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Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits - Turkey Tail Fights Cancer

Posted by Blair Kovacs on

Turkey Tail Benefits

Immune System Support

Turkey Tail Mushrooms Trametes versicolor, also known as Coriolus versicolor is considered a member of the medicinal mushroom family.

Known as yun zhi in traditional chinese medicine turkey tail has been used for centuries alongside Reishi and Chaga mushroom, Turkey Tail also has immune boosting properties.

Turkey tail are rich in beta glucans PSP and polysaccharide K PSK which help to support immune function and the small intestines function to fight against bacteria and viruses.

Test-tube studies have shown that PSP increases white blood cells that fight infection and boost immunity (1). PSK stimulates dendritic cells that promote immunity to and regulate the immune response.

Due to their ability to naturally strengthen the immune system, PSP and PSK are commonly used as anticancer agents in conjunction with surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation in countries like Japan and China (2).

Annanda Organics Turkey Tail Mushroom Extract


Antioxidants are compounds that help inhibit or reduce damage caused by oxidative stress. Free radicals result from this oxidative stress and can cause damage to cells and lead to chronic inflammation and other serious conditions like certain cancers and heart disease.

There are many foods that are rich in antioxidants including mushrooms like Turkey Tail which includes both phenols and flavonoids (3). Some studies detected over 30 different phenolic compounds in turkey tail mushroom extract (4).

Phenol and flavonoid antioxidants promote immune system health by reducing inflammation and stimulating the release of protective compounds (5).

Turkey Tail Mushroom Cancer Fighter

Research has demonstrated that turkey tail may have antitumor properties to help treat cancer including breast cancer.

One test-tube study found that PSK, the polysaccharopeptide found in turkey tail mushroom, inhibited the growth and spread of human colorectal cancers. (6).

A certain type of polysaccharide found in turkey tail mushrooms called Coriolus versicolor glucan (CVG) may suppress certain tumors. A study in tumor-bearing mice found that daily treatment with CVG extracted from turkey tail mushrooms significantly reduced tumor size (7). Researchers attributed this development to enhanced immune response (8).

Another study demonstrated that daily treatment with turkey tail extract significantly slowed the spread of cancer cells in dogs with (hemangiosarcoma).

The most impressive evidence regarding the anticancer benefits is when it’s used in combination with more traditional treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation (10, 1112).

Good for The Gut

Turkey tail contains prebiotics which help nourish beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus while reducing potentially harmful bacteria, such as Clostridiumand Staphylococcus .

An 8-week study in 24 healthy people found that consuming 3,600 mg of PSP extracted from turkey tail mushrooms per day led to beneficial changes in gut bacteria and suppressed the growth of the possibly problematic E. coli and Shigella bacteria (14).

Having healthy levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium bacteria has been linked to improved intestinal symptoms like diarrhea, enhanced immune system, reduced cholesterol levels, lower risks of certain cancers and improved digestion (15).

Additional Health Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushroom

  • Fights HPV: A study of people with HPV found that once treated with turkey tail experienced clearance of HPV (16).
  • May improve athletic performance: A mouse study showed that turkey tail extract improved exercise performance and reduced fatigue. Plus, the mice treated with turkey tail experienced lower blood sugar levels at rest and post-exercise (17).
  • May improve insulin resistance: A study in rats with type 2 diabetes demonstrated that turkey tail extract significantly reduced blood sugar levels and improved insulin resistance.

Side effects of turkey tail

Turkey tail mushroom is considered safe, with few side effects reported in research studies.

Some people may experience digestive symptoms like gas and dark stools when taking turkey tail mushroom.

When used as a cancer treatment alongside chemotherapy, side effects including, vomiting and loss of appetite have been reported.

Another potential side effect of consuming turkey tail mushroom is darkening of the fingernails (20).

It is recommended to speak with your doctor before supplementing with turkey tail mushroom.

Related article of interest:

New Cancer Fungotherapy - Supporting Cancer Treatment with turkey tail, lions mane and chaga mushrooms