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Turkey Tail Mushroom: Health Benefits, Side Effects, And Usage Guide
Mar 30, 22
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Author: Sony Sherpa

Turkey Tail Mushroom: Health Benefits, Side Effects, And Usage Guide


Turkey tail mushroom, known by its scientific names such as Coriolus Versicolor or Trametes Versicolor, is a medicinal fungus that grows on stumps, tree trunks, and decomposing wood of a deciduous tree. 

Coriolus Versicolor has been used in traditional Asian medicine and North American herbalism for hundreds of years. Turkey tail mushrooms have been associated with an array of health-supporting benefits. The turkey tail mushroom benefits have earned the fungi a position as a symbol of longevity, good health, and spiritual attunement. Even in the modern world of functional mushrooms, turkey tail is held in high regard.

Most people who are just getting started with functional mushrooms rarely understand the full benefits of turkey tail mushroom. If you are looking forward to getting started with the turkey mushroom and are not sure of the turkey tail mushrooms benefits to expect, this detailed guide should help you out. In the sections that follow, we will discuss everything there is to know about this fungus, including the turkey tail mushrooms benefits, side effects, and how to use it. 

What Are Turkey Tail Mushrooms?

Before we take a deeper look at the turkey tail benefits, let's first have a better understanding of what is the turkeytail mushroom. Turkey tail mushrooms are multicolored mushrooms with a flat, fluted disc-like shape that can grow up to four inches wide. It is one of the most common fungi found in the temperate woods(1) of the United States, Canada, and Europe including the United Kingdom and Australia. The texture is tough and leathery.

Turkey tail mushrooms get their name from the striking colorful rings in the cap. The different shades of orange, brown, yellow, grey, and cream resemble the feather of a turkey.

This comprehensive article will discuss the benefits of turkey tail mushrooms. We will also cover the side effects of turkey tail mushroom and give you tips on how to use the mushroom. Let’s take a look!

Health Benefits Of Turkey Tail Mushroom

If you are wondering can you eat turkey tail mushrooms, you should know that the turkeytail mushrooms carry numerous benefits that make consuming it vital for optimal health. The turkey tail mushroom can help with:

  • Strong muscles and bones 
  • Vitality 
  • Immune system
  • Cardiovascular and gut health
  • Fight against cancer cells
  • Liver health 
  • Strength and endurance 
  • Balancing blood sugar

While the benefits outlined above are primarily for humans, it is worth noting that the mushroom is not just beneficial to us. Theturkey tail mushroom benefits dogs too. Below, however, we will show you why more people are already using the mushroom. 

1. It Will Give Your Immune System A Boost

This is a major turkey tail benefit—the turkey mushrooms boast the ability to keep their users safe from the most common health complications. Many mushrooms benefit the immune system; however, the turkey tail is one of the most documented superfoods that boost and balance the immune system. This means that the mushroom supports both an overactive as well as an underactive immune system.

The immune benefits turkey tail mushroom offers are made possible by several compounds in the mushroom. The mushroom extract is rich in polysaccharopeptides, a form of sugars that are attached to proteins. Polysaccharide peptide (PSP) and polysaccharide krestin (PSK) are two such polysaccharopeptides that contribute to the powerful Turkey tail immune-supporting property.

The mushroom turkey tail polysaccharopeptides activate the immune system and suppress inflammation (more on that later!). Studies have discovered that PSP activates monocytes(2), a type of white blood cell in our bodies, which can modulate the immune system. When monocytes come head-to-head with inflammation-causing agents, they transform into cells that eat and destroy injurious substances.

Other types of cells stimulated by the turkey tail are dendritic cells(3). These cells can boost the immune system. Dendritic cells catch foreign substances in the body and hand them over to the cells that can destroy them. This process helps to regulate the immune response and promotes immunity.

2. Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties 

Trametes Versicolor mushroom has been examined for its anti-inflammatory activities in various studies. These studies have verified that the ability to fight inflammations is one of the many health benefits of turkey tail mushrooms. 

Inflammation is a defensive phenomenon in our bodies. But when it is not regulated sufficiently or starts damaging normal tissues, it leads to a host of other problems like diseases and injuries.

