Turkey Tail

(Coriolus versicolor)

What Is Turkey Tail?

With a kind of woody and velvety body the Turkey Tail mushroom has characteristic colors that resemble the tail of the peacock, hence its name, also Known as Coriolus Versicolor. This mushroom usually grows naturally in different areas and climates although its use is limited mainly to the medicinal field and is probably one of the most studied mushrooms.

Powerful benefits of Turkey Tail

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Turkey Tail is used to “stimulate the spleen-pancreas complex”, which is used to “reduce Tan” (the Chinese term for any tissue formation caused by the accumulation of phlegm, fibroids, cysts, etc.). It also “disperses dampness and unblocks and tonifies Qi (flow of vital energy)”. The most important compounds include polysaccharides such as beta-glucans, mannitol, and proteoglycans such as polysaccharide K (PSK) and polysaccharide peptide (PSP), as well as sterols. Glycoproteins (such as PSK) have been extensively studied for the development of different drugs. The areas of interest for the study of C. versicolor are:

Immune System

Medicinal properties of Turkey Tail enhances the natural immune response. Particularly helpful for people with autoimmune conditions.


Potent agents found in Turkey Tail provide protection against bacterial, viruses and viral infections.

Reduces peripheral neuropathies

Such as weakness, numbness, insensitivity and pain, usually in the hands and feet.

Turkey Tail's powerful nutrients
  • Beta-glucans, working to support the immune system.
  • Proteoglycans, powerful actions on the immune system.
  • Sterols, a natural type of fat with many benefits, including lowering cholesterol.
  • Ergosterol, phytosterol precursor of Vitamin D.
  • PSK, polysaccharide K or Krestin
  • PSP, polysaccharide peptide
  • Bactericide, a powerful antiviral agent.

1. Sekhon BK, Sze DM, Chan WK, Fan K, Li GQ, Moore DE, Roubin RH. PSP activates monocytes in resting human peripheral blood mononuclear cells: immunomodulatory implications for cancer treatment. Food Chem. 2013 Jun 15;138(4):2201-9.

2. Wang DF, Lou N, Li XD. Effect of Coriolus versicolor polysaccharide-B on the biological characteristics of human esophageal carcinoma cell line eca109. Cancer Biol Med. 2012 Sep;9(3):164-7

3. Hirahara N, Edamatsu T, Fujieda A, Fujioka M, Wada T, Tajima Y. Protein-bound polysaccharide-K induces apoptosis via mitochondria and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase-dependent pathways in HL-60 promyelomonocytic leukemia cells. Oncol Rep. 2013 Jul;30(1):99-104.

4. Brown DC, Reetz J. Single agent polysaccharopeptide delays metastases and improves survival in naturally occurring hemangiosarcoma. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:384301.

5. Eliza WL, Fai CK, Chung LP. Efficacy of Yun Zhi (Coriolus versicolor) on survival in cancer patients: systematic review and meta-analysis. Recent Pat Inflamm Allergy Drug Discov. 2012 Jan;6(1):78-87.

6. Ho CY, Kim CF, Leung KN, Fung KP, Tse TF, Chan H, Lau CB. Differential anti-tumor activity of Coriolus versicolor (Yunzhi) extract through p53- and/or Bcl-2-dependent apoptotic pathway in human breast cancer cells. Cancer Biol Ther. 2005 Jun;4(6):638-44. Epub 2005 Jun.

7. Chen J, Jin X, Zhang L, Yang L. A study on the antioxidant effect of Coriolus versicolor polysaccharide in rat brain tissues. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2013 Oct 3;10(6):481-4.

8. Szeto YT, Lau PC, Kalle W, Pak SC. Direct human DNA protection by Coriolus versicolor (Yunzhi) extract. Pharm Biol. 2013 Jul;51(7):851-5.

9. Collins RA, Ng TB. Polysaccharopeptide from Coriolus versicolor has potential for use against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection. Life Sci. 1997;60(25):PL383-7.

10. Su CH, Lai MN, Ng LT. Inhibitory effects of medicinal mushrooms on α-amylase and α-glucosidase – enzymes related to hyperglycemia. Food Funct. 2013 Apr 25;4(4):644-9.

11. Chu KKW et al., (2002) Coriolus versicolor: a medicinal mushroom with promising immunotherapeutic values. Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 42, 976-984.

12. Donatini B (2010) Coriolus versicolor: the most powerful immunostimulating agent. Interest in oncology, against virus and for all types of immunostimulation. Phytothèrapie 8, 255-258.

13. Harhaji LJ et al., (2008) Anti-tumor effect of Coriolus versicolor methanol extract against mouse B16 melanoma cells: In vitro and in vivo study. Food and Chemical Toxicology 46, 1825-1833.

14. Shibata M et al., (2011) Effect of PSK on FOLFOX4-induced peripheral neuropathy and bone marrow suppression in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology 29, 596-596.

15. Hsieh TC et al., (2013) Regulation of cell cycle transition and induction of apoptosis in HL-60 leukemia cells by the combination of Coriolus versicolor and Ganoderma lucidum. International Journal of Molecular Medicine 32, 251-257.