Looking to boost your immune system, improve your digestion or simply feel good? It might be time for (turkey tail mushroom) tea.
Medicinal mushrooms may be fairly 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: It’s Everywhere!
Turkey tail fungus is extremely common in North American woods, growing in shelf-like layers on rotting wood. Its name comes from its resemblance to a turkey tail[AL1], with a semi-circular shape and colorful bands.
If you pick your own, make sure you know your stuff – some mushrooms can be dangerous. Otherwise, you can buy it dried, as an extract, tincture, or powder, or as turkey tail mushroom tea (see a recipe for this 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 Benefits: The Research is Promising
There’s a solid body of evidence showing 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 important 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 to be immunomodulatory, while also reducing the effects of radiation. Polysaccharide K (PSK), a derivative of the turkey tail mushroom, was shown to help destroy tumors and to increase the efficacy of doxetaxel, a drug used to treat gastric carcinoma.
There is also evidence that PSK stimulates natural killer cells, increasing their cytotoxicity, and boosts levels of T cells. Both of these are involved in the immune response which helps to 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: People Are Going Overboard
Even if it’s a fungus, when a product is popular and works, some people go a bit overboard. So how much is too much?
The jury is still out but some research seems to show that 9g a day is well tolerated.
Note that there’s a difference between regular mushroom powder, like our Wild Shroom Master blend[AL2], and extracts, like our 10:1 Shroom #3 Turkey Tail Mushroom Extract, 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 in turkey tail mushroom tea.
Bring 2 tablespoons of turkey tail mushroom pieces to the 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 mushroom can also be taken as a tincture, which is made 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.