Turkey Tail Fungus – Trametes versicolor

Turkey Tail Fungus
Turkey Tail Fungus

This is the most common fungus found in North American woodlands, anywhere you can find fallen hardwood trees you should be able to find Turkey Tail. The common name came from the color banding which resembles the male turkey’s tail in full open position. This part that you see is the fruiting body or ‘bloom’, most of the fungus is below the surface of the bark.

Turkey Tail’s are extremely important in the decomposition of fallen wood in the forests. Without the turkey tail, decomposition would slow and green growing plants would have less space available to grow.

This is known as a medicinal fungus and is used in Europe due to the polysaccharide-K and polysaccharide peptides. These chemicals have been used in the treatment of cancer. Polysaccharide-K counteracts the effects of chemotherapy on the immune system. 40 clinical trials and 55 animal studies have been reported con this chemical, according to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. It also has antioxidant activity.

There is no report of toxicity from this fungus, but there are adverse reactions to its use. They are: diarrhea, darkened stools, and darkened nail pigmentation.

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