Turkey Tail Health Benefits

July 3, 2023 4 mins to read
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Turkey tail (aka Trametes versicolor), known for its fan-shaped, multi-colored growth pattern reminiscent of a turkey’s tail, is a powerful and well studied mushroom with a range of health benefits. If you follow me on social media, you know I am a fan of Mushroom supplements, but there are only 2 brands I recommend (available in my Amazon Affiliate Store). It’s important to point out many studies are in-vitro (in cultured cells) or animal models, and more comprehensive studies on humans are needed to verify some of these health benefits.

History

Turkey Tail, known scientifically as Trametes versicolor, has a rich history spanning continents and cultures. The use of Turkey Tail dates back centuries, notably in traditional Chinese medicine as “Yun Zhi”, and in Japanese herbal medicine as “Kawaratake”. It’s highly valued for its potent medicinal properties, particularly its immune-boosting effects. For centuries, practitioners in Asia have prescribed Turkey Tail decoctions for a variety of conditions, including: cancer, infection, and chronic inflammation. Western science was slower to recognize the therapeutic potential of Turkey Tail, but research started to catch up in the late 20th century. Notably, a derivative of the mushroom called Polysaccharide-K (PSK) was approved as an adjuvant for cancer therapy in Japan in the 1970s. Today, Turkey Tail is recognized globally for its potential health benefits, making it one of the most widely researched and recognized medicinal mushrooms.

Health Benefits

  1. Immune Function: Turkey Tail contains polysaccharopeptide (PSP) and polysaccharide-K (PSK), both of which are believed to have immune-boosting properties. These compounds can stimulate immune function and helps promote certain immune cell activity [1,2].
  2. Anti-Cancer: Many studies have reported Turkey Tails potential anti-cancer properties. It’s been found to potentially enhance the efficacy of traditional chemotherapy treatment (boosts chemo power). It has also been shown to improve survival rates for certain cancers & help regenerate white blood cells after chemotherapy [1,2,3].
  3. Gut Health: Turkey Tail is rich in prebiotics, which help promote the growth and diversity of beneficial gut bacteria. A healthy gut microbiome can contribute to digestive health [4].
  4. Antioxidant: Turkey Tail contains several antioxidants, which can help protect cells from free radical oxidative damage caused [5].

Where to Buy Turkey Tail

I only recommend two brands: Host Defense by Pail Staments and Real Mushrooms (Available on my Amazon Affiliate Store or Pinterest). Both of which are certified organic, and ensure the best growth medium and extraction techniques and testing for maximum potency.

Conclusion

Turkey Tail is an amazing mushroom that has been used for centuries in Chinese Medicine. Finally western medicine is catching up, studying it’s constituent compounds PSK and PSP for their range of health benefits, especially in cancer prevention and treatment. If you don’t have a sensitivity to this wonderful mushroom, adding Turkey Tail to your diet daily, is a no brainer. My two favorite brands of Turkey Tail mushroom can be found in my Amazon Affiliate Store or Pinterest.

References

  1. Standish, L. J., Wenner, C. A., Sweet, E. S., Bridge, C., Nelson, A., Martzen, M., Novack, J., & Torkelson, C. (2008). Trametes versicolor mushroom immune therapy in breast cancer. Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology, 6(3), 122–128.
  2. Sakamoto, J., Morita, S., Oba, K., Matsui, T., Kobayashi, M., Nakazato, H., & Ohashi, Y. (2006). Efficacy of adjuvant immunochemotherapy with polysaccharide K for patients with curatively resected colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of centrally randomized controlled clinical trials. Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy, 55(4), 404–411.
  3. Ohwada, S., Ikeya, T., Yokomori, T., Kusaba, T., Roppongi, T., Takahashi, T., Nakamura, S., Kakinuma, S., Iwazaki, S., Ishikawa, H., Kawate, S., Nakajima, T., & Morishita, Y. (2004). Adjuvant immunochemotherapy with oral Tegafur/Uracil plus PSK in patients with stage II or III colorectal cancer: a randomised controlled study. British Journal of Cancer, 90(5), 1003–1010.
  4. Jayachandran, M., Xiao, J., & Xu, B. (2017). A Critical Review on Health Promoting Benefits of Edible Mushrooms through Gut Microbiota. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(9), 1934.
  5. Zhang, Y., Mills, G. L., & Nair, M. G. (2002). Cyclooxygenase inhibitory and antioxidant compounds from the mycelia of the edible mushroom Grifola frondosa. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 50(26), 7581-7585.

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