Looking to boost your immune system, improve your digestion or feel good? It might be time for (turkey tail mushroom) tea.
Medicinal mushrooms may be new in the West, but Eastern medicine practitioners have been prescribing them for centuries. Turkey tail mushroom shows up in the 15th century Materia Medica, a Chinese herbology text from the Ming Dynasty, and was probably used to treat infections and cancer long before that, at least in China and Japan.
Now, as a shroom renaissance gathers momentum in the West, we're seeing signs that turkey tail mushrooms are taking their rightful place in our health routines.
Turkey Tail Mushroom
Turkey tail fungus is prevalent in North American woods, growing in shelf-like layers on rotting wood. It resembles a turkey tail with a semi-circular shape and vibrant stripes, hence its name.
If you pick your own, ensure you know your stuff – some mushrooms can be dangerous. Otherwise, you can buy it dried, as an extract, tincture, powder, or turkey tail mushroom tea (see a recipe below).
Wherever you find it, turkey tail mushroom is antibacterial and antioxidant, boosts the immune system, reduces inflammation, improves stamina, reduces blood sugar, and as it contains prebiotics, it also helps to maintain a healthy gut. It's especially beneficial for cancer patients.
Turkey Tail Mushroom Cancer Research
A solid body of evidence shows that mushrooms have multiple benefits in cancer treatment.
This study shows that several types of mushrooms increase the production of TH1 cytokines, which play an essential role in the immune response. It also noted the benefits of mushrooms when used alongside conventional treatments like chemotherapy.
In the same study, turkey tail mushroom extract was proven immunomodulatory while reducing radiation's effects. Polysaccharide K (PSK), a derivative of the turkey tail mushroom, was shown to help destroy tumors and to increase the efficacy of docetaxel, a drug used to treat gastric carcinoma.
There is also evidence that PSK stimulates natural killer cells, increasing their cytotoxicity and boosting levels of T cells. Both are involved in the immune response, which helps destroy tumors.
In this study, an 83-year-old woman recovered from breast cancer after taking turkey tail mushroom capsules while undergoing chemotherapy.
Turkey Tail Mushroom Extract
Some people go overboard when a product is popular and works, even if it's a fungus. So how much is too much?
The jury is still out, but some research shows that 9g daily is well tolerated.
Note that there's a difference between regular mushroom powder, like our Wild Shroom Master blend , and extracts, like our Wild 8 Mushroom Complex blend which is far more potent. Be sure to read the dosage instructions on the package carefully.
Turkey Tail Mushroom is Gaining Popularity
One popular method of consuming this fungus is turkey tail mushroom tea.
Bring two tablespoons of turkey tail mushroom pieces to a boil in a quart of water, then turn down and simmer for an hour (you may need to add more liquid). Strain and serve. Feel free to add ginger, cinnamon, lemon, honey, turmeric, or even green tea to taste.
Other Ways to Use Turkey Tail Mushroom
Turkey tail mushrooms can also be taken as a tincture by infusing the fungus with strong alcohol. Turkey tail mushroom powders like Shroom #3 Turkey Tail Mushroom Extract can be enjoyed in stews, soups, risottos, curries, oatmeal, coffee, protein shakes, smoothies, or even salad dressing.
To learn more about turkey tail mushrooms, check out our ultimate guide.