Piptoporus betulinus has a parasitic relationship with birch tree's. The fruiting body is consumed by a wide variety of insects.

As a medicine, this polypore exhibits antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. In the Iceman's case was apparently used as a laxative to flush parasites from his intestine. Folk medicine claims that tea made from P. betulinus may prevent certain cancers. Also, this tea may produce an effect of anti-fatiguing, immuno-enhancing, and soothing. Other uses for this fungus include sharpening of blades, sweat bands in hats, buffing or polishing metals, and as packing for wounds to prevent infection.



Fomes fomentarius was the other fungi the Iceman had in his possession. Much like P. betulinus, F. fomentarius has been used in many ways including a fire carrier-in the case of the Iceman, cauterizing wounds, covering wounds or injuries, and as a remedy against abdominal cramping, hemorrhoids, and bladder disorders. Also covered by F. fomentarius are cancers of the esophagus and gastric and uterine carcinomas. This fungus has also been smoked in spiritualistic rituals. The fruiting bodies can also be moistened and pounded into clothing or accessories along with pin cushions or as a drying pad for fly fishing lures. F. fomentarius also has some iodine and has shown promising results in tumor suppression in mice.





Fomes fomentarius    Photo by Tom Volk






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