Turkey tail benefits for your health

Fanning out in delicate wings, the Turkey Tail mushroom has a beautiful multi-toned cap which is more than worthy of its name. It’s also one of the best known medicinal mushrooms, alongside reishi, cordyceps and lion’s mane. Adherents of Traditional Chinese Medicine have been using it for over 2,000 years, and closely associate it with replenishing your Qi, or life essence. But what is the scientific evidence for turkey tail benefits?

What is turkey tail mushroom?

Turkey tail is a fungus. Jutting out from deadwood or living trees like little shelves, turkey tail mushrooms boast beautiful brown, orange and white bands on their ‘conk’, or upper part. They fan out above the forest floor, looking truly like the tail feathers of a proud bird.

The six pernicious influences

Traditional Chinese medical theory attributes illness to a few different factors. Some are internal, such as the ‘seven emotions’ of joy, anger, anxiety, brooding, sorrow, fear and fright. However, some diseases are caused by external factors.

Turkey tail may help boost your immune system

Given that turkey tail has been traditionally used to treat people who are feeling generally under the weather, it’s not a surprise that it has been linked with boosting immunity. (For a quick recap of how your immune system works, and the different types of cells involved in protecting you from germs, head to our article about staying healthy in winter before reading on.)

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It may promote good gut health

As we know, immunity and gut health go together like peas in a pod. So, it makes sense that turkey tail’s benefits for your immune system may also extend to your digestive system.

Feeding your gut bacteria

These ‘good’ bacteria need food to keep them alive and functioning. This is just one reason why eating a varied diet full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains — the preferred diet of your ‘good bacteria’ — is so important to your gut health and overall wellbeing.

“Turkey tail mushrooms fan out above the forest floor, looking truly like the tail feathers of a proud bird.”

Turkey tail is high in beta-glucans

On the topic of digestion, turkey tail also contains a large proportion of another type of very useful dietary fibre: beta-glucans (β-glucans).

It contains antioxidants

Like its fellow medicinal mushrooms reishi and lion’s mane, turkey tail mushroom is full of antioxidants.

It may help with pain relief

If it didn’t already have an impressive enough list of health properties, there’s also evidence that turkey tail benefits patients suffering with chronic pain.

How to take turkey tail

As mentioned above, turkey tail is, unfortunately, not blessed with a soft and easily-digestible texture.

Ask about cultivation

When looking into any medicinal mushroom, make sure you ask questions about the producer’s cultivation methods.

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