One of the best perks of living in a semi-rural area is picking the wild foods that grow around. The last 8 months of moving to my current home, I discovered food foraging. It has helped shift my mood and increase the happy chemicals in my system. I am amazed at what I next discover on my walks in the woods Some are real priceless treasures, like the turkey tail mushroom. It is supposed to have a number of therapeutic and healing benefits.
Traditional Chinese medicine has used turkey tail to treat lung diseases. In Japan, the turkey tail has been used to strengthen the immune system and given with standard cancer treatment.
Turkey Tail Looks, Taste & Texture
Turkey Tail, botanical name Trametes versicolor is found practically everywhere in the world. These mushrooms grow on dead logs in moist, shady wooded areas. The monsoons bring this natural medicine to life.
The flesh of turkey tail mushroom is thin and flexible, but tough and corky. The upper surface is soft and velvety with lovely bands of varying widths and colors that can range from black, gray, white, green, brown, purple, red, orange, cream, and beige which resemble the tail plumage of a turkey. The outer edges are white to grayish-white and wavy. Turkey tail has pores underneath not gills.
There is also false turkey tail mushroom (Stereum ostrea). Though somewhat similar looking has a leathery to a papery texture. Its underside is smooth and without pores. Although inedible due to its toughness, it has antibacterial and antifungal properties and has been widely used in folk medicine.
There are few more look-alike turkey tails but thankfully none of these varieties are reported to be poisonous.
However, it is the real turkey tail mushroom which is loaded with awesome health benefits
Health Benefits Of Turkey Tail
According to studies, turkey tail mushroom helps combat cancer. It contains, two polysaccharides, polysaccharide-K (PSK), also known as krestin, and polysaccharide-P (PSP), both are strong antiviral, antimicrobial and antitumor agents. PSK works by suppressing the growth of tumor cells and stimulating the immune system to produce more of the body’s own cells that attack foreign cells.
Additionally, PSK and PSP boost immune cell production and alleviate the effects of chemotherapy.
Other Additional Healing Properties of Turkey Tail Mushroom include:
1) Prevents and treats common cold and flu – Since it builds immunity it helps stave off viral and bacterial infections.
2) Aids Digestion and helps ease stomach issues – The mushroom contains perfect prebiotics that assists the gut microbiome.
3) Controls diabetes and maintains healthy blood sugar level – contains Cordyceps like most of the mushroom plants which is effective in maintaining insulin the body.
4) Packed with Antioxidants – It contains numerous antioxidants and other compounds that help boost your immune system. This means less inflammation and chronic illnesses.
Mushrooms To Save Us and The World
Below Mycologist Paul Stamets lists 6 ways the mycelium fungus can help save the universe: cleaning polluted soil, making insecticides, treating smallpox and even flu viruses. He claims to have effectively he was able to help his mother to go from stage 4 breast cancer to becoming tumor-free.
Mushroom Expert Paul Stamets – Turkey Tail Cancer Cure at TEDMED
Positive Personal Experience
Since I only found the mushroom a few days ago, I still in the trial stage. Though my son mentioned his cold and flu-like symptoms had disappeared soon after taking turkey tail broth. As for now, I have powdered it and have begun using it in my chapatis (Indian flatbread). I guess I could try it in my bread or veggies, just a little since it does have an intense smell.
Turkey tails are everywhere. It’s easy to find your own if you live near the woods or go hiking. However, city folks don’t fret if you don’t live near the wooded area or dead trees, there are plenty of turkey tail mushroom extracts, capsules, tinctures, and powders available in the market and online. I can’t vouch for their efficacy though.
Kindly use your discretion when buying anything. Also, remember to start taking this in smaller amounts at first to check if it agrees with your body. Don’t overdo, Rome wasn’t built in a day. so too your health. Start with small doses
Furthermore, if you are suffering from a health issue or disease please contact y our health-care provider The content on this site is for reference only.
A note of caution: Do not eat any wild food or fungi that are unfamiliar and not been properly identified as some stuff can be highly poisonous when ingested. Further, turkey tails can accumulate heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic. Avoid turkey tails growing around heavy pollution, like industrial belts or highways.
Image Source: James Lindsey at Ecology of Commanster, CC BY-SA 3.0
Myceium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World – Paul Stamets
Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms – Paul Stamets