Is Turkey Tail good for health?
Appearance, composition, benefits
Trametes versicolor or Turkey Tail Mushroom is a fungus in the shape of semi-circular caps that typically grows on decomposing trees of oak, white birch, and maple trees, sometimes even conifers in forests across Asia, North America, and Europe. The Turkey tail caps are thin yet tough and display velvety concentric rings in multiple colours varying between yellow, grey, purple, green, brown, or black. The mushroom finds its name from the colours which resemble turkey feathers. Although classified as an edible mushroom, Turkey Tail has an extremely bitter taste and a chewy texture.
Native to the forests of Asia and very commonly found in North America, Turkey Tail’s history can be traced back to the 15th century when it was mentioned in the ancient Chinese medicinal texts. The name Turkey Tail originated in the USA and the functional mushroom is now being cultivated for medicinal uses. In Japan, Turkey tail extracts are being used towards an additional therapy for cancer treatment to improve outcomes. These extracts are frequently used alongside chemotherapy or radiation therapy to improve treatment outcomes. Thirteen clinical trials have shown that cancer patients who received Turkey Tail in addition to standard treatments had longer life expectancies compared to those who only received chemotherapy. Turkey Tail has been found to improve the life expectancy of cancer patients in combination with standard treatments, particularly for breast, gastric and colorectal cancer.
Researchers are further exploring the wide benefits of Turkey Tail and how it can help balance blood sugar levels, boost athletic performance, and fight viral and bacterial infections while reducing fatigue. Turkey Tail is enriched with a wide range of primary and secondary bioactive compounds such as phenolic acids, and flavonoid antioxidants which help control inflammation and support the immune system. The rich concentration of immunomodulators such as Krestin (PSK) and Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP) help stimulate and balance the immune system and help the body fight infection, cancer, and other diseases. PSPs stimulate immune cell production to help fight and protect against infection while PSK helps support the body’s immunity by activating the good cells to fight off infection and disease.
Turkey Tail mushrooms offer the highest beta-glucan content among all functional mushrooms as they are also amongst the best known and most researched for their multitude of health benefits. Some of the benefits found in Turkey Tail mushrooms include:
- Fights and prevents cancer.
- Slows cancer growth.
- Antioxidant booster
- Improves skin health.
- Promotes anti-ageing.
- Aids digestion.
- Lessens inflammation.
- Enhances brain function.