Turkey tail mushroom has been traditionally used to treat(4) inflammation of the liver (hepatitis), joints (rheumatoid arthritis), and the airways (bronchitis). A 2018 study examined the anti-inflammatory property of Turkey tail mushrooms. The fungus is packed with bioactive compounds like sterols, phenols, and triterpenoids, which were found to inhibit the process of inflammation as well as the chemicals which cause it.

The mycelium of the mushroom was shown to significantly increase inflammatory(5) cytokines which are substances that fight inflammation in the body. The same study also reported that Turkey tail mushroom produced virus-fighting chemicals.

In a 2019 study, grape pomaces were treated with Trametes Versicolor for 15 days to enhance their anti-inflammatory properties(6). Within 1 to 4 days of treatment, researchers observed an increase in flavonol rutin and flavan-3-ol, two compounds that have potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits. The turkey-tail-treated grape pomaces also increased the inhibition of enzymes that are involved in inflammatory processes.

For people who enjoy taking tea, these research studies confirm that one of the turkey tail tea benefits is ensuring the body is not dealing with inflammatories. What is even better is that these health benefits of turkey tail mushroom are not just limited to the tea—you can get the benefits irrespective of how you consume the turkey feather mushroom. 

3. Powerful Anti-Oxidant Against Aging

No one wants to grow old. And while we all grow old with time, no one wants the unattractive aging signs on themselves. Luckily for us, one of the turkey tail mushroom benifits helps fight the aging symptoms. Turkey tail is a power-packed mushroom with antioxidants including phenol and flavonoids(7). These antioxidants combat oxidative stress that can be a leading cause of tissue damage, premature aging, and chronic illness.  

The DNA in our cells is very sensitive to damage by oxidative stress. This can result in immune system dysfunction leading to inflammation and cancers. Turkey tail can reduce oxidative damage, thereby playing an important role in the prevention and treatment of oxidative-stress-induced diseases.

Several studies(8) have reported the antioxidant potential of Turkey tail mushrooms.  There are over 35 different types of phenolic compounds present in the mushroom. This can help protect our genes from mutation, remove toxins from our body and strengthen our immune system.

4. Combats The Dreaded Cancer Cells

If you are still wondering what to do with turkey tail mushrooms, you can consider using the mushroom to protect yourself from cancerous cells. For people trying to determine what is turkey tail mushroom good for, research studies have proven that the turkey tail muchrooms protect and also help with the treatment of different types of cancer. 

Extracts of Trametes Versicolor can suppress the growth of cancer cells by exhibiting extraordinary effects on the regulation of immune responses. Even the ancient Chinese pharmacopeia(9) considers the turkey tail mushroom to be one of the most effective natural remedies for various cancers.

Turkey tail mushroom stops the proliferation of cancer cells, enhances the death of these cells, and even kills them directly. The polysaccharopeptides(10) of the mushroom have been identified as an anti-cancer agent in many clinical and preclinical studies.

We already know PSP in Turkey tail activates the monocytes.  This is implicated in cancer treatments, where stimulation of monocytes can help target tumor cells during chemotherapy(11).  It is also known to stimulate other cells of the immune system (T and B lymphocytes, and Natural killer cells) that have tumor-killing properties(12).

The mushroom has also been known to suppress the spread of cancer cells(13) by migration. They prevent the attachment of tumor cells to blood vessels, thereby halting the spread through the bloodstream.

The polysaccharide krestin also potentiates the effects of anti-cancer drugs(14). Concurrent use of turkey tail mushroom with chemotherapeutic agents may be a new way to augment the anti-tumor effects of the drugs.

Turkey tail mushrooms' cancer-fighting property makes them one of the most sought-after medicinal fungi. The anti-cancer benefits of the mushroom have been seen in cancers of the breast(15), stomach(16), prostate(17), lungs(18), liver(19), white blood cells(20), and colon(21).

5. Gives You The Desired Energy Burst

One of the lesser appreciated turkey tails benefits is that turkey tale is capable of giving users more energy throughout the day. One of the turkey tail uses is in pre-workout meals—when used during this period, the mushroom helps users enjoy maximum results from their workout sessions. 

