From Wild Turkeys to Modern Medicine: A Little Known History of Turkey Tail Mushroom

From Wild Turkeys to Modern Medicine: A Little Known History of Turkey Tail Mushroom

Turkey tail, also known as Trametes versicolor, is a type of mushroom that has a long and fascinating history. From its use in traditional Chinese medicine to its current popularity as a dietary supplement, turkey tail has been a source of wonder and awe for centuries.

According to legend, turkey tail was first discovered by a group of wild turkeys who were drawn to the mushroom's bright colors and unique texture. The turkeys soon realized that the mushroom had medicinal properties, and began incorporating it into their diets to boost their health and vitality.[1]

Over time, word of the mushroom's healing properties spread, and it became a popular remedy in traditional Chinese medicine. It was believed to boost the immune system, fight off infections, and even prevent cancer.[2]

In the Middle Ages, turkey tail was used in Europe as a cure for everything from tuberculosis to the plague. It was also believed to have magical properties and was often used in potions and spells.[3]

Fast forward to the present day, and turkey tail is still used as a dietary supplement for its potential health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants and polysaccharides, which are believed to have immune-boosting properties.[4] Some people even claim that turkey tail can cure everything from the common cold to cancer.

Of course, it's important to take these claims with a grain of salt. While there is some evidence to suggest that turkey tail may have health benefits, more research is needed to confirm these claims. And let's not forget that, at the end of the day, turkey tail is still just a mushroom.

While we may never know exactly how the wild turkeys discovered this amazing mushroom, one thing is for sure: we're glad the did!


  1. Stamets, P. (2012). Turkey Tail: The Mushroom of Thanksgiving and Year-Round Health. Huffington Post.
  2. Kawagishi, H., & Shimada, A. (2019). Medicinal Effects of Trametes versicolor (Yunzhi) Extracts: A Review. Medicines, 6(1), 18.
  3. Thompson, C. (2018). Turkey Tail Mushroom: A Beautiful and Beneficial Fungus. Healthline.
  4. Lindequist, U., Niedermeyer, T. H. J., & Jülich, W.-D. (2005). The Pharmacological Potential of Mushrooms. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2(3), 285–299.
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