Turkey Tail for Prostate and Breast Cancers

As we have already mentioned on this site, Turkey Tail is THE most common medicinal mushroom you will find growing on dead hardwood trees.


Trametes versicolor - Turkey TailsTurkey Tail has also been long studied as an anti-cancer medicine as it contains Polysaccharide-K, or PSK – which is sold commercially as anti-cancer drug “Krestin” in Asia.  It has been used to treat a variety of different cancers but I am going to concentrate here on its effectiveness against 2 very common ones – namely prostate and breast cancers.

Curing Stage 4 breast cancer

Mycology expert, Paul Stamets’ 86-year old mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer – the 2nd worst case of breast cancer her oncologist had ever seen.  It had already metastasized to her liver and sternum and she was too old to be operated on or given radiation or chemo.

Fortunately she had a forward-thinking doctor, who told her about a medicinal mushroom that had been proving to be very successful in treating cancer patients – Turkey Tail!  Patti Stamets was, of course, already familiar with these – and she started taking the Turkey Tail capsules that her son produced, along with 2 conventional anti-cancer drugs.

Within 7 months there was hardly a sign of any cancer and within a year, Patti was completely cancer-free.  Quite some recovery!

As with Patti, many patients take Turkey Tail alongside conventional or other alternative cancer treatments – depending on the individual’s choice – with much success.

PSK works by arresting the growth of tumours and preventing them from metastasizing and stimulating the production of the body’s own Natural Killer (NK) cells, thereby fortifying and “kick-starting” the immune system.  This can be particularly useful when the patient is undergoing chemotherapy, when the NK cells plummet due to the toxicity of the treatment.

National Institute of Health study

Towards the end of 2012, a study was approved by the National Institute of Health in the States, regarding the effect of Turkey Tail on the immune systems of patients with breast cancer or prostate cancer.  It took a while to get approval as the FDA wanted to know what the “mechanism of action” in the Turkey Tail mushroom was – a difficult thing to quantify when working with a natural herb made up of many different chemicals and with its own intelligence and multiple “mechanisms of action”!

The study, using mushrooms provided by Paul Stamets’ company, Fungi Perfecti – concluded that Turkey Tail definitely does stimulate the immune system and can certainly boost a severely depleted immune system of a chemo patient.

Polysaccharopeptide and prostate cancer stem cells

Turkey Tail - destroyer of prostate cancer stem cells??

Turkey Tail – destroyer of prostate stem cells??

Another study, carried out by the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, has shown Turkey Tail to be effective on prostate cancer stem cells in mice.  Whilst I have yet to find anyone able to give me a sound scientific or humanitarian reason as to why mice (or any other animals for that matter) should be used to find a cure for human diseases, one has to hope that now that the mice have suffered enough they might have the guts to try this out on an actual prostate cancer patient and see if it does the same thing!  Apparently it was another polysaccharide – Polysaccharopeptide (PSP) that particularly targeted the prostate cancer stem cells in question.

All in all things are looking good for the use of Turkey Tail in cancer treatments.  Known as Yun Zhi in Chinese medicine and being a substance with such a long history of traditional use (this is a 5000 year old system of medicine!) it will also be very hard for Big Pharma to patent it.

And if they do, then that’s nothing that a quick forage in your nearby forest can’t sort out!

Would love to hear about your experiences with Turkey Tail mushroom.  Please leave a comment below – thanks!