The extract of turkey tail mushroom has been shown to enhance the performance of athletes. They are known to reduce fatigue and improve the workout. Even if you are not running for a marathon, turkey tail is beneficial in improving everyday energy.

Traditional medicine has used Turkey tail mushrooms for fighting fatigue. It was believed that the mushroom improves energy by balancing the various biological systems and maintaining harmony in the body.

Fatigue also causes oxidative stress in the mitochondria of our cells. The potent antioxidant property of turkey tail can be utilized here to fight fatigue. The mushroom removes the accumulated oxidative stress, allowing the mitochondria to generate more energy in the form of ATP

The anti-fatigue property(22) of turkey tail mushroom was evaluated in a 2017 study based on mouse models. The mice were given mushroom extracts and were evaluated for strength of the limbs, endurance, and parameters that indicate physical fatigue like blood glucose, lactate, and creatine kinase. There was a noteworthy increase in limb strength. The parameters of fatigue were also significantly lowered. Supplementing the mice with turkey tail mushroom was found to have a beneficial effect in improving performance and fatigue.

This energy-boosting property of the mushroom polysaccharide has been utilized in the food industry. Trametes versicolor is used in promising dietary supplements, in the forms of capsules, powder, and tablets. What's more, the energy boost is one of the numerous turkey tail tincture benefits.  

6. May Help With Heart Diseases And Cholesterol

One of the most vital turkey tail mushroom health benefits, turkey tails mushrooms reduce the risk of heart disease. If you are wondering what is turkey tail good for, you may find the mushroom extra important after learning that it can eliminate the risk of suffering from a heart attack or a different heart health problem.  The beta-glucans in the mushroom lower the risk of heart disease by preventing the absorption of cholesterol.

Heart diseases are mainly a result of high fat in your blood. Our bodies need cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high levels of cholesterol can deposit in the wall of blood vessels.

As the accumulation of fat in the blood vessels increases, it leads to narrowing. This will eventually decrease the amount of blood flowing through the vessel. A reduced blood supply increases the risk of several heart diseases, including heart attacks.

Additionally, there is a direct relationship between obesity and heart health. The risk of heart diseases including heart attacks increases if you are obese. 

One of the turkey tail health benefits is helping you avoid gaining weight which often results in blood vessels filled with excess fat. To answer the question "what does turkey tail mushroom do to prevent stroke?" we will go ahead and take a detailed look at how the mushroom prevents excessive fatness and obesity.

Ternatin is a natural protein found in many medicinal mushrooms including Turkey tail. This protein inhibits fat accumulation in the body(23). The consumption of ternatin-rich mushrooms was also found to suppress the synthesis of another bad fat, triglycerides.

7. Protects You From Neurodegenerative Disease

One of the lesser-known health benefits of turkey tail is that the mushroom eliminates the risk of neurodegenerative disease. People trying to figure out what is turkey tail mushrooms used for may want to take advantage of this benefit of turkey tail mushroom.  

Turkey tail extracts (baicalein and quercetin) have shown significant inhibition of Acetylcholine esterase (AChE) activity. AChE inhibitors prevent the breakdown of the AChE enzyme leading to a higher concentration of acetylcholine in the brain. This leads to better cellular communication between the neurons.

The inhibition of AChE activity(24) can be potentially utilized for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Turkey tail mushrooms can be used in the form of food supplements or as drug-like compounds for neuroprotection. 

Turkey tail mushrooms have stood out for their ability to not only be used in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases but also for the role they play in preventing the disease and slowing down its progression.  

Neurodegenerative diseases can also be attributed to Reactive Oxygen species(25) (ROS), formed as a byproduct during cellular metabolism. These ROS are high in chemically active oxygen molecules that can provoke tissue damage and inflammation. 

This uncontrolled production of free radicals leads to oxidative stress, a key mechanism in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The turkey tail fungi, a potent anti-oxidant, can, therefore, remove the oxidative stress implicated in neurodegenerative disease. 

8. Protects And Strengthens Your Gut Health

People still wondering what are turkey tail mushrooms good for or what are the benefits of turkey tail mushrooms haven't tried the wild turkey tail mushroom for its gut health benefits. 

