Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits, Usage, and Side Effects

Mushrooms are small but mighty. They can support the body in an astounding manner, and the Turkey Tail mushroom is no different.* In this article, we’ll go over a few of the ways in which the Turkey Tail mushroom benefits your health and well-being.*

First, we’ll look at the big picture—what these mushrooms look like, where they grow, and how they’ve been used in the past. Then, we’ll cover a few of the ways this mushroom supports your body and how to experience Turkey Tail mushroom benefits for yourself.*

What Are Turkey Tail Mushrooms?

The Turkey Tail mushroom’s scientific name is Trametes versicolor, but it has also been known by the name Coriolus versicolor and, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Yun Zhi.

This mushroom’s interesting name offers us a clue about its appearance. With a little imagination, it does indeed look a bit like the colorful fan of a turkey’s tail feathers.

turkey tail mushroom

Growing up to four inches wide, these mushrooms can be found on dead logs and stumps as well as live trees, mostly showing up in mixed hardwood deciduous forests. And they’re not limited to one part of the world.

They “grow in wet, shady areas in temperate forests in Asia, North America, and Europe and are quite common across all three continents.”1 They are thin and hard, and their texture can be described as tough and leathery.2

Since Turkey Tail mushrooms are easy to find, you may stumble upon them while strolling in the woods. Something important to note is that there are other species that look quite similar to this mushroom. So, use caution if you’re trying to forage your own Turkey Tail mushrooms.

If you’re wondering if Turkey Tail mushrooms are good for eating, the truth is that they are chewy and tough, meaning they’re not the most delicious or palatable mushroom out there.

Even so, there are plenty of ways to consume this mushroom and reap the benefits. We’ll cover that at the end of this article.

Another thing that makes the Turkey Tail mushroom unique is that it has pores instead of gills. It belongs to the Polyporaceae family, which all share this characteristic. Found on the underside of the mushroom top, these pores contain the spores that allow the mushrooms to reproduce.1

The Turkey Tail mushroom is famous for its role in supporting immune health and has been used for many years in Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as Native American herbalism.*

However, it offers more than just immune support if current research has something to say about how the Turkey Tail mushroom benefits your body.* Let’s take a look.

Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits

All kinds of mushrooms—such as Reishi, Cordyceps, and Shiitake, just to name a few—provide astounding health benefits.* But each one has its own specialty when it comes to supporting your body.

The Turkey Tail mushroom is widely researched, and this antioxidant-rich mushroom is known for supporting immune health, gut health, and liver health.* Here are the details.

turkey tail mushroom

Turkey Tail Mushrooms Are Rich in Antioxidants*

There’s a lot of talk about antioxidants, but it’s not always clear exactly what they do.

Antioxidants minimize cell damage from free radicals, thus also minimizing oxidative stress. This makes antioxidants important for overall health. And one thing that we love about Turkey Tail mushrooms is that they are rich in antioxidants.

One study notes that their “findings have demonstrated the considerable potential of T. versicolor water extract as a natural source of antioxidants.”*3

Another study attempted to assess the DNA protective activity of Turkey Tail (among two other species). While further research is needed to understand exactly how DNA is protected from oxidative damage, the preliminary results suggest that Turkey Tail extracts may be an agent that helps support genetic material.*4

Turkey Tail Mushrooms Provide Immune Support*

In general, mushrooms are known for a carbohydrate called polysaccharides, specifically a type called beta glucans. Beta glucans are shown to support immune health and overall wellness, as well as normal, healthy cell growth and turnover.*

With Turkey Tail mushrooms, this goes a step further. They are famous for containing two polysaccharides in particular. One is called PSP, which stands for polysaccharide peptide or polysaccharopeptide. The other is PSK, which stands for polysaccharide K, Polysaccharide Kurcha, or Krestin.5,6 Both of these polysaccharides provide immune support.*

In the “Handbook of Biologically Active Peptides,” the author notes that both PSP and PSK “have been discovered with very strong immunological values and are commercially available as biologic response modifiers.”*7

