Birch Polypore

Birch Polypore

Fomitopsis betulina

Birch polypore is a mushroom that grows on Birch trees in cold weather climates. The health benefits of birch polypore have been defined as: anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antiparasitic, antiviral and antibacterial.

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Other names: Birch Bracket, Razor Strop
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Fruit
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About Birch Polypore

Birch polypore- bitterly brilliant fungus.

Birch polypore, also acknowledged as birch bracket or razor strop, has a rightful place in the family Fomitopsidaceae.  Birch polypore can be easily witnessed on dead birch trees or logs, and occasionally on living trees too.

Birch polypore has brown caps that are white-colored underneath with plenty of spore holes. It achieves two birds with one stone by living both saprobic and parasitic life. Its main areas of interest are those trees that are weak, injured, or overcrowded. Birch polypore erupts from the damaged portion of the trees and proceeds down towards the trunk, simultaneously killing the tree in the process.

Although birch polypore is a nightmare for the birch trees yet it is proved to be of great use in ethnobotanical world. Birch polypore attained its long-forgotten fame when it was found on a 5300-year-old mummy, Ötzi’. Birch polypore possesses a myriad of pharmacological properties like anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-cancer, anti-parasitic, anti-hemorrhagic, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and so forth.

Birch polypore has very valuable phytochemicals that contribute to its magnificent medicinal properties like phenolic acids, indole compounds, sterols, triterpenes, and agaric acid.

Growing

Birch polypore seemingly grows from the singular lateral attachment spot of the birch tree. It appears to be subglobose at first but later expands and attains the shape of the bracket that is of about 10 to 20cm in measurement.

Its growth sets a perfect show for the audiences in the temperate region, especially forests. Sadly, there are no indoor methods for the cultivation of Birch polypore. This wood-rotting basidiomycete can only be found exclusively in nature, mainly in the temperate forests or in artificial conditions by the isolation of its strain from the natural habitat. With the provision of organic supplements and moisture, heavy fruiting bodies can be obtained.

Birch polypore’s natural growth is restricted to a dead birch tree. It rarely grows on a tree that is healthy and alive. Birch polypore does a stellar job at attacking a damaged tree. Its spores alight on the exposed regions from where the branches have broken off and initiate the growth of hyphae. The hyphae eminently disperse in order to frame a mycelial network throughout the tree.

A healthy birch tree is able to halt the flourishing growth of the mycelial network and saves itself. However, an old or damaged tree is not able to contain the vandalism and surrenders at the hands of fungi.

The fruiting bodies are annual and usually become the food of insects if they are not collected quickly by the harvesters.

Harvesting

Birch polypore, being an annual fruiting body and the favorite of insects, must be harvested young. The color of the cap is another marker for its collection. Initially, it is white and then gradually it darkens and acquires somewhat beige color. It can be collected later too by letting the fungi sit for a longer period of time until darkens to grey. But this can only be done if insects happen to be blind. So better harvest it when it’s young.

Birch polypore can be easily harvested from the trunks of birch by hands. There is no need of employing special gardening tools to do so.

Birch polypore proves to be very much stubborn if their slicing is delayed. So, slicing them right away after harvesting them comes in handy as they are a bit flexible and spongy at that time.

After slicing Birch polypore, they can be either dried by dehydrating them on the lowest temperature.  On the other hand, there is no need for any high-end dehydrator because our natural air can do the job perfectly too. They can be splayed on newspaper in a dry and dark area until they feel firm to touch.

Usage

Birch polypore is used to impart a magical turbo-shot to the immunity. Here we have provided you with one of the best ways to get your birch mushroom fix.

  • Tincture- Fresh or dried sliced birch mushroom is allowed to soak in 80 proof or higher vodka for 6 weeks with intermittent shaking. The mushrooms are strained and the tincture is ready.
  • Tea- Fresh or dried sliced birch mushroom is boiled in water to make birch polypore tea.
  • Decoction- Dried sliced mushrooms are allowed to gently simmer with water for a long period of time to let the tough constituents free. The mushrooms are strained to and the decoction is enjoyed to wave goodbye to aches.
  • Salve- Sliced mushrooms are used to make face salves.
  • Syrup- Dried or fresh sliced birch mushrooms are simmered in water. Honey or elderberries are usually added to subside the bitter taste.
  • Infused oil- Dried birch polypore is infused with the olive oil to form birch polypore infused oil.