Turkey tail mushrooms have probiotics. The turkey mushroom tail prebiotics helps the gut flora by adding beneficial bacteria which can eliminate harmful toxins. It also results in a decline in problematic bacteria like E. coli(26), according to a 2014 study. The turkeys tail mushroom can also promote a healthy weight while improving your energy.

Mushrooms are rich in fiber, and Turkey tail is no exception. The principal component of the mushroom, beta-glucans, is not easily digested by intestinal enzymes. The non-starch and non-digestible property of beta-glucans polysaccharides can be utilized as dietary fibers by the gut bacteria in the large intestine. Coriolus Versicolor sustains healthy digestion and normalizes bowel movements. The high-fiber content of the turkey tail helps maintain a healthy weight, reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and supports vitality.

Another answer to the questions "what are the health benefits of turkey tail mushrooms?" and "what are the benefits of turkey tail mushroom?" is that turkey tail is also known to support liver health.  Many herbalists encourage turkey tail supplements and believe they are even better than other types of medications designed for improving liver health.

9. Prevents Bacterial And Viral Infections

One of the benefits of turkey tail mushroom extract is that it can keep your body safe from infectious diseases. This is one of the many turkey tail mushroom extract benefits that are brought about by the mushroom's ability to fight disease-causing organisms. 

Turkey tail mushrooms can prevent infections and can stave off the flu and common cold.

Turkey tail mushrooms can prevent infections and can stave off the flu and common cold.

The fungus is equipped with strong anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. There are also reports that the mushroom can inhibit bacteria(27) that cause food poisoning and typhoid fever. This suggests that if you suspect the symptoms you are experiencing are a result of food poisoning, you can take advantage of the benefits of turkey tail extract to eliminate these symptoms. 

The anti-viral activity of the mushroom was explored in the second half of the 20th century. The PSK derived from the mushroom has been shown to inhibit the white blood cells infected with Epstein Barr Virus(28). It has also been found to increase other forms of white blood cells that play a role in fighting the virus. In a clinical trial(29), Turkey tail mushroom was reported to inhibit the effect of the HSV-2 virus in pregnant women.

Another study explored the possibility of using Trametes Versicolor as an antiviral agent(30) for the treatment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The PSP obtained from the mushroom extract inhibited the interaction between the components of the virus and human cells. They were also found to suppress the enzyme involved in the proliferation of HIV.

The good news is that the disease-fighting benefits of the turkey tail are not limited to any form of the mushroom. The turkey tail capsules benefits when it comes to fighting disease are the same benefits you will experience if you use another form of this mushroom—say the turkey tail medicinal tincture or powder. 

10. Helps You Ease Stress And Relax

If you are still wondering about the medicinal benefits of turkey tail mushroom or asking yourself is turkey tail good for you if you are stressed, then you should know you are not alone. It is estimated that 36.5%(31) of the world’s population suffers from some type of stressful situation. For people in stressful situations and wondering "what is turkey tail used for?", the mushroom is perfect for helping people adapt to stressors common in the environment we are living in today. 

Adaptogens are substances that help the body adapt to a stressful situation. Any form of physical, biological, or chemical stressor can harm our body. Adaptogen mushrooms increase the body’s resistance to stress and protect against stress-related damage.

The stress response of the body includes multiple organs, of which the brain and adrenal glands are the most important. Adaptogens work with the parts of the brain and adrenal glands to reduce the amount of cortisol produced during stress.

Cortisol, or stress hormones, negatively impacts our health. Chronic stress and elevated cortisol lead to an increase in the sugar levels in our blood, disrupt our digestive health, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and leads to anxiety and depression

Turkey tail is an adaptogen fungus that helps to stabilize cortisol levels and helps the body reach equilibrium. By lowering cortisol levels, it reinforces its many other benefits. 

11. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

If you have diabetes and are wondering "can you eat turkey tail mushroom?", you should know that research information shows using this fungus can help you improve your overall health. One of the turkey tail mushroom medicinal uses is in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. While this is one of the lesser-known turkey tail mushroom uses, more holistic health professionals are discovering the process of helping their patients spend less money on medicines by turning them to natural solutions like the turkey tail mushroom.  

