What you need to know: Despite what their name might infer, this food is not in fact animal-based, but rather a member of the fungi family. Turkey tails are a mushroom, one that has profound medicinal value. One of its main benefits is strengthening the immune system, through boosting the functioning of T cells. They are utilized to improve the quality of life by reducing susceptibility to viruses, bacteria and other infectious agents. In addition, numerous studies show promise in their ability to rebuild the immune system in people with a wide range of cancers.
Why you should try it: Turkey Tails, also called Coriolus versicolor, contain high levels of a unique compound called Polysaccharide-K. This compound is a protein-bound polysaccharide, which has begun to be used as an anticancer agent. Research indicates that when taken together with mainstream cancer therapies, it significantly lengthens the patient’s lifespan by as much as double. Evidence shows that Turkey Tails are particularly useful in those dealing with gastric, esophageal, colorectal, breast and lung cancers. The research is so promising, trials have even been approved by the FDA.
Let’s get together: This colorful mushroom is best consumed either in a home brewed tea, or as a powder. But since we have yet come across the opportunity for a foraging outing leading us to a fruitful brewing session, we are sticking with the powdered version. We are using Turkey Tails powder by Mushroom Matrix. Surprisingly it has a very neutral taste, making it an easy addition to our morning Hot Chocolate Smoothie.
The taxonomy and the scientific binomial names to assigned to mushrooms are everchanging works in progress as we gain understanding of the genetics of fungi. Coriolus versicolor is one of the older names assigned to this species, the new name for this species is now Trametes versicolor.