Tinder Sponge

25 mins read

Typical name: tinder polypore, tinder fungi, touchwood, punk, german tinder, fire-starter mushroom, german felt, hoof fungus, cosmetic surgeon’s agaric, agaricus chirurgorum, amadou, amadouer (france), tsuriganetabe (japan), wundschwamm (germany), esporija pare heridas (italy)- the preponderant referrals to tinder correspond to the prevalent use of the fungi for fire initiation and fire upkeep.

Taxonomic name: fomes fomentarius– the latin word fomes implies “tinder” or “touchwood” and the latin word fomentarius suggests “product to feed a fire”– both the generic and types names emphasize using the fungus for fires. Formerly known as polyporus fomentarius and ungulina fomentarius.

Potpourri: the tinder polypore is among the most easily identifiable of the bracket fungi, which indicates it is laterally connected like a bracket to a substrate without a supporting stalk. The shape and percentages are suggestive of a horse’s hoof; the typical name hoof fungi provides a descriptive mnemonic. The tinder polypore is weakly parasitic on broad-leaved trees, notably beech and birch. The pathogenic infection is known as white heart-rot: the disintegration (rot) of the main wood of the tree (heart) through usage of the brown lignin so that only the cellulose which is usually light in color (white) remains. The fungus is also saprobic, living on the dead trunk or remnant stump of the tree that it might or may not have had a hand in killing. The “hoof” part of the fungus has a crusty grey-brown, zoned upper surface, the bottom is comprised of a cream-colored surface area that is covered with pores that have to do with a third of a millimeter in size. Spores are produced in prodigious numbers in the spring and summer, as numerous as 800 million in a single hour according to field screening; very few spores are produced in the fall and winter season. [1]

Tinder sponge– a brief overview

Tree different fungis utilize the dead wood as a breeding place

In the broadest sense, the group of tree fungi consists of all types of fungis that colonize wood and utilize it as a breeding place for their own lives, whereby the tree is either already dead or passing away. The fungi derives the nutrients directly from the wood through their mycelial tissue, by degrading utilizable substances with particular, fungal enzymes. A process frequently referred to as rot. Roughly one separates between mushrooms the brown rot and mushrooms which produce white rot. Essentially all mushrooms are showing the fine mycelium tissue, with which the tree is contaminated, prior to the very first fruiting bodies show up. The real “mushroom” is located in the interior of the tree, it is similar with almost all forest mushrooms, where just the fruiting body above ground can be seen.

Brown rot disintegrates the wood substances

The so-called brown rot can disintegrate all wood substances except lignin, while the white rot just breaks down the lignin in particular. The brown rot disintegrates basically the polysaccharides, here especially the cellulose in the wood structure and thus damages the fiber structure, where the wood first blemished and after that ends up being breakable, it comes to the so-called cube breakage. Approximately 80% of the wood is decayed by the fungis, or used by them as a nutrient by conversion. The lignin remains untouched by the brown rot, however the wood dries nearly entirely.

Lignin is the glue between the wood cells

The lignin forms the so-called adhesive in between the wood cells, which is particularly steady, which is why the white rot is in addition depending on other energy-producing procedures in the decomposition process. The order of the decomposition processes in the wood is quite various, likewise depending upon the kind of mushrooms present. Therefore, in the presence of the genuine tinder fungus, the strong degradation of lignin instantly begins. The wood shreds and turns almost white. The staying polysaccharides, here in turn specifically the cellulose, attend to strong swelling of the wood by absorption of water. Dehydration is then no longer possible, the decay of the wood is almost 100%.

Many tree fungi show their fruiting bodies just during a single growing season, while others reveal equivalent growth rings to the wood, so that they are almost entirely associated with wood diseases such as woody plants. Development can be puzzled. The tinder fungus is one of the tough tree fungi, it forms perennial fruiting bodies, which sometimes show rather significant growth zones at the bottom and at the leading edge. Primarily it is discovered on beech or birch.

