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The Trametes Versicolor Mushroom

Monograph: Trametes Mushroom (coriolus mushroom)

Botanical Scientific Names: Trametes Versicolor, Coriolus Versicolor, Boletus Versicolor, Polyporus Versicolor, Polystictus Versicolor

Common Names: Turkey Tail, Turkey Tails, PSP, PSK, Krestin, VPS

Chinese Name: Yun-Zhi

Japanese Name: Kawaratake

 

The meaning of the name Versicolor is “many colors”, which describes the vividness of the mushroom.  One of its strains has many variations of black, white and grey which gave it its nickname “Turkey Tail”, as the shape and colors of the mushroom resembles a turkey’s tail.

This mushroom has been used throughout history and contains polysaccharides that are among the most studied in the world of medicinal mushrooms.

The Trametes mushroom grows in forested areas all year long, on tree trunks, rotten wood logs and branches.  In traditional oriental medicine, the mushroom is dried and grinded into tea, and the health benefits that were observed following consumption, led Chinese and Japanese scientists to begin clinical research on the use of the mushroom for medical purposes.

There are various methods of extraction and preparation of the mushroom for consumption such as tablets, capsules, syrup, tincture, broth and scalding.

One of the active components in the Trametes mushroom that has been most studied is the polysaccharide PSK (polysaccharide Krestin, polysaccharide K) in the Japanese version and PSP (polysaccharopeptide) in the Chinese version.  Both of these are fermented extractions which are isolated from the mycelium of the mushroom, that have been registered as cancer drugs in Japan and China since 1977 and have been claimed to serve as adjuvant therapy for cancer in these countries.

Parts of the mushroom for use:

All parts of the mushroom:

  • Mycelium
  • Fruiting Body

Route of Administration:

  • Oral

TCM Characteristics:

Temperature: Cool

Moisture: Neutral

Taste: sweet, flavorless

Meridians: liver, lungs, heart, and spleen

Bioactive Ingredients:

Peptide Polysaccharides (Proteoglycans):

  • PSK (Polysaccharide Krestin)
  • PSP (Polysaccharopeptide)

Polysaccharides:

  • β-d-Glucan
  • Versicolor Polysaccharide (VSP)

Terpenes:

  • sesquiterpene Coriolin
  • Betulinic Acid
  • Betulin

Phenolic Compound:

  • gallic acid
  • caffeic acid
  • p-coumaric acid
  • protocatechuic acid
  • vanillic acid

Small Molecules:

  • Deoxycoriolic acid

Sterols:

  • Ergosterol
  • Ergosterol Peroxide

Vitamins:

  • Vitamins from the B-complex family

Minerals:

  • Potassium
  • Boron
  • Barium
  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Molybdenum
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc
  • Vanadium
  • Strontium
  • Sodium

Fatty Acids:

  • Trilinolein
  • Oleic acid
  • Linoleic acid
  • Linolenic acid
  • Palmitic acid
  • Palmitoleic acid
  • Trans-vaccenic acid
  • Lignoceric acid
  • Stearic acid
  • Nervonic acid
  • Myristic acid
  • Pentadecanoic acid
  • Behenic acid
  • 5,8,11,14,17-Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)

Amino Acids:

  • Cysteic acid
  • Aspartic acid
  • Methionine
  • Threonine
  • Serine
  • Glutamic acid
  • Proline
  • Glycine
  • Alanine
  • Valine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Tyrosine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Lysine
  • Histidine
  • arginine

Studied Activities:

Immunomodulatory (balance of the immune system), anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, hepatoprotective, mucosal lining restoration, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-anemia, and prebiotic.

Uses supported by clinical research:

Weakened immune system, cancer, human papilloma virus (HPV), Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), CMV (Cytomegalovirus), herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1 and HSV-2), Varicella Zoster virus (VZV, Shingles), and viral, bacterial and fungal infections.

Traditional uses that have yet to be supported by clinical evidence:

Indigestion, anemia, and restoration of mucosa.

Effects according to Traditional Chinese Medicine:

Renews the essence (Jing), and supports the external Qi. Regulates and empowers the protective Qi (Wei Qi).  Cleans away fever and eliminates toxins.

Influences spleen function (separates the pure from the foul) drains off excess moisture.

Wipes away fever and drains moisture from the liver.

Calms the soul, reveals the entrance to the consciousness, and supports Shen.

Manners of use and recommended dosage according to the literature:

Liquid extract (tincture): at a concentration of 1:3, 30% alcohol, 9-15ml per day.

Dry extract: standardized extract at a concentration of 40% polysaccharides, 3-6 grams per day.

Decoction: 1.5-9 grams per day.

A part of a formula: 25-30%

Safety, Toxicity, Interactions, and Side Effects:

The Trametes mushroom is safe for use.  Since it is registered in Japan as a medicine (PSK), it has been considerably studied and determined that even at dosages up to 9 grams per day it is safe (the study was performed on patients with breast cancer who received dosages of 3, 6, and 9 grams per day for six continual months).

People allergic to mushrooms should avoid eating the mushroom or consuming the mushroom as a food supplement.

Due to its immunostimulant activity, transplant patients should not use the mushroom.

Rare side effects may include dark stools not due to occult blood, darkening of fingernails, and low-grade gastrointestinal and hematological toxicities when used in conjunction with chemotherapy agents. However, such adverse effects may be caused by the chemotherapy drugs and not by the Trametes mushroom.

There is lack of data to support the safety of use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Stop using if hypersensitivity/allergy occurs.

References:

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