If you spend time in the woods, most likely you have wandered past Turkey Tail, Trametes versicolor, a colorful fungus that grows on dead hardwood trees and is found almost everywhere trees grow and fall.
It grows so abundantly that it thrives around the world and is native throughout North America. Also known as Coriolus versicolor, Polyporus versicolor, Yun Zhi, and Kawaratake this mushroom is a “polypore” or bracket fungus which clasps around tree trunk like decorative shelves or fans.
This mushroom is emerging as a star among those interested in natural and herbal medicines. Like many mushrooms it is rich in beta-glucans known to enhance immune function by boosting natural killer cell and macrophage activity. As early as 1368, Turkey Tail was boiled and used by the Ming Dynasty for health improvement. Check the entire medicinal history of this mushroom here.
The commercial anti-cancer drug, Krestin, is manufactured from the protein bound “Polysaccharide K,” (PSK) of the CM-101 strain of Trametes. This drug, developed in Japan, is an approved cancer drug in Asia, and used widely in Japan for various types of cancer including breast and prostate. "PSP” is similar to PSK and is a polysaccharopeptide isolated from COV-1 strain of trametes developed in China. It has a strong antiviral effect against HIV (in vitro), induces gamma interferon and interleukin 2.
The natural killer cell-promoting activity of turkey tail additionally has an antiviral effect. Antiviral compounds are excreted by the mushroom which destroys human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis C virus (HEP-C). These viruses are known to cause cancer. Mycologist Paul Stamets encourages research on the mushroom-antiviral-cancer connection: "The current thinking amongst many researchers is that turkey tails and other medicinal mushrooms lessen the odds of getting cancer by reducing causal co-factors such as oncoviruses."
The drug Cimetidine (Tagamet), approved for use in GERD and peptic ulcers, has also been researched for it’s immunomodulatory activity against plantar warts in children. Thinking about that and about the known antiviral activity of Trametes against HPV, I have extrapolated the potential success of turkey tail as a treatment for plantar warts. One patient, a 9 year old girl, with an intractable case of warts on both feet had a complete resolution of the warts after using Host Defense Turkey Tail for one month.
Have you used turkey tail for a health condition? I’d love to hear your story!
Read a great book by Christopher Hobbs: Medicinal Mushrooms
Learn more about this and other medicinal plants and fungi on GingerJuice VIP. More than 20 archived videos are available on a wide variety of natural medicinal topics.
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