Trametes versicolor (Turkey Tail)

Medicinal Properties:

Probably the best-documented medicinal mushroom, wild strains of T. versicolor (-Corriolus versicolor) typically show remarkable vitality and aggressiveness in culture. The mycomedical activity is twofold: both as an antitumor compound, inhibiting growth of cancer cells, and in stimulating s host-mediated response, bolstering the immune system's natural killer cells (Garcia-Lora et al. 2001). Lin and others (1996) showed that Corriolus versicolor polysaccharides (CVP) enhanced the recovery of spleen cells subsequent to gamma irradiation. Recent studies at the New York Medical College suggest that ethanolic extracts of yun zhi show promise as an adjuvant therapy in treating homrone-responsive prostate cancer by slowing tumorigenesis (Hsich and Wu 2001). This species or its derivatives, have also been used to treat a wide variety of cancers (breast, lung, colon, sarcoma, and other carcinomas).
T. versicolor is the source of PSK, commercially known as krestin, and is responsible for several hundred million dollars of sales of this approved anticancer drug in Asia. PSK is derived primarily from frutibodies. Used clinically in the treatment of cervical cancer in conjunction with radiation therapy. PSK is derived primarily from mycelial cultures but can also be extracted from fruit bodies. Used clinically in the treatment of cervical cancer in conjunction with radiation therapy, PSK has helped substantially to increase survival rates. In clinical studies, patients afflicted with gastric cancer and treated with chemotherapy showed a decrease in cancer recurrence and an increase in the disease-free survival rate when conventional treatment was combined with a regimen using the protein-bound polysaccharide PSK from T. versicolor (Sugumachi et al. 1997; Nakazato et al. 1994). By all measures this treatment was clearly cost-effective. PSK reduces cancer metastasis (Kobayashi et al. 1995) and stimulates interleukin-1 production in human cells (Sakagami et al. 1993). PSK was also found to be a scavenger of free radical oxidising compounds (superoxide anions) through the production of manganese superoxide dismutases (Kobayashi et al. 1993; H. Kim et al. 1999).

Excerpt and images from Paul Stamets' (2005) Mycelium Running, (pp. 299-300)

Trametes versicolor
Trametes versicolor entry in Mycelium Running1
Trametes versicolor entry in Mycelium Running2
Trametes versicolor entry in Mycelium Running3
Trametes versicolor entry in Mycelium Running4
Trametes versicolor entry in Mycelium Running5
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