Turkey Tail Mushroom: Benefits, Uses, And History

Turkey Tail Mushroom: Benefits, Uses, And History

Turkey tail mushroom is a unique and widely studied fungus that holds significant importance in traditional medicine and modern research. It possesses a striking appearance with its colorful and layered fan-shaped caps resembling the tail feathers of a turkey, hence its name. But beyond its aesthetic appeal, this powerful mushroom has gained recognition for its potential health benefits and medicinal properties. 

Keep reading to learn more about turkey tail mushroom - what it is, how it works, why it's important, its incredible benefits, potential downsides, and more! Discover the benefits of functional mushrooms for yourself with our organic Functional Mushroom Gummies!

The Definition: Turkey tail mushroom is a colorful, fan-like fungus that grows all around the world and is renowned for its potential medicinal benefits. 

The Process: Turkey tail mushrooms are dried out and ground down in order to create supplements. Turkey tail mushrooms are also used in their raw form and can be found at specialty food stores. 

How To Take: Turkey tail is an extremely flexible fungus, and it’s able to be enjoyed in the form of a supplement, brewed as a tea, or even incorporated into your favorite dishes. 

History: While there’s a debate regarding when turkey tail mushrooms were first discovered and used, turkey tail has been a staple in traditional Chinese medicine and Japanese medicine for centuries. 

The Breakdown: What Is Turkey Tail Mushroom?

Turkey tail mushroom, scientifically known as trametes versicolor, is a type of medicinal mushroom that belongs to the Polyporaceae family. It is commonly found in forests around the world and has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and other ancient healing practices. This mushroom is packed with antioxidants and other health-boosting compounds that have been studied for their potential benefits on the immune system.


How Does It Work?

The power of turkey tail lies in its rich composition of bioactive compounds, including phenols, flavonoids, polysaccharide peptide (PSP), and polysaccharide krestin (PSK).1 These compounds work synergistically to support the body's immune system, helping to maintain overall well-being. 


What Is Turkey Tail Mushroom?

What Are The Benefits Of Turkey Tail Mushroom?

Turkey tail mushroom offers several health benefits due to its rich composition of nutrients and bioactive compounds. Some of the notable benefits include:  

  • Immune System Support: Turkey tail mushrooms contain two important compounds, polysaccharide-K (PSK) and polysaccharide peptide (PSP). These compounds are powerful immunomodulators that stimulate and balance the immune system to help the body fight infections.
  • Antioxidant Properties: The phenols and flavonoids present in turkey tail mushrooms exhibit strong antioxidant properties. These compounds help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, protecting cells and tissues from oxidative stress. 
  • Gut Health Promotion: Turkey tail mushroom contains prebiotics, which helps nourish and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. These bacteria are crucial in maintaining a healthy digestive system and improving gut health. 
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Generally, mushrooms (turkey tail included) have special compounds called beta-glucans. Research has found these compounds to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation in the body.

What Is The History Of Turkey Tail Mushroom?

Turkey tail mushroom has a rich history deeply rooted in traditional medicine practices. Indigenous cultures across the globe, particularly in Asia, have been utilizing this mushroom for centuries due to its potential health benefits. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is known as Yunzhi, while in Japan, it is called Kawaratake. The historical use of turkey tail as a medicinal mushroom underscores its enduring reputation as a potent immune booster and overall wellness enhancer.

What Is The Current Environment Of Turkey Tail Mushroom? 

The current environment surrounding turkey tail mushrooms is characterized by a growing interest and recognition of their potential health benefits. In recent years, there has been an uptick in scientific research focusing on the medicinal properties of turkey tail mushrooms, particularly their immunomodulatory properties. As a result, turkey tail mushrooms have gained popularity as a natural supplement and are now widely available in various forms, such as capsules, extracts, and teas, in health food stores and online markets. Additionally, the cultivation of turkey tail mushrooms has become more widespread, allowing for increased accessibility and affordability. 

What Does The Future Hold For Turkey Tail Mushroom?

The future of turkey tail mushroom looks promising as more research continues to uncover its potential health benefits. With the growing interest in natural and holistic approaches to wellness, the demand for turkey tail mushroom products is likely to increase. As scientific studies delve deeper into its properties, we can expect a better understanding of its mechanisms of action and potential applications in various health conditions.

FOCL FAQs: Turkey Tail Mushroom

Is it safe to take turkey tail mushrooms every day?

There's limited scientific research available on the long-term effects and safety of consuming turkey tail mushrooms daily. However, it's important to note that turkey tail mushrooms are generally considered safe for consumption and have a long history of traditional use in various cultures. But as with any dietary supplement, it is always advisable to exercise caution and consume them in moderation.

Does turkey tail make you sleepy?

There is no scientific evidence linking turkey tail mushrooms to sleep enhancement. However, everyone's body may respond differently to substances, and individual experiences may vary. If you have specific concerns about sleep or experience any unusual effects, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

Is turkey tail good for kidneys?

While turkey tail mushrooms have been traditionally used in certain cultures for their potential health benefits, including immune support, there is not enough evidence to make a definitive claim about their effects on kidney health. However, they may indirectly benefit kidney health by supporting overall immune function.

What are the uses of turkey tail mushroom?

The uses of turkey tail mushrooms are diverse and can vary depending on cultural practices and traditional medicine. Here are some common uses of turkey tail mushrooms: 

  • Dietary Supplements: Turkey tail mushrooms are often used in the form of dietary supplements. They are available in various forms, such as capsules, powders, and extracts. These supplements are typically consumed to support overall health and well-being. 
  • Teas And Infusions: Teas and infusions made from turkey tail mushrooms are another popular way of utilizing their benefits. By steeping the dried mushrooms in hot water, the bioactive compounds and nutrients are extracted, creating a flavorful and health-promoting beverage. 
  • Culinary Applications: For centuries, turkey tail mushrooms have also been used in various culinary applications. They are commonly used in soups, stews, and stir-fries, adding a unique flavor and texture to dishes.

