Sounds similar to my property. Birches in swamp or very close to it.
I think I have the mushroom on my property. If anyone wants to look I'm between Mauston and Necedah. Lots of birch in the swamp with growth on them. Private message me.
I'll have to check to see if I have any raw chaga around the house. If I do, I'll follow that method. That's what my mom does with it. My guess is that some of the compounds that are present in my tincture won't be in the tea - primarily the fat or alcohol soluble compounds like beta sitosterol. Not to say that the tea isn't healthy, it will likely just only contain the water soluble compounds which have their benefits as well.
Bugle could you try the water extraction method and test it, since a lot of us use just that method. 1/2 cup ground, steep in a gallon of water no more than 140 degrees no need to keep it up to that temp, just let it cool down for 24 hours. Thanks!!!
I thought that there was another Chaga thread somewhere but nothing came up when I searched. Maybe some of us discussed it on a mushroom thread. Anyhow, science geek alert! If you're not into that sort of thing, this is a warning to move along. But I thought some of our science-minded LL'ers would like this.
I've been harvesting Chaga from our hunting land near the border of Vilas and Oneida County for the past couple of years. I made a half gallon-sized tincture last fall by powdering chunks of Chaga and soaking the powder in grain alcohol for 90 days, shaking daily. I then strained off the alcohol and did a triple hot water extraction of the powder. I mixed that with the alcohol fraction.
It just so happens that I manage an analytical lab that specializes in botanical analysis. I had one of my chemists confirm the identity of my Chaga tincture by performing a High Performance Thin-Layer Chromatography assay comparing it to an image of a Chaga botanical reference material purchased from American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Each band in the image represents a compound in the extract/tincture. Of the three tracks in the image, the track on the left is a certified reference material of Beta-sitosterol, a phytosterol researched for reducing BPH and cholesterol. The track in the middle is the certified botanical reference material of Chaga and the one on the right is my tincture. Obviously the image is weaker and less potent than the reference but the various bands in my tincture line up with the reference confirming it's identity.
Better living through Chemistry!
They harvest it themselves in Rhinelander.