Trametes versicolor, commonly known as "Turkey Tail", are found growing on dead logs all over the world, making them one of the most common mushrooms found today and the most widely researched of all the medicinal mushrooms. It's named Turkey Tail because its shape and rings of various colors look like the tail feathers of a turkey. Like other medicinal mushrooms, Turkey Tail is a very powerful means of influencing many functions in the body, and of suppressing the growth of cancerous cells and infectious pathogens.

There have been over 400 published studies focusing on modern clinical use and research of Turkey Tail mushrooms. It is the source of the major pharmaceutical drugs PSK (Krestin) and PSP, licensed in China and Japan for its immuno-modulating and anti-cancer properties. Sales for these unique all-natural compounds of Turkey Tail have reached several hundred million dollars a year in Japan and China, making them one of the most widely used mushroom products in both countries by people facing serious immune challenges.

In most cases, Turkey Tail is consumed in extract form or tea. It is not recommended people eat Turkey Tail mushrooms since the body cannot digest the tough, chitinous tissue of the woody mushroom. Either way, unless you break down this chitinous tissue found in all mushrooms with either a hot-water and/or alcohol extraction process, you will not be benefiting from its medicinal properties.

Active Compounds found in Turkey Tail

Polysaccharide-K (PSK or Krestin): best known active component in Turkey Tail mushroom, commonly used as an anticancer agent in conjunction with surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy in China.
Protein-bound polysaccharides (PSP): potent immunomodulator that stimulates pro-inflammatory cytokines, natural killer cell activity, T-cell proliferation, and activation of the complement system.
β-D Glucans: the active constituent responsible for the immune boosting properties of medicinal mushrooms.
Monosaccharides: arabinoxylane, fucose, glucose, xylose, rhamnose, glucuronic acid, fructose, galactose and mannose. Tertiary immunomodulators
Phenols (containing over 35 different phenolic compounds) and Flavonoids (quercetin and baicalein): compounds showing potent antioxidant activity.
Glycoproteins and Proteoglycans: signaling molecules for hydrogen bonding and other electrostatic interactions, improving joint function and pain reduction.
Ergosterols: shown to be effective against tumor cells and malignant fungal growth.
Main Mineral Elements: potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and copper
Vitamins: D, B3
> 18 amino acids (Arginine being the highest amino acid detected)
Other myco-nutrients: Triterpenes

Turkey Tail and its Activity Against Diseases

Turkey Tail mushrooms have been found to alleviate symptoms in many diseases. Click a condition below to explore research studies with significant results on Turkey Tail mushrooms:

Conclusions of MD Anderson Cancer Centre: Scientific Review of Turkey Tail

At the MD Anderson Cancer Centre in the University of Texas, a detailed scientific review of Turkey Tail was written to summarize the effects of 163 different studies identified in the literature for PSK and PSP; 40 of them being human trials. Only one of the 40 human trials used polysaccharide P (PSP); the rest used polysaccharide K. All trials of PSK have been in combination or supplemental to chemotherapy and/or radiation.

The review concludes: 

  • Reporting significantly longer disease-free intervals and survival for lung cancer patients treated with PSK + chemotherapy compared with the chemotherapy alone group.
  • Turkey Tail as a promising candidate for chemo-prevention due to the multiple effects on the malignant process, limited side effects and safety of daily oral doses for extended periods.
  • PSK and PSP seem to work in multiple steps of the malignant process by inhibiting adhesion, invasion, motility, and metastatic growth tumor cells in animal models of cancer.
  • Adhesion and invasion are inhibited by suppression of cell matrix-degrading enzyme production by malignant cells.
  • No characteristic toxic effect was identified for PSK.



With its growing popularity, many studies on Turkey Tail composition, cultivation, and reputed effects are being carried out, and there are data that support its positive health benefits. Studies have been performed in-vivo, in cell-culture models, and in human clinical studies as seen in our section of Turkey Tail and its Activity Against Diseases. The great wealth of chemical data and anecdotal evidence on the effects of Turkey Tail must continue to be complemented by reliable experimental and clinical data from well-designed human trials in order to clearly establish the reported health-related effects to be valid and significant.
Mógū Mushrooms products and the claims made about them on or through this site have not been evaluated by the FDA or United States Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your doctor/physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or as a substitute for medication or other treatment prescribed by your doctor/physician or health care provider.