[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 82 – It’s Turkey (Tail) Time!

Let us hope that the destruction and pollution that our civilization wreaks upon nature will be brought to a halt; let us hope that our children in their turn will have the chance to admire the cornflower and the poppy and the wild rose and rejoice in their beauty… before they use them to ease their complaints!                 

-Maurice Mességué

Halloween has passed and with it, the last little remnants of summer. Autumn is well under way and headed directly to winter and with it comes the first round of colds and flus. This is the time to stock up on all our winter herbal favorites including fire ciderElderberry syrup and Turkey Tail mushrooms!

This wonderful “white rot fungi” is a powerful ally to have on hand for this time of year due to his immunomodulating properties. Turkey Tail is a strong immunomodulator, meaning that he has the ability to help an overactive immune system to slow down and an under active immune system to speed up. Because of this, he works well for those with an impaired immune system and is often used to strengthen the immune system during cancer treatment, especially during chemotherapy. Turkey Tail helps to rebuild the weakened immune system during and after treatment. For those who have a suppressed immune system, Turkey Tail can assist in reducing the susceptibility to infections and has shown promise in supporting those with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). However, you don’t need to be seriously ill to take advantage of Turkey Tail’s immunomodulating action. Adding a few mushrooms to your soup or stew pot can help to keep you healthy throughout the winter, as will a daily cup of decoction. Turkey Tail will help you to fight off colds, influenza and respiratory infections.

In addition to being an immunomodulator, Turkey Tail has also been used for those undergoing cancer therapy as not only assisting the immune system but in killing off cancer cells as well. Turkey Tail also has antifungal properties and has been used for ringworm and other fungal infections. An as antibacterial, Turkey Tail works well with impetigo too.

Turkey Tail is helpful for many liver problems including hepatitis B and C, cirrhosis and nephritis, thanks to his hepatoprotective properties. Studies are showing the effectiveness of Turkey Tail for reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and helping to control diabetes.

In China, Turkey Tail has been used for many applications including increasing circulation, relieving rheumatism, lowering fevers, stimulating a weak appetite, stopping diarrhea, treating hepatitis and other liver conditions, relieving chronic coughs and asthma and for assisting those with chronic fatigue syndrome.

There are more things Turkey Tail can be used for as well but I just wanted to point out what a great fungi Turkey Tail is to have around. Be sure to check out the November issue to learn all about Turkey Tail’s many uses.

There are many ways we can use Turkey Tail. The easiest is to throw a handful of them into your broths, soups and stews (remove them prior to eating as they are too tough to be eaten) or to make a decoction by simmering a few in water. For more serious consumption, using a double extracted tincture or capsules is the way to go.

How to make a Turkey Tail decoction.

1 – 2 tablespoons broken up Turkey Tail

2 cups filtered water

Place the Turkey Tail and water in the saucepan. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, adding more water if it boils too low.

Strain and flavor with honey and cream if desired or drink as is.

Adults drink 2 – 4 cups daily, children drink 1/2 – 2 cups daily.

This decoction is fairly mild flavored. You might find the addition of honey and cream to make it a bit more flavorful. Use it plain as an external wash for wounds, ringworm and impetigo.

Hope you enjoy this Turkey Tail recipe! For more great Turkey Tail recipes and information, check out this month’s issue of Herbal Roots zine!

Which herbs do you like to have in your winter repertoire for winter wellness? If it’s not already in there, will you be adding Turkey Tail to the list?

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