Turkey tail – cancer fighting mushroom

Medicinal mushroom called Turkey tail?

Never heard of it!

As opposed to our previous star, Lion’s mane mushroom, that got quite known in the recent period, Turkey tail is still running pretty low in the public’s eye.

But you know what?

I would bet majority of you actually saw it with your own eyes already. On more than one occasion.

How could that be?

Turkey tail is one of the most common mushrooms in the forests all around the world. To this contributes the fact that they grow on practically any type of wood.


So, supposedly cancer fighting mushroom, growing in my local forest, and I know nothing about it?

Let me change that…


  • Latin name: Trametes versicolor, Coriolus versicolor, Polyporus versicolo.
  • Japanese name: Kawaratake, meaning mushroom by the riverbank
  • Chinese name: Yun Zhi, meaning cloud fungus
  • Not poisonous (otherwise why write about them, Katja!?)
  • Typically, not consumed raw – too chewy and very hard to digest
  • Drying them and turning them into a powder is the way to get the best out of them
  • You will spot them on old, rotting logs – because they are saprotrophs – they feed on rotting matter of other living things

You see those brown and tan rings? Don’t they look like the tail feathers of a turkey?

This is how Turkey tail got its name.

  • It is part of a traditional medicine in Asia for centuries. Chinese are using it as a preventive and curative agent for liver infections and liver cancer. Japanese consider it as a remedy for a variety of cancers.


Helps fighting common cold and flu

With flu season approaching Northern Hemisphere, my fellow Northerners will be happy to find out that Turkey tail is known to help to prevent and threat common cold and flu.

It does so by helping our immune system to fight off ill-causing germs.

I would recommend you to add Turkey tail supplement into your daily health routine for runny nose and other inconveniences that come with it to stay away from you.

Gut’s friend

What is one of the most popular health related topics on social media these days?

Prebiotics, yes.

Why should you care about them?

Because they are keeping your gut happy by stimulating the growth of healthy bacteria.

As a result, you will experience better digestion process, enhanced absorption of key nutrients, and at the same time enhanced toxins elimination.

This is especially beneficial for persons suffering from leaky gut syndrome (which may lead to Chrohn’s disease).

At the same time, it’s suppressing the growth of nasty bacteria called E. coli and Shigella. You want to stay away from those two.

Watches over your weight

Cold and flu are not our only concerns around this time of the year.

All those ”just one more cookie” moments in the holiday season usually leave a ”goodbye present” on our bodies.

Luckily you have an ally this year.

The same prebiotics that are helping your gut, are consequently helping you control your weight too.

As a result of a better digestion it will be easier for you to lose that cookie weight.

Acting against HPV and herpes

Mycelium of Turkey tail possesses strong antiviral compounds.

These compounds are great in fight against Human papillomavirus (HPV) and herpes simplex virus (infection that causes herpes).

Since reportedly two-thirds of the world population has herpes, this information will come in handy for many.

Cancer fighting soldier

I know you’ve been all waiting for me to tell you why Turkey tail is considered cancer fighting mushroom. I didn’t want for you to miss out other valuable benefits, so I intentionally left the most intriguing one for the end.

It is being used in Japan and China for decades as addition to conventional cancer treatments for:

  • breast
  • lung
  • gastric


  • colon cancer.

The reason behind are polysaccharopeptides.

Polysaccharopeptides are protein-bound polysaccharides, meaning they are carbohydrates.

Krestin is a type of polysaccharopeptide that is being extracted from Turkey tail (PSK for short).

PSK was supposedly discovered by a Japanese engineer. He observed his neighbor’s life-threatening cancer going into remission after taking Turkey tail.

In 1977, PSK extract was approved as a prescription drug for the treatment of cancer in Japan. As such it became first mushroom derived medicine that has been officially approved for use.

So how may PSK help fighting cancer?

  • It improves survival by enhancing chemotherapy and radiotherapy effect on cancer cells
  • While doing so, it also protects normal cells – it reduces effects of radiation
  • It enhances immune system by increasing immune cell count – better immune system results in coping with chemotherapy treatments better
  • It helps against nausea

Many studies have been conducted on how Turkey tail positively affects certain cancers. I won’t go into details, because I do not possess medical or scientific knowledge to transmit their results in the confident manner.

How is PSK taken?

It can be prepared as a tea or consumed in capsule form. It can be also taken in the form of tincture.

Food and Drug Administration in the United States of America already approved several clinical trials of Turkey tail being used in combination with chemotherapy for different cancers, so we can expect more scientific data confirming or rejecting benefits.

To sum up


Additional researches are being done while you’re reading this, and as always, information provided in my posts is of a general nature only and isn’t meant to replace the advice of your doctor.

My aim behind every piece of information I provide is for you to live with open eyes and start looking for answers and solutions also on your own, as I did.

This never means you should not seek advice of your doctor.

It means not to stop there. Stay curious.

Remember when you were a child, and had a why question ready to blab out for every answer you got?

Awake that child in you again!

I’ll be here, waiting for you to tell me where it took you.

If you have any question or feedback, please leave it in the space provided below.

I will be more than happy to answer best to my knowledge and would enjoy hearing from you.

With love,


About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *