You’re truly missing out if you’ve been limited to just the standard button mushrooms at the grocery store.
There is a whole world of flavors and textures available in the realm of mushrooms – everything from meaty portobellos to delicate shiitakes. Not only do they add fantastic depth to dishes, but they also pack a nutritional punch.
Turkey tail mushrooms are one of these superfoods, boasting a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine and increasing popularity as a powerful immune-boosting supplement.
They have been used for centuries in Asia and Europe to treat various illnesses. Recently, they have become popular in the United States as well.
In this blog post, we will discuss the healing properties of Turkey tail mushrooms and their benefits for your health!
What is a Turkey Tail Mushroom?
A Turkey Tail mushroom, also known as Trametes versicolor, is a fungus found on dead or decaying trees. It is named for its resemblance to a turkey’s tail feathers, with concentric rings in various shades of brown and white.
These mushrooms can be found growing in dense clusters all over the world and have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine.
In recent years, they have attracted attention for their potential immune-boosting properties. Studies have shown that Turkey Tail mushrooms may stimulate the immune system and possibly even aid in treating certain types of cancer, such as gastric or colorectal cancer.
Whether eaten fresh or consumed as a supplement, Turkey Tail mushrooms may offer numerous health benefits.
However, it is essential to note that they should not be harvested from the wild unless under the guidance of a trained expert, as certain lookalike species may be toxic. When consumed responsibly, Turkey Tails can add flavor and health benefits to any meal.
6 Known Health Benefits of the Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Traditional Chinese medicine has used Turkey tail extract for centuries to treat various illnesses, and recent studies have shown potential benefits for our immune system. Here are six known health benefits of Turkey Tail mushrooms:
1. Can Boost Immune System
Since a turkey tail mushroom is packed with antioxidants, it can help protect the body from free radicals and boost the immune system.
A study showed that 35 phenolic compounds had been found in Turkey Tail mushrooms, including quercetin and baicalein, two powerful antioxidants. These compounds have been found to have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects.
While more research is needed, Turkey Tail mushrooms have shown the potential to stimulate an immune response and may even be effective in treating certain types of cancer.
2. It May Improve Gut Health
Turkey tail mushrooms contain prebiotics, which are substances that support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This can lead to improved digestion and overall gut health.
Having a healthy gut is essential for numerous functions in the body, including immune system response and overall well-being.
Turkey tail mushrooms contain prebiotics that can support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and improve digestion.
Research shows that people who consumed turkey tail extract for eight weeks improved their gut microbiota, including a suppressed growth of E.Coli and Shigella. These two harmful bacteria cause infections in the intestine.
3. It May Help Treat Certain Cancers
Turkey tail mushroom benefits are more than just immune-boosting effects. Studies have shown potential in Turkey Tail mushrooms to treat certain types of cancer.
Polysaccharide K, a compound found in Turkey Tail mushrooms, has been shown to combat gastric cancer, which affects the stomach.
Turkey tail extract has also been found to prevent colon cancer cells from growing and spreading. Cancer patients consuming turkey tail mushroom extract may discover that their tumors shrink and their quality of life improves.
4. It May Help Improve Cancer Treatments
Turkey tail extracts have been found to improve the effectiveness of specific cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.
Research showed that consuming a certain amount of turkey tail mushrooms daily during chemotherapy improved the survival rate of breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, and colon cancer patients.
Furthermore, 6-9 grams of turkey tail powder per day after radiation therapy increased cancer-fighting cells in breast cancer patients.
Other cancers, such as lung cancer and pancreatic cancer, have also shown potential benefits from Turkey Tail mushroom supplementation during treatment.
5. It May Reduce Inflammation
Medicinal mushrooms such as Turkey Tails have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can benefit those with chronic inflammation and autoimmune disorders.
Since turkey tail mushrooms are packed with flavonoids and phenols, they can help reduce inflammation and improve overall well-being.
Some research suggests that Turkey Tail mushrooms may also effectively treat inflammatory bowel disease, a condition characterized by inflammation in the digestive tract.
6. It May Improve Heart Health
Mice given Turkey Tail mushrooms were found to have lower blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and triglycerides, all of which can improve heart health.
Turkey tail mushrooms may also have the potential to protect against stroke by reducing inflammation in the arteries and improving blood flow.
While more research is needed in human studies, Turkey Tail mushrooms show promise in promoting a healthy heart.
Incorporating Turkey Tail Mushroom Into Your Diet
Generally, Turkey Tail mushrooms can be consumed as a supplement, powder, or added to soups, teas, and other dishes.
When purchasing Turkey Tail supplements, it’s important to look for third-party testing for safety and quality assurance. This is because some supplements are not regulated and could contain harmful contaminants.
Before adding Turkey Tail mushrooms to your diet, it’s important to note that the mushroom has an earthy and woody taste, so it may not be for everyone’s palate.
You can try to buy a powder or tea form and add it to your smoothies or soups for an immune-boosting boost. Turkey Tail mushrooms can also be cooked, sautéed, or added to stir-fries.
It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before adding Turkey Tail mushrooms or any supplement into your diet, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a medical condition, or are currently taking medications.
Risks and Side Effects of Consuming Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Edible mushrooms like Turkey Tails are generally considered safe for most people. However, medicinal mushrooms should be consumed in the recommended dosages and not in excessive amounts.
Some individuals may experience allergic reactions from Turkey tail mushrooms, such as:
- Cold symptoms
If you experience adverse side effects, stop consuming Turkey tail and speak with a healthcare provider.
A healthy immune system is crucial for optimal health, and Turkey tail mushrooms may offer some potential benefits in this area. Turkey tail mushrooms have also shown promise in improving cancer treatment and reducing inflammation.
While more human studies are needed, incorporating Turkey Tail mushroom into your diet may offer potential health benefits. Consider a healthcare professional before adding Turkey tails or any supplement to your routine.
Have you tried Turkey tail mushrooms before? What are your thoughts on the benefits and risks of consuming Turkey tail mushrooms? Share with us in the comments below. Happy mushroom hunting!