Do you want to live long and prosper? Turkey Tail Mushroom (Trametes versicolor, Coriolus versicolor and Polyporus versicolor) is next-level good for you.
Just think about it, how long has fungus been around? ... FOREVER! If you had been around that long, you'd probably have a pretty good idea on how to be healthy too.
Not only will we cover why turkey tail mushroom is so good for you, but we also talk about where you should buy it, correctly identifying it in the wild and how to use it.
So, let's get to it! (If you already have an idea of what Turkey Tail is and want to skip to the juicy bits you can use this menu below)
- What is Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)
- Health Benefits of Turkey Tail
- Is Turkey Tail Edible?
- Some Of Our Favourite Turkey Tail Recipes
- Best Places To Buy Turkey Tail
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What is Turkey Tail Mushroom (Trametes versicolor)
Turkey Tail Mushroom (scientifcally known as Trametes versicolor, Coriolus versicolor and Polyporus versicolor) is a fungus that grows on dead logs worldwide and gifts us its immune boosting properties. Turkey Tail Mushrooms sit firmly at the top of the stack of incredible natural healers - in good company with others such as Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis) & Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus). Its potency is to the point that there have been several promising studies on the use of Turkey Tail in aiding cancer treatment. The name comes from the brown, tan and white rings that strike through the fungus, leaving it to resemble a turkeys tail. The common Latin term 'versicolor' simply means 'of many colours'.
Medicinal mushrooms like Turkey Tail have been widely used in human culture for thousands of years - most notably Traditional Chinese Medicine where it's known as 'yun zhi'.
There is countless anecdotal evidence for the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms that modern science is now backing up in many areas. While there are loads of different benefits associated with using Turkey Tail mushrooms regularly (of which we go into below), Turkey Tail Mushroom has gathered much attention recently due to its promise in attacking cancer cells and generally assisting in cancer treatment.
The most significant Turkey Tail Mushroom benefits come from concentrating it, and using it regularly. That being said, it's important to make sure you're sourcing it from reputable and trusted suppliers as unfortunately, there is a bunch of poor-quality and unethical extracts on the market.
We've tried a huge range of different products from different producers around the world to find our personal favourites. The best Turkey Tail Mushrooms in our opinion are the Host Defense Turkey Tail (US-based) Superfeast Turkey Tail Powder (Australian based - read our review here) & Life Cykel's Turkey Tail Liquid Extract (Also Australian based).
These are three of our favourite and most trusted suppliers for Turkey Tail extracts in all forms (as well as a range of different mushroom extracts).
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But what exactly is Turkey Tail?
For the mushrooms nerds out there, Turkey Tail is a polypore fungi, also sometimes known as 'bracket fungi'. It means that it forms fruiting bodies from pores on the underside and most often found on dead or decaying logs. Also easily found worldwide, which may have something to do with its global popularity.
Turkey Tail Mushrooms are filled to the frills with protein-bound polysaccharides PSK and PSP. For those who understand the chemistry, you need no further explanation. For those, who are like 'pretty polar popsicles' whaaaat? Then you can either click through to Wiki and give yourself a science lesson, or take a moment to read on into the health benefits below!
Health Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushrooms
The reasons to use Turkey Tail Mushroom and Turkey Tail extracts are mighty impressive and very wide-ranging. The list below are some of the most well-recognised health benefits, supported by modern research:
- Increased immune response (packed with the Polysaccharopeptides PSP & PSK)
- Loaded with beneficial antioxidants (over 35 different types!)
- Anti-tumour and anti-cancer cell activity with potential for increased survival rates
- Rich in prebiotics for good gut health and a stronger immune system
Turkey Tail & Your Immune System
Turkey Tail is famous for boosting the immune system and also known to help with everything from inflammation and athletic performance through skin health and cancer treatments.