Early lighter – the middle layer of the sponge is processed into tinder

The name tinder sponge is based upon findings that date back to the neolithic, due to the fact that the loose-felted middle layer of the fungi, the so-called trama, was processed into tinder. With the discovery of the glacier male “ötzi” also scale remnants were found, which he led to the fire with it. In the west, there were elaborate treatments to put the cable car in soaking, cooking, tapping, and nitric acid and dry to produce a felt-like mass that right away started to radiance by impinging stimulates. A sort of early lighter. Even today, the trama (hyphal layer) of the tinder fungus in romania is utilized for the production of huts or caps. [2]


Cap: shell- or hoof-shaped, normally with narrow bands of gray and gray-brown around the upper surface area. Some are silver-gray or almost black.

Pore surface: whitish or brownish.

Stem: missing.

Smell: fruity.

Taste: acrid.

Spores: oblong.

Spore color: yellowish white.

Edibility: inedible.

Habitat: living or dead hardwoods in cool or temperate environments.

Fomes fomentarius looks quite various than many familiar mushrooms. It has no stem or stipe, nor does it have gills, however rather a flat lower surface covered with pores, which are the openings of densely-packed, spore-producing tubes. The fruiting body is perennial, adding a new layer of tubes every year, therefore the flesh is difficult and woody. And while lots of stipeless, pore-bearing fungis have the very same shelf-like shape as a young f. Fomentarius fruiting body, older examples develop a horse-hoof shape that is very distinct. It feeds upon either living or dead hardwoods, specifically birch and beech, with the fruiting body emerging from the side of the trunk.

Fomes fomentarius carefully resembles another types, phellinus igniarius, to the point that the latter is often called false tinder fungus (confusingly, f. Fomentarius is in some cases also called “false tinder fungi”). P. Igniarius has traditional uses of its own, notably as a chewing-tobacco additive (a practice now considered hazardous, as it increases the absorption of nicotine), however it ought to not be confused with f. Fomentarius. The most obvious distinction between the two is spore color. [3]

Identification guide


This sombre fungi generally looks like a solitary specimen however periodically two or more tiers are produced.

On standing wood this bracket in some cases gets a hold in clefts in the trunks of older trees; however, the aged specimen shown left wing was found on a fallen beech tree.

Yearly layers of tubes build up to produce a large hoof-shaped structure 10 to 40cm across and as much as 20cm deep at the centre of the accessory line. After the first three or four years, brackets increase gradually in density however do not grown much in size – thus the resulting hoof shape.

The upper infertile surface area is various tones of grey, often with a brownish growing zone towards the outer edge. The lower (fertile) surface is white or greyish, turning a little brown when bruised.

Pores and tubes

Inside the fruitbody the flesh is difficult and pale brown, while the tubes are pale grey-brown at first however end up being darker brown with age. The pale spore-bearing surface is significantly softer and has minute pores generally spaced at 2 to 3 per mm.


Oblong-ellipsoidal, smooth, 15-20 x 5-7μm.

Spore print

Extremely pale lemon.


The odour is faintly fruity; the taste acrid.

Environment & environmental function

Parasitic on broadleaf trees, especially birch and less frequently beech and sycamore, but continuing to grow for lots of months as a saprobe on dead/fallen trunks. I have actually simply as soon as seen hoof fungi on a cork oak, which was in the algarve region of southern portugal.


Present throughout the year; shedding spores in late spring and summer season.

Similar types

Could be puzzled with a few of the ganoderma bracket fungi, although they release brown spores; also possibly with piptoporus betulinus, the birch polypore, a yearly bracket which has a much smoother upper surface. [4]

Does fomes fomentarius truly have medicinal residential or commercial properties?

There isn’t yet a lot of proof for the tinder polypore’s efficiency as a remedy for specific ills, however scientists are beginning to take an interest in revealing its tricks.

Like the more commonly known medical mushrooms, fomes fomentarius contains both polysaccharides and terpenes. These substances have been discovered to exhibit interesting– and sometimes powerful– homes when extracted from other species and test in laboratory settings *.

However what about this species?

Here’s a little of what this tree fungi may have the ability to do:.

  1. Battle inflammation by inhibiting production of pro-inflammatory compounds.
  2. Decrease pain by lowering levels pge2 and cox-2, which are related to inflammation.
  3. Act as an antimicrobial against germs and viruses.
  4. Offer a possible treatment for diabetes via a compound called fomentariol.
  5. Serve as an antioxidant to prevent cell damage.

Extra therapeutic possible depend on the method fomes fomentarius obviously impacts the body immune system.

