Coriolus Versicolor (Turkey Tails)
Pure Turkey Tail™ – Aloha Medicinals Pure Turkey Tail™ is used in the production of PSK and PSP. Pure Turkey Tail™, as one of Nature’s best medicinal mushrooms, contains approximately 25% of PSK and PSP.
PSK is a protein polysaccharide consisting of a beta-glucan β-1,4 main chain with β-1,3 and β-1,6 side chains. The approximate molecular weight of PSK is 100,000 Da, and the protein component is reported at the β-1,6 side chain. PSK is isolated from the “CM-101” strain of Trametes versicolor. The analogous compound PSP, is derived from the “COV-1” strain of Trametes versicolor, making it an excellent cancer fighting supplement ingredient.
Dosage – 3 capsules per day.
Amount of Trametes per Capsule – 500 mg. 90 Servings per container / 90 capsules
Coriolus versicolor (“multicolored mushroom”), also known as Trametes versicolor, is a mushroom readily found in woodlands in China and Europe and is the most commonly found polypore in the oak woods of the Pacific Coast in the U.S. It grows in clusters or tiers on fallen hardwood trees and branches, frequently in large colonies. As its name implies, it is often multi-colored, with contrasting concentric bands, variously appearing in shades of white, gray, brown, black, blue or even red. It has a thin, velvety fruiting body, usually 2- 7 cm wide, fans out into wavy rosettes, giving rise to its popular name, Turkey Tails.
Like many mushrooms, the Turkey Tail mushrooms offers a variety of support for overall health and natural immunity. With a colorful appearance like the feathers in a turkey’s tail, this mushroom provides many benefits. In fact, scientists are now researching Turkey Tail more than any other medicinal mushroom! Meanwhile, herbal practitioners continue to celebrate its pro-immune and anti-cancer effects.1
If you’re looking to learn more, here is what you need to know about the Turkey Tail mushrooms…
Health Benefits of Turkey Tail — One of the Best Medicinal Mushrooms
Known as Trametes versicolor by scientists, the Turkey Tail mushroom can support general health and wellness in many ways. Here are a few key benefits of this medicinal mushroom…
- Boosting immunity: The natural anti-viral and anti-fungal qualities of this mushroom support the body in fighting off viruses infections. This includes a range of health problems, from the common cold and pneumonia to E. coli, Herpes, and HIV.
- Fighting cancer: In addition, many more medical practitioners recognize and endorse the anti-cancer benefits of Turkey Tail mushroom. A 2012 study found that a daily dose improved immune function in women with breast cancer.2 Since 1977, Turkey Tail has been approved for use as an anti-cancer adjutant in Japan.3
In fact, new research is still underway to continue looking into this mighty mushroom and its many applications.
Active Ingredients in the Turkey Tail Mushroom for Boosting Immunity
Researchers point to polysaccharides – that is, beneficial sugars – as a key to Turkey Tail’s anti-cancer benefits. Research shows that these complex sugars help the body to preserve lymphocytes.4
The specific polysaccharides are “Kresin” (PSK) and “Peptide” (PSP).
Today, this compound is extracted from the Turkey Tail mushroom to make cancer-fighting supplements.
Native Habitat of the Turkey Tail Mushroom
Unlike many other medicinal mushrooms, Turkey Tail mushrooms grow abundantly all over the world. In fact, they are some of the most common mushrooms on the planet.
One will find these thin, leaf-like fungi growing on most any dead trees, logs, or stumps. That means they flourish in pretty much any climate where trees grow!
Traditional Uses of the Turkey Tail Mushroom
The Turkey Tail mushroom has a long history of use around the world. Indeed, on almost every continent, people have treasured this simple mushroom for its many healing qualities. Of course, the most prevalent use was in Chinese and Japanese traditional medicine. There it dates back for centuries.
In Japan, it symbolizes a sense of longevity and spiritual strength. While in China, practitioners used it to support respiratory and gut health, as well as energy and immunity.
Today, many people enjoy Turkey Tail for its health benefits as a medicinal mushroom.
Whether eaten whole or taken as a cancer fighting supplement, the Turkey Tail mushroom can provide a host of benefits. And there are other similarly medicinal mushrooms, too! In fact, there is much to learn about other well-known species. To get started,learn more about medicinal mushrooms and their ability to boost energy and for boosting immunity. Plus, check out reishi, chaga, cordyceps, lion’s mane, maitake, and shiitake.
