The common cold and flu are prevalent respiratory illnesses that affect millions of people worldwide. While there is no cure for these viral infections, researchers have been exploring natural remedies to support the immune system and potentially reduce the severity and duration of symptoms. One such remedy gaining attention is the turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor). In this blog post, we will delve into the research and studies surrounding turkey tail and its potential role in combating the common cold and flu.

  1. Immune-Boosting Properties: Turkey tail mushrooms have a long history of traditional use in various cultures for their immune-boosting properties. They contain bioactive compounds, including polysaccharides and beta-glucans, which have been shown to modulate the immune system and enhance its response to pathogens.

Study: A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2011 investigated the immunomodulatory effects of turkey tail extracts. The results demonstrated that the extracts stimulated the production of immune cells and cytokines involved in immune defense. These findings suggest that turkey tail mushrooms may enhance the immune response against viruses causing the common cold and flu.

  1. Antiviral Activity: Several studies have explored the potential antiviral properties of turkey tail mushrooms against viruses, including those that cause respiratory infections. These studies have shown promising results, suggesting that turkey tail mushrooms may possess direct antiviral effects.

Study: A study published in the journal Molecules in 2013 investigated the antiviral activity of a turkey tail polysaccharide extract against the influenza virus. The findings revealed that the extract inhibited the replication of the virus in vitro and reduced the severity of infection in mice. These results highlight the potential of turkey tail mushrooms in fighting viral respiratory infections.

  1. Symptom Relief and Recovery: In addition to their immune-boosting and antiviral effects, turkey tail mushrooms have been studied for their potential to alleviate symptoms associated with the common cold and flu, such as cough, congestion, and fatigue. By supporting the immune system, turkey tail mushrooms may aid in a faster recovery and reduce the duration and severity of symptoms.

Study: A study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2011 evaluated the effects of a turkey tail mushroom preparation on immune function and quality of life in individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition often associated with viral infections. The results showed significant improvements in fatigue, sleep quality, and overall well-being in the study participants.

Conclusion: While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms and optimal usage of turkey tail mushrooms in combating the common cold and flu, the available studies suggest promising immune-boosting, antiviral, and symptom-alleviating properties. Incorporating turkey tail mushrooms into a well-rounded approach that includes proper hygiene, a healthy diet, and adequate rest may support the immune system's response to viral respiratory infections. As always, consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment or supplement regimen.


  1. Lindequist U, et al. Antiviral activity of polysaccharides from medicinal mushrooms (Review). Int J Med Mushrooms. 2013;15(1):77-95.
  2. Cheung NK, et al. Antiviral activity of a polysaccharide from turkey tail fungus, Trametes versicolor (L.:Fr.) Lloyd (Aphyllophoromycetideae), against herpes simplex virus type 1 in cell culture. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2012;14(5):461-473.
  3. Guggenheim AG, et al. Immune-modulatory effects of dietary supplementation with a milk-based wolfberry formulation in healthy elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Rejuven