The powerful immune system benefits are thought to primarily come from the high concentrations of protein-bound polysaccharides, PSK and PSP. These small and mighty compounds work by both activating and inhibiting specific types of immune cells while simultaneously suppressing inflammation - giving your body a fighting chance to deal with toxins, viruses and bacteria.
As well as strengthening your immune system, Turkey Tail mushrooms may help support liver function, inhibit or reduce damage caused by oxidative stress, enhance gut and respiratory health, and help balance the QI in the body - the energy that protects our body, mind, cells and organs.
Does Turkey Tail Cure Cancer?
We need to tread carefully when addressing topics such as this as they are sensitive and without a definitive answer.
There are some amazing studies coming out indicating a significant difference in recovery rate for cancer patients who are also using turkey tail in conjunction with conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.
When a patient receives chemotherapy or radiation the body is heavily taxed - damaging both good and bad cells and leaving the patient with next to no immune system. Turkey tail helps stimulate a strong immune response, assisting patients to recover quicker and in turn have stronger overall immune systems to naturally fight the cancer cells.
Polysaccharopeptide (PSP) and Polysaccharide-K (PSK) from Turkey Tail extract has been used in Japanese hospitals for decades now for immune-boosting and restorative benefits in conjunction with conventional treatments for colon cancer and women with breast cancer. Clinical evidence continues to mount for Turkey Tail as a useful and effective supporting treatment for many different cancers.
Is Turkey Tail Edible?
Of course! Turkey Tail Mushrooms have a very subtle flavour, making them the perfect addition to your favourite recipes, from coffee to yoghurt or even just stirred into hot water for the ultimate immune-boosting cuppa.
Can you eat raw Turkey Tail Mushroom?
It's not very popular to eat raw as it's quite chewy and tough and can be a bit harsh on the stomach. What is more popular is drying the mushrooms out and turning them into a powder.
Here's a video courtesy of Vermont Homesteading on how to dry your mushrooms!
If you have Turkey Tail mushrooms firstly, if you've foraged it, PLEASE make sure you have the ID right. There is another mushroom called the "false turkey tail" or rather Stereum ostrea. While it's not poisonous it's a good example of how similar fungus is, so don't just be comparing your mushies to a google image, do the research properly.
And on that note...
How To Identify Turkey Tail
While we've given you a description and pretty pictures to look at here, you should still be consulting the experts first. The mushroom experts give a good 6 step run down but also you should get yourself a wild mushroom book! NEVER eat a mushroom you have found until you are 100% certain it won't turn you into a toad or worse. Take a few foraging classes, talk to some experts, join a group!
Some Of Our Favourite Turkey Tail Recipes
If you are using a powdered or liquid Turkey Tail extract, you can throw it in almost anything.
While I detect just the smallest twang of difference in my coffee, it's hardly something to note. You can put in your smoothie, on your breakfast or just some hot water and make tea!
One of my favourites to get a major health kick is...
Tumeric Turkey Tail Latte
- 1/2 tsp turmeric latte powder
- Grated or finely chopped raw ginger ( I use a cm cube, but up to you how much zing you like!)
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp Turkey Tail
- Pinch of pepper
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 cup coconut milk
- Honey or something like it to sweeten
1. Grate or finely chop your ginger (powdered ginger is also okay, use 1/4 tsp if that's what you have)
2. Combine all ingredients except honey into a small saucepan (with a lip for pouring if possible!) and put on a medium heat
3. Watch for simmering, you want the brew to simmer not boil it. Continuously stir the mix as it comes to simmer, once it is simmering, turn the heat down a little and leave it to brew. 10 mins will bring a full flavour, otherwise, 5 mins is fine.
4. Serve up and add honey to taste!
If you're looking to kick-start your day the right way, Life Cykel's Turkey Tail Prebiotic Breakfast Bowl is the thing for you! Full of yoghurt-y, granola-y goodness and jam-packed with nutrients, it has everything you need to help you seize the day.
