Turkey tail is one of many mushrooms that have been used for centuries in Asia as medicine.
It is also known as Trametes versicolor and Coriolus versicolor. Its vivid color patterns, which look similar to a turkey’s tail, earned it its nickname.
While turkey tail mushrooms have many health benefits one thing that stands out is their reputation for improving the immune system in order to fight cancer.
People in Asia have used over mushrooms to fight cancer for centuries. Some evidence suggests that turkey tail mushrooms might have anticancer properties.
What health benefits can turkey tail mushrooms have?
One of these mushrooms can be found growing from the side of a hardwood. It may look like a series or discs. They are very common in the United States and quite hardy.
These multicolored mushrooms hold great promise. Turkey tail mushroom fans note that these mushrooms are rich in immune-boosting properties.
Turkey tail mushrooms, for example, are rich in antioxidants like phenols. Antioxidants reduce or inhibit cellular damage due to oxidative stress. This is caused by an imbalance of antioxidants and reactive molecules, also known as free radical molecules.
Turkey tails are not only rich in antioxidants, but they also seem to contain a variety of them. One 2017 study revealed that turkey tail mushrooms contain 35 different phenolic substances.
They also contain polysaccharopeptides, including krestin (PSK) and polysaccharide peptide (PSP), which may help boost your body’s immune system. This is one reason why so many people are interested this mushroom’s potential role as a fighter against cancer.
Which types of cancer can turkey tail mushrooms be used to fight?
Research continues to explore the potential for extracts or treatments derived turkey tail mushrooms to treat or prevent several types of cancer.
Although some studies have shown promising results, turkey tail cannot replace anticancer medications. Only cancer patients should use them if their oncologist recommends it.
Turkey tail mushroom agents might be beneficial for women undergoing breast cancer treatment.
A 2008 review recommended more research into the potential benefits of turkey tail mushrooms and its PSK in breast cancer prevention. It is an add-on therapy to breast cancer treatment that would be used after surgery or chemotherapy.
This call for research was followed up by a 2012 study. This study had only nine participants. The researchers did find that the immune system was improved by using a daily oral formulation containing Trametes vericolor powder, in addition to standard treatment for breast carcinoma.
They also found that participants tolerated the preparation well.
Although more research is required, an 2013 in vitro study that was published in 2013 indicated promise for using extracts from turkey tail mushrooms to treat leukemia.
Researchers examined the effects of an extract from Trametes vericolormushrooms on leukemia cells. The researchers compared the use of it alone with a combination Trametes versicolor, Ganoderma Lucidum or Reishi mushroom.
Researchers found that the combination was stronger than Trametes vericolor by itself. This could be due to the fact that the two mushrooms have different biological processes.
Combining these two therapies may be able to help patients with cancer on a more broad level. A team of researchers examined 23 clinical trials that involved more than 4,200 patients in a 2019 study.
These two mushrooms were found to be beneficial in improving survival rates and quality of life for certain types of cancer patients, such as breast, lung and gastrointestinal.
Another study, which looked at extracts from two types mushrooms, including turkey tail mushrooms and found promise for treating colon cancer cells.
One 2019 study looked at the effects of Trametes versicolor on the Grifola Frondosa. This is also known as the maitake.
The two mushroom extracts combined demonstrated their ability to prevent cancer cells from growing. Researchers also discovered that the combination of the two mushrooms extracts could enhance the efficacy of 5-fluorouracil, a common drug used to treat colorectal carcinomas.
An 2015 review involving 11 clinical trials and 17 additional preclinical studies showed that lung cancer patients treated with radiation had a longer life expectancy when they used PSK from the Trametes vericolor mushrooms.
It also appeared to improve the quality of life and body weight.
Other types of cancer
Turkey tail mushrooms may also be beneficial to people with other types of cancer. A review of eight studies which included more than 8,000 patients with gastric cancer showed that people who added PSK to their chemotherapy lived longer.
Not all research has been so encouraging. A recent study found that an agent containing both Trametes versicolor as well as Grifola Frondose was not effective in controlling colon cancer cell spread in the laboratory. Further research is required.
What are the possible side effects?
Turkey tail mushrooms are generally safe. People with allergies to mushrooms or mold should avoid them.
