Coriolus versicolor mushroom for Herbal Naturopathy: properties, benefits, uses, side effects

Coriolus versicolor is a medicinal mushroom with an important anticancer and antimetastatic action. Also known for its immunostimulating and antiviral properties, Coriolus also rebalances the immune system. Let’s find out better.

Description of the mushroom

Scientific name Trametes Versicolor, it is also called Turkey Tail or “turkey tail”. This popular name comes from the characteristic bandage that makes it resemble an open turkey’s tail. These bands can take on very beautiful colors, but most range from dark to light brown. In Japan it is known as Kawaratake, in China as Yun Zhi.

It is one of the most common and easy to find fungi in the wood stumps and dead trunks of almost all types of trees, with a very varied distribution, a high proliferation throughout the year and often resists even the winter although not perennial.

This mushroom is part of the Polyporus family which are very important for the ecosystem as they decompose wood and recycle nutrients and minerals contained in it which can then be used by other organisms.

The ancient Taoists revered this mushroom because it grew on pine trunks and since this is an evergreen tree they attributed the same properties of strength and endurance as the tree. Taoists believed in the yang energy of the pine roots and for this reason they prescribed it to patients with a lack of Yang energy.

For centuries it has been a fundamental component of traditional Asian medicine, so much so that in the 1980s the use of Coriolus in various forms of cancer was officially approved, in fact its extract is one of the best-selling antineoplastic drugs in Japan.

It is currently used in cancer patients in conjunction with surgery, chemo and radiotherapy.

The properties of Coriolus versicolor

It is a woody and inedible mushroom, has an enormous energy value and is mainly composed of 42% polysaccharides of which 39% are beta-D-glucans, contains proteins and fats, such as sterols and unsaturated fatty acids and 7.0% of fibers.

The vegetable fibers it contains are very important for improving digestion and therefore allows optimal absorption of nutrients. As with all mushrooms, the content of vitamin B is important, such as B6 and B12, the latter essential because it has positive effects on the health of the brain and nervous system, promoting cell growth and development and is necessary for the formation of red blood cells.

Immunostimulating, antibiotic and antiviral, Coriolus versicolor tends to rebalance the immune system by reducing inflammation and promoting antibacterial and antiviral activity.

Due to its characteristics of activation of the immune system against viral infections, this mushroom is useful in the prevention of winter diseases and in general in all diseases induced by viruses.

Excellent results have been obtained in recurrent HSV infections, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Coriolus versicolor attracted the attention of the pharmaceutical industry when a chemical engineer, observed his neighbor treating stomach cancer with a folk remedy. The man was in a terminal stage, and could not be treated in hospitals or clinics. For several months he took the remedy, consisting of a fungus, and then, cured, he went back to work. That folk remedy was Coriolus versicolor.

The engineer convinced his colleagues to examine it. The best variety of the mushroom was sought and its cultivation began, which soon led to the birth of PSK, an extract of the mushroom. PSK (Polysaccharide K) is the main component of the crestin: it is beta-glucan 1-3, the type of polysaccharide found in medicinal mushrooms, bound to a protein and particularly beneficial for the immune system. The success of the crest inspired some Chinese researchers to develop their own extract of Coriolus versicolor which they called PSP (Polysaccharide Peptide). The peptide is a low molecular weight compound that appears in the creation of proteins. Both PSK and PSP are powerful immunostimulants.

Its preventive, antitumor and antimetastatic action is very important thanks to its PSP and PSK extracts in the prevention of carcinogenesis.

PSK has been shown to have actions at various levels: it inhibits the invasion of tumor cells, suppresses the adhesion of tumor cells to the vascular endothelium through the anti-platelet aggregation action induced by the tumor cells themselves, suspension of tumor growth, inhibition of tumor progression thanks to the antioxidant action.

Therefore Coriolus is indicated both in the presence of viral infections and when it comes to hormone-dependent cancer cells. In vitro studies have demonstrated its action on various tumor lines of gastric carcinoma, lung cancer, liver cancer, leukemia and lymphoma.

When to use it

Viral diseases, winter diseases, hormone-dependent tumors (breast, ovary, uterus, endometrium, cervix, prostate, testicle, pulmonary mesothelioma, myeloma, lymphoma), in fibromyalgia.

Powerful anticancer energy and immune system rebalancing.

Together with Cordyceps they are very useful supports in the treatment of radiotherapy, as it protects healthy cells from the harmful effects of radiation.

Coriolus versicolor in traditional Chinese medicine

It is the mushroom to be used for the Water Lodge when the subject is low on energy, it is the mushroom of the elderly and of the person predisposed to develop degenerative diseases, but can also be used for the Earth Lodge.

The thermal effect is lukewarm, acts on the Spleen, Lung and Heart Meridians, tones the spleen Qi, resolves humidity and catarrhs, nourishes the mind.

Indicated for respiratory diseases, fatigue, chronic and degenerative diseases, viral infections.


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