Interviewee: Raisa Ferstere (1947) in Aizpute
Chaga mushroom / cinder conk (Inonotus obliquus)
Maybe you know something from your homeland, what is traditional for them, among infusions?
Well, I know alright, my father, he was a hunter. He took also me with him to the woods. My mother is 87 years old and at home there were always various kinds of infusions. Well, on the birch there grows one such chaga, it’s known in Russian. On the birch grows one such birch polypore. Or whatever it is called.
Kind of an outgrowth?
Yes, kind of an outgrowth. It is reckoned that it helps oncologically. And this one, how is it called – St. John’s-wort (Hypericum). You know, my mother knows a lot of things, when she’s, how should I put it, not out of her mind.
How was this outgrowth from the birch used?
So, it’s such that it must be grated and, well, it has no mould at all. It has something like antiseptic. My mother-in-law was ill and we knew that she has cancer and she was sent to me. Well, of course, it was too late, because one must drink it for the whole life. And there (in the Kirov region) people are very rarely ill with cancer, well, maybe only with heart diseases.
And then you grind them.
Grind them, make an infusion and it has some effect like…, For example, I can say that cowberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) have the same kind of effect. You can do without cooking them, they don’t have any mould, they can stay for the whole winter.
Simply like that?
Yes. Even without sugar. But they don’t have the mould, they also have that antiseptic effect inside.
How to make that infusion? Must there also be vodka poured over it or something else?
No, no, you can drink it just like a tea.
Must warm water be poured over it?
Yes, warm. I know that we made it in a thermos.
What is the taste like?
Just like water?
None, it is some kind of brown. I don’t even remember what was the taste like. I had that piece for a pretty long time and then it was just standing there, standing and I threw it out.
Interviewer: Ossi Kakko (FI), Karina (LV)
Translator: Agrita Ozolina (LV), Ance Zemzane (LV)
Videographer: Malin Vrijman Lindmark (SE)
Audio-recorder: Ieva Bernotaite (LT)
Note: Edit/Selection by Signe Pucena (LV) from longer interview
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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