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What is Turkey Tail Mushroom?

Turkey Tail Mushroom grows throughout the world (practically wherever trees can be found) on dead trees, logs, branches, and stumps. Turkey tail mushrooms are called bracket fungi because they form thin,  leaf-like structures in concentric circles. They have tiny pores, which emit spores, placing them in the polypore family.




Turkey tail mushrooms growing on a log in the old growth forest.


They are commonly called “turkey tail” because their various colors: brown, orange, maroon, blue and green — reminiscent of the plume of feathers in turkeys. In China, their common name is yun zhi. In Japan, this mushroom is known as kawaritake or “cloud mushrooms,” invoking an image of swirling clouds overhead. In many Asian cultures, turkey tails’ incurving cloud forms symbolize longevity and health, spiritual attunement and infinity.

What does the Turkey Tail Mushroom do to the Immune System?

Turkey tail is renowned in Asia as a source for cancer therapy. Turkey Tails promotes Natural Killer Cells that are pillars of the cell mediated immune response. The Japanese company Kureha first screened many polypore mushrooms and found that turkey tails produced a profound immune response, a discovery confirmed by many other subsequent studies. The Kureha researchers received a patent for extracting both the mycelium and mushrooms in 1976 and derivative U.S. patents through 1981 (long since expired). The extraction method led to marketing “PSK” (polysaccharide Krestin®) and later “PSP,” both protein-bound polysaccharides.

What products are available in the U.S.?

While the fractionated “drug” version of turkey tail, known as PSK, is not legal to sell in the U.S., the pure turkey tail product used in the U.S. NIH breast cancer clinical study is widely available from Fungi Perfecti (www.fungi.com) under the label “Host Defense.” Since this turkey tail mycelium is presented in its unaltered form, it qualifies as a FDA approved “nutraceutical” ingredient. Incuvationlabs also produces Turkeytail Supplment under the name of Turkey Tail Defense.



Turkey Tail, Trametes versicolor, is so named for its wide variety of colors

What should you look for when buying a turkey tail product?

Turkey tail mushrooms, like other varieties, can hyper-accumulate heavy metals, especially from air and soil pollution. Analyses of mushroom products from Asia, particularly Mainland China, have shown abnormally high levels of cadmium and other immuno-compromising metals — not a good thing for people who want to bolster their immune defenses. This is one reason why it is important to make sure that the ingredients are imported from  certified organic mushrooms and mushroom products.



Disclaimer : Turkey Tail Mushroom is a dietary supplement and, as the name implies, is a supplement to health products and traditional medicine. It is not meant to replace traditional treatment and medications prescribed by your doctor. OUR PRODUCT (DEFENSE BOOSTER)  IS PRODUCED AND DOSED TO SERVE AS AN IMMUNE BOOSTER AND NOT TO TREAT CANCER.