Uses: As a cancer fighting supplement: PSK has been shown to be effective against several cancers, including cervical cancer, in combination with other therapeutic agents; appears to enhance the effect of radiation therapy; PSP significantly lessened the side effects of conventional medical protocols used in the treatment of cancers of the esophagus, stomach and lungs, as well as significantly increasing the rate of remission in esophageal cancers.
Cardiovascular health: Lowered cholesterol in animal studies.
Immune enhancement: PSK increases interferon production, as well as scavenging superoxide and hydroxyl free radicals, has demonstrated anti-viral activity, possibly even inhibiting HIV infection.
Turkey Tail Mushroom: The Disease-Fighting, Immune-Boosting Fungus
Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits
1. Prevents and Treats the Common Cold and Flu
The turkey tail mushroom has long been known to stave off any infection, including those associated with the common cold or flu. It helps your immune system become more resilient to ill-causing germs. When flu season approaches, you may want to include turkey tail as a supplement in your dietary routine. (2)
The turkey tail mushroom has been shown to modulate the immune system, helping fight infections, illness and diseases. (3)
- Can Offer Support to Chemo Patients
Turkey tail mushrooms may help cancer patients who are going through chemotherapy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has conducted clinical trials for a turkey tail extract to be consumed by patients who have advanced prostate cancer and are enduring conventional chemotherapy as well as testing how well it helps women with breast cancer in combination with a vaccine treatment in hopes of a new and better form of cancer therapy. Ultimately, since chemotherapy suppresses the immune system, the hope is that turkey tail mushroom builds the immune system up to better handle the weakness that chemo often causes. And a stronger immune system can help combat deadly cancer cells, making the turkey tail mushroom a potentially potent cancer-fighting food. (4)
- May Combat Breast Cancer
A study published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine revealed that an 83-year-old woman who was diagnosed with advanced, metastatic inflammatory breast cancer led a disease-free life after using turkey tail mushroom. Though she continued chemotherapy use, she consumed capsules of turkey tail mushroom at the same time.
Scientists believe that the immune response of the turkey tail mushrooms boosted the woman’s immune system by recognizing the tumor, which increased the effectiveness of the chemotherapy. This is consistent with research that claims medicinal disease-fighting mushrooms like turkey tail, as well as maitake, reishi and Agaricus blazei, can be natural immune-enhancing and anticancer treatments. (5)
- Helps Treat Human Papilloma Virus
Mushrooms, in particular the turkey tail mushroom, may help heal infections, such as an oral strain of the human papillomavirus (HPV). According to a study of 61 patients with gum disease testing positive for oral HPV, 88 percent of the 41 patients who received both turkey tail and reishi mushrooms showed positive results after only two months of treatment. (6) HPV in the mouth can sometimes lead to oropharyngeal cancer of the mouth.
- Aids in Digestion
The mycelium in the mushroom is what may help you have a smoother digestion process when supplementing with turkey tail mushrooms. The mushroom contains perfect prebiotics that assist the microbiome. This means that it can help the growth of the good bacteria in the body, including acidophilus and bifidobacterium, which is even more beneficial for anyone suffering from leaky gut syndrome. And this better digestion could even help you lose weight. (7)
- May Help Patients with HIV/AIDS
Studies reveal that the use of turkey tail mushroom, in conjunction with other wild medicinal East African mushrooms, may be useful in treating patients with Kaposi’s sarcoma, a skin cancer often affecting those with HIV/AIDS. The same product has also benefited patients with HIV/AIDS even without the sarcoma.
Turkey tail has antibacterial and antioxidant properties; therefore, an extract of the turkey tail mushroom may be helpful. This extract, called PSP, has been studied in vitro, noting it as an antiviral agent that may prevent the replication of the HIV virus. (8)
How Does a Turkey Tail Mushroom Work?
A “renaissance mycologist” inventor and researcher by the name of Paul Stamets, Ph.D, is well-known for his strong beliefs in the power of mushrooms, having authored six mushroom-related books and being awarded nine patents with more that are likely to come. Specifically, he has discovered nine antiviral molecules that are revealed through the mycelium of the mushroom as it rots the wood it has inhabited.
Turkey tail mushrooms work by providing a big boost to our immune systems. They contain B-glucans, polysaccharides, within the fungal cell walls. When eaten, these B-glucans provide receptors in the small intestine area that get the immune-boosting power in full force. This power puts the turkey tail mushroom in the adaptogen category. Adaptogen herbs work to resist numerous stress factors that we face daily, providing support to the immune system and stimulating energy levels. Usually, adaptogens are herbal compounds found in things like mushrooms, roots, berries, barks and leaves.