In one research study, scientists gave mice varying dosages of polysaccharide extracts from the mushroom to check its interactions with immune cells. They discovered proof of boosted resistance even at the most affordable doses, including more leukocyte activity and a higher capacity to damage pathogens *. [18]

Other uses for tinder fungi

With all these fascinating homes, it’s natural to wonder if fomes fomentarius is edible. However, there’s a factor you primarily see the tinder fungi referred to as functional or medicinal and not a focal point for dishes.

Although it’s not known to be poisonous, this particular mushroom isn’t a yummy special, either.

It’s an obstacle to slice, and in spite of its fruity odor, the taste has been described as exceptionally undesirable. Much better to stick with more delicious cooking mushrooms, like the familiar button mushroom or the a little more unique lion’s hair!

Fomes fomentarius is, nevertheless, good for beginning fires. Many people think that’s why otzi the iceman was carrying it around: to use it as a real tinder fungus.

Following his example needs a sharp knife and a little persistence. Slicing a section off the fruiting body reveals a softer inner material, which can then be “fluffed up” and fired with flint or a match. Include some little, dry kindling, and ta-da! The beginnings of a campfire. [5]


betulinic acid in this medicinal mushroom has demonstrated strong antiviral properties. It is so powerful that it is now being investigated as a prospective antiviral treatment for hiv. This mushroom consists of the compound piptamine. This substance has a really powerful antibacterial activity. It can eliminate a number of bacterial pressures, such as e. Coli. Ancient texts also revealed that this fungi has been utilized as a treatment for tuberculosis in 200 ad.

Stops bleeding

Even from ancient times, fomes fomentarius has actually long been used as a natural product to stop bleeding. Surgeons utilize it throughout surgeries to stop bleeding. It is extremely absorbent and easily keeps in place, which greatly helps in wound care. Hippocrates even explained this mushroom in fifth bc as being utilized for the cauterization of wounds. This made the medical mushroom the name “surgeon’s agaric”.


The chinese usage tinder conk mushroom as part of the treatment for different kinds of diseases in standard chinese medication. They utilize it for the treatment of throat illness, disease of the uterus, and stomach disease. Its basic encouraging action on the body immune system aids in boosting the body’s natural anti-disease ability. It promotes the various immune cells and processes that dissuade illness and tumor cell expansion.


  1. Cauterization compound for injuries (explained by hippocrates in the 5th century bc).
  2. A styptic to stop bleeding – utilized by cosmetic surgeons barbers and dental professionals (in some cases called the “agaric of the chirurges” or “cosmetic surgeon’s agaric”.
  3. Remedy versus dysmenorrhea, hemorrhoids, and bladder disorders in europe. Diuretic, laxatives, and nerve tonic in indic folk medicine.
  4. Dealing with cancers of the esophagus, stomach, and uterus in china.
  5. Used in cigarette smoking rituals in western sibera and hokkaido, burning the fruiting bodies overnight to eliminate fiends.
  6. Making clothing such as caps and chest protectors (after pounding).
  7. As pincushions to prevent pins and needles from rusting.
  8. Utilized by entomologists to mount their delicate bugs.
  9. Utilized in siberia as snuff or mixed with tobacco.
  10. Cost usage in fly fishing as “amadou,” which is used to soak up excess water from flies.
  11. Utilizing contemporary techniques, the tinder polypore has actually been shown to contain iodine, fomentariol, and other substances that are active against bacteria and growths. [6]

The easy method to utilize fomes fomentarius as tinder

There are different procedures for preparing or enhancing fomes fomentarius as tinder, consisting of producing amadou. Tinder produced in this way will capture and hold the little, relatively cold stimulates produced by striking together flint and iron pyrites.

In concentrating on these more involved procedures, it is possible to ignore the most basic and simplest preparation of fomes fomentarius as tinder. This can be done quickly in the field and the tinder produced can be used instantly.

The bracket is the fruiting body of the fungus and its outdoors layer is hard, like the crust of a stale, dried-out loaf of bread. Observing the underside of the fungi you will see many pores, which are completions of the spore tubes.

Inside the bracket, in between the spore tubes and the external layer is the trama layer or “flesh” of the fungi. The trama layer of fomes fomentarius is quite thick, firm in consistency and has a cinnamon colour. Within the trama you will see growth rings. You can see clearly see the structure of the bracket by slicing through it.