When we said that this mushroom can support your well-being, we meant it!*

Turkey Tail Mushrooms Support Digestion and Gut Health*

Woman eating a salad with turkey tail mushroom benefits

The Turkey Tail mushroom helps support digestion and gut health, too.* How does this fungus support your digestive tract? Turkey Tail mushrooms contain something called prebiotics.3

One study says that PSP, which we mentioned in the last point, “acts as a prebiotic to modulate human intestinal microbiome composition.”8

Prebiotics are, essentially, “food” for your gut microbiome. They provide the nourishment that probiotics (the good bacteria in your gut) need to flourish and grow.

It’s also worth mentioning that your immune system is directly impacted by your gut. So, in supporting your gut health, Turkey Tail mushrooms also support your immune health.*

Turkey Tail Mushrooms Support Liver Health*

Turkey Tail has been used in China for centuries as a traditional agent to help treat a variety of health concerns and to provide support for a healthy liver.*

Because Turkey Tail mushrooms help protect the liver, many herbalists believe that taking a supplement containing Turkey Tail can be more effective for liver support than any pre-packaged cleanse or detox kit on the market.*

How to Experience Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits

With the Turkey Tail mushroom benefits we mentioned above, we really just scratched the surface of what this fungus can do for your health and well-being.* But the real question is how to experience these benefits for yourself.

We mentioned earlier that Turkey Tail mushrooms are a bit chewy and tough and not the best for consumption on their own or cooking in recipes. That’s why this mushroom is typically made into a tea or consumed via a supplement, such as a capsule.

If you get your hands on fresh Turkey Tail mushrooms, you can make your own tea by simply boiling the mushrooms and then straining them out. You can find recipes for homemade Turkey Tail tea that includes other healthy ingredients, such as Turmeric.

While drinking tea is relaxing and beneficial, your best option for getting a potent and effective dose of Turkey Tail mushrooms is by taking a capsule supplement.

Source and Quality

Gaia Herbs sources the mushrooms used in our products from North American Medicinal Mushroom Extract (Nammex). Nammex operates 100% Certified Organic growing and manufacturing operations in Qingyuan County China.

This is a remote, mountainous region far from highly populated cities and industrial manufacturing areas, and it is often referred to as the best ecological environment in all of China.

People sometimes question the quality of mushrooms grown in China, but we can assure you that Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the oldest sources for the use of mushrooms for health purposes.

Gaia Herbs chose Nammex as our mushroom provider because their growing conditions are similar to the mushrooms’ natural habitats.

All of our mushrooms are harvested from their growing substrate, never incorporating any of the growing medium into the final product. This results in a 100% organic supplement that, in the case of our new line of mushroom capsules, is 100% mushrooms and nothing else—no fillers, starch, or grains with guaranteed levels of beneficial beta glucans.* Our mushroom powders and herb and mushroom blend formulas are also free of fillers, starch, and grains.

There is no mycelium in our mushroom products either, as we use only mushroom fruiting bodies (the above ground part of the mushroom). Why? Fruiting bodies have been used for thousands of years in traditional herbal medicine. The concentration of powerful biochemical compounds such as beta glucans is highest in the fruiting body versus the mycelium.

If you’re interested in learning more, take a look at our Meet Your Herbs® program. Because we value transparency, we created meetyourherbs.com, the world’s first herb traceability platform.

In this program, you can enter the ID number located on the back of any Gaia Herbs product and instantly learn when your product was manufactured and about each herb in your product—where it came from; how it was grown, harvested, and extracted; and see validation of your product’s level of purity and potency.

You can be assured that our products are safely produced without the use of pesticides and other toxins that can damage our bodies and the earth.

Turkey Tail Mushroom Capsules

Woman taking a pill that has turkey tail mushroom benefits

All sorts of mushrooms are made into capsules that are easy and convenient to take on a regular basis. When shopping for Turkey Tail mushrooms in a capsule, check for pure, potent ingredients.

Here at Gaia Herbs, our products are gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free—with no artificial sweeteners or preservatives, and no added sugars.

