Turkey Tail, or Trametes versicolor, is the source of Polysaccharide K – or PSK for short – and is probably the most widely studied medicinal mushroom in the world.
Turkey Tail has already been used in many commercial anti-cancer medicines, in particular in “Krestin”, an approved anti-cancer drug in Asia and has already proven to be very beneficial in treating breast cancer . PSK reduces cancer metastasis (cancer spreading to other parts of the body) and also stimulates interleukin-1 production in human cells (part of the body’s natural defense mechanism against cancerous cells).
PSK is also a very effective scavenger of free-radical oxidizing compounds through its production of manganese superoxide dismutase (a super anti-oxidant).
Turkey Tail also contains PSP – polysaccharopeptide – that has possible use as an antiviral agent against HIV and also increases the production of interferon, interleukin-2 and T-cells – all part of the body’s immune defenses. Polysaccharopeptides also have immunomodulating properties (adjusting the immune system either up or down in order to balance it according to its needs).
Research is underway, but it is looking very hopeful that PSP is extremely effective in destroying prostate cancer stem cells .
PSK has also been found to be effective against E coli and Staph infections as well as against the Candida albicans fungus.
Turkey Tail is also beneficial for infections and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract; infections and irritations of the digestive tract, infections of the urinary tract, lung diseases, chronic congestion and general lack of energy/not feeling well.
Turkey Tail is easy to identify in the wild and is one of the most prolific mushrooms on the planet. Turkey Tail varies in colour on top of the mushroom but is uniformly white underneath. They grow in clusters on decaying trees and, in our experience at least, seem to prefer branches rather than trunks of trees.
Oh yes, and the monkeys at our place LOVE them! And we could do far worse than to “eat like a monkey”! 🙂