Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) Mycota
Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)
mycota, or mushrooms/fungi, are one of the top medicinal fungi in the
world, with extensive medical research backing its health promoting
attributes. Clinical research in the US and Internationally have
validated the unique ability of Turkey Tail mushrooms to attract and
kill cancer cells. In addition, Turkey Tail is a potent immune
modulator, increasing the production of T helper cells, those cells
which direct the immune system. Today, cancer and immune system diseases
seem to affect everyone at some point in their lives, using Turkey Tail
not only helps to clean up mutated cells, but also repairs and
strengthens the immune system through building T helper cell numbers.
Turkey Tail has been the subject of 600 studies and 24 human clinical
Turkey Tail mycota are one of the most thoroughly researched and
respected of all the known medicinal mushrooms and fungi. Turkey Tail
are medically significant for many reasons but
they are most popularly known as being the natural source of the
anti-cancer polysaccharide PSK. PSK (polysaccharide K) is a high
molecular weight carbohydrate found in fruit and, in higher
concentrations, in the mycelium of Turkey Tail. Our RAW Forest Foods'
extract is a standardized extract, containing a potent 60%
One of the most common fungi to be found in the woods is Trametes versicolor,
the turkey tail fungus. The common name come from the banding pattern
on the fruiting bodies that resembles (in miniature, of course) the tail
of a strutting turkey. The colors of the bands can be quite variable,
depending on the genetics of the organism and its environment. Most of
the bands are dark to light brown in color, alternating with light
colored bands of white to tan, with still more bands of blue, orange,
maroon, and other. The can be strikingly beautiful, and are among the
most easily found fungi. The species has a widespread distribution,
having been found in nearly every state in the United states and in most
the Turkey Tail fungus was referred to as Yun zhi in China. The first
mention of Yun zhi was in the Bencao Gangmu (a.k.a. Compendium of
Materia Medica), written by Li Shizhen during the Ming Dynasty (1578
CE). The Bencao Gangmu states that Turkey Tail, Yun zhi, "are
beneficial to one's spirit and vital energy and strengthen one's tendon
Today, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Turkey
Tail is used to used to clear dampness, reduce phlegm, heal pulmonary
disorders, strengthen the physique, increase energy and benefit people
with chronic diseases (Yang &
Yong, 1989, Ying et al., 1987). Furthermore, Turkey Tail is employed by
TCM doctors as a useful treatment for infection and/or inflammation of
the upper respiratory, urinary and digestive tracts. Turkey Tail is also
regarded as curative to liver ailments (including hepatitis B and
chronic active hepatitis) and is used to treat general weakness of the
immune system (Ying et al., 1987).
Active Medicinal Constituents
largest US clinical trial on Turkey Tail was preformed by Bastyr
University, which confirmed the use of Turkey Tail mushrooms in the
treatment of several kinds of cancer, including cervical, breast, lung,
gastric, colon, sarcoma, carcinoma, esophageal. The same study confirmed
the use of Turkey Tail in cases of immunodeficiency, Hepatitis B and C,
Bastyr University isolated the following active medicinal constituents (compounds) in Turkey Tail.
(Coriolan, PSK): anti-tumor, antiviral, immunomodulating.
Polysaccharide K (PSK) is composed of 30% polysaccharide, 6% nitrogen,
and 15% protein.
- Ergosterol (pro-vitamin D2) derivatives: antitumor
- Polysaccharopeptide (PSP): antiviral
Forest Foods' Turkey Tail extract is a standardized extraction, with a
60% polysaccharide content, including the powerful PSK and PSP
polysaccharides, which are responsible for the healing actions of the
Turkey Tail fungus. The active medicinal constituents are identified as
being anti-tumor, anti-microbial, immunomodulating, anti-oxidant, and
Further Research Findings
The active polysaccharide PSK in Turkey Tail has documented anticancer activity in vitro (in human) clinical trials. Research
has also demonstrated that the PSK polysaccharide can reduce
radiation-induced, and spontaneously-induced cancer development. This is
of particular interest to healthy, "cancer-free" people, as the
environment is becoming more and more polluted with radiation (from
nuclear power leaks, smart meters, cell phones, et cetera) , mutagens,
and other cancer causing factors.
"The thermography shows the inflammation and
degeneration caused by cell phone radiation. Notice the white areas from
the ear down the throat to the lungs indicating degeneration and the
red areas indicating inflammation - all caused by cellular radiation."
has shown to be beneficial as an adjuvant in the treatment of gastric,
esophageal, colorectal, breast, and lung cancers. Human clinical trials
suggest PSK can reduce cancer recurrence when used as an adjuvant
therapy. Research has demonstrated the mushroom can inhibit certain
cell lines in vitro. Further in vitro studies have shown that a PSK in Turkey Tail can also inhibit cancer cell proliferation.
The United States’ top ranked cancer hospital MD Anderson
has reported that Turkey Tail is a “promising candidate for
chemo-prevention due to the multiple effects on the malignant process,
limited side effects and safety of daily oral doses for extended periods
of time. Turkey Tail is one of the mushrooms known in Eastern
traditions as the "mushroom of immortality" and a "medicine of kings."
known to boost the immune system, fight cancer, prevent heart disease,
calm the nervous system, and relieve allergies and inflammation.
- Chandler, Peter J. (2001), Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica, Leiden: Brill, pp. 1–278, ISBN 90-04-12023-8
- Oba K, Teramukai S, Kobayashi M, Matsui T, Kodera Y, Sakamoto J
(June 2007), “Efficacy of adjuvant immunochemotherapy with
polysaccharide K for patients with curative resections of gastric
cancer”, Cancer Immunol. Immunother. PMID 17106715.
- PMID 7606203
- Fisher, M; Yang, Lx (May 2002). “Anticancer effects and mechanisms
of polysaccharide-K (PSK): implications of cancer immunotherapy”. Anticancer research ISSN 0250-7005. PMID 12168863.
- Sugimachi K, Maehara Y, Ogawa M, Kakegawa T, Tomita M (4 August
1997), “Dose intensity for patients with poorly differentiated gastric
cancer”, Cancer Chemother Pharmacol (3): 233–8, doi:10.1007/s002800050652, PMID 9219507
- Hsieh TC, Wu JM (January 2001), “Cell growth and gene modulatory
activities of Yunzhi (Windsor Wunxi) from mushroom Trametes versicolor
in androgen-dependent and androgen-insensitive human prostate cancer
cells”, Int J Oncol 81–8 PMID
- Dong Y, Yang MM, Kwan CY (1 January 1997), “In vitro inhibition of
proliferation of HL-60 cells by trametes versicolor peptide PSK derived
from Chinese medicinal herbs”, Life Sci 60 (8): 135–40, doi:10.1016/S0024-3205(96)00695-9, PMID 9042394
- Yang MM, Chen Z, Kwok JS (1 January 1992), “The anti-tumor effect of a small polypeptide from trametes versicolor (SPCV)”, Am J Chin Med PMID 1471606
- Clark D, Adams M (2009), “A commercial nutraceutical mix Metabolic
Cell-Support (MC-S) inhibits proliferation of cancer cell lines in
vitro”, Austr. J. Med. Herbal. 39–43
- Best Hospitals: Cancer, U.S. News and World Report, 12 July 2009
- Complementary/Integrative Medicine Education Resources. MD Anderson Cancer Center. www.mdanderson.org.