What is Turkey Tail? - Benefits, How to Consume & More

Mushrooms have been used medicinally for centuries. One common type of mushroom, commonly used in Eastern medicine is called turkey tail. Over the past several years, more people have begun to see the advantages of this natural supplement. 

This article will discuss turkey tail mushroom benefits and what is turkey tail. If you’re looking for an all-natural supplement, we can help!

What is Turkey Tail?

Turkey Tail mushrooms growing in the wild - on an old log of a dead tree

Have you ever seen unsightly fungi grow at the bottom of tree trunks? There’s a chance that could have been turkey tail. These ‘shrooms are characterized by their multicolored appearance and disc-like shape[1]. They grow in wooded areas all around the globe, including the USA. 

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Turkey tail’s official name is Trametes versicolor or Coriolus versicolor[1]. They first gained popularity in Chinese medicine but have since become well-loved in the Western world. 

What Are the Benefits of Turkey Tail?

One of the most notable benefits of turkey tail is its cancer-fighting potential. Recent studies show that turkey tail has potential to help. There’s been research to show it can help with colon, lung, gastric, and breast cancer[2]. It is believed that two compounds found in turkey tail, called polysaccharopeptide (PSP) and polysaccharide-K (PSK), can slow the growth of cancer cells and strengthen the immune system[1]

Aside from cancer prevention and treatment, turkey tail is full of other ingredients that are rich in benefits. This mushroom contains many antioxidants, such as flavonoids and phenols[3]. These antioxidants help to reduce inflammation, boost energy levels, and inhibit bacterial growth. The mushroom contains beta-glucans as well which helps with heart health, reducing the risk of heart disease.[4]

How to Consume Turkey Tail Mushrooms

Now that we’ve convinced you of all of the (many) advantages of turkey tail, it’s time to explain how to prepare it!

This is not a mushroom you would want to eat raw. Even if you go through the effort of cooking them, they are very tough and chewy.

A common natural preparation of this mushroom is to make a tea. It’s usually steeped in hot water and mixed with several other ingredients (like lemon juice, a sweetener of choice, or even a bag of tea for additional flavor). You can expect this mushroom to have a strong earthy flavor. It will take a little bit of time to both get used to the flavor and dial in a winning tea recipe.

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Precautions

Turkey Tail is perfectly safe but those with a mushroom allergy may experience some mild symptoms[1]. Mold Allergies may also cause mild symptoms. If you have any concerns whatsoever, it is best to consult with your physician before consumption.

References

  1. Berry, J. (2020). Do turkey tail mushrooms benefit health? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/turkey-tail-mushroom#summary 
  2. (2019). Medicinal mushrooms (PDQ)–Health professional version. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/mushrooms-pdq
  3. Severson, K. (2022) Turkey tail mushroom benefits. Best Reviews. https://kdvr.com/reviews/br/health-wellness-br/nutrition-br/turkey-tail-mushroom-benefits/
  4. Sima, P., Vannucci, L., & Vetvicka, V. (2018, April). Β-glucans and cholesterol (review). International journal of molecular medicine. Retrieved October 6, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5810204/

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