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Turkey Tail

Can Turkey Tail Fight Cancer?

Turkey tail is one of a variety of mushrooms that have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries in Asia.

Also known as Trametes versicolor or Coriolus versicolor, it got its nickname because its vivid color patterns that appear similar to that of, yes, a turkey’s tail.

And while turkey tail mushrooms are purported to have numerous health benefits, one that particularly stands out is its reputation for boosting the immune system to fight off cancer.

Over the centuries, people in Asia have turned to more than 100Trusted Source different kinds of mushrooms in an effort to thwart cancer. And some evidence suggests that turkey tail mushrooms may have anticancer properties.

What are the potential health benefits of turkey tail mushrooms?

You might spot one of these colorful mushrooms, which can resemble a series of discs, growing out of the side of a hardwood tree. They’re very common in the United States, and they’re pretty hardy, too.

Why do these multicolored mushrooms seem to hold so much promise? Turkey tail mushroom enthusiasts note that these mushrooms have numerous properties that benefit your immune system.


For example, turkey tail mushrooms are high in antioxidantsTrusted Source like phenols. Antioxidants reduce or inhibit cellular damage caused by oxidative stress, a condition caused by an imbalance between antioxidants and reactive molecules called free radical molecules.

And turkey tails don’t just have high levels of antioxidants — they seem to have numerous different kinds. In fact, one 2017 studyTrusted Source found that turkey tail mushrooms have 35 different phenolic compounds.


They also contain polysaccharopeptides, including krestin (PSK) and polysaccharide peptide (PSP), which may help boost your body’s immune system. As you’ll see, that’s one reason so many people are interested in this mushroom’s potential role in fighting cancer.

Researchers continue to examine the potential of using extract or treatments derived from these mushrooms to prevent or treat several kinds of cancer. Read more:

Anand Vaid

Sempera Organics' staff writer seeks out all the latest mushroom news to keep you informed and up-to-date.