Turkey tail mushroom
Turkey tail mushroom


Turkey tail (Coriolus versicolor) is a mushroom. It contains polysaccharide peptide (PSP) and polysaccharide krestin (PSK), which are used as medicine.

Turkey tail mushroom grows on stumps and the decomposing wood of trees. The PSP and PSK in turkey tail mushroom might help slow cancer growth and boost the immune system.

People use turkey tail mushroom to improve response to cancer medicines and radiation. It is also used for muscle strength, fatigue, UTIs, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
When taken by mouth: Turkey tail mushroom is likely safe for most people. For most healthy adults, it is well-tolerated. Some people who are receiving chemotherapy and a substance extracted from turkey tail mushroom called polysaccharide krestin (PSK) have reported nausea, vomiting, low white blood cell counts, and liver problems. But it is unclear if these side effects were due to the chemotherapy or PSK.

When used in the vagina: There isn't enough reliable information to know if turkey tail mushroom is safe. It might cause side effects like itching and irritation.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if turkey tail mushroom is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.


NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
  • Cancer. Taking polysaccharide krestin (PSK), a substance found in turkey tail mushroom, by mouth might improve the response to chemotherapy by a small amount in some people with certain types of cancer.
There is interest in using turkey tail mushroom for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

Turkey tail mushroom contains polysaccharide krestin (PSK) and polysaccharide peptide (PSP). Some supplements contain just these chemicals, but the whole mushroom is also sometimes used. PSK has most often been used by adults in a dose of 3 grams by mouth daily for up to 36 months. Whole turkey tail mushroom has been used in a dose of 2.4 grams by mouth daily for up to 12 weeks. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what type of product and dose might be best for a specific condition.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals


Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

PSP, a chemical found in turkey tail mushroom, might change how quickly cyclophosphamide is removed from the body. This might alter how effective it is, and cause more side effects.

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates)

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. PSP, a chemical found in turkey tail mushroom, might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Turkey tail mushroom might lower blood sugar levels. Taking turkey tail mushroom along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar to drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.

Tamoxifen (Nolvadex)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Taking turkey tail mushroom with tamoxifen might change the way that tamoxifen works in the body or reduce the effects of tamoxifen.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar: Turkey tail mushroom might lower blood sugar. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might lower blood sugar too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include aloe, bitter melon, cassia cinnamon, chromium, and prickly pear cactus.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 08/03/2024 11:00:00 and last updated on 09/08/2022 06:57:16. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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