Furthermore, mushrooms are composed of compacted mycelium, the same noted by Dr. Stamets, and jam-packed with nutrition, such as polysaccharides, proteins, minerals, and vitamins B and D. They’re also low-fat. The mycelium structure is loaded with helpful enzymes, antimicrobial agents and antiviral compounds. In fact, this mycelium is more important than you may think by helping provide nutrient-dense soil, something our land is often lacking, which can help neutralize the toxins in our immune systems.
How to Use and Buy Turkey Tail Mushrooms
The turkey tail mushroom is edible but is rather chewy, which is why it’s most commonly served as a tea or powder in capsule form. It’s often found combined with other mushrooms as a supplement.
It’s best to buy organic to avoid toxins that may be found in the soil, especially since one of the biggest benefits is the dirt the mushroom is grown in, providing nourishment due to its natural environment.
Other things to consider when making a purchase is whether the product has been validated by scientific studies. You want to make sure you get the real thing that has been properly sourced. Find out where the mushrooms were grown and if they’ve been handled by experts.
There is a fractionated “drug” version of turkey tail, also called PSK or polysaccharide K. It’s extremely popular in Japan for its anticancer properties, but it cannot be legally sold in the U.S. However, the pure version of turkey tail that was used in a breast cancer study can be found at Fungi Perfecti under the label “Host Defense.” Because this turkey tail mycelium is in its pure form, it’s considered an FDA-approved nutraceutical, allowing it to be marketing as a supplement.
Turkey Tail Mushroom Nutrition and History
The turkey tail mushroom comes the Trametes versicolor family, formerly Coriolus versicolor, and is very useful to the ecology of the forest as it helps decompose hardwood. “The fungus is characterized among the white-rot basidiomycetes. T. versicolorproduces a laccase used to detoxify xenobiotics such as polychlorinated biphenyls, dyes, and a variety of synthetic polymers and as a pulp biobleach for making paper,” according to the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. (9)
Due to its ability to help cancer patients, turkey tail is considered the one of the best researched mushrooms and sits right on top with other medicinal mushrooms, such as reishi, cordyceps and maitake. Many edible mushrooms contain selenium, vitamin D and vitamin B3, which is part of what makes them strong immune boosters, in addition to the nutrient-rich soil and decaying matter where they live. These mushrooms feed on this decaying matter and other living things, such as rotting logs, making them saprotrophs.
To find one, you probably just need to look around the ground when in a wooded area. While they have an array of fall colors like a span of turkey feathers, one of the most vivid colors is typically bright green and is actually algae. (10)
Mushrooms have been around medicinally as far back as Neolithic times. In fact, according to Spirit of Change Magazine, “The oldest human mummy, dating back 4,000 years ago, was found with Piptoporus betulinus in his medicine kit, a mushroom used for its antibiotic properties and as a natural parasite killer, still in use today.” (11)
Archaeologists have found evidence of mushrooms on Egyptian hieroglyphics noting the mushrooms as “the plant of immortality, called the ‘sons of the gods’ sent to Earth on lightning bolts and eaten only by nobles and pharaohs.” The Aztecs event kept mushrooms as sacred, consuming them in holy rituals. And as noted above, the Asian cultures have been keen to the turkey tail mushroom since the 15th century.
Turkey Tail Mushroom Risks
It’s always best to check with your doctor prior to using any new food for medicinal purposes, especially if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, or have any disease-related condition. Some patients have reported problems with bowels, such as diarrhea and darkened stools, as well as darkened nail pigmentation. If you notice any negative effects or discomfort while consuming turkey tail mushroom, discontinue use immediately and check with your doctor. (12)
Final Thoughts on the Turkey Tail Mushroom
Research seems very strong in the area of the turkey tail mushroom and its ability to be a great cancer-fighting natural remedy and immune booster. These medicinal mushrooms have also been shown to prevent and treat the common cold and flu, offer support to chemotherapy patients, treat HPV and other infections, aid digestion, and even offer help to HIV/AIDS patience, in addition to potentially combatting cancer.
While more research needs to be conducted, choosing turkey tail mushrooms may be helpful and worth considering. If you choose to use the product, make sure that it you adhere to my recommendations above regarding how to use it and buy it.