Wild turkey tail mushrooms (trametes versicolor) offer a plethora of health benefits. You can even reap the health rewards of mushrooms all year long by using dried mushrooms or by making some easy extracts.
Turkey tails are abundant in many climates. These colorful, woody, dry mushrooms are often seen growing in great clusters on dead logs.
While you may not want to include turkey tails in a stir fry, you will still want to gather them. Turkey tails are an outstanding source of several anti-aging compounds.
Many age- and illness-related problems are caused by free radical damage. Free radicals are compounds which form in response to physical, emotional and environmental stressors on the body. Multiple studies indicate that turkey tails inhibit the action of free radicals, called oxidation, exceptionally well. One study indicated that turkey tails prevented oxidation by almost 60 percent.
What this means is that turkey tails can help prevent major illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. The entire body functions better. Vibrant health, young-looking skin, flexibility, mental clarity and general well-being continue throughout the lifespan.
In addition, turkey tails possess gentle relaxant qualities. Sleep is improved. Turkey tail users report feeling more energized during the daytime, possibly due to improved nighttime rest.
Safe Mushroom Handling
Purchasing mushrooms at your local herb store or from expert shroom pickers are the safest ways to go. If you have an opportunity to go mushroom hunting with an experienced mycologist, mushroom expert, do so. Mushrooms are fun to gather. Just be sure that you positively identify the mushrooms correctly. Fortunately, turkey tails are among the easiest mushrooms to identify. In addition to the expertise of a mycologist, purchase a couple of field guides to ensure that you are identifying the species correctly as there are some mushrooms in the wild that can make you very sick or even kill you.
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Only gather mushrooms in pristine environments as they extract toxins, such as heavy metals from the environment. Pick them in areas where mushrooms are profuse. A good rule of thumb is to never harvest more than 10 percent off of a log of or stump. Only pick what you need. Slice the mushrooms off of the log with a sharp knife. Gather your mushrooms in paper or cloth bags so that air flow is maintained. Store fresh mushrooms loosely covered in the refrigerator. Dried ones may be stored at room temperature in loosely covered dark containers.
Traditional Turkey Tails Extract Making
Experts disagree about the best ways to extract the healing benefits of turkey tails. Traditionally, fresh or dried mushrooms were cut up, covered with water, and simmered for about three hours. The mushrooms were strained out and reused two more times to make more mushroom tea. This method has been used for centuries. It is still the most popular method. Slow cooking breaks down the tough cell walls and extracts polysaccharides, which are thought to contain the most potent healing compounds of mushrooms. Traditionally, one tablespoonful daily was recommended by traditional Chinese medicine experts. Store the water extract in the refrigerator. It must be made fresh every few days.
How to Make a Turkey Tails Tincture
Other folks like to make an alcohol tincture. Simply cover chopped fresh or dried mushrooms with vodka in a canning jar. Place a lid on it. Shake it daily. After two weeks, strain the mushrooms out. Take one-fourth of a teaspoon of liquid extract two to four times daily. Use it twice a day for general wellness and up to four times daily if you are addressing a specific health concern. Alcohol extracts different substances from the mushrooms than the traditional cooking method. While beneficial, some practitioners believe that alcohol destroys some of the beneficial compounds which are maintained when using the traditional method. Store the extract in a dark cabinet. It will keep for years.
You may opt to simply dry and grind the turkey tails. I do not recommend this method if you are addressing a specific health concern as the healing compounds are less bioavailable.
Combination Method is Best for Medicine Extraction
I prefer to extract the healing wonders of turkey tails using an easy combination method. Begin by making an alcohol extract, following the instructions provided above. At the end of two weeks, strain the liquid and put it aside. Combine the used mushrooms with an equal amount of additional non-processed mushrooms. Simmer the processed and non-processed turkey tails as described in the water extraction method or toss them in a crock pot on low for a day or two. Strain out the spent mushrooms and compost them. Combine the reserved alcohol extract with the water extract. I keep this in the refrigerator for long-term use. Use one-half to two teaspoons daily.
They may have a funny name, but wild turkey tail mushrooms can benefit your health in ways that many foods simply cannot.
Do you have any mushroom tips? Let us know in the comments section below.