Turkey Tail mushrooms are aptly named — characterized by their beautiful, multi-tonal fan shape similar to the tail of a turkey. These enormous, fanned fungi may also hold some medicinal value. Traditional Chinese herbalists have been using turkey tail mushrooms for more than 2,000 years to replenish the essence of life.
But if you are intrigued, you are probably looking for something more concrete than that. Let’s look at the scientific benefits, potential side effects, and recommended dosing for turkey tail mushrooms.
What is a Turkey Tail Mushroom?
Turkey Tail mushrooms are a type of fungus that grows at the base of trees. This mushroom grows in a shelf-like shape and features several neutral color tones, which earn it the Turkey Tail name. However, formally, this fungus is known by its Latin name, Trametes Versicolor.
Turkey Tail mushrooms grow plentifully in wooded areas through North America, Europe, and Asia. They spread their spores through tiny pores on the underside of the conk and are often mistaken for similar-looking fungi or ‘fake turkey tail”.
Turkey Tail has a tough texture. You won’t find many people cooking it like morels, but it still holds plenty of value as a medicinal treatment. Turkey Tail is widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to treat general ailments of ‘dampness’ like phlegm.
Related: Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms
Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushrooms
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), illness comes from six pernicious influences, including wind, cold, heat, dryness, dampness, and summer heat. Using TCM theory, wind influences cause respiratory illnesses like sinus infections and common colds. Heat and dryness cause temperature-related illnesses like fever. And dampness causes inflammation like swelling and phlegm.
The scientific community is currently studying its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting benefits, including:
- Rich antioxidants reduce inflammation and promote general health.
- Contains prebiotics believed to be important in maintaining gut health.
- Contains helpful active ingredients that boost immune cell function. Turkey Tail mushrooms are purported to have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Antioxidants are compounds that help the body get rid of free radicals. This is an important function because a buildup of free radicals causes oxidative stress, leading to chronic health conditions like some types of cancers and heart disease.
Turkey tail mushrooms have a rich antioxidant profile, including more than 35 different phenols, along with common flavonoids. These antioxidants work together to reduce inflammation and promote the release of protective compounds within the body.
Science has been drawing correlations between gut health and the immune system for many years now, and we definitely know there is a strong link between the two. Prebiotics are good bacteria that promote healthy gut function. Adding prebiotics to the diet helps keep things in balance which can help keep things moving naturally. Some research also suggests that a balanced microbiome might also ward off certain cancers like colon cancer.
In addition to prebiotics, these mushrooms also contain beta-glucans which are a type of indigestible fiber that has been linked to lowering bad cholesterol levels. The additional fiber also helps promote healthy digestion.
Active Natural Ingredients
Turkey Tail mushrooms contain polysaccharopeptide (PSP) concentrated in the thready bits of the fungus and in fermented broths made from the mushrooms. PSP has been scientifically linked to enhanced immune cell function and a boost in microphage performance. Microphages are responsible for engulfing invading pathogens.
PSP may also improve the function of cytokines, a special protein in immune cells, that might ease unpleasant side effects of strong treatments like chemotherapy. And if helping cancer patients wasn’t noteworthy enough, PSP might also curb painkiller tolerance for chronic sufferers. One study found that patients who took a turkey tail mushroom supplement did not develop a morphine tolerance. That could be a big win in the battle against opioid addiction.
Side Effects of Consuming Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Turkey Tail mushrooms are generally safe to consume naturally or through supplements. Side effects are rare and generally limited to digestive upset. Try starting with a small dose to limit any unpleasant side effects and increase your dosage if it is well tolerated.
If you choose to take a supplement, keep in mind that the supplement industry is not regulated. The burden falls on the consumer to source supplements from quality suppliers to make sure you are receiving the correct ingredients.
At Edible Alchemy, we produce the highest quality of nutritional tinctures available through a triple extraction process. We are committed to building a supplement brand that you can trust. Learn more today!
Dosage For Turkey Tail Mushrooms
To see measurable health benefits, research suggests consuming 2,000 mg of turkey tail daily from high-quality sources.There are a variety of options available from commercial sources, including:
- Drink mixes
Best Ways to Consume Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Turkey tail is pretty crusty and unpalatable on its own, and we don’t recommend breaking a chunk off and chewing it in the wild. Besides being a bit leathery, the natural environment that fungi grow in is teeming with harmful bacteria.
Drying and chopping turkey tail mushrooms to steep for tea or broth is the most common. And if you are looking for an easier (and safer) route, there are several supplement options as well. Turkey tail comes in a tincture that can be added to food and drink or consumed independently. It also comes in a convenient capsule or delightful drink mix.
Turkey tail mushrooms may have several health-promoting benefits centered around the immune system function. While they may not be as palatable as other species of mushrooms, they pack a punch in their micronutrient profile. Turkey tail mushrooms are packed full of antioxidants, prebiotics, and PSP, which all work together to reduce inflammation and boost immune function.
At Edible Alchemy, we focus on creating high-quality tinctures and nutritional supplements. Enjoy high-quality tinctures, powders, seasonings, and tonics using our triple-extraction process. Browse our catalog today!