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Medicinal mushroom: Trametes versicolor - Yunzhi - Turkey Tail - PSP - PSK

July 25th, 2013 | Author: Master of Herbal Medicine, University of Sydney Australia.

Other Names: Trametes Versicolor, Coriolus Versicolor, Turkey Tail, Kawaratake, Yun-Zhi, 云芝, polysaccharide K (PSK), polysaccharide-peptide (PSP), versicolor polysaccharide (VPS).

Trametes versicolor (Yunzhi / Turkey Tail / PSP/PSK) — formerly known as Coriolus versicolor and Polyporus versicolor — is an extremely common polypore mushroom which can be found throughout the world.Versicolor means 'of several colours' and it is true that this mushroom is found in a wide variety of different colours. T. versicolor is commonly called Turkey Tail because of its resemblance to the tail of the wild turkey. T. versicolor is recognized as a medicinal mushroom in Chinese medicine under the name yun zhi. Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved cordyceps as a dietary supplement.

The Trametes Versicolor is a polypore mushroom. It is found the world over. It grows and develops different colours, something that apparently has a relation to its name. It is also for this same reason that it is sometimes called Turkey Tail.

Chinese and Japanese have used this mushroom for its medicinal properties for a long time. The cap of the mushroom is thick and feels like leather.

Sometimes it is rust-brown. Sometimes it is darkish brown with blackish areas. Sometimes it has areas with green algae growing on it. The cap has a triangular, round shape.

It is a mushroom used in traditional Asian herbal remedies (see Chinese Herbal Medicine). Two substances extracted from the mushroom, polysaccharide K (PSK) and polysaccharide-peptide (PSP), are being studied as possible complementary cancer treatments. Verisicolor polysaccharid (VPS), another extract from the mushroom that is sold as a dietary supplement in the United States, is also being studied. A polysaccharide is a carbohydrate formed by a large number of sugar molecules.

What does it involve?
Coriolus versicolor can be taken as a capsule, as an extract, or as a tea. The doses usually range from 1 to 9 grams per day, depending on the patient's condition. Coriolus versicolor can be obtained in herbal medicine shops, health food stores, and on the Internet. A variety of extracts of the mushroom, including PSP and VPS, are also sold as dietary supplements in the United States.

Coles M. Toth B. Lack of prevention of large intestinal cancer by VPS, an extract of Coriolus versicolor mushroom. In Vivo. 2005; 19:867-871.

Fisher M, Yang LX. Anticancer effects and mechanisms of polysaccharide-K (PSK): Implications of cancer immunotherapy. Anticancer Res. 2002;22:1737-1754.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. About herbs: Coriolus versicolor. Accessed at: on June 10, 2008.

Nakazato H, Koike A, Saji S, Ogawa N, Sakamoto J. Efficacy of immunochemotherapy as adjuvant treatment after curative resection of gastric cancer. Study group of immunochemotherapy with PSK for gastric cancer. Lancet. 1994;343:1122-1126.

Ng TB. A review of research on the protein-bound polysaccharide (polysaccharopeptide, PSP) from the mushroom Coriolus versicolor (Basidomycetes: polyporacae). Gen Pharmac. 1998;30:1-4.

Torisu M, Hayashi Y, Ishimitsu T, et al. Significant prolongation of disease-free period gained by oral polysaccharide K (PSK) administration after curative surgical operation of colorectal cancer. Cancer. 1990;31:261-268.

Toth B, Coles M, Lynch J. Effects of VPS extract of Coriolus versicolor on cancer of the large intestine using a serial sacrifice technique. In Vivo. 2006;20:341-346.

Tsang KW, Lam CL, Yan C, Mak JC, Ooi GC, Ho JC, et al. Coriolus versicolor polysaccharide peptide slows progression of advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Respir Med. 2003;97:618-624.

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Coriolus versicolor: Detailed scientific review. Accessed at: on June 10, 2008.

Note: This information may not cover all possible claims, uses, actions, precautions, side effects or interactions. It is not intended as medical advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultation with your doctor, who is familiar with your medical situation.