Whichever procedure you are utilizing to produce tinder from fomes fomentarius, it is the trama you require to start with. If you slice the trama very finely, you will notice that it is somewhat fibrous. This is easiest to see at the end of your slice.

For our basic method of producing tinder from fomes fomentarius we will make use of the fibrous nature of the trama. Slice off the surface area layer of the fungus. Then slice the trama obliquely to create the largest possible pieces.

To prepare the trama as tinder, we need to scrape up the surface area of the slice. Utilizing a knife or other sharp execute is the easiest method to do this. Scrape up the surface up until you have a bunch of fluffy material.

Now all you need to do is drop a stimulate into the fluffy product. This fluff is very good at capturing a trigger and when ignited will smoulder for a while.

The smouldering will spread out into the remainder of the slice. This will then smoulder for a long time. This combustion is extremely hot. The product will not flame, nevertheless. For that reason to light a fire by means of this method you should then take your smouldering tinder to extremely great kindling to produce a flame. Examples of natural materials suitable for this consist of dried grass, dried bracken leaves or appropriately prepared bark fibres.

When ignited, a larger lump of trama can smoulder for hours and can be used for bring an ash or rekindling a fire at a later stage.

Since the fruiting bodies of fomes fomentarius grow so slowly and can live several years, please program restraint in gathering them. Areas take a long time to recover from over-exploitation. Take only what you require. [7]

Consumption of the tinder fungi

There are 2 types that are most frequently used. These include, on the one hand, the tinder fungi in the form of a brewed tea and, on the other hand, in the form of a dietary supplement.

If you want to prepare a tinder fungi tea, you first need to pour the mushroom powder over it utilizing boiling water. The tea needs to then be left to rest for a few minutes before you can consume it. In the case of dietary supplements, tinder fungus pills in particular have been able to assert themselves best up until now. In the end, taking it is very simple. The exact same applies to the two medical mushrooms chaga and auricularia.

For a satisfactory result, routine consumption is a must. When it comes to intense symptoms, you can also take in the capsules, alcoholic essence or tea daily. The regular intake of these funds has actually not shown any adverse effects up until now. After about 2-3 weeks of daily usage, you should take a break from using tinder fungi items for a minimum of 2 weeks in order to guarantee an ideal result.

Notification, that taking dietary supplements and vitamins can not replace a see to a medical professional. [8]

Side effects

It is only needed to remember that, regardless of recovery properties, tinder fungi can also have side effects – trigger queasiness, vomiting, lightheadedness, allergies. You can not utilize it in food, as it is stuffed with poisoning. [9]

Research study potential

Prospective exist to more research the antiviral anti-bacterial and answer homes of fomes fomentarious. Also research study possibilities exist in developing cosmetic preparations and likewise in textiles.

Commercial potential

At this point, there might be demand for fungi from conventional chinese medicine. There could be substantial development in demand based on medicine an item that would be developed based on medical & cosmetic research and medical trials.

Possible amounts in north saskatchewan

Supply of 1000 kg (dried) is possible at this point. Provided development time this supply would be increased significantly. [10]


  1. https://hikersnotebook.blog/fungi/polypores-and-puffballs/tinder-polypore-fomes-fomentarius/
  2. https://www.alaturka.info/en/life/flora/4264-tinder-sponge-tree-fungus-in-the-castle-spark-of-falkenstein
  3. https://healing-mushrooms.net/fomes-fomentarius
  4. https://www.first-nature.com/fungi/fomes-fomentarius.php
  5. https://learn.freshcap.com/tips/why-fomes-fomentarius-isnt-just-a-boring-polypore/
  6. https://ultimate-mushroom.com/poisonous/105-fomes-fomentarius.html
  7. https://paulkirtley.co.uk/2011/easy-way-to-use-fomes-fomentarius-as-tinder/
  8. https://www.fullelemental.com/shop/tinder-sponge-alcoholic-essence/
  9. https://uralstk.ru/en/drugs/trutovik-listvennichnyi-primenenie-recept-dlya-pohudeniya-iz/
  10. https://www.agwest.sk.ca/ckfinder/userfiles/files/birch%20fungi%20-%20fomes%20fomentarius.pdf
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