While awaiting my spring foraging trip for the delectable morel mushroom, I’ve been reading about a medicinal mushroom called the Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor.) This funny looking mushroom grows unassumingly on fresh, organic material — mostly tree trunks and fallen logs. It possesses proven anti-cancer abilities that inhibit tumor growth and enhance the immune system. In 2012, the NIH funded a clinical trial at Bastyr University in Washington which concluded that orally administered Trametes versicolor mushroom improved the immune response in women with breast cancer after standard chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This commonplace mushroom grows in every state and is easily spotted. WARNING: Only eat mushrooms that can be identified with 100% certainty — none should be eaten raw. If you want to purchase turkey tail in a prepared extract form, take a look at The Herbal Apothecary. I dried my foraged turkey tails and brewed them up in an earthy tea.
Remove turkey tails from the log by cutting directly at the base using a pocket knife. Brush off dirt and debris, place the turkey tails on a cookie sheet in an oven set on the lowest temp with the door slightly ajar for 15 minutes. Store dried turkey tails in a covered container. Gently tear 2-3 dried turkey tails into smaller pieces and add to 4 cups of pure water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and drink. To your health!
This post is not intended to be used as a guide to edible and medicinal mushrooms. You should never consume mushrooms found in the wild without first consulting an experienced mushroom expert. There are many poisonous look-alikes to popular edible species. If you’re not sure about a mushroom… don’t eat it!