What are Turkey Tails?
The world of mushrooms and fungi has a history of use dating back thousands of years. Recent archaeological findings suggest that edible mushrooms were consumed in Chile as long as 13,000 years ago. There is also clear evidence of their use within Europe for over 5,000 years, with the famous ‘iceman’ mummy, otherwise known as Ötzi being found with a Hoof fungus or Tinder Conk by his side. This fungus was used throughout the continent at the time for its firestarting and slow burning properties, making it an essential tool for survival through the winter months. Whilst there is an extensive history of mushroom use, there’s quite a lot that we still don’t understand about the grandiose and varied mushroom kingdom. It’s estimated that humans have only identified about 10% of mushroom species.
The Turkey Tail Mushroom, as it is most commonly known, is a species of fungi known technically as Trametes versicolor, Coriolus versicolor or Polyporus versicolor. The fungi has a history of use in Traditional Eastern Medicines dating back centuries, where it is used to treat a host of ailments and diseases. The mushrooms biggest benefits are related to their immune boosting and gut balancing properties. They are commonly used in Japan and China as an anti-cancer treatment, in conjunction with other more invasive treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This is something which we will discuss in more detail later in the article.
The fungi itself, unlike the previously discussed cordyceps sinensis mushroom (which is extremely rare to find naturally and is restricted to growing in one particular region), is commonly found naturally growing throughout the world. It can be found just about anywhere there are decomposing hardwood logs or tree stumps. They are commonplace throughout English woodlands and are known as a bracket fungus, growing in a tiered layer fashion, with a tough and resilient feel. Next time you are walking through any woodlands, you will almost certainly be able to spot Turkey Tail mushrooms growing on decomposing woods.
What can Turkey Tail mushrooms be used for?
- Immune Support
Turkey Tail mushrooms contain beneficial carbohydrates, known as Polysaccharides. Two in particular that are known to occur in Turkey Tails are Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP) and Krestin (PSK), which both possess powerful immune boosting properties. In studies, PSK has been shown to regulate immune responses and promote an immunity to toxins through the stimulation of particular immune cells, known as dendritic cells. It has also been shown to activate specialised white blood cells, protecting your body against certain harmful bacterias. Test tube studies have shown that PSP increases levels of a type of white blood cells, called monocytes, which boost immunity and help fight infection.
- Improved Digestive Function
Keeping your gut full of healthy bacteria is something which is essential to a strong immune response. Your gut bacteria interacts with immune cells and directly impacts your immune response. Studies have shown that turkey tails contain a host of prebiotics, which increase the levels of beneficial bacteria whilst reducing the growth of potentially harmful bacterias.
- Improved Chemotherapy Response
Turkey Tails beneficial effects on immune and gut system responses, have led to the development of research surrounding Turkey Tails as a treatment, which can be used during and after chemotherapy to both improve the body’s response to the therapy and also reduce the likelihood of infections after it. During and after chemotherapy, white blood cells are greatly reduced, meaning that immune system responses are heavily lowered and the chances of infections and illnesses causing major issues are increased. As discussed earlier PSK, one of the main active ingredients in Turkey Tails, activates specialised white blood cells, increasing your immune function and so protecting you against the harmful infections that can be deadly after chemotherapy. As such, according to the National Cancer Institute, researchers have isolated the PSK compound, which is used in Japan, as an approved adjuvant cancer treatment.
- Possible Tumour Shrinking ability
Whilst research is largely laboratory based and human trials on the subject are yet to go ahead, the current research suggests that the earlier discussed Polysaccharide, PSP, can actually inhibit colon cancer cell growth. The same team also found that PSP may stop the cancer cells from migrating and invading healthy cells, therefore helping stop the spread of cancer to other areas of the body. Whilst research into the subject is still fairly novel, there is definitely evidence to suggest that Turkey Tails could definitely be beneficial both during and after cancer treatments.
These are however not the only beneficial actions that people associate with Turkey Tails. As always at Greenhaus, we always encourage independent research, to ensure you truly understand the benefits that may be on offer from the supplements you are taking. We hope our guides can in some way give you an overview of the potential benefits of certain mushrooms. Always start slow and regularly monitor how you feel after taking your supplements.
Turkey Tails at Greenhaus
If you are interested in adding turkey tails to your daily routine, then we have you covered at Greenhaus. Whether you prefer tinctures, capsules or even gummies, at Greenhaus there is always a way to add the supplements you want into your diet;
If you are more interested in an all in one solution, then a product like the Jardin Collective Golden Hour Mushroom Mix might well be the product for you. Their Mushroom Mix offers a blend of five different medicinal mushrooms (including turkey tails), with organic turmeric. The powdered mix can be added to heated milk to make a warming turmeric latte or can instead be mixed with smoothies, juices and any hot drinks of your choice.
Easily one of our favourite products in stock, the Plant People WonderDay gummies offer the benefits of ten different adaptogenic mushrooms (including, Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Reishi, Chaga, and Turkey Tail), packed into a tasty gummy. For optimal effects eat two gummies at the start of your day. Who knew taking supplements could be so much fun?
Boost your immunity throughout the year with this tasty and easy to use daily mouth spray. Perfect for on the go use, the spray combines organic turkey tail and reishi with a number of select superfoods, creating a blast of cinnamon and ginger that even the fussiest of pallets can enjoy. When superfoods and mushrooms collide, Supermush magic is born.