Turkey Tail mushrooms, botanically classified as Trametes versicolor, are striped, multicolored fungi that belong to the Polyporaceae family. They are commonly grown on stumps, logs or branches that are in the process of decomposing. One of the most common varieties of mushrooms found in forests, they take their name from their resemblance to the colored tail feathers of a turkey.
All mushrooms contain potent, naturally occurring polysaccharides. These are unique to each species of fungus, and each confers unique impacts on the human body. Turkey Tail mushroom contains a couple of protein-bound molecules that have been well-researched for human medical use. The polysaccharide K (PSK) has been researched as a supporter of a healthy immune system. Research on PSK establishes its efficacy on colorectal cancer, breast cancer, gastric cancer, and lung cancer and has been used effectively as an adjuvant therapy for cancer patients for decades.
The other polysaccharide found in Turkey Tail is called polysaccharide peptide (PSP). This molecule has been studied as a tool in fighting cancer. It’s also believed to offer gastrointestinal benefits that improve immune system function by providing prebiotics that nourish the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Good gut bacteria help to balance the conditions of the gastrointestinal tract and help with building good immune response.
Very few side effects have been reported by people who use Turkey Tail mushroom supplements. Because of its flavor profile, most people choose to take Turkey Tail as a bioavailable supplement in the form of powders, teas, capsules or other forms that do not emphasize culinary use as their leathery, chewy texture is often unpalatable. Regardless of how poorly they taste, Turkey Tail mushrooms provide a powerhouse of benefit for the human body and a great way to let nature go to work helping you achieve the best health possible.