Every supplement is made without animal ingredients and delivered to you in an easily digestible plant-derived vegan capsule, which allows you to experience the fullest possible expression of each herb or mushroom.

Turkey Tail Mushroom

Gaia Herbs Turkey Tail Mushroom

Gaia Herbs Turkey Tail Mushroom is designed to support healthy liver function with a concentrated dose of 100% organically grown Turkey Tail mushrooms.*

Each capsule contains 2,500 mg of dried Turkey Tail mushrooms—using only 100% organic mushrooms and nothing else—no fillers, starch, grains, or mycelium. This formula aids your body's natural cleansing process and provides natural antioxidant support.*

The mushrooms used in this formula are hot water and dual extracted for optimal bioavailability, absorption, and digestibility.* And best of all, at 6x strength, you get the support you need with just one vegan capsule per day.*

Immune Mushroom Blend

Gaia Herbs Immune Mushroom Blend

Gaia Herbs Immune Mushroom Blend contains a blend of five potent immune-supporting mushrooms: Reishi, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Shiitake, and Chaga. This formula can support your body's immune defenses so you can stay healthy and thriving all year long.*

Turkey Tail Mushroom Side Effects and Precautions

Remember that before you start using any herbal supplement, you should consult your doctor, especially if you are already taking medications or have a medical condition. The same rule applies to Turkey Tail mushroom capsules.

Turkey Tail mushrooms are edible and generally safe to eat or take in supplement form, and there are few side effects.

Begin by taking small doses of this mushroom to make sure you do not have any adverse reactions.2 And be advised that Turkey Tail mushrooms are not recommended for use during pregnancy or lactation.

Turkey Tail Mushrooms for Your Well-Being*

Man at top of hike enjoying Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits

The ways in which the Turkey Tail mushroom may benefit your health are noteworthy.* This mushroom is full of antioxidants, provides immune support, liver support, and helps maintain gut health.*

Although the Turkey Tail mushroom is not the most delicious culinary mushroom, high-quality supplements such as Turkey Tail Mushroom and Immune Mushroom Blend allow you to take advantage of all the benefits this mushroom provides, in a palatable way.

Invest in your well-being by adding a Turkey Tail mushroom supplement to your daily wellness regime.*

REFERENCES:


1. “Turkey Tail Fungus,” Macalester, accessed on March 2, 2020, https://www.macalester.edu/ordway/biodiversity/inventory/turkeytailfungus.

2. Josh Beaty, “The Complete Guide to the Coriolus Mushroom (Turkey Tail),” NuLiv Science, May 14, 2020, https://nulivscience.com/blog/complete-guide-coriolus-mushroom-turkey-tail.

3. Ljiljana Janjušević et al., “The Lignicolous Fungus Trametes Versicolor (L.) Lloyd (1920): A Promising Natural Source of Antiradical and AChE Inhibitory Agents,” Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry 32, no. 1 (2017): 355–362, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6010034.

4. Aleksandar Knežević et al., “Antigenotoxic Effect of Trametes spp. Extracts against DNA Damage on Human Peripheral White Blood Cells,” The Scientific World Journal (2015): 146378, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4517545.

5. Lauren Crigler, “You’ll Gobble Up These Facts about Turkey Tail Benefits*,” Mushroom Revival, August 13, 2020, https://www.mushroomrevival.com/blogs/blog/turkey-tail-benefits.

6. Artem Blagodatski et al., “Medicinal mushrooms as an Attractive New Source of Natural Compounds,” Oncotarget 9, no. 49 (2018): 29259–29274, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6044372.

7. JenniferMan-Fan Wan, Handbook of Biologically Active Peptides, 2nd ed. (Academic Press, 2013), 180-184, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123850959000270.

8. Kumar Pallav et al., “Effects of Polysaccharopeptide From Trametes Versicolor and Amoxicillin on the Gut Microbiome of Healthy Volunteers: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” Gut Microbes 5, no. 4 (2014): 458-67, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25006989.