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Medicinal Mushroom: Trametes Versicolor - Yunzhi - Turkey Tail - PSP ...

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. In China and Japan T. versicolor is used as in immunoadjuvant therapy for cancer.[1]

Description and ecology

The top surface of the cap shows typical concentric zones of different colours. Flesh 1–3 mm thick, leathery texture. Cap with rust-brown or darker brown, sometimes blackish zones, Older specimens, such as the one pictured at right, can have zones green algae growing on them, thus appearing green. Commonly grows in tiled layers. Cap flat, up to 8 x 5 x 0.5-1 centimeters, often triangular or round, with zones of fine hairs. Pore surface whitish to light brown, pores round and with age twisted and labyrinthine. 2-5 pores per millimeter

The turkey tail has bioremediation potential, according to mycologist Paul Stamets. T. versicolor biodegrades a variety of pollutants. It is eaten by the caterpillars of the fungus moth Nemaxera betulinella and by the maggots of the Platypezid fly Polyporivora picta.[2]

Medicinal value
Main article: Polysaccharide-K

Polysaccharide-K (Krestin, PSK), is a protein-bound polysaccharide isolated from Trametes versicolor, which is used as an immune system boosting agent in the treatment of cancer in some European countries as well as China and Japan. In Japan, PSK is approved as an adjuvant for cancer therapy[1] and is covered by government health insurance.

PSK has documented anticancer activity in vitro[3], in vivo[4] and in human clinical trials.[5] Research has also demonstrated that the PSK can reduce mutagen-induced, radiation-induced, and spontaneously-induced cancer development.[6] PSK has shown to be beneficial as an adjuvant in the treatment of gastric, esophageal, colorectal, breast and lung cancers.[7] Human clinical trials suggest PSK can reduce cancer recurrence when used as an adjuvant[5][8] and research has demonstrated the mushroom can inhibit certain human cancer cell lines in vitro.[9][10][11] Further in vitro studies have shown that a nutraceutical blend (MC-S) of PSK, lentinan and other fungal extracts can also inhibit cancer cell proliferation.[12]

The United States' top ranked[13] cancer hospital, the MD Anderson has reported that it is a "promising candidate for chemoprevention due to the multiple effects on the malignant process, limited side effects and safety of daily oral doses for extended periods of time."[14]


1. ^ a b ,

2. ^ Chandler, Peter J. (2001). The Flat-footed flies (Opetiidae and Platypezidae) of Europe. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica. 36. Leiden: Brill. pp. 1-278. ISBN 90-04-12023-8.

3. ^ Jiménez-Medina E, Berruguilla E, Romero I, et al. (2008), "The immunomodulator PSK induces in vitro cytotoxic activity in tumour cell lines via arrest of cell cycle and induction of apoptosis", BMC Cancer 8: 78, doi:10.1186/1471-2407-8-78, PMID 18366723.

4. ^ Yamasaki A, Shoda M, Iijima H, et al. (March 2009), "A protein-bound polysaccharide, PSK, enhances tumor suppression induced by docetaxel in a gastric cancer xenograft model", Anticancer Res. 29 (3): 843–50, PMID 19414318.

5. ^ a b Oba K, Teramukai S, Kobayashi M, Matsui T, Kodera Y, Sakamoto J (June 2007), "Efficacy of adjuvant immunochemotherapy with polysaccharide K for patients with curative resections of gastric cancer", Cancer Immunol. Immunother. 56 (6): 905–11, doi:10.1007/s00262-006-0248-1, PMID 17106715.

6. ^ PMID 7606203

7. ^ Fisher, M; Yang, Lx (May 2002). "Anticancer effects and mechanisms of polysaccharide-K (PSK): implications of cancer immunotherapy". Anticancer research 22 (3): 1737–54. ISSN 0250-7005. PMID 12168863. edit

8. ^ Sugimachi K, Maehara Y, Ogawa M, Kakegawa T, Tomita M (4 August 1997), "Dose intensity of uracil and tegafur in postoperative chemotherapy for patients with poorly differentiated gastric cancer", Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 40 (3): 233–8, doi:10.1007/s002800050652, PMID 9219507

9. ^ Hsieh TC, Wu JM (January 2001), "Cell growth and gene modulatory activities of Yunzhi (Windsor Wunxi) from mushroom Trametes versicolor in androgen-dependent and androgen-insensitive human prostate cancer cells", Int J Oncol 18 (1): 81–8, PMID 11115542

10. ^ Dong Y, Yang MM, Kwan CY (1 January 1997), "In vitro inhibition of proliferation of HL-60 cells by tetrandrine and coriolus versicolor peptide derived from Chinese medicinal herbs", Life Sci 60 (8): 135–40, doi:10.1016/S0024-3205(96)00695-9, PMID 9042394

11. ^ Yang MM, Chen Z, Kwok JS (1 January 1992), "The anti-tumor effect of a small polypeptide from Coriolus versicolor (SPCV)", Am J Chin Med 20 (3-4): 221–32, doi:10.1142/S0192415X92000230, PMID 1471606

12. ^ Clark D, Adams M (2009), "A commercial nutraceutical mix Metabolic Cell-Support (MC-S) inhibits proliferation of cancer cell lines in vitro", Austr. J. Med. Herbal. 21: 39–43

13. ^ Best Hospitals: Cancer, U.S. News and World Report,, retrieved 12 July 2009

14. ^ "Coriolus versicolor". Complementary/Integrative Medicine Education Resources. MD Anderson Cancer Center.