Updated: Aug 18
Though it’s one of the most widely distributed medicinal mushrooms in the world, don’t let the ubiquity dupe you; Turkey Tail mushrooms are one of the most powerful and well-studied medicinal mushrooms on the planet.
Taxonomically known as Trametes versicolor (older studies use its former designation, Coriolus versicolor), this potent medicinal mushroom is named because of its resemblance to the tail of, you guessed it, Turkeys!
And if you’ve ever stumbled across a downed log with heaps of multi-color capped mushrooms in bracket like formations with white pored undersides, chances are you’ve already encountered Turkey Tail in the wild.
But the beauty it affords your eyes is just the tip of the iceberg with what this powerful specimen has to offer.
As we noted in our post on Reishi mushrooms, Turkey Tail is the only other mushroom we know of with a beta-glucan content—one of the main bioactive compounds in medicinal mushrooms—to rival Reishi mushrooms, with around 50% of its dry weight composed of beta-glucans.
Further, two specific compounds in Turkey Tail, PSP (Polysaccharopeptide) and PSK (polysaccharide krestin), have been extensively studied for their ability to support the immune system.
PSK, for example, is the main compound in Krestin, a popular drug in Japan that’s prescribed to support immune health and serve as an adjuvant immunotherapy for a variety of cancers including lung cancer.
Studies have demonstrated the potential of PSK to be anti-cancer by protecting healthy cells and sensitizing cancer cells to chemotherapy treatment.
Not to be outshined, PSP acts as a prebiotic to support and modulate healthy digestive tract flora.
In one study, participants who were administered PSP showed increased levels of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus sp. in the gut and reduced levels of E. coli, Staphylococcus and Clostridium. Studies have also investigated the anti-viral and antioxidant potential of PSP.
Like Reishi mushrooms, Turkey Tail mushrooms are inedible. At Mindfull Mycology, we perform a dual extraction using a Soxhlet extractor to ensure all our products contain these beneficial compounds.
To learn about our current extraction processes, read our article Medicinal Mushroom Extractions: A Primer on Our Process, dive into our methods with our simplified How to Use a Soxhlet Extractor guide, and learn why we use a Soxhlet in our post Soxhlet Extractor: Why We Do What We Do.
Or, to learn more about why we prefer the dual extract methodology for our products, head on over to Medicinal Mushroom Dual Extracts: Why We Make Them and You Take Them
And to learn more about the mushrooms in our other products, click on the name of the mushrooms below:
As with any dietary supplement, consult with your physician before incorporating Turkey Tail mushroom extracts into your supplement regimen. That being said, we at Mindfull Mycology know of zero side effects or contraindications with Turkey Tail.
Rogers, Robert Dale. The Fungal Pharmacy: The Complete Guide to Medicinal Mushrooms and Lichens of North America. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2011. Print.