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Medicinal mushrooms are specific types of fungus that are particularly valued for their healing properties, with each different variety being able to support your health and wellbeing in its own special way. If you’re interested in learning more about how medicinal mushrooms may be able to contribute to your overall health then keep reading as today we share information and scientific data on the healing properties of the turkey tail mushroom.
In this article, we’ll aim to answer all of your questions about this mushroom including;
- What are turkey tail mushrooms?
- What are turkey tail mushrooms benefits?
- What are turkey tail mushrooms side effects?
- What is the recommended dosage?
What are turkey tail mushrooms?
Turkey tail mushrooms are multi-colored fungi that grow on living and fallen hardwood trees in wooded areas similarly to the Lion’s Mane mushroom. As you can probably guess from their name, they grow in formations that (with a bit of imagination), are reminiscent of colorful turkey tails
If you’re wondering, “are turkey tail mushrooms edible?”, then you’ll probably be disappointed to find out that they’re actually quite chewy and tough, but you can still reap the benefits of this medicinal mushroom by taking turkey tail mushroom powder or extract in a capsule format.
Where do turkey tail mushrooms grow?
Turkey tail mushrooms can be found almost anywhere in the world that has deciduous hardwood trees. They’re very common throughout the U.S. and Canada and are actually one of the most common types of mushrooms that can be found growing in the wild in North America.
How to identify turkey tail mushrooms?
There are several mushrooms that look similar to turkey tail mushrooms, but if you look at the underside of turkey tail mushrooms, they have pores as opposed to gills.
What are turkey tail mushrooms benefits?
In traditional Chinese medicine, the turkey tail mushroom is used to boost energy and help treat respiratory conditions by strengthening the lungs, but they’re most well known for their immune boosting properties.
Scientists have been researching the potential medicinal benefits of turkey tail mushrooms for several decades and although human clinical research in some areas is lacking, preclinical evidence suggests that certain compounds within turkey tail could be beneficial to a number of human ailments.
Two compounds that are of particular interest are polysaccharopeptide (PSP) and polysaccharide-K (PSK).
Boost your immune system
Mushrooms contain polysaccharides, and one type in particular, beta glucans, have been shown to support the immune system and healthy cell growth. Further to this, turkey tail mushrooms contain two more polysaccharides that are also beneficial to our immune systems, PSP and PSK.
In the lab, PSP was shown to activate monocytes, a type of white blood cell that is responsible for fighting infection and boosting immunity.
In another study, PSK was shown to activate another group of white blood cells called macrophages, which are responsible for protecting your body against certain types of harmful bacteria.
The author of the Handbook of Biologically Active Peptides, published in 2013 by the Academic Press, also remarked that “Both [PSP and PSK] have been discovered with very strong immunological values and are commercially available as biologic response modifiers [substances that modify immune responses]. Other pharmacological activities of PSP and PSK include antitumor, antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory.”
Support digestion and overall gut health
Turkey tail mushroom also contains prebiotics (that’s right not probiotics), which can help support a healthy gut and digestive system by nourishing healthy bacteria.
In the lab, turkey tail extract was shown to increase levels of beneficial bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, while decreasing levels of harmful bacterias, like Staphylococcus and Clostridium.
Following this research, 3,600mg of PSP (extracted from turkey tail) was administered to 24 healthy volunteers, every day for eight weeks in a randomized clinical trial.
Results showed that supplementing PSP led to many beneficial changes in gut bacteria, including the suppression of potentially harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Shigella.
The bacteria in your gut also directly interacts with your immune cells, so maintaining healthy levels of gut bacteria can also help protect your body against disease and support your immune system.
Turkey tail mushrooms are also packed with antioxidants, including phenols and flavonoids, which can help protect your body from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can lead to cellular damage and chronic inflammation, increasing the risk of certain diseases, including heart disease and certain cancers.
Phenol and flavonoid antioxidants have been shown to reduce inflammation and trigger the release of protective compounds, which can also boost your immune response.
What are turkey tail mushrooms side effects?
Turkey tail mushroom has few adverse effects and is generally considered to be safe for human consumption. Side effects such as gas, bloating, dark stools, heartburn, and constipation have been reported in some cases.
Also, when taken alongside chemotherapy (for its strong antioxidant properties), nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite can also occur. However, these side effects are common during chemotherapy treatment, so it’s unlikely that turkey tail extract was the cause.
Even though turkey tail mushroom has a good safety profile, you should speak to your physician before supplementing your diet with anything new, especially if you are on medication of any kind.
Turkey tail mushroom dosage
The correct dose for a turkey tail supplement will largely depend on your current health status and needs. However, as a general guideline, between 1,000mg and 3,000mg (1 to 3 grams) per day will allow you to access the antioxidant properties of turkey tail, help boost your immune system and aid in healthy digestion.
At Green Unicorn Farms we sell all kinds of mushroom supplements so reach out to ask us if you have any questions.
Risk of heart disease
Lion’s mane may benefit the heart and blood vessels in a variety of ways. There haven’t been any human studies in this area yet, but preclinical evidence is compelling.
In one study, the hericenone B contained within lion’s mane was shown to slow down blood clotting, meaning it has the potential to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Other studies on mice and rats have shown that lion’s mane can effectively improve fat metabolism and lower triglyceride levels, both of which could help mitigate the risk of heart disease.
Inflammation and boost immune system
Lion’s mane also possesses powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which could reduce the impact of multiple diseases and conditions, from heart disease to inflammatory bowel disease.
In one animal study, lion’s mane helped suppress inflammation and reduce oxidative stress in mice with acute intestinal inflammation. In another, lion’s mane extract effectively reduced liver damage caused by acute alcohol exposure.