Immune supporting is an understatement when describing the role this incredible mushroom plays on human health. Growing naturally in deciduous forests around the world, the primary function of Turkey Tail in the wild is to recycle dead wood and turn it back into soil. But, if we are nature savvy enough to harvest it in late fall, when its fruiting bodies have fully matured and begun to release their spores, we can process them into mushroom extracts that upgrade, up-regulate, and greatly boost our immune systems.
As the most studied medicinal mushroom to date, the evidence is clear that Turkey Tail is loaded with immune modulating compounds known as polysaccharides that help keep your immune system functioning optimally. If this is your first time hearing the phrase "immune modulating," and are eager to understand its function, think of your immune system as an AM/FM radio. Modulating the immune system is much like tuning the radio up and down to find the right frequency and receive a clear signal. When our immune system is functioning properly, it is generating that same clear signal. When we fall ill, our immune system gets tuned down and struggles to fight off pathogens. The immune modulating polysaccharides in Turkey Tail bolster the immune system and work to tune it back up; the signal is now clear and pathogens are being killed off. In the case of autoimmunity, when the immune system is working over time, and is tuned up, so much so that it begins attacking healthy cells, the polysaccharides once again supports the immune system and begins tuning it back down to regain the clear signal.
We created the diagram below to further outline the process.
One specific polysaccharide found in the fruiting bodies of Turkey Tail that is receiving much attention from scientists is PSK (polysaccharide K). This polysaccharide has shown incredible success in reducing metastasis of various cancers and is prescribed as an adjunct treatment for cancer patients who are going through chemo and radiation therapy. Not only can PSK directly reduce the threat of tumors, but it has been shown to help cancer patients overcome the negative effects of chemo and radiation by restrengthening their immune systems.
For more information on the effects of Turkey Tail against various cancers, check out this article from Bastyr College.
If Turkey Tail has not yet completely won you over as a necessity for strengthening immune function, then it's time we talk about its incredible antimicrobial properties derived from yet another special polysaccharide: PSP (polysaccharide peptide). This compound up-regulates the immune system's production of microphages, cells that target and kill pathogens. Able to target bacteria, viruses, and fungal pathogens, PSP acts as software update to the immune system, making it stronger, smarter, and fast acting. We particularly love celebrating Turkey Tail for this compound it contains because it clearly demonstrates a greater intelligence that is carried by the mushroom and delivered to our bodies with intentions of making us better.
Turkey Tail For Rebuilding The Microbiome
It has been said that our immune system is only as strong as our gut. That is because our beneficial gut bacteria that make up our microbiome also play a huge role in regulating our immune system. They have the ability to produce chemicals that help kill pathogenic bacteria, yeasts, and pathogenic fungi. Turkey Tail helps them do so by acting as a prebiotic.
Prebiotics feed and strengthen the beneficial bacteria and get them producing their healing chemicals. The fruiting bodies of Turkey Tail are loaded with these substances and help correct common digestive issues like bloating, gas, and candida.
The Best Method For Obtaining Turkey Tail's Immune Supporting Properties
PSK, PSP, and the microbiome rebuilding prebiotics of Turkey Tail are all found in the mushroom's fruiting bodies and are extractable with alcohol and water. Using these two solvents for extraction is commonly referred to as the dual extraction method. We at Wild Kingdom, not only use this method to ensure the active compounds in Turkey Tail have been properly obtained, but we also source 100% wild harvested fruiting bodies for our extractions.
Alternatively, there are many Turkey Tail products out there made from the mycelium or "the roots" of the mushroom. To make mycelium, growers inoculate mushroom spores onto grain substrates like oats or rice. They then grind the myceliated grain into a powder and perform their extractions.
This mycelium only method is still being debated by mycologists all over the world regarding its efficacy as no actual mushrooms are present in the extraction. Furthermore, with clever marketing and labeling, consumers are tricked into thinking they are taking a mushroom extract when in fact, it is mostly just grains.
For more information on our dual extracted Turkey Tail extract made from wild harvested fruiting bodies, click here.
More Reasons To Try Wild Kingdom's Turkey Tail Extract
We at Wild Kingdom are not only invested in creating quality mushroom products for our customers, but we also are passionate about sustainability and ensuring that our planet is habitable for the next generations to come. That is why we donate a portion of every sale from our online store to One Tree Planted, an organization that plants trees worldwide. When you buy one of our extracts, you are also supporting reforestation and helping heal our planet.