Turkey tail mushrooms can reduce blood sugar levels by improving insulin resistance.

Diabetes, a metabolic disease with high blood sugar, results from impaired insulin secretion or due to the development of resistance to its action.

This anti-diabetic effect of Turkey tail(32) was reinforced in a study done on rats with type 2 diabetes.

The mushroom extract increased the glucose consumption by the cells with insulin resistance and significantly reduced blood glucose levels.

There is also a strong relationship between obesity and diabetes. Losing weight leads to improved sensitivity of the cells to the action of insulin. Turkey tail mushroom prevents the development of obesity by reducing the cellular accumulation of fat. Ternatin suppresses the development of elevated blood sugar(33) levels and the synthesis of fat cells by the liver.

The Blood sugar level lowering property of the mushroom can also be interrelated to the previous benefits of Turkey Tail. High blood sugar can lead to fatigue and lethargy, contributing to poor athletic performance. This marvelous mushroom can lead to several other benefits by just helping lower blood sugar levels. 

If you have type 2 diabetes and are wondering about how to make turkey tail capsules so that you can manage your condition better, you do not have to worry about the development process of the capsules. When you decide to take advantage of the turkey tail medicinal uses for diabetes, all you have to do is get pre-made capsules. 

What Are The Side Effects of Turkey Tail Mushroom?

Today, most humans are still new to the process of using turkey tail mushrooms for different conditions. This often leaves them wondering whether eating turkey tail mushroom can cause side effects. The good news is that if you know how to consume turkey tail mushroom correctly—we will discuss how to take turkey tail mushroom in the next section—you will not have to worry about side effects.  

There are very few turkey tail mushroom side effects. However, people who have been enjoying turkey tail mushroom taste for a long time can testify that these side effects are extremely rare. And if you experience these side effects when working on getting the turkey tail benefits, they often disappear in a very short time.  

Some people may experience mild gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, dark-colored stool, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. There are also reports of the darkening of nails(34) with the use of the mushroom.

To avoid these side effects, make sure to always purchase turkey tail mushrooms from a reputed source that contains purified extracts. It is also recommended that you get a go-ahead from your physician before starting the mushroom. Following these two important steps will minimize the like hood of turkey tail mushroom side effects.

How To Consume Turkey Tail Mushroom?

If you have been trying to figure out how to eat turkey tail mushrooms, this section should give you a very detailed answer. At this point, you already know turkey tail mushroom edible benefits. The next step is to show you how to eat turkey tail mushroom.  Turkey tail mushroom has a mild woody flavor. However, the thick and leathery texture of the mushroom makes it unpalatable in its whole form. This means that if you are wondering about how to use turkey tail mushroom, you may want to grab the mushroom in its processed form. 

Turkey tails mushroom are typically consumed in the form of powders and tea. Turkey tail tea benefits are just the same as the powder forms. The powder can be consumed in soups, broths, and your choice of snacks, main course, and desserts. It can also be whisked into your favorite salad dressing or smoothies.

The mushroom can also be found in a host of dietary supplement products such as capsules and tinctures. Turkey tail mushroom capsules' benefits can be easily incorporated into your daily wellness routine.

In traditional medicine, the turkey tail was often brewed in tea. A soothing cup of Turkey tail mushroom tea benefits the stomach, lungs, and spleen.

Before using this mushroom, it is vital that you talk to a health professional. As noted earlier, the mushroom does have some side effects—these often result from over use. A health professional should help you figure out the idealturkey tail dosage

Final Thoughts

Turkey tail mushroom continues to gain popularity due to the array of amazing health benefits. Turkey tail mushroom benefits include its ability to prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells, fight infection and free radicals, boost the immune system, promote heart and gut health, and even give you a kick of energy. 

This detailed guide answers the question "what is a turkey tail mushroom?”, shows you how to use turkey tail mushrooms, and helps you understand why you need to make the mushroom an addition to your diet. You can pop a mushroom capsule or brew the turkey tail tea with the mushroom powder. Either way, this fungus deserves a spot in your daily routine.


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