Mushroom Spotlight: Turkey Tail

Mushroom Spotlight: Turkey Tail

Since the inception of Flow State, we have focused the scope of our products on essential functional mushrooms.

With over 5 million fungal species worldwide (albeit only roughly 1200 edible species), we wanted to tell you all about the wonderful world of Turkey Tail. 

In this article, we will cover:

  1. How Turkey Tail is used traditionally
  2. An overview of the contemporary research 
  3. An array of interesting and strange facts to tantalise your synapses and get your mind humming in awe of what these mushrooms are capable of

Turkey Tail: Tramates versicolor

close up image of turkey tail mushroom
Tramates versicolor received its name due to the multi-coloured (hence-versicolor) concentric circles on this fruited body.

What is Turkey Tail Mushroom?

Turkey tail is most likely the easiest mushroom to forage in nature, as it can be found almost anywhere! Despite its prolific presence in most forests, it is not edible in its raw/natural form! It must undergo an extraction process to be ingested and absorbed.

It is said the ancient Taoists were astonished by the abundance of turkey tail on pine trees, which was notoriously anti-fungal. They concluded that a mushroom of such tenacity must contain incredible medicinal properties, and hence it was explored as a medicinal fungus.

What are the potential health benefits of Turkey Tail?

In the last few years, Turkey Tail gained immense popularity in the Western world after a famous Ted Talk by Paul Stamets, where he discusses his mother's breast cancer, and the incredible results of a full remission using Turkey Tail. (https://bastyr.edu/news/general-news-home-page/2013/09/ted-talk-turkey-tail-helped-my-mother-through-cancer)-and for good reason!

Turkey tail is full of polysaccharides and triterpenes (forms of long chain carbohydrates with several functions for human cells). What makes turkey tail unique is two unique beta glucan polysaccharides- polysaccharide krestin (PSK) and polysaccharide peptide (PSP). 

PSK is known for its anti-cancer properties, and both PSK and PSP have the ability to regenerate white blood cells and stimulate the creation of immune T-cells and killer cells- enabling the immune system to step into ultimate badassery and ward off and destroy foreign pathogens. 

Turkey tail is also an excellent source of antioxidants (contain 35 different phenolic compounds) - which supports our immune system.

Besides human wellbeing, turkey tail is also showing promise for its ability to break down toxic substances that are otherwise impenetrable - including oil spills and chemical remnants of war (agent orange, DMMP). 

Meaning this mushroom has massive potential for cleaning the environment of toxic chemical compounds. Learn more here! (source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSf7L1lcuiU)

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