Turkey Tail tea is made from the Turkey Tail Mushroom – a multicolored fungus that grows on living and fallen tree trunks in warm, damp forests. It can be found all over the world, including the United States.
Also known as Trametes versicolor or Coriolus versicolor, this mushroom gets its name from its shape – it looks like a turkey’s tail.
One popular way of ingesting turkey tail mushrooms is by brewing them into tea. In this article, we take a close look at the benefits of this increasingly popular tea, whether there are any side effects, and how to do it. You can also find it in many of the mushroom coffees that are available if you’re more of a coffee drinker.
Why Drink Turkey Tail Tea?
Enhances Digestive Health
Turkey tail mushrooms are filled with prebiotics, which help to keep the good bacteria in your gut healthy and balanced. These bacteria are responsible for the majority of digestion in your intestines, which helps prevent constipation.
Supercharge Your Immune System
The antiviral and antifungal qualities of compounds in turkey tail mushrooms help you to fight off infections and viruses. These compounds prevent the flu virus cells from multiplying, giving your immune system the chance to kill the cells before it turns into a full-blown infection.
Blood Sugar Levels & Diabetes
Turkey Tail mushrooms contain beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that slows down food as it passes through the intestines. It slows carbohydrate absorption, leading to steadier blood sugar levels.
This is particularly important for diabetics and pre-diabetics who need to maintain a steady blood sugar level throughout the day.
Helping to Fight Cancer
Polysaccharopeptide (PSP) and polysaccharide-K (PSK) compounds found in turkey tail mushrooms appear to fight the growth of cancer cells. PSP is also believed to help boost the immune system, especially when it’s used alongside other cancer treatments.
Risks and Side Effects
Because turkey tail mushrooms are generally safe to eat, there aren’t really many risks or side effects.
Ingesting too much could leave you with a bit of heartburn, stomach pain, or constipation, but you’re unlikely to face anything more serious than that.
Turkey Tail Mushroom Tea Recipes
Turkey tail mushroom tea is made by steeping the mushrooms in water. Heat loosens the cell walls, making the antioxidants and beta-glucan available for us to consume.
Using fresh or dried mushrooms requires a bit more work than the powdered version, but the health benefits of the turkey tail mushrooms remain mostly the same.
- 1 cup of water
- Mushroom powder as indicated on the packaging (usually about 2 teaspoons per cup of tea)
- Honey, lemon, or ginger to taste
Using a Tea Infuser
- Boil the water.
- Add the mushroom powder to your tea infuser and place it in the boiling water. You can also add it directly to the water and stir it.
- Steep for at five minutes.
- Decant into your teacup and enjoy.
Using a French press
- Bring your water to the boil.
- Add your mushroom tea powder to the bottom of your French press.
- Pour enough water into the press to just cover the mixture and stir.
- Steep for around five minutes.
- Add the remainder of the boiling water over the mixture, blend well, and add the cove.
- Allow to steep for a few more minutes, then depress your plunger.
Recipes and Variations
Turkey tail tea has strong earthy flavors, making it the ideal base to add other ingredients.
Lemon, Ginger, and Cinnamon Turkey Tail Tea
- 1 cup hot water, milk, or nut milk
- Turkey tail mushroom powder
- Lemon, ginger, and honey to taste
Prepare the tea as indicated above, and add in your other ingredients to taste.
Turmeric Turkey Tail Tea
- 2 ½ oz fresh turkey tail mushrooms
- 4 tsp dried turkey tail mushrooms
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- Honey to taste
Prepare the tea as indicated above, and stir in your other ingredients to taste.
If you are using fresh mushrooms, clean them well, chop up and simmer in water for an hour. Strain and use the water as the base for your tea.
Turkey Tail Tincture
Turkey tail mushrooms can also be made into a liquid tincture to ease sore muscles and calm anxiety.
To make the tincture, break up fresh or dried pieces of mushroom and cover them with vodka. Leave in a cool, dark place for at least a month. Then strain the mixture and decant into a clean bottle with an airtight seal.
Your tincture should be kept away from sunlight and stored in a dark place like a medicine cupboard. This way, it can last up to two years.
Your tincture can be taken between one and three times daily. For general health, use a dropper to apply a single drop under your tongue, or add it to a meal.
Experiment with taking it at different times. Some find that tinctures give them energy, so they take them pre-workout. For others, they have a relaxing effect, so they take the tinctures before bed. We have listed out the best mushroom tinctures here.
A Final Word
The benefit of drinking Turkey Tail mushroom tea is that the heat from the boiling water enhances the bioavailability of the mushrooms. Because the heat softens and loosens the cell walls of the mushrooms, the adaptogens – like beta-glucans and antioxidants – increase in bioavailability.
So let’s brew some turkey tail tea and raise a cup to cheers the health benefits of this great mushroom.