When Mesothelioma Guide met with the staff at Baylor, clinical dietician Cheryl Bixby spoke with us briefly about supplements – in particular, turkey tail.

“For every person that has cancer, there is a supplement that they’re taking that’s just totally off the chart. Sometimes it’s not hurting them, so if they want to take it, you know it might help their emotional status, that’s good too,” stated Bixby.

It is important that patients speak with their doctor if they are considering adding a supplement to their diet. Many supplements pose no harm to patients, but some are capable of interfering with a patient’s treatment.

What is Turkey Tail?

Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Turkey tail is a mushroom that dates back to traditional Chinese medicine. It has a mild taste and is considered rather chewy.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “It’s named turkey tail because its rings of brown and tan look like the tail feathers of a turkey.”

Mesothelioma patients can purchase turkey tail in the form of a pill or powder supplement. It can also be bought organically from mushroom growers.

“This species is often used to make healthy teas, and is one of the most well-studied mushrooms in the world for its health-supporting benefits.” – Fungi Perfecti

So what is so special about this mushroom?

Many studies and researchers believe that it has valuable anti-cancer benefits.

Turkey Tail Treating Mesothelioma

Sometimes a mesothelioma patient may have a treatment plan that includes chemotherapy. This type of treatment is known for suppressing the immune system.

Shield Icon It is believed that turkey tail can help strengthen our immune system and help our bodies combat infection. Having a healthy immune system helps a patient stay strong before, during, and after aggressive treatments.

Mushrooms such as turkey tail are thought to be capable of relieving some of the side effects that a patient may experience. Research has unveiled that this mushroom is capable of complementing radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

Turkey tail is thought to help patients with:

  • Nausea
  • Anemia
  • Bone marrow suppression
  • Lower resistance to treatment
  • Inflammation
Learn more about how mushrooms are helping patients in this short video.

Try This Turkey Tail Recipe

There are many recipes involving turkey tail, that can help add immune-boosting aspects into your diet. Since it is used a lot in healing teas, try this simple turkey tail and turmeric tea recipe.

These tea preparation instructions come from the Dr. Axe website. It can be served hot or cold.

Turkey Tail and Turmeric Tea

Hands holding a tea cup

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of turkey tail mushroom
  • 5 cups of purified water
  • ½ teaspoons of ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon of local organic honey
  • Large pot or tea kettle

Steps involved:

  • Chop your turkey tail mushroom into small pieces
  • Pour purified water into your pot or tea kettle and place on stove
  • Add chopped turkey tail pieces to water
  • Bring to a boil and let simmer for an hour
  • Strain the mixture
  • Add ½ teaspoon of turmeric and honey
  • Stir and enjoy

To flavor your tea more, you can add almond milk or stevia. You can even use a drop of lemon essential oil.

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    Sources & Author

  1. Coriolus Versicolor. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Retrieved from: https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/coriolus-versicolor. Accessed: 02/06/2018.
  2. Medicinal Mushrooms (PDQ®): Patient Version. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28267306. Accessed: 02/06/2018.
  3. Recent developments in mushrooms as anti-cancer therapeutics: a review. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3339609/. Accessed: 02/06/2018.
  4. How the anti cancer properties of turkey tail fungi saved Paul Stammets mother from terminal cancer. YouTube. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/XEV50NEk77s. Accessed: 02/06/2018.
  5. Mushrooms helping to cure cancer?. YouTube. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/uuL_faveAnw. Accessed: 02/06/2018.
  6. Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) @ Starship Fungi Perfecti. YouTube. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/KmhI-5jbDSU. Accessed: 02/06/2018.
  7. Turkey Tail Mushroom, Its Look-Alikes, & Medicinal Benefits with Adam Haritan. YouTube. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/tvOvKc4jqBY. Accessed: 02/06/2018.
  8. Medicinal Mushrooms (PDQ®)–Health Professional Version. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/mushrooms-pdq. Accessed: 02/06/2018.
  9. Turkey Tail and Polysaccharide-K. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/mushrooms-pdq#section/_7. Accessed: 02/06/2018.
  10. Turkey Tail Mushrooms for Cancer Treatment?. Healthy Lifestyle Brands, LLC. Retrieved from: https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/cancer/turkey-tail-mushrooms-for-cancer-treatment/. Accessed: 02/06/2018.
  11. Turkey Tail Mushroom: The Disease-Fighting, Immune-Boosting Fungus. Dr. Axe. Retrieved from: https://draxe.com/turkey-tail-mushroom/. Accessed: 02/06/2018.
  12. Turkey Tail Plug Spawn--Approx. 100 Plugs. Fungi Perfecti LLC. Retrieved from: http://www.fungi.com/product-detail/product/turkey-tail-plug-spawn-approx-100-plugs.html. Accessed: 02/06/2018.
  13. Questions and Answers About Turkey Tail and Polysaccharide-K (PSK). National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK424937/#CDR0000778943__3. Accessed: 02/06/2018.
  14. Interview with the Baylor Mesothelioma Treatment Center Support Staff. Accessed: 02/06/2018.
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About the Writer, Nicole Godfrey

Nicole Godfrey is the Senior Content Writer for Mesothelioma Guide. She writes and edits pages to make sure that mesothelioma patients and their families receive the most current and significant information about mesothelioma.