Turkey Tail Mushroom: 5 Benefits for Enhancing Your Health
Are you missing out on the benefits of medicinal mushrooms? Taking megadoses of vitamin C doesn't have to be your only defense against illness this season. If you're struggling to stay healthy or your body is recovering from serious illness or surgery, it would benefit you to learn more about the turkey tail mushroom.
This fungus is considered a "medicinal" mushroom rather than an edible variety. It's not typically eaten as food, as it's too tough and chewy for most people's liking. For this reason, its name is not widely known outside of scientific or health-based circles where it's used as a natural medicine. It's possible to harness the powerful properties of this mushroom for your own health. Learn more about the turkey tail's many benefits in this guide.
Turkey Tail Mushroom Facts
The name of the mushroom is due to its resemblance to a turkey's fan-like, striped tail. Though this fungus has several lookalike species that grow in similar locales, you'll know a turkey tail from its competitors by its striped appearance, its polyporous underside (it features pores, not gills, underneath its cap), and its tendency to grow in groups. Other facts about this fungus include:
- It has been used for hundreds of years in the Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine systems.
- It is very colorful, but you won't find the same colors and patterns on every mushroom.
- It is difficult to grow and cultivate indoors; these mushrooms thrive outdoors on rotten, damp logs.
- It isn't poisonous — but it also doesn't taste very good in recipes!
5 Health Benefits of the Turkey Tail Mushroom
Though turkey tail has been used for hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of years in traditional medicine, researchers are just now beginning to understand and harness the strength of it as a supplement. Consider the following benefits of this mushroom.
1. Boost Your Immunity
Many people use this mushroom to bounce back faster from viral illnesses. Polysaccharide-K and polysaccharopeptide — also known as PSK and PSP — are the two chemical compounds in turkey tail that contribute to its status as an immune booster.
While scientists are still gathering evidence that could make a case for a turkey tail-inspired medication to treat illness as well as cancer, current research suggests that these compounds might be able to slow down the spread of cancer and delay the growth of new cancer cells.
2. Improve Your Gut Health
Turkey tail mushroom can act as a powerful prebiotic for your gut health. According to research, compounds found in this fungus can also help alleviate diarrhea and they may help with certain types of inflammatory bowel disease.
You've likely heard of probiotics — the good bacteria in your body that help fight disease and regulate immunity — and you may even eat yogurt or take supplements to boost your body's probiotic count. Probiotics, though, need to be fed as well. Prebiotics are specific fibers and sugars such as oligosaccharides that probiotics feed on to maintain their own health.
3. Reduce Side Effects of Radiation Treatment
Radiation treatment for cancer can cause nasty side effects, including decreased immunity. Researchers used 9 grams of this mushroom as an immunotherapy agent in a clinical trial of women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had received radiation treatment. The participants did not experience significant side effects from the turkey tail treatment, and their overall immunity improved according to several markers.
4. Gain Muscle Strength
In a 2017 study performed on mice, researchers proposed that because turkey tail mushroom has shown promise as a traditional medicine for numerous conditions, it may also be able to prevent physical fatigue. The effects of physical fatigue are evident in diseases that affect muscles, the nervous system, and the immune system.
Many symptoms of fatigue are caused by serum lactate and ammonia levels in the body. In this study, supplementation with turkey tail decreased both compounds. It also improved the mice's grip strength and performance during exercise-related tasks such as swimming.
5. Lower Blood Sugar
Diabetes can be dangerous for many reasons. Having high blood sugar over time can damage your eyes, your nervous system, and even your heart. This condition puts you at a higher risk of stroke as well. Treating type 2 diabetes often involves changing aspects of your lifestyle, such as diet and exercise, testing your blood sugar every day, and taking prescription medication to lower your blood sugar.
A study performed with rats showed evidence that turkey tails could reduce blood sugar in rats with type 2 diabetes. It also improved their oxidative stress levels, which could mean that this supplement has the potential to improve blood sugar numbers and prevent side effects from high blood sugar in diabetes.
Who Should Not Take Turkey Tail Mushroom Products?
Like all medications and herbal supplements, this one isn't appropriate for every person or every season of life. Avoid products made from this fungus you fall into one of these categories:
- You're pregnant. While this supplement likely won't harm your pregnancy, it's better to be safe than sorry. Wait to try it after you deliver and are finished breastfeeding.
- You have a serious medical condition or you take prescription medication. Ask a doctor or pharmacist whether turkey tail will interfere with your treatment before taking this mushroom.
- You're allergic to mushrooms (of any type).
If you have questions about mushroom supplements or their uses, please ask your doctor or herbal medicine practitioner before consuming supplements that contain it. Fortunately, turkey tail has few listed side effects and it's likely suitable for most people.
Learn About Turkey Tail Mushroom Products and More
At Sovereignty, we believe in challenging what it means to be healthy. Do you spend your existence thriving, or are you simply getting by while feeling OK?
Get in touch with us to learn more about natural products and supplements such as the turkey tail mushroom that can aid you in living your life to the fullest. We look forward to helping you discover a healthier, more energized way of being.
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/turkey-tail-mushroom#TOC_TITLE_HDR_9 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32749097/ https://connect.uclahealth.org/2022/08/29/turkey-tail-mushrooms-act-as-nonspecific-immune-modulators/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3369477/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5666542/ https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/type2.html