Although they are generally safe, turkey tail mushrooms may occasionally cause side effects.
- Digestive upsets, such as gas, diarrhea, and bloating, can occur.
- Darker pigments in your fingernails
The FDA does not regulate dietary supplements the same way it regulates traditional medicines. Talk to a healthcare professional before you take any supplements.
How can I make turkey tail mushrooms?
Traditional Asian medicine has used turkey tail mushrooms to make tea. This option is still preferred by many people.
You can also make capsules from it or powder it. It can be added to smoothies or made into a broth by adding a small amount of turkey tail mushroom powder. Follow the directions on the packaging.
If your doctor believes it may help you recover from the disease, then there might be more options in the future depending on the results of ongoing research.
Researchers have discovered that the benefits of different parts of the mushroom can vary.
A 2019 study actually found that the turkey tail mushrooms’ fermented substrate had unique benefits.
These promising results should not be used to treat cancer patients. Instead, they should consult their oncologist. To ensure that you are safe and healthy, it is important to talk to your doctor about any other treatment options for cancer.
Turkey tail mushrooms are considered safe and even beneficial. Research has shown that these beautiful mushrooms could have anti-cancer properties.
It’s important to keep in mind that turkey tail mushrooms may not be suitable for everyone, particularly if you have allergies. The FDA does not regulate such supplements.
Discuss your interest in these mushrooms with your doctor.
- Janjušević, L et al. (2017). The lignicolous fungus Trametes versicolor (L.) Lloyd (1920): a promising natural source of antiradical and AChE inhibitory agents.
- Medicinal mushrooms. (2020).
- Oba K, et al (2007). Efficacy of adjuvant immunochemotherapy with polysaccharide K for patients with curative resections of gastric cancer.
- Roca-Lema, D, et al. (2019). In vitro anti-proliferative and anti-invasive effect of polysaccharide-rich extracts from Trametes versicolor and Grifola frondosa in colon cancer cells.
- Standish LJ, et al. (2008). Trametes versicolor mushroom immune therapy in breast cancer.
- Torkelson, CJ, et al. (2012). Phase 1 clinical trial of Trametes versicolor in women with breast cancer.
- Zhong L, et al. (2019). Coriolus versicolor and Ganoderma lucidum related natural products as an adjunct therapy for cancers: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
- Knežević A, et al. (2015). Antigenotoxic effect of Trametes spp. extracts against DNA damage on human peripheral white blood cells. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4517545/
- Benson, KF et al. (2019). The mycelium of the Trametes versicolor (Turkey tail) mushroom and its fermented substrate each show potent and complementary immune activating properties in vitro.
- Chu KK, Ho SS, Chow AH. (2013). Coriolus versicolor: A medicinal mushroom with promising immunotherapeutic values.
- Dietary supplements. (2019).
- Fritz H et al. (2015). Polysaccharide K and Coriolus versicolor extracts for lung cancer: A systematic review.
- Guggenheim AG, et al. (2014). Immune modulation from five major mushrooms: Application to integrative oncology.
- Hsieh TC, et al. (2019). Aqueous and ethanolic extracts of medicinal mushroom Trametes versicolor interact with DNA: A novel genoactive effect contributing to its antiproliferative activity in cancer cells.
- Hsieh TC, et al. (2013) Regulation of cell cycle transition and induction of apoptosis in HL-60 leukemia cells by the combination of Coriolus versicolor and Ganoderma lucidum.
3 thoughts on “This Mushroom Kills Cancer”
My wife has stage four gall bladder cancer. Surgery seems to be the only treatment that has been successful in treating this cancer. Unfortunately, the cancer had already spread too far for surgery to be successful. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy and immunotherapy at the Diana White Cancer Center in Sonora CA.
Is there any study data on the effectiveness of Turkey Tail Mushrooms on gall bladder cancer? If there is, I would like hear about such data. Thank you.
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THE INTERNET HAS NEVER FAILED ME TO HAVE A WEALTH OF INFORMATION ABOUT ANYTHING I WANT TO KNOW!
YOU WILL BE AMAZED TOO – YOU’LL SEE!
Where is a safe place to find these mushrooms?