help on the best kind to use; take sublingually and apply topically.

  36. OM says:

    Thank you, excellent video. I’ve seen Chaga growing on a birch tree but at the time I wasn’t sure that is what it was so I left it there. Will look for more on the birch around where I live. Peace, Bev

  37. Eva says:

    double wow, love all the info from Cass Ingram, just called North American Herb and Spice for thyroid/Adrenal supplements, they are very helpful and they have his book Body Shape Diet, so they were able to guide me in what to purchase thanks lots

  38. Tyra McMahon says:

    Thank you Dr. Ingram

    I ordered the special pack they were having at North american Herb and spice with around 5 chaga products. I hope the one you are speaking of is in it.

    Thank you so much for all the great informative videos!

  39. Karen Young says:

    Yes, I have seen and harvested Chaga in the White Mountains of New Hampshire – what a blast!
    Thank you Dr Ingram for identifying the conch, while not on the video from your verbal description it let me know that that was what I saw.

    Thanks for all the great info on these videos and inspiration to learn more.

    Peace,
    Karen

  40. Ed says:

    It is what it is

  41. Lykke says:

    Hey, loved it… Does Chaga grow in Scandinavia?? If not can one buy dried Chage in Europe??
    Thanks,
    lykke

  42. Yeah I’m with Lykke – I live in Norway and I’m pretty darn sure I’ve seen chaga here but it might not be – so does it grow in northern Europe, does anyone know?

  43. Andrew says:

    To #32:

    Grinding chaga is time consuming and unnecessary. Put a slab of chaga anywhere from ½ to 1” thick in medium size pot full of water, cover with lid to simmer on low heat until low boil. Turn off the heat, and let it cool down to room temperature.

    Pour through the strainer into a pitcher and refrigerate. The same slab can be reboiled several times until the color and taste indicate the chaga is all used up.
    Chaga will first float in the pot. At the end of simmering chaga sinks to the bottom, fully saturated with water.

  44. Timothy Lane says:

    It important to understand what chaga is – it’s not actually mushroom fruitbody (like portabella, or shiitake). The hard chaga mass harvested from birch trees is actually an intermediate sclerotial stage, a hardened mycelial mass of dikaryotic tissue (fertilized, but before it has produced spores) – like a truffle. A truffle occurs underground, whereas Chaga occurs above ground – it’s actually just an aerial sclerotium. A ‘sclerotium’ is a concentrated mycelial mass which stores food reserves for the organism to carry it through cold seasons, depleted substrate, or adverse environmental pressures. It also provides the energy for the fungi’s reprocductive processes. Inonotus obliquus is a long-lived species – several decades, a timeframe that typically makes any organism sensitive to human exploitation / overharvesting. I’ve seen chaga often on birch trees here in the US NorthEast (occasionally on beech) and even though I harvest many species of mushroom fruitbodies from the wild I have usually left chaga alone, because of what part of the organism it is. I also do this mostly because population numbers are still largely unaccounted for in the Americas (though Russia has an abundance presently) and because this fungi likely requires it’s above-ground sclerotium in order to sporulate / reproduce successfully once it’s host tree dies. For most fungi with a sclerotium, this is the case. Chaga’s cousin, the morel mushroom does not fruit until it has passed through the sclerotium stage in it’s life cycle. It is very fair to criticize that the species may not be able to sporulate if and maintain it’s genetic diversity if it’s energy reserves are being harvested. The chaga sclerotium does not rot once it’s host tree dies – in fact this stage is actually part of it’s reproductive cycle. Once the host tree dies, it will rot and fall to the ground – and this is what the chaga has saved those reserves for. Once the the fungus has lost it’s host, it grows mycelium down into the ground and begins to infect other tree roots with dikaryotic spores, it’s energy to do so being derived entirely from the aerial sclerotium. So, when we collect chaga from the wild, we are not in any sense collecting a dispensable part of the organism, whether it’s host it living or dead. Since the chaga is such a long-lived species, potentially sensitive, I have opted myself not to harvest it until impact of the species’ diversity/health has been reasonably ascertained. I remember also that a few months back Paul Stamets cautioned against harvesting chaga form the wild for these same reasons – and he has observed rapid population decline in some areas due to commercial wildcrafting. Stamets recommends cultivated chaga mycelium products instead, which bear all the same benefits, for the sake of the species’ conservation.

  45. Amy says:

    Thanks Timothy, I have been wondering about the sustainability of harvesting chaga. I found some on the ground yesterday. It was very wet. I took it home. My thought was that someone knocked it down and didn’t realize what it was so they left it. Now I am wondering if I ruined it’s chance to reproduce? I’m also wondering if it still has it’s medicinal properties at this point?

  46. Bob Chase says:

    I have looked in the northern Ontario bush with no results at all. Re; (Sudbury)… We have hundreds for Burch trees here, but I have no seen any Chaga at all. What areas will I find it, and why would there be no Chaga up here in the northern area? I find it strange that it grows all over every other area but here in Sudbury…

    Bob..

  47. Kelly says:

    It is good to have such video’s to learn more about earth knowledge and the gifts she bring but at the same time it concerns me because such video’s encourages people to go out over harvest the plants/mushrooms. We haven’t healed the Earth enough to be able to take as much as we want for we have to learn to give back before we take. Sustainable harvest of wild crafted herbs isn’t possible with the present condition of dwindling wild areas.

  48. Francois Thebeau says:

    I just had a great walk in the local woods behind our house and harvested three good sized chunks of Chaga. Will dry and store for future use.

  49. N Cameron says:

    my first gaga…I set my bike up against a large birch tree and proceeded to search the surrounding birch tree copse ….after a half hour with no luck I returned to my bike and there was the biggest chaga i had ever imagined right behind the bike..why I went to that spot I have no idea..since then I have found two more …I feel now at 71 years the best in at least the last several years…
    Norm

  50. corey says:

    I find 100lbs a week looking to get rid of it 207-965-8886

  51. tony says:

    Does these grow on all birch trees.

  52. Michelle says:

    This is a great video. Does anyone know where to hunt chaga in near the sf bay area? I’d really appreciate any tips.

    Thanks!

  53. Reno says:

    Where in Southern ontario is this? I live here and would love to know!

  54. kevin says:

    i finly found some chaga i will try it .hope its as good as they say.

  55. Crystal says:

    Can I find Chaga in Oregon?

  56. JIM says:

    WHEN I OPENED THIS UP == http://www.p-73.com/ ==NOTHING ABOUT DR. CASS INGRAM just advertising about North American Herb and Spice & their products

    To read more about Dr. Cass Ingram and North American Herb and Spice, please click here: http://www.p-73.com/

  57. Barbara says:

    The Russians have been trying to make this sustainable. they do not completely remove the chaga from the tree, but rather shave it down so it is even with the bark. By doing that they preserve the chaga and it lives on, to be re-harvested later. I think this is a better practice as many of the birch in Northern Manitoba are hundreds of years old and won’t grow back that quickly. Kill the birch – no more chaga. I also understand taht the antioxidant properties vary depending on where the trees are growing.

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