In Japan, a substance called PSK extract, or polysaccharide krestin, has been licensed since the 1980s to help treat certain cancers including breast, gastric, colorectal and lung cancers. Nothing unusual there, but what makes this treatment different is that it isn’t synthesized in the lab. Instead, it’s extracted from a mushroom, called Coriolus versicolor.
And this wonder mushroom isn’t a rare, magical or exotic mushroom either. It’s a common mushroom native to tropical and temperate climates but this hardy fungus is capable of growing in woodland environments all over the world. You may have even seen it or walked over it without even realizing it, or its potential!
Therapeutic and Beyond?
Polysaccharide krestin is a type of beta-glucan. Beta glucans are often found in foods such as oats and barley. They’re great at reducing cholesterol levels in a natural way and doctors also use them in patients who have a weakened immune system due to chronic fatigue syndrome, HIV/AIDS and chemotherapy and radiation cancer treatments. They help to balance and boost the immune system back to where it should be.
There’s also another substance in Coriolus versicolor called polysaccharide peptide, or PSP. PSP has natural anti-viral properties, particularly against hepatitis C and the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer. PSP has also shown to help stimulate the immune system, helping the body to fight infection and disease.
Both PSP and PSK are currently the subject of intense scientific research. And results are promising. Coriolus versicolor, or ‘Turkey Tail’ as its affectionately known due to its resemblance to the tail of the wild adult male turkey, is high in both compounds. Doctors have seen noticeable results in the survival rates in patients with breast, gastric and colorectal cancers when given an extract of Coriolus versicolor alongside conventional cancer treatments. And this is prompting even further need for studies.
Coriolus versicolor and Immunity
Turkey Tail mushrooms are also linked with boosting cells of the immune system called natural killer cells. These cells have clever little recognition systems that help recognize cells infected with viruses and tumor cells, signaling for them to be destroyed. During chemotherapy, however, natural killer cells drop in number dramatically. Another reason taking Coriolus versicolor during cancer treatment seems to positively affect recovery.
Extracts of Coriolus versicolor are also used by doctors to help treat autoimmune diseases such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and for boosting the immune system in general. In China, Coriolus versicolor is steeped and made into a tea and has been used as an adaptogen, or hormone balancer, for centuries.
Coriolus versicolor is also a potent source of antioxidants, helpful compounds that help us fight disease and inflammation-causing free radicals.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.