Mar 08, 2022
Understanding The Health Benefits of Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor)
Let’s talk turkey! Not the Thanksgiving kind, but the mushroom kind. The Turkey Tail mushroom acts as a powerful antioxidant to boost the immune system to fight off infections and some types of cancer. For centuries, Turkey Tail was at the forefront of Eastern medicine and its benefits are finally getting noticed in Western medicine. They’ve treated lung disease and cancer with it in China for many years. Turkey Tail is given to cancer patients in Japan as part of the standard treatment protocol to strengthen immunity . It is called Yun Zhi in Chinese medicine, and the Japanese name is Kawaratake .
Turkey Tail is also written as Turkey Tail and is known by three scientific names: Trametes Versicolor, Coriolus Versicolor, and Polyporus Versicolor. These are also the Latin names for the same mushroom. It is sometimes called Versicolor .
The Clear Story of Trametes Versicolor
Turkey Tail mushrooms may not have rubbed elbows with Chinese Royalty like the Reishi Mushroom, but its use goes back to approximately 200 BC (Han Dynasty). In the 15th century, 'Materia Medica' (Latin for medical materials containing pharmacological information) Turkey Tail or Yun Zhi was listed as being beneficial to the spirit (Shen) and energy (Chi). It was also said to strengthen bones and tendons. Turkey Tail Mushrooms were dried and consumed as tea in the East .
Since ancient times, Turkey Tail fungus has grown on the Asian continent. They grow throughout Europe, from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean. It is also a common mushroom found throughout North America's forests on dead hardwood trees. They grow almost year-round and their coloring makes them stand out in fall and winter when trees lose their leaves .
Turkey Tail mushrooms are one of the most common mushrooms found in North America. It is only used as a medicinal mushroom as its texture is quite leathery and does not lend itself well to being eaten fresh or cooked. The Latin name for this bracket fungus refers to its multi-colored bands on the cap. You can find Turkey Tail mushrooms in various colors, but they are often grey or brown. These beneficial mushrooms grow as shelves or rosettes on fallen logs or stumps .
They are about 1 to 4 inches across, fan-shaped, covered in tiny velvety hairs and they don't have stems. Their true identity is only revealed when foragers flip them over and see the white underside covered in tiny pores. They have a look-alike cousin with no health benefits called the False Turkey Tail, but thankfully, they are not poisonous if you mistakenly pick them instead .
Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Today, Trametes Versicolor is used to treat lung diseases and various types of cancer. Medicinal mushrooms are safely used in Japan and China to treat cancer with or without radiation and chemotherapy. Polysaccharide K (PSK) is the active extract from Turkey Tail that is approved in Japan for cancer treatment. It's usually consumed as a tea or capsule. Animal studies with PSK have tested its effects to strengthen natural killer cells and T-cells. PSK has also been the subject of a study on human patients with gastric cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer. Since the 1970s, it's been used as an additional or secondary treatment for cancer patients .
In the 1980s, Chinese scientists isolated the Polysaccharide-Peptide (PSP) closely related to PSK. The Chinese Medicines Authority cleared it as a secondary therapy to treat cancers of the lungs and GI tract. PSP and PSK may be the first treatments of what is now referred to as 'immuno-oncology.’ In recent years, immuno-oncology has become the focus of cancer research .
Antioxidants are known to help reduce damage caused by oxidative stress. When there is an imbalance between the damaging free radicals and antioxidants in the body, cells can sustain damage. This damage leads to chronic inflammation and increases the risk of other health conditions like cancer and heart disease. Thankfully, medicinal mushrooms like Turkey Tail are packed full of antioxidants, including phenols and flavonoids, which are plant-based compounds that boost immunity by reducing inflammation .
In addition to helping relieve chronic inflammation and enhance specific cancer treatments, Turkey Tail Mushrooms also helps balance gut bacteria. Turkeytail contains prebiotics which act as a food source for good bacteria. In an eight-week study, 24 people were given Turkey Tail PSP daily. The results were positive changes in their gut health and it stopped E. Coli and Shigella bacteria from multiplying .
How is Turkey Tail Mushrooms Used?
Modern life tends to force us to make unhealthy food decisions that may lead to unwellness, pain and inflammation. Turkey Tail Mushrooms have an impressive list of health benefits but are often used to help support a healthy immune system, maintain good gut bacteria and reduce chronic inflammation. Along with a healthy diet and exercise, this medicinal mushroom may even help relieve chronic pain such as fibromyalgia, arthritis and other joint-related issues.
Turkey Tail mushrooms are available in the following forms:
- Teas (dried)
- Mushroom coffee
- Powders (add to smoothies, broth, stews & soups)
- Pain & inflammation dietary supplement
Choosing to maintain an anti-inflammatory lifestyle should also include a healthy diet, exercise and a solid 6 to 8 hours of sleep. Taking a probiotic supplement containing Turkey Tail Mushroom provides pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory benefits to aid people with arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and other intestinal and autoimmune disorders.
Why Clear Probiotics Utilizes Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Adding a high-quality inflammation and pain-reducing supplement as part of your daily routine supports a robust immune system and helps balance gut health. Clear Probiotics chooses to include Turkey Tail in the Clear Inflammation supplement because of its extensive history of treating various health conditions successfully in countries like Japan and China. Other health benefits of these medicinal mushrooms include possible cancer-fighting potential, warding off exhaustion and preventing illness.
The Science of Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Enjoy an easy-to-read and informative article about the history and uses of the Turkey Tail mushroom. It's had medicinal benefits for centuries in Eastern medicine to treat various health issues.
Are you looking to improve your health? Learn why Turkey Tail mushrooms can help you feel better, have more energy, and have less inflammation.
Learn more about the usual health benefits derived from Turkey Tail mushrooms. They are full of antioxidants and can support the health of people with cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
If you are an avid athlete, you may want to read about the benefits you can get from Turkey Tail mushrooms. Improve your performance and recovery time with this unique mushroom.
- PDQ Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board. Medicinal Mushrooms (PDQ®): Patient Version. 2021 Jul 28. In: PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Cancer Institute (US); 2002-. Accessed January 21, 2022:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK424937/
- Edible Wild Food Staff. Turkey Tail - Trametes Versicolor. Edible Wild Food. [Internet] Accessed January 21, 2022:https://www.ediblewildfood.com/turkey-tail.aspx
- Ashley Adamant. TURKEY TAIL MUSHROOM: IDENTIFICATION AND USES. Practical Self Reliance. [Internet] April 2019. Accessed January 21, 2022: https://practicalselfreliance.com/turkey-tail-mushroom/
- Jaydon Inott. The Turkey Tail Mushroom: A thousand-year story from Energising Tea to Cutting Edge Anti-Cancer Agents. Mecklenburgh Square Garden.[Internet] Accessed January 21, 2022:http://mecklenburghsquaregarden.org.uk/the-turkey-tail-mushroom-a-thousand-year-story/
- First Nature Staff. Trametes versicolor (L.) Pilát - Turkeytail. First Nature. [Internet] Accessed January 21, 2022:https://www.first-nature.com/fungi/trametes-versicolor.php#
- Brian Kavanagh AKA The Sophisticated Caveman. Turkey Tail Mushrooms. The Sophisticated Caveman. [Internet] February 2021. Accessed January 21, 2022: https://www.thesophisticatedcaveman.com/turkey-tail-mushrooms/
- Jillian Kubala, MS, RD. 5 Immune-Boosting Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushroom. Healthline. [Internet] November 2018. Accessed January 21, 2022: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/turkey-tail-mushroom
* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Clear products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This website does not offer medical advice.