The History and Health Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushroom

What is Turkey Tail? 

Also known as Trametes versicolor, or Coriolus versicolor, Turkey Tail got its name from its striking colors and its fan shape resembling a turkey's tail.

The main benefit of Turkey Tail is the ability to positively impact the health of one's immune system, though it has a multitude of health benefits on long term health and is packed with nutrients. 

History of Turkey Tail 

Turkey tail mushrooms have been used to treat various diseases for hundreds of years in Asia, Europe, and by indigenous peoples in North America. Records of turkey tail brewed as medicinal tea date from the early 15th century, during the Ming Dynasty in China.

Our ancestors most likely explored their uses long before written history. Since the late 1960s, researchers in Japan have focused on how Turkey Tail benefits human health and how extracts of Turkey Tail can boost the immune system [1]. 

What does Turkey Tail do?

Immune System Health

Turkey Tail is best known for supporting the health of one's immune system. There are multiple factors that cause Turkey Tail to be so beneficial to strengthening the immune system.

Turkey Tail contains Krestin (PSK) and Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP). PSK stimulates dendritic cells that promote immunity to toxins and regulate the immune response. In addition, PSK activates specialized white blood cells called macrophages, which protect your body against certain bacteria [2].

This is essential as a strong immune system can not only protect your body from getting the cold or the flu, but it strengthens your body to protect from certain long-term diseases, or even life threatening issues. 

Anti-Cancer Properties 

Studies have shown that PSK and PSP are a strong duo that can inhibit the growth and spread of human colon cancer cells. They have the ability to naturally strengthen the immune system, thus making these polysaccharopeptides anticancer agents [4].

Apart from PSK and PSP, Turkey Tail contains another polysaccharopeptide called "Coriolus Versicolor Glucan" (CVG) which can suppress certain tumors. A study found that treatment of tumors with 100 and 200 mg per kg of body weight of CVG extracted from Turkey Tail mushrooms daily significantly reduced tumor size [5].

Turkey Tail has been shown to be great for suppressing tumor growth; however, whenever used in conjunction with chemotherapy in Japan and China, the results are drastic. Studies have shown that people with breast cancer, gastric cancer or colorectal cancer treated with Turkey Tail along with chemotherapy experienced a 9% reduction in 5-year mortality compared to chemotherapy alone [6].

Promotes Gut Health

Turkey Tail consists of prebiotics, which are a type of fiber that act as a food source for healthy bacteria in the gut. 

An 8-week study in 24 healthy people found that consuming 3,600 mg of PSP extracted from Turkey Tail mushrooms per day led to suppression of the growth of bad bacteria in the gut [7].

Turkey Tail also consists of protein-bound beta-glucan (PBG), which can also prevent obesity. A study has shown that this component can help balance certain bacteria in the gut, helping prevent subjects with a high fat diet from obesity [9].

Reduces Inflammation

Being packed with antioxidants, Turkey Tail can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to chronic diseases, such as diabetes and certain cancers [8]. The array of antioxidants that Turkey tail consists of is phenols and flavonoids* 

*Phenol and flavonoid antioxidants promote immune system health by reducing inflammation and stimulating the release of protective compounds [3].


Turkey Tail is a strong component when looking to have a strong immune system. Having a strong immune system is great for your health as it can prevent and treat more long-term and complex health issues. 

Although Turkey Tail's abilities to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation are what this unique mushroom is best known for, it also has some other great healing properties that should be recognized and praised. 



1. Stamet, P. (2012). Turkey Tail Mushrooms Help Immune System Fight Cancer. Retrieved 29 October 2021, from

2. Lu, H., Yang, Y., Gad, E., Inatsuka, C., Wenner, C., Disis, M., & Standish, L. (2011). TLR2 agonist PSK activates human NK cells and enhances the anti-tumor effect of HER2-targeted monoclonal antibody therapy. Retrieved 29 October 2021, from

3. Pérez-Cano, F., & Castell, M. (2021). Flavonoids, Inflammation and Immune System. Retrieved 29 October 2021, from

4. SATOH, Y., GOI, T., NAKAZAWA, T., KIMURA, Y., HIRONO, Y., KATAYAMA, K., & YAMAGUCHI, A. (2012). Polysaccharide K suppresses angiogenesis in colon cancer cells. Retrieved 29 October 2021, from

5. Awadasseid, A., Hou, J., Gamallat, Y., Xueqi, S., Eugene, K., & Hago, A. et al. (2017). Purification, characterization, and antitumor activity of a novel glucan from the fruiting bodies of Coriolus Versicolor. Retrieved 29 October 2021, from

7. Pallav, K., Dowd, S. E., Villafuerte, J., Yang, X., Kabbani, T., Hansen, J., Dennis, M., Leffler, D. A., Newburg, D. S., & Kelly, C. P. (2014). Effects of polysaccharopeptide from Trametes versicolor and amoxicillin on the gut microbiome of healthy volunteers: a randomized clinical trial. Gut microbes5(4), 458–467.

8. Arulselvan, P., Tangestani Fard, M., Sean Tan, W., Gothai, S., Fakurazi, S., Norhaizan, M., & Kumar, S. (2016). Role of Antioxidants and Natural Products in Inflammation. Retrieved 29 October 2021, from

9. Li, X., Chen, P., Zhang, P., Chang, Y., Cui, M., & Duan, J. (2019). Protein-Bound β-glucan from Coriolus Versicolor has Potential for Use Against Obesity. Retrieved 29 October 2021, from