4 Health Boosting Benefits of Turkey Tail

benefits of turkey tail mushroom

If you’ve walked through the forest and noticed clusters of cloud-shaped, colourful fungi growing from the surfaces of decaying wood – chances are, you’ve crossed paths with Turkey Tail mushroom.

Not only are they impressive to look at, but there are some pretty phenomenal benefits of Turkey tail you might not know about.

This functional mushrooms has used for thousands of years by various cultures, and today’s research shows these long praised benefits of turkey tail mushroom to be true.

From being able to strengthen the body’s natural defences, improve gut health and offer a diverse range of active compounds and nutrients unique to this fungi – the benefits of turkey tail mushrooms are incredible.

For something that grows on dead wood to somehow offer these life-changing effects really goes to show just how magical and marvellous nature is!

What is Turkey Tail?

Turkey Tail is a flat fan-shaped fungus that has a pattern of multi-shaded colours forming circular rings from the centre. It gained its name due to its array of patterns resembling the feathered formations of a turkey’s tail – in case you hadn’t guessed.

There’s a variety of colours the mushrooms can take form in, such as red, orange, brown, green, and even blue, and they grow together in clusters and are sometimes arranged like shelves along a tree.

They belong to the Polyporaceae family, which just means they have pores on their back rather than the gills found on something like a portobello mushroom.

Its scientific name is Trametes Versicolour, which translates into ‘thin one’ and ‘many colours’. They’re known as ‘Kawaratake’ in Japan, which means ‘mushroom by the riverbank’. It also has its name in China, ‘Yun Zhi’- meaning ‘cloud fungus’. All of these names describe the appearance of this unique looking mushroom.

History of Turkey Tail

While the mushroom has been popular in eastern countries around the world for thousands of years, it’s only recently it’s been put through rigorous scientific testing. Its remarkable results have rippled into the public domain, making it an incredibly popular mushroom.

Due to these promising results and popularity, the mushroom has become a hot topic in science and one of the most studied functional mushrooms in the world. You only have to google ‘turkey tail’ to uncover plenty of interesting research out there!

Now days, the benefits of turkey tail have become more widely known, especially for those looking to support their body’s natural defences when they need to most. It has also been recommended as an excellent super food to take to boost gut health, which most of us could improve!

4 Incredible Benefits of Turkey Tail

1. Strengthens your natural defences

Several studies have confirmed the benefits of turkey tail mushroom’s immune-boosting properties.

This is primarily due to the various polysaccharide fibres such as beta-glucans, PSP, and PSK. Think of beta-glucans as the personal trainer that gets your security team of defence cells muscled up and masters of martial arts to take down those invaders.

PSP and PSK are also incredibly powerful polysaccharides that have their own unique properties.

If you’d like to learn more about how turkey tail can help support your body’s natural defences, we encourage you to watch, listen or read up on some of the ‘king of mycology’ Paul Stamets research. (Link to recent podcast)

2. Supercharges gut health

Our gut contains an entire world of microorganisms, which research has increasingly shown are communicating to our whole body, including our brain, hormones and natural defences.

This makes the state of our gut health critical for overall wellbeing and health.

Research on turkey tail mushrooms shows that it supports our gut health with the help of the same polysaccharide fibres mentioned above.

Beta-glucans and PSP being indigestible fibres mean that our body doesn’t have the digestive enzymes needed to break them down when we ingest them. However, while they may not be digested as food for us personally, they can in fact function as food for our gut bacteria.

We call these foods that feed our bacteria prebiotics. These prebiotics play a significant role in developing the diversity of our gut bacteria.

This also encourages improved digestion and nutrient absorbtion.

The mycelium ‘roots’ that are included in all our mushroom blends offer additional gut boosting benefits too.

3. Protects the body from free radicals

Turkey Tail Mushrooms are great for protecting your very cells from being damaged because of their high content of antioxidants.

To break it down for you, antioxidants remove a toxic chemical in the body called free radicals. These are the harmful byproducts produced by the body during natural processes of metabolism, digestion, and other bodily functions.

If too much build-up of free radicals accumulates, this can result in cells becoming damaged and ultimately lead to much more severe health conditions, diseases, and accelerated aging.

4. Offers adaptogenic properties

Functional mushrooms like Turkey Tail also have adaptogenic properties. Adaptogens are herbs or substances that help the body adapt to various stressors.

Natural compounds in mushrooms can also enhance overall well-being, boost energy levels, and promote mental clarity.

Why is the Turkey Tail mycelium so important?

Whilst the fruiting body of Turkey Tail contains many important compounds that support the body’s defences, research supports that the Turkey Tail mycelium contains beneficial active compounds not found in the fruiting body – that’s why we combine both to give you a full spectrum Turkey Tail product.

As the great mycologist Paul Stamets once said, “In my scientific opinion, mushroom products not incorporating mycelium are at a decided disadvantage, given the results of recent research.”

What to look for when choosing Turkey Tail

If you’re wondering how best to experience the benefits of turkey tail, there are a few things to consider.

The first is to choose a whole food over an extract. Like any food, isolating specific compounds means your body isn’t able to experience its full range of benefits. Plus, most extracts are made from cheap overseas mushrooms.

Given that the mushrooms can be exposed to heavy metals and microorganisms, it’s important to grow them in areas free from pollution and use clean water.

At Forest Superfoods, our Turkey Tail mushroom is organic and grown in the pristinely clean outback of Victoria, Australia.

We also freeze-dry our mushrooms to ensure the most nutrient-dense product possible, so you get the maximum benefit from this mushroom. This method has been found to be almost nutritionally equivalent to consuming the mushrooms fresh from the forest.

Other companies spray dry their product as it’s cheaper.

Another thing to make sure of is that the mushroom’s mycelium is included, which includes additional beneficial compounds for boosting your body’s defences. 

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