Are there any downsides to turkey tail mushroom?

Turkey tail mushrooms are considered safe and well tolerated for most people when consumed in moderate amounts. However, it's important to note that some individuals may be allergic or sensitive to mushrooms, including turkey tail. Additionally, some people may experience mild side effects, including diarrhea, bloating, dark fingernails, and vomiting.4

What are alternatives to the turkey tail mushroom?

If you're searching for alternatives to turkey tail, here are a few other medicinal mushrooms with similar potential benefits: 

  • Reishi mushroom 
  • Chaga mushroom
  • Lion's mane mushroom
  • Cordyceps 

Can pregnant or breastfeeding women consume turkey tail mushrooms?

There's limited research on the effects of turkey tail mushrooms consumption in pregnant or breastfeeding women. Therefore, it is recommended that pregnant or breastfeeding women exercise caution and consult their healthcare provider before incorporating turkey tail mushrooms into their diet.

Can I find turkey tail mushroom in the wild and consume it?

Unless you are an experienced forager with expert knowledge of wild mushrooms, it's not advisable to consume turkey tail mushrooms found in the wild. Identifying edible mushrooms can be challenging, and there is a risk of mistakenly picking poisonous varieties. It is safer to purchase turkey tail mushrooms from reputable sources or consult a knowledgeable mushroom expert to ensure you are consuming a safe and properly identified species.

Can I take turkey tail mushroom with other medications?

Several studies have shown that turkey tail may interact with certain medications, including diabetes medications, blood thinners, and cyclophosphamides.5 Therefore, it's important to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating turkey tail into your regimen if you are currently taking any medications.

How long does it take to experience the benefits of turkey tail mushroom?

The time it takes to experience the benefits of turkey tail may vary depending on factors such as individual health, dosage, and consistency of use. However, it generally takes several days to a few weeks of consistent use before noticeable benefits are observed.

Can children consume turkey tail mushroom?

While turkey tail mushroom is generally considered safe for adults, its safety for children has not been extensively studied. Therefore, it's recommended to consult a pediatrician before giving children turkey tail mushrooms or any dietary supplements.

Can I take turkey tail mushroom if I have an autoimmune condition?

While turkey tail mushroom has been studied for its potential immune-boosting effects, individuals with autoimmune conditions have immune systems that are already dysregulated. Taking immune-boosting supplements like turkey tail mushroom may potentially exacerbate symptoms or interfere with medications used to manage the autoimmune condition. Therefore, it is crucial to seek professional medical advice before incorporating turkey tail mushroom into your routine if you have an autoimmune condition.

Is it safe to consume turkey tail mushroom if I have a mushroom allergy?

Individuals with known mushroom allergies should exercise caution when considering turkey tail or any mushroom-derived products. Allergic reactions can vary in severity, so it is best to consult a healthcare professional to determine if it's safe for you to consume turkey tail mushroom.

Can turkey tail mushroom help with digestive issues?

While turkey tail mushroom is not specifically targeted for digestive issues, it's known to contain prebiotic fibers that may support a healthy gut microbiome. A balanced gut microbiome is important for overall digestive health. 

Can I consume alcohol while taking turkey tail mushroom?

There's limited research on the specific interaction between turkey tail mushroom and alcohol. However, it's generally advisable to exercise caution and avoid consuming alcohol while taking any herbal or dietary supplements, including turkey tail. Alcohol can have various effects on the body and may interact with the compounds present in the mushroom, potentially affecting its efficacy or causing undesired side effects.

Can you take turkey tail mushroom on an empty stomach?

While there are no specific restrictions on taking turkey tail on an empty stomach, it is generally recommended to consume it with food. Taking it with a meal can help enhance its absorption and minimize the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort, as some individuals may experience digestive issues when consuming mushrooms or dietary supplements on an empty stomach.


  1. Rokos, T., Pribulova, T., Kozubik, E., Biringer, K., Holubekova, V., & Kudela, E. (2023, January 16). Exploring the bioactive mycocompounds (fungal compounds) of selected medicinal mushrooms and their potentials against HPV infection and associated cancer in humans. Life (Basel, Switzerland). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9861011/#:~:text=Turkey%20tail%20PSK%20consists%20of,are%20not%20the%20main%20parts. 
  2. Claus-Desbonnet, H., Nikly, E., Nalbantova, V., Karcheva-Bahchevanska, D., Ivanova, S., Pierre, G., Benbassat, N., Katsarov, P., Michaud, P., Lukova, P., & Delattre, C. (2022, February 18). Polysaccharides and their derivatives as potential antiviral molecules. MDPI. https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4915/14/2/426 
  3. Bohn, J. A., Chang, C. W., Chen, J., Dore, C. M. G., Ishibashi, K., Leung, M. Y. K., Mueller, M., Ohno, N., Queiroz, L. S., Ruthes, A. C., Saluk, J., Smiderle, F. R., Tao, Y., Wang, J. G., … Førland, D. T. (2014, September 16). An insight into anti-inflammatory effects of fungal beta-glucans. Trends in Food Science & Technology. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924224414001939. 
  4. Polysaccharide K and - sage journals. (n.d.-b). https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1534735415572883. 
  5. WebMD. (n.d.). Turkey tail mushroom: Overview, uses, side effects, precautions, interactions, dosing and reviews. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-648/turkey-tail-mushroom#:~:text=Medications%20for%20diabetes%20(Antidiabetes%20drugs,Monitor%20your%20blood%20sugar%20closely.