Two new favourites: Turkey Tail and Maitake
Since the inception of Flow State 18 months ago, we focused the scope of our products on what we considered the four essential functional mushrooms- Chaga, Reishi, Lions Mane, and Cordyceps- available in our OG 4 mushroom blend!
Earlier this year, we expanded the scope of our functional mushroom range and invited two new mushrooms to the party- Turkey Tail (Tramates versicolor) and Maitake (Grifola frondose)- available in our latest (and greatest?) product, the 6 in 1 capsule blend.
With over 5 million fungal species worldwide (albeit only roughly 1200 edible species), why did we choose to bring these 2 fungi friends into the mix of Flow State offerings?
Let us tell you all about the wonderful world of Turkey Tail + Maitake! We'll cover...
- How they've been used traditionally
- An overview of the contemporary research
- An array of interesting and strange facts to tantalize your synapses and get your mind humming in awe of what these mushrooms are capable of
Turkey Tail: Tramates versicolor
Tramates versicolor received its name due to the multi-coloured (hence-versicolor) concentric circles on this fruited body.
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.
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.
Since the 1980s, PSK has been used to treat several types of cancer in Japan. Today, it is the best-selling anti-cancer drug on the market in Japan.
Turkey tail is also an excellent source of antioxidants (contain 35 different phenolic compounds)- great for the 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! (hyperlink- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSf7L1lcuiU)
References for further study:
· PDW Cancer Information Summaries: Medicinal Mushrooms: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK424937/
· Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Trametes versicolor in Women with Breast Cancer: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3369477/
· Do turkey tail mushrooms benefit health?: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/turkey-tail-mushroom#cancer-and-immunity
· A Turkey Tails Polysaccharide as an Immunochemotherapy Agent in Cancer: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/244889954_A_Turkey_Tails_Polysaccharide_as_an_Immunochemotherapy_Agent_in_Cancer
· The mycelium of the Trametes versicolor (Turkey tail) mushroom and its fermented substrate each show potent and complementary immune activating properties in vitro: https://bmccomplementmedtherapies.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12906-019-2681-7
Maitake: Grifola frondose
Delightful, delicious, 'chicken of the woods', or dancing mushroom. Maitake (pronounced my-tack-e) mushroom clusters are said to resemble the feathers of a fluffed chicken. To be honest, I don't see it. But I haven't seen to many fluffed chooks in my day.
Grifola frondose primarily grow at the base of oak or elm trees in northeastern Japan and North America. It's said that traditionally in Japan, these mushrooms were widely sought after in the wild by Samurais. I can imagine why! Maitake mushrooms are delicious! Perhaps one of the most sought after flavors in the world of culinary mushrooms, as they have a natural umami taste, which actually mimics MSG! Basically, maitake contain their own natural flavor enhancers. Surprising they aren't being used by McDonalds... give it a few years.
Much like the Flow State family of functional mushrooms, maitake contain powerful immunomodulating beta glucan polysaccharides.
Specifically, maitake mushrooms contain what's called SX-fraction- a water soluble compound so named because of its ability to counteract the effects of Syndrome X (also known as metabolic syndrome- a group of risk factors including high blood pressure, excess fat, lack of ability to lose weight). SX-fraction has been shown in clinical trials to lower blood glucose level, lower blood pressure, and regulate body weight- hence the magic properties of this delicious and nutritious functional mushroom.
The polysaccharides in maitake can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol without affecting triglyceride of HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Maitake is also a rich food source of vitamin D, vitamin B6 (Niacin), potassium, and phosphorous.
Counter-indication: For anyone who is currently being treated for diabetes, consult a trusted medical practitioner to see if maitake is right for you.
References for further study:
· Maitake Extracts and Their Therapeutic Potential- A Review : http://anaturalhealingcenter.com/documents/Thorne/articles/MaitakeExtract.pdf
· Can Maitake MD-Fraction Aid Cancer Patients?: https://www.lawankanker.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Can-MD-fraction-aid-cancer-patients.pdf
· Anti-diabetic Activity Present in the Fruit Body of Grifola frondosa: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bpb1993/17/8/17_8_1106/_article/-char/ja/
· Effect of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) D-Fraction on the Activation of NK Cells in Cancer Patients: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/109662003772519949
· A phase I/II trial of a polysaccharide extract from Grifola frondosa (Maitake mushroom) in breast cancer patients: immunological effects: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00432-009-0562-z
· Antihypertensive and metabolic effects of whole Maitake mushroom powder and its fractions in two rat strains: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1016503804742
Find both Turkey Tail and Maitake in our 6 in 1 blend, MyComplete.