Prebiotic Breakfast Bowl
- Yoghurt of your choice
- 1 Serving of Turkey Tail Liquid Extract
- 1/3 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs
- 1 Tbsp pepitas
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup crunchy granola of your choice
1. Pour desired amount of yoghurt into a bowl, and stir in one serving of Turkey Tail Extract.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients on top of the yoghurt (the portion sizes are just a suggestion, feel free to add as much or as little of each ingredient as you would like)
3. Freestyle any ingredients that are lying around your kitchen that you think might be tasty, dates, lemon juice, hemp seeds, whatever you fancy. The options are endless.
A top tip for this recipe is to use frozen blueberries, they make the yoghurt extra cold like ice cream.
One final recipe that is certain to put a smile on your face is Teelixir's Blueberry Donuts with Turkey Tail Mushroom. A guaranteed crowd-pleaser, these donuts are vegetarian, paleo and gluten-free (and that's before we even get to the super immunity from the Turkey Tail extract!)
Blueberry Donuts with Turkey Tail Mushroom
For the Donuts:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (any flour will work for this recipe)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp Turkey Tail Mushroom extract
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup of your favourite plant-based milk
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yoghurt
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- Pinch of salt
For the glaze:
- 1/2 c powdered sugar
- 1-2 tbsp cream cheese (optional)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 1-2 tsp of your favourite plant-based milk (add more milk if you want a thinner consistency)
The full recipe can be found on the Teelixir website, along with many others, including their Cookies and Cream Banana Ice Cream with Turkey Tail Mushrooms (I mean really, what are you waiting for?!)
Best Places To Buy Turkey Tail
Turkey tail has grown in popularity quite a lot so it's highly accessible these days.
There are now loads of retailers, all of differing price and quality standards so it's important you aren't buying an extract that is not only impotent and not effective, but also contaminated and potentially harmful!
As mentioned earlier, we have our three top suggestions for high-quality Turkey Tail, and we will take you through why this is below:
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Why Host Defense?
Founded by the renowned and award-winning mycologist Paul Stamets, Host Defense is one of the most reputable and experienced medicinal mushroom producers in the world. Host Defense Turkey Tail capsules are 100% certified organic and grown in the USA, harvested and freeze-dried at peak potency and free from any contaminants.
We have been working with SuperFeast for many years now and love everything from their strict sourcing and processing standards right through to their packaging and exceptional customer service. Their Turkey Tail powder is sourced sustainably & 'Di Tao', dual-extracted and tested for maximum potency and free from any and all contaminants.
Life Cykel is another Australian producer that operates to the highest quality standards. Their products are becoming very well-reviewed and sought after worldwide. Their Turkey Tail is organic and Australian grown, offered as a dual liquid extract and thoroughly tested for potency, availability and any contaminants.
One Last Alternative:
If you're still interested in checking out one more great Turkey Tail extract, the only other place we buy any medicinal mushrooms and herbs from is Teelixir. This is another fantastic Australian company that produces organic extracts that are all tested for maximum potency as well as for any contaminants. Click here to check them out.
Here's a short and sharp FAQ on any Turkey Tail mushroom questions we may missed above!
Is Turkey Tail Mushroom Psychedelic?
No, Turkey Tail mushroom is not psychedelic. It does not contain psilocybin which is the psychoactive compound found in psychedelic mushrooms.
Are Turkey Tail Mushrooms Safe For Dogs?
Yes! Turkey Tail is safe for dogs, and is in fact used widely to help treat dogs for a number of health ailments.
Does Turkey Tail Mushroom Have Any Side Effects?
Very few side effects have been reported from using Turkey Tail mushroom. Those who have experienced issues report minor gas, bloating and nausea. Always consult your doctor before use, and start out with a small dose so your body can adapt.
That's A Wrap!
We hope you got some great info and recommendations from this article - Turkey Tail is a fantastic natural supplement and we hope you get years of good health and vitality from using it.
If you have any questions, comments or feedback at all, we'd love to hear from you - please shoot us through an email and get in touch!