This week we will talk about another medicinal mushroom that is proving its health benefits in the last decades – Turkey Tail. It is an objective in a lot of research lately, one of which is conducted by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) in collaboration with universities in Bastir, Minnesota and Washington, trying to prove all of the observed benefits.
Like many other medicinal mushrooms, the usage of Turkey Tail started with the eastern traditional medicine, although this type of fungus can be found all around the world. In China it is more known as Tun Zhi and it is used as an natural immune booster and is fighting inflammation in the body. Its interesting name is coming from the form and bright colors of the mushroom that look like a turkey tail. Usually it is colored in brown, orange, red, tan and white. The mushroom is growing on dead logs and can be easily found and recognized.
Turkey Tail mushroom has a wide range of naturally occurring compounds that help improve endurance and maintain intestinal health, which in turn can correlate with a healthy immune system. So let’s explore what the studies and the years of usage have shown.
Protects and improves the immune system
This is one of the main and widely known health benefits from taking Turkey Tail as a supplement. It is packed with antioxidants and is fighting the oxidative stress that can damage the cells and chronic inflammations. Turkey Tail contains an impressive array of antioxidants, including phenols and flavonoids. In fact, one study detected over 35 different phenolic compounds in a sample of Turkey Tail mushroom extract, along with the flavonoid antioxidants quercetin and baicalein. The containing antioxidants in this medicinal mushroom are stimulating the release of protective compounds.
One of the other important elements found in extract of Turkey Tail mushroom are Polysaccharopeptides. These protein-bound polysaccharides possess powerful immune-boosting properties. They promote immune response by both activating and inhibiting specific types of immune cells and by suppressing inflammation.
Can be helpful for the immune system while fighting cancer
According to some research the Turkey Tail can have antitumor properties. The scientists believe this is related to the immune boosting effects of the mushroom.
The turkey tail mushroom offers a long list of healing properties and health benefits, but is most praised as a natural source of the anti-cancer polysaccharide PSK.
PSK is thought to fight cancer and stop tumors by stopping the growth of cancer cells and “stimulating the patient’s response.” PSK also stimulates the body’s “natural killer cells” so that they strengthen and trigger the immune system.
PSK is often combined with chemotherapy to increase cancer survival.
One of the most famous mycologists nowadays Paul Stamets shared a personal story in one of his TED Talks, about his mother fighting breast cancer and how Turkey Tail helped her beat the illness. He devoted his career to researching fungus and all of the benefits we can get from them.
If you would like to try taking Turkey Tail, the recommended dosage is ½-1 tsp per day or up to 2 grams.
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