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Hi Peter... what is the best way to utilize the ubiquitous but inedible turkeytail?  RSS feed

 
nancy sutton
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We have lots around here (PNW) but they are very tough. How best to access their medicinal and health-supporting properties? And how to preserve them? Thanks a bunch :)

Oh, oh.. and what about cold pasteurization of substrate ?...?
 
Upgeya Pew
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I can address this, as I've used Coriolus versicolor (aka Trametes versicolor, aka Turkey