Turkey Tail Tea Recipe for Better Health (3 Ways)


Though turkey tail mushrooms have been used in medicine for thousands of years, they are finally becoming more popular, and they should be! Turkey Tail fungus has been extensively studied for its beneficial effect on immune health and overall vitality. It grows pretty much all year round and is one of the most common wild mushrooms, making them an effective, all-natural, and very accessible remedy for immune system health. 

Maybe you’re preparing for the cold and dreary months of winter when many of us catch bugs. Maybe you’ve read many incredible studies of how this powerful mushroom aids in cancer healing. Or maybe you’re looking to lower stress in the body and lower inflammation for your overall health. Luckily, nature has our back as usual! 

This article explains how to make turkey tail tea to extract its many benefits and the few precautions that go along with it. I’ve even included a bonus recipe for a turkey tail tea latte!

How to make turkey tail tea pin

What are turkey tail mushrooms?

​​Turkey tail (trametes versicolor) plays a vital role in nature. It decomposes dead wood and returns nutrients trapped in trees back to the soil. It gets its name from its appearance: flat, fan-shaped, multicolored rings of the mushroom that look much like — you guessed it — a turkey’s tail!

Turkey tail is also one of the most powerful and well-researched mushrooms in the world. For thousands of years, it’s been successfully used in medicine to promote immune health, nourish healthy bacteria in the gut, balance hormones, and reduce cellular stress with its significant antioxidant and adaptogenic properties. 

You can find them in a variety of forms, including capsules, tinctures, teas, broths, and powders.

RELATED: Looking for more simple and effective natural remedies? Try out our Goot Salve recipe!

trametes versicolor or turkey tail mushrooms on log in forest

Turkey tail tea benefits

Some conditions that benefit from turkey tail use include coughs, breathing difficulties, hemorrhoids, hormonal imbalance, and joint pain, but that’s not all. Turkey tail tea has so many incredible benefits. Here are the top 5 benefits of using turkey tail.

Supports a healthy inflammation response and combats premature aging

Its rich antioxidant and adaptogenic properties support the body in reducing the damaging effects of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body. Antioxidants and adaptogens both help promote the correct balance. Oxidative stress can cause cellular damage and chronic inflammation, which increases the risk of health conditions like certain cancers and heart disease. 1, 2

Helps your body respond to stress, anxiety, and fatigue

The adaptogenic properties found in turkey tail mushrooms support the body in reducing the harmful effects of physical, biological, and chemical stress. They help stabilize your cortisol levels under stress, prevent damage caused by stress, and assist the body in reaching balance again. Stress and an unhealthy immune system are the primary causes of adrenal fatigue and adaptogens can lead to the maintenance of normal adrenal function. 3, 4

Protects against cancer and extends cancer patient survival

Turkey tail stimulates the immune system, inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells, and reduces tumor activity. It’s also known to help with the harmful side effects of chemotherapy.  Turkey tail may improve immune function, reduce tumor-associated symptoms, and extend survival for patients with certain types of cancer. In some countries, it’s commonly used in conjunction with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy for cancer treatment due to its ability to naturally strengthen the immune system.  Turkey tail supplementation is a great way to heighten the immune response in people with weakened immune systems. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 

Supports a healthy immune system

It supports both an underactive and overactive immune system, which is unique and long-valued among traditional physicians. The PSK and PSP found in turkey tail mushrooms stimulate the body’s immune system, making it more active while also suppressing inflammation. Also, turkey tail’s antiviral and antifungal qualities help fight off viruses and infections ranging from the common cold and pneumonia to HPV and HIV. It contains the highest levels of beta-glucans, which are known to have antitumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, anti-allergic, anti-osteoporotic, and immunomodulating activities both in animal and human research studies. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Promotes gut health

The gut is thought of as the foundation for whole-body health. Luckily, turkey tail mushrooms have prebiotics, which help feed and strengthen good bacteria (probiotics) in your microbiome. Prebiotics help probiotics flourish in your gut, promoting overall digestive health and adaptability. 15, 16

Other benefits

Additional benefits may include preventing cell damage, anti-aging properties, clearing dampness in the body, supporting a healthy liver and other organs, combating cholesterol and obesity, and increasing athletic endurance. 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

Turkey tali tea sitting on table

RELATED: Speaking of tasty nourishing drinks with tons of health benefits, have you ever tried a deliciously decadent bone broth hot chocolate?

How to prepare turkey tail mushrooms for tea

​​Good news! You can enjoy turkey tail mushroom and all of its benefits easily by incorporating it into your daily routine as a simple quick-to-make tea. Alternatively, you can also try a mushroom-coffee blend if tea isn’t your thing. 

Personally, I like the tea latte recipe best. You can make turkey tail tea using powdered turkey tail or with fresh or dehydrated turkey tail mushrooms. The full recipe card is found further below.

Fresh or dried mushroom tea:

  • Rinse the turkey tail mushroom under running water to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Cut mushrooms into small pieces or slices using a sharp knife.
  • In a pot, add 3/4 cup of turkey tail mushroom slices and enough water to cover them.
  • Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Let the mushroom simmer for 1-2 hours until the water has turned a rich brown color and the mushroom slices have become soft.
  • Strain the liquid through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer to remove any solids.
  • Add honey, lemon, or any other flavorings to taste.

