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turkey tail mushrooms

Turkey Tail  (Trametes versicolor)

Primary benefits: Super-charges the ­immune system to fight cancer, viruses, and other pathogens.

An unassuming mushroom that grows on dead logs and tree trunks worldwide, turkey tail looks almost like the bird’s plumage; it has fan-like growths with concentric brown and gray stripes. It may also be the best-studied and most powerful medicinal mushroom.

turkey tail mushrooms

Extraordinarily rich in beta-glucans, turkey tail also supports the immune system by acceler­ating the body’s production of cytokines and ­natural killer cells. In Japan, a product made from turkey tail (called polysaccharide K, or PSK for short) has been used alongside chemotherapy to treat cancer for decades. PSK is now covered by Japan’s national health insurance and has been estimated to account for 25 percent of the total cost of treating cancer in that country.

Integrative nutritionist Janet Zarowitz, MS, RD, CDN, uses turkey tail mushrooms for her patients during and after cancer treatment. (Explore 14 culinary spices that contain cancer-fighting properties.)

How to Use Turkey Tail:

Turkey tail’s high beta-glucan content makes it extremely dense and chewy, so it is not a culinary mushroom. Hobbs recommends 1 to 3 grams of heat-treated and powdered turkey tail daily for general health support. A therapeutic dose is 5 to 6 grams a day.

More on Mushrooms!

Fungi have been used as medicine for thousands of years. Discover five more varieties and their many health benefits at “The Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms,” from which this article was excerpted.

Catherine Guthrie

Catherine Guthrie is an Experience Life contributing editor.

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