- Enhances immune system
- Rich source of antioxidants
- Natural source of approved anti-cancer drug PSK
- Powerful liver tonic/detox support
- Reduces phlegm/dampness
- Supports chi circulation
Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor) is one of the most well studied medicinal mushrooms in the world and is also one of the most versatile – being able to adapt to a wide spectrum of different ecosystems. It grows throughout the boreal forests of the far northern hemisphere, all the way down to very hot and humid tropical locations further south. No other fungi is so widespread and able to adapt to so many differing climates.
From the perspective of Chinese Herbal Medicine, Turkey Tail clears phlegm and excessive dampness and increases the vital life force. It is used as a general strengthener for the body, and as an effective treatment for people with chronic infections or diseases of the respiratory, urinary & digestive tract. In the east it is famed as a potent liver tonic and fortifier of the immune system.
Turkey Tail can modulate the immune system, is loaded with antioxidants and boasts powerful antiviral, antibacterial and anti-tumor properties. It is also one of the most effective natural substances for destroying harmful chemical toxins both in the human body and the natural environment.
It’s the high polysaccharide content of Turkey Tail that can provide us with such incredible immunological support. Once digested they are “consumed” by immune cells called macrophages, and then broken down and distributed throughout the front line of other immune cells like lymphocytes and natural killer cells. This creates a “host mediated response” within the individual – it will stimulate the immune response if necessary, whereas it can equally soothe and calm an overactive immune system if appropriate. Simply put, Turkey Tail is always working directly with our unique situation and trying to restore balance, so it never functions in exactly the same way from one person to the next because we are all different.
Turkey Tail is perhaps most famous for its extremely high PSK content – a protein bound polysaccharide that has been studied extensively and revealed to have a number of very important health benefits. Firstly it is a strong antibiotic towards pathogenic organismslike E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans amongst others, and is also a powerful antioxidant that has a major influence over the highly active antioxidant-enzyme superoxide dismutase, so it offers excellent support in protecting the integrity of our cells from free radical oxidative stress.
By far the most publicised aspect to PSK however, is the fact that it has been an approved anti-cancer drug for many years. “PSK reduces cancer metastasis and stimulates interleukin-1 production in human cells.” – Paul Stamets, from his book Mycelium Running.
It is also a very effective chemo-protective agent in the sense that even when a person is undergoing chemotherapy, Turkey Tail can support the destruction of malignant cells while shielding the healthy cells from the damaging effects of the treatment – another function that is attributed to PSK. So in this way Turkey Tail has become very well known for offering a natural, multifaceted healing approach to breast, lung & colon cancer, sarcoma, carcinoma and leukaemia.
Another polysaccharide compound known as PSP has actually shown very potent antiviral properties that have inhibited the replication of the HIV virus on in vitro studies. PSP is also another constituent that enhances the dual-directional capacity of the immune system.
There are an enormity of other health benefits to consider when consuming Turkey Tail, although it is perfectly safe and even very sensible to consume it regularly even when there is no emergence of disease. It is a biological response modifier and can support the healthy, balanced functioning of many levels of our being. Wild Turkey Tail is by far the most potent variety, and dual extractions (alcohol & hot water) provide the full spectrum of its beneficial nutrients and active constituents.
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