Powdered mushroom tea

  • In a mug, add 2-4 grams of turkey tail mushroom powder.
  • Boil 1 cup of water and pour it over the powder. Stir.
  • Add honey, lemon, or any other flavorings to taste

(Bonus) turkey tail tea latte

  • Heat 1 cup of milk to your preferred temperature by either steaming or warming it on the stove.
  • Add 2-4 grams of turkey tail mushroom powder and 1/2 teaspoon of cacao to the heated milk.
  • If desired, add your preferred sweetener and stir until it dissolves.
  • Use a small whisk or a milk frother to froth the milk mixture until it becomes creamy and smooth.
  • Sprinkle some cinnamon on top of the frothy milk and savor your delicious and nutritious turkey tail mushroom cacao latte!

RELATED: If you love nutritional drinks packed with health benefits, check out our sea moss lemonade recipe, too!

Do turkey tail mushrooms taste good?

Turkey tail mushrooms have a tough and chewy texture, which may not be the most appealing to some people.

In terms of taste, they have a slightly bitter, sweet, and woody flavor that can be a bit earthy and mild. The taste of turkey tail mushrooms can be enhanced by cooking them with other ingredients or by adding flavorings such as honey, lemon, or cacao like in my recipes below!

Occasionally, I’ll even make a batch of turkey tail mushroom broth in bulk to freeze for use in soups, stews, and other winter foods! Simply add turkey tail mushroom to boiling water with vegetables, herbs, and spices then simmer, uncovered, for at least 2 hours.

Turkey tail powder vs fresh or dried turkey tail mushrooms

Teas and broths are a really great way to ingest fresh or dehydrated turkey tails. The hot steeping process makes these powerful mushrooms more bioavailable for our bodies. 

Most powders on the other hand have already been processed using hot water extraction so steeping is unnecessary. Plus, the powder form may be more concentrated in certain nutrients and bioactive compounds, depending on the quality of the source material and processing methods used.

Ultimately, fresh and dried (or powdered) mushrooms have similar nutritional profiles. The choice of which form to use really depends on your personal preference and how the mushrooms will be used!

Coriolus Versicolor

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This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you from qualifying purchases. Rest assured that we only recommend products that we believe in and have personally used or thoroughly researched. Read disclaimer

Where can I find turkey tail mushrooms or turkey tail powder?

Turkey tail fungi will grow on dead hardwood logs in woodlands and pretty much anywhere there is decaying wood. Occasionally even on living trees! Or, you can buy organic-certified capsules and powders from your local health food shop or online. The powders are super versatile and can be used outside of just teas like in your favorite recipes.

Practical self-reliance has an excellent guide to teach you how to identify and forage for them properly. 

If you’re going with powder, make sure it’s certified organic. This one is my go-to turkey tail mushroom powder.

Precautions & side effects

Stomach upset and allergic reactions are rare but they can happen. Because of this, it’s best to only try a small amount of tea your first time.

​​However, turkey tail mushroom is generally well tolerated and considered safe for long-term use. Unfortunately, there have been mild unwanted symptoms reported such as:

  • Gastrointestinal upset (e.g., gas, bloating)
  • Heartburn
  • Heart palpitation
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark-colored stools
  • Constipation
  • Symptoms similar to cold or flu
  • Darkening of fingernails
  • Diarrhea

It’s possible that it can interact with other medications. People allergic to mushrooms, with underlying health conditions, or pregnant or breastfeeding women should first consult a healthcare practitioner. 

Turkey tail mushroom on a log in the forest

Turkey tail tea recipe (+ bonus tea latte recipe!)

How to make turkey tail tea pin
5 from 4 votes

Turkey Tail Tea

Enjoy a soothing turkey tail tea for immune support and vitality this winter or all year-long

Have you tried this recipe? Leave us a review!

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 15kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Simmering pot or kettle

Ingredients

(Bonus) Turkey Tail Tea Latte

  • 2-4 grams turkey tail powder
  • 1/2 tsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup heated milk of your choice
  • Honey, maple syrup, or preferred sweetener to taste (optional)
  • 1 pinch cinnamon

Turkey Tail Tea Using Powder

  • 2-4 grams turkey tail powder
  • 1 cup purified water
  • Honey, lemon, or ginger to taste (optional)

Turkey Tail Tea Using FRESH or DRIED Mushrooms

  • 3/4 cup chopped turkey tail mushroom
  • 4 cups purified water
  • Honey, lemon, or ginger to taste (optional)

Instructions

(Bonus) Turkey Tail Tea Latte

  • Steam or heat 1 cup of milk to your desired temperature.
  • Add 2-4 grams of turkey tail mushroom powder and 1/2 tsp of cacao to the steamed milk.
  • Stir in sweetener if desired, then froth with a small whisk or milk frother.
  • Top it with a sprinkle of cinnamon and enjoy!

Turkey Tail Tea Using POWDER

  • Boil 1 cup of water and add 2-4 grams of turkey tail mushroom powder.
  • Let it steep for 5-10 minutes.
  • Strain the liquid through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer to remove any solids.
  • Add honey, ginger, or lemon juice to taste. Stir well and enjoy!

Turkey Tail Tea Using FRESH or DRIED Mushrooms

  • Add chopped mushrooms to a large pot with enough water to cover them.
  • Bring the water to a boil then simmer for 1-2 hours until water becomes a rich brown color and mushrooms have softened.
  • Strain the mushrooms out using a strainer or cheesecloth.
  • Add honey, ginger, or lemon juice to taste, then stir well and enjoy!

Notes

Turkey tail tea will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, so feel free to make it in bulk or store any extra.
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Chinese
Keywords: cough relief, immune support, natural cures, natural remedies, vitality

Sources

  1. CVD and Oxidative Stress (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5332926/)
  2. Oxidative Stress and Cancer: Advances and Challenges (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4884860/)
  3. Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3991026/)
  4. A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6240259/)
  5. TLR2 agonist PSK activates human NK cells and enhances the anti-tumor effect of HER2-targeted monoclonal antibody therapy (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3206987/)
  6. Purification, characterization, and antitumor activity of a novel glucan from the fruiting bodies of Coriolus Versicolor (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5298263/)
  7. Efficacy of adjuvant immunochemotherapy with polysaccharide K for patients with curative resections of gastric cancer (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17106715/)
  8. A review of research on the protein-bound polysaccharide (polysaccharopeptide, PSP) from the mushroom Coriolus versicolor (basidiomycetes: Polyporaceae) (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306362397000761)
  9. Immune Modulation From Five Major Mushrooms: Application to Integrative Oncology (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684115/)
  10. Antiinflammatory and Immunomodulating Properties of Fungal Metabolites (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1160565/)
  11. Control of oral human papillomavirus (HPV) by medicinal mushrooms, Trametes versicolor and Ganoderma lucidum: a preliminary clinical trial (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25271984/)
  12. Immunomodulating Effects of Fungal Beta-Glucans: From Traditional Use to Medicine (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8072893/)
  13. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms (https://www.dl.begellhouse.com/journals/708ae68d64b17c52,31e1791e300b7e1e,565912657940cd12.html)
  14. Clinical and Physiological Perspectives of β-Glucans: The Past, Present, and Future (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5618555/)
  15. Effects of polysaccharopeptide from Trametes versicolor and amoxicillin on the gut microbiome of healthy volunteers: a randomized clinical trial (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25006989/)
  16. Trametes versicolor Extract Modifies Human Fecal Microbiota Composition In vitro (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11130-013-0342-4)
  17. The Role of Apoptosis-Induced Proliferation for Regeneration and Cancer (https://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/content/4/8/a008797.full)
  18. Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835915/)
  19. Antigenotoxic Effect of Trametes spp. Extracts against DNA Damage on Human Peripheral White Blood Cells (https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2015/146378/)
  20. Effect of Coriolus versicolor Mycelia Extract on Exercise Performance and Physical Fatigue in Mice (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5666542/)
  21. Coriolus versicolor (Yunzhi) Use as Therapy in Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients with Poor Liver Function or Who Are Unfit for Standard Therapy (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28375640/)
  22. Polysaccharide peptides from Coriolus versicolor: A multi-targeted approach for the protection or prevention of alcoholic liver disease (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464617307235?via%3Dihub)

*DISCLAIMER I AM NOT A DOCTOR. Check with your doctor or herbalist or whoever you trust if you want to try turkey tail. I am not suggesting that this tea will cure you or your family.


17 comments

  • Wow! This has so many benefits! I love a good cup of tea and we are still recovering from the flu! It seems the cough just lingers on with not much that helps. Will be trying this tea!

  • I have to try this turkey tail tea! I’ve never heard of it before. I would love to use it for stress, anxiety, and other amazing health benefits.

  • This is interesting and the first time to know about such a tea. Never thought would something like being true lol I drink sometimes tea and this could be a new attempt.
    thank you for sharing!

  • 5 stars
    Mushrooms like turkey tail grow all over the place here in Oregon, and I’ve seen this one on nearly every local walk in a forested area, but I never knew how many health benefits there are! I’ll have to look into trying some turkey tail tea…

  • So interesting~ I’ve never heard of turkey tail tea and love this idea. Your whole forgotten skills section is fantastic.

  • My wife has been on meds for high blood pressure for many years. I started her on turkey tail and now within a couple days of taking it her blood pressure is now normal for the first time.

  • How long can turkey tail tea keep after simmering? Can it be kept in the fridge and how long can it be kept in the fridge?

    • Hi Kym,
      After simmering, drink the tea within a few hours if left at room temp to minimize the risk of bacterial growth.

      You can definitely refrigerate it to have it last longer too (just put it in a sealed container). It can be kept for about 2 to 3 days without any significant loss of quality. After the initial 2-3 days the flavor will start to deteriorate and it can go bad.

      Freezing in smaller batches is an option too to keep its freshness for weeks or even months! Hope this helped 🙂

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