Turkey Tail Mushroom - A Subject of Clinical Research - Birch Boys, Inc.

Turkey Tail Mushroom - A Subject of Clinical Research

Sep 09, 2019Garrett Kopp

Let's Talk Turkey

Turkey Tail is a polypore mushroom that grows on a variety of decaying logs worldwide. This mushroom is perhaps the most convoluted when it comes to specific historic use, but we do know that indigenous peoples of Asia have been using Turkey Tail mushrooms in elixirs for over 2,000 years. Even though we don’t have specific details on the historical usage of Turkey Tail, it is presently the most clinically researched mushroom to date. Turkey Tail has been used in hospitals in Japan since the 1970s and compounds extracted from Turkey Tail are currently the subject of an FDA clinical study. Turkey Tail’s compounds are incredibly interesting. Over 35 phenolic compounds found in Turkey Tail are unique to this amazing fungus. The history of Turkey Tail may be lost to time, but its future is very promising.

As a witness to those helped by Turkey Tail, I can attest that its benefits are powerful. However, as a forestry mycologist, I feel compelled to share a word of advice. The most clinically researched mushroom on Earth is also the most frequently misidentified mushroom on the market.

Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushroom

1. Provides Antioxidants And Phenolic Compounds 

Turkey tail is potent in antioxidants, including flavonoids and phenols. Turkey Tail’s compounds are incredibly interesting, over 35 phenolic compounds found in Turkey Tail are unique to this amazing fungus, including the flavonoid antioxidant quercetin.

2. Supports Gut Health

Did you know that mushrooms are a fantastic prebiotic? Prebiotics are foods that supply food for the healthy bacteria in your gut, allowing them to reproduce and keep your digestion regular. Mushrooms contain a variety of compounds that feed your gut like chitin, galactans, beta-glucan, hemicellulose, alpha glucan and more. In addition to mushrooms in general supporting the gut, compounds from Turkey Tail, specifically polysaccharopeptide PSP, have been shown to support gut health even further by regulating the gut microbiome.  

3. Supports the Immune System

Studies have shown that numerous polysaccharopeptides extracted from Turkey Tail can support the immune system. As an adaptogen, Turkey Tail helps support homeostasis in the body, which is always good for promoting immunity. In addition to this, Turkey Tail also provides antioxidant support which is a must-have for an immune supporting supplement.

Turkey Tail has Many Look-alikes

Turkey Tail is easily misidentified. There are at least 6 common look-alike species that we run into all the time. In fact, there are a number of online articles about Turkey Tail that feature Turkey Tail look-alikes. On the bright side, it's generally accepted that none of them are poisonous. Nonetheless, there is only one true Turkey Tail. If you're seeking the benefits of this mushroom, it's important that you find a source you can trust. Allow us to be your guide:

Identifying Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor)

Birch Boys Turkey Tail Mushroom Products

To obtain all of the beneficial compounds that Turkey Tail has to offer, try our dual-extracted Turkey Tail Tincture

Six Turkey Tail Look-Alikes

1. Purple Bracket Fungus (Trichaptum abietinum)

When tinged with purple, the pore surface of this smallish but gregarious annual bracket fungus is very distinctive; however, sometimes the pore surface is brown with hardly a hint of purple. The variable shape - sometimes resupinate but more often sharply reflexed (bracket like) can cause confusion too.

Purple Bracket Fungus

2. The Gilled Polypore (Lenzites betulina)

Although it is a member of the Polyporales order, its fruiting bodies have gills instead of pores, which distinguishes it from Turkey Tail. It also tends to be more flat than Turkey Tail, which is more wavy, based on my own observations.

Gilled Polypore Mushroom Turkey Tail Look Alike Species

3. False Turkey Tail (Stereum ostrea)

Stereum ostrea has a colorful, somewhat fuzzy cap that displays zones of brown, red, orange, buff, and green colors. Compared to Turkey Tail, Stereum ostrea is more red, more of the time. It's underside lacks any presence of a pore surface, making it a crust fungus, rather than a polypore.

False Turkey Tail Mushroom Look Alike (Stereum ostrea)

4. Hairy Parchment (Stereum hirsutum)

The cap of Stereum hirsutum is densely hairy under a magnifying glass. The coloration is reddish-brown to chestnut-brown with the cap margins being orange, gold or tawny. The fertile, spore-producing surface is on the underside of the cap and is smooth, lacking pores, tubes or gills. Older specimens may show a greenish tinge caused by algae.

Hairy Parchment Turkey Tail Look Alike

5. Violet Toothed Polypore (Trichaptum biformis)

Trichaptum biforme is another unexciting polypore, reminiscent of any number of faded Turkey-Tail-ish species. The fresh pore surface is a gorgeous lilac purple, which is a distinguishing feature.

Violet Toothed Polypore Turkey Tail Look-Alike

6. Crowded Parchment (Stereum complicatum)

Distinguishing features include the orange colors; the smooth underside that lacks pores; and the small, often fused fruiting bodies. It is very close in appearance to Stereum hirsutum, but that species is yellow and brown, and slightly larger.

Crowded Parchment Mushroom of the Stereum Genus

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Garrett Kopp Expert Chaga Harvester and woodsman

About The Author

Garrett Kopp is the 25 year old Chaga visionary and founder of Birch Boys, Inc., a company well-known for its assortment of teas, tinctures, and extracts from healing wild fungi. Kopp grew up in the Adirondack Mountains, where he naturally developed a broad passion for the wild northern forests of New York. He began to specialize and narrow this passion toward Chaga after a freak accident where he helped himself to a cup of what appeared to be iced tea in his Grandmother’s refrigerator, who had started harvesting Chaga and brewing it on her own amidst a battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Soon thereafter, Kopp and his grandmother expanded their Chaga harvesting activities to local farmer's markets, where they discovered significant demand for the fungus and its powerful ability to help everyday people.

These entrepreneurial efforts landed Kopp acceptance into Clarkson University’s early entrance program, the Clarkson School, where he studied Engineering & Management and Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Several years and hundreds of research hours later, Kopp returned to his hometown. Having shipped to over 20,0000 individuals throughout all 50 states, Birch Boys has organically grown into a nationally recognized online brand . Kopp is proud to have built a vertically integrated supply chain, sustainably sourcing the fruits of tree-borne fungi from over 220,000 leased acres of leased private land in the Adirondack park, where it is carefully harvested by hand before being dried, processed, and extracted with love, at his fungi factory in none other than Tupper Lake, NY.

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Comments (1)

  • Can whole dried turkey tail be made into like a tea like chaga? I use the whole chaga chucks to make like a jug I keep in the refrigerator and was wondering if the turkey tail and Reishi chunks can be made the same way???? Thanks

    Pam Martin

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