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The NFM Blog

Can Turkey Tail Supplements Fight Cancer?

Going natural for lifestyle and holistic practices helps in every phase of life. We are living among a rich array of plants and fungi with wonderful properties, one among these being the Turkey Tail mushroom (Coriolus versicolor), a.k.a, Yunzhi in Traditional Chinese Medicine, has amassed major traction in recent years. 

This fascinating fungus, with its unique fan-shaped appearance, holds immense potential for supporting the immune system and potentially aiding in cancer treatment due to the presence of polysaccharide peptide (PSP) and polysaccharide krestin (PSK), which are used as medicine.

A Short History of Turkey Tail

Turkey Tail was first documented in the medicinal herb text from the Han Dynasty, Shennong Ben Cao Jing, around 200 BC. It is also recorded in the Compendium of Materia Medica (Ben Cao Gang Mu) from the Ming Dynasty in the 15th century. According to this text, Turkey Tail promotes vitality, supports healthy liver function, and strengthens bones and muscles.

These multi-colored fungi love to grow on tree trunks and stumps, and the dying logs in the woods. Some of the important benefits of this mushroom include potentially immune boosting and prebiotic properties. 

Appearing in a disc-like shape and the surface of the cap comes in different sizes. It has a tough leather texture and the rings appear in many shades of blacks, browns, whites and cream colors. Their overall appearance may resemble that of a turkey’s tail. Normally, these beauties grow in layers and they are not very thick, with only a few millimeters at most. 

Turkey Tail isn't a gourmet mushroom; it's a functional mushroom, which means it is valued for its health benefits rather than its culinary qualities. With its tough texture, it needs thorough hot water extraction to release its beneficial compounds and make them bioavailable.

It’s a common mushroom and can be found almost anywhere trees are found. They are plentiful in various parts of the world, including the United States. And if we are looking at its existence, these medicinal mushrooms have been of use in traditional medicine for a long time. 

For centuries, these mushrooms, known as Trametes versicolor or Coriolus versicolor, have been used as health supplements. In traditional Chinese medicine, turkey tail extract (Yun zhi) is used for various ailments, including respiratory conditions, digestive issues, and overall vitality. 

TCM practitioners believed the mushroom possessed adaptogenic qualities, meaning it could help the body adapt to stress and maintain balance. Today, scientific research is actively exploring the potential benefits of Turkey Tail mushrooms, particularly their ability to stimulate the immune system and combat cancer.

Turkey Tail Medicinal Uses: Does it Help Fight Cancer?

Turkey tail is rich in antioxidants and various health-boosting compounds that may enhance immunity, support gut health, reduce inflammation, and improve the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments.

This mushroom is a powerhouse of bioactive compounds, including polysaccharide-K (PSK) and beta-glucans. These complex molecules are believed to play a huge role in its immune-boosting properties. 

PSK has been shown to activate immune cells like macrophages and natural killer cells, which are vital for fighting infections and abnormal cell growth. Beta-glucans, on the other hand, act as messengers to the immune system, prompting it to recognize and eliminate foreign invaders.

Beta-glucans are a type of polysaccharide found in various natural sources, including Turkey Tail mushrooms. These molecules act as immunomodulators, meaning they help regulate the immune system. In the context of cancer treatment, beta-glucans may stimulate the activity of immune cells that target and destroy cancer cells. 

Scientific studies suggest that Turkey Tail mushrooms may offer promising benefits in cancer therapy. Research indicates that these medicinal mushrooms may help:

  • Enhance the Immune Response During Cancer Treatment: Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can weaken the immune system. Turkey Tail supplements may help bolster the immune response, making the body better equipped to fight cancer cells and potentially reducing treatment side effects.
  • Reduce the Risk of Recurrence: Some studies suggest that Turkey Tail mushrooms may play a role in preventing cancer recurrence after successful treatment.

Turkey Tail and its Role in Cancer Therapy

Several studies indicate that turkey tail mushrooms possess immune-boosting properties. For instance, a 2014 scientific review noted their potential in combating certain types of cancer. The researchers reviewed studies on five mushroom types, including turkey tail, as complementary cancer therapies, concluding that the evidence supporting mushroom use in cancer treatment has significantly grown. 

However, these studies do not recommend mushroom extracts as standalone treatments but rather as beneficial additions to conventional treatments like chemotherapy.

Turkey tail mushrooms contain polysaccharopeptide (PSP) and polysaccharide-K (PSK), compounds that appear to inhibit cancer cell growth. Some studies on PSP, in particular, show promise in stimulating the immune system, especially when used alongside other anticancer therapies. PSK has been isolated and is approved in Japan as an adjuvant cancer treatment, according to the National Cancer Institute.

However, it's important to note that further research is needed to fully understand the specific mechanisms by which Turkey Tail mushrooms and beta-glucans exert their anti-cancer effects.

Types of Turkey Tail Supplements: Capsules, Powders, and Extracts

In today’s market, Turkey Tail mushroom supplements are available in various forms:

  • Capsules: This is the most common and user-friendly option. Capsules offer pre-measured doses and are convenient for daily intake.
  • Powders: For individuals who prefer greater control over dosage, powdered Turkey Tail mushrooms offer flexibility. Powders can be mixed into smoothies, teas, soups, or yogurt.
  • Extracts: These concentrated extracts boast higher levels of bioactive compounds like beta-glucans. However, extracts may require a more precise dosing approach.

Turkey tail capsules and tinctures can be included into your daily supplement routine. For maximum benefits, consume turkey tail mushrooms every day.

  • Immune-Boosting Compounds
  • Anti-Cancer Properties
  • Gut Health Support
  • Anti-Inflammatory Features
  • Energy Level Enhancement
  • Antibacterial Properties

If consuming mushrooms directly is not preferred, Non-Fungible MushroomsSLEEP Mushroom Adaptogen Powder is the perfect way to include high-quality Turkey Tail Extracts in your daily diet. This powder is blended along with Reishi Mushroom extracts, known for improving the immune system, boosting metabolism and helping in restoring sleep cycles.

Buyer’s Guide for Turkey Tail Supplements: Making the Right Choices

Selecting the right Turkey Tail mushroom supplement requires careful consideration. Here are some key factors to guide your decision:

  1. Quality, Purity, and Dosage: Pick brands that prioritize quality and purity through organic sourcing and independent testing. Choose a dosage that aligns with your individual needs and consult your doctor for personalized advice.
  2. Balancing Cost with Brand Reputation: While affordability is important, opt for brands with a positive reputation for quality control. Consider the overall value proposition, factoring in factors like dosage, purity, and capsule count.
  3. Organic and GMO-Free Ingredients: Opt for organic and GMO-free Turkey Tail mushrooms to minimize exposure to potential contaminants. This is particularly important if you have any existing health concerns.
  4. Independent Testing for Potency: Look for brands that provide information on beta-glucan content or conduct third-party testing for potency confirmation. This transparency indicates a commitment to quality.


  1. How can I compare the purity and potency of different Turkey Tail mushroom supplements?

Comparing the purity and potency of Turkey Tail mushroom supplements can be challenging due to variations in extraction methods and active ingredient content. Look for brands that provide information on beta-glucan content or third-party testing results.

  1. Can Turkey Tail mushrooms be used in cancer treatment?

While some studies suggest potential benefits in cancer therapy, Turkey Tail mushrooms are not a replacement for conventional cancer treatment. Consult your doctor before incorporating them into your regimen if undergoing treatment.

  1. Are there any contraindications or side effects associated with Turkey Tail mushrooms?

Although generally safe for most healthy adults, Turkey Tail mushrooms may interact with certain medications. Discuss potential contraindications with your doctor. Some users report mild digestive side effects like gas or bloating, especially at higher doses.

  1. How do I select the right Turkey Tail mushroom product?

Consider your individual needs, budget, and desired format (capsules, powder, or extract). Consulting your doctor can help you select the most appropriate product based on your health history and goals.


Despite its discovery thousands of years ago, Turkey Tail's popularity continues to grow. Found widely in forests worldwide, this vibrant fungus offers extraordinary health benefits. Packed with health-promoting compounds, Turkey Tail has the potential to enhance overall health, particularly by supporting a strong and balanced immune system.

By understanding different supplement options and prioritizing quality, you can embark on a journey towards improved well-being with the potential power of the Turkey Tail mushroom. Remember, consulting your doctor before starting any new supplement is crucial to ensure its safety and compatibility with your existing health regimen.

At Non-Fungible Mushrooms, we provide organic mushroom powders and supplements that are straight from nature. Our mushrooms are sourced from the highest quality organic growers, ensuring you receive the purest, most potent supplements possible.