Medicinal mushrooms known for their antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular protection, anti-diabetic, hepatoprotective and anti-cancer properties have been used for centuries within Asian cultures. One particular mushroom gained momentum in the U.S in 2012, when the National Institutes of Health conducted a clinical trial showing its use improved immune function in women with breast cancer. Known as Turkey tail mushroom, or more formally as trametes veriscolor krestin (PSK).
Turkey Tail Benefits
Turkey tail, common in the forests of North America, Japan, China and Northern Europe, has become one of the most research medicinal mushrooms. As Turkey tail is know for supporting the immune system it is widely used in Japan as a complementary immunotherapy in cancer treatment. With over 400 studies and 500 scientific papers investigating the efficacy of Turkey tail, there seems to be positive direction towards new medicine for cancer patients in the U.S.
From the research, turkey tail has shown to be beneficial to health and health conditions, such as; Autoimmune disease, Bronchitis, Colitis, Herpes, Human Papillomavirus (HVP), Leukemia, Cancer treatment (including: prostate, breast, bronchogenic carcinoma, cervical, colorectal, esophageal, gastric, primary hepatocellular carcinoma, liver, lunch, nasopharyngeal, and esophageal cancer), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, Hepatitis, Hypertension, High Grade Squamous Intraepithelial lesion (HGSIL), HIV, Inflammation, Infections (skin, UTI, digestive), Kung disorders, Lymphoma, Melanoma, Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Poor appetite, Cirrhosis, Ringworm, Scleroderma, Septic Shock, Tumors, Ulcerative Colitis, Allergies, and Asthma.
What makes turkey tail so beneficial is the fruiting bodies, which contain an active ingredient, polysaccharide (PSK), assisting the immune system adaptability to stress. Paul Stamets, a leader in mushroom research and author of 6 mushroom-related books, describes polysaccharide further. Paul, discovered that the polysaccharide genome of Turkey tail, mycelium, holds the antiviral and antimicrobial properties that make it fundamental for its use.
Easy to spot on the ground in wooded areas, Turkey tail is edible, however it is difficult to chew. For this reason Turkey tail is more commonly served as a tea or in powdered form as a capsule. In Japan a fractioned drug version of PSK is used but this is currently not available in the U.S. Mycelium in its purest form, is a nutraceutical approved by the U.S. FDA, and was used in the breast cancer trial (https://www.naturalhealth365.com/paul-stamets-digestive-tract-1366.html). This would be the expert recommendation for supplement use with a dosage of 2-3 milligrams three times per day.
With strong findings in the area of research, turkey tail shines a light on a potential non-toxic therapy to strengthen the body’s response to radiotherapy and chemotherapy in cancer treatment. Alongside Lion’s Mane, Reishi and Changa, medicinal mushroom popularity is exponentially increasing and is set to become mainstream as research continues to prove its value. With more people considering alternative medicine, and the scientific evidence of health healing benefits of Turkey tail, there is a movement of acceptance and awareness among medical professionals to incorporate this medicinal mushroom in treatment and prevention.
Given its rise in popularity and now a highly marketable product, there are products available that are falsely sold to be Turkey tail without any beneficial ingredients. To ensure you are receiving medicinal grade mushroom supplement, check to see whether the product containing extracts using fruiting bodies. When fruiting bodies are used, the essential and effective beta-glucans are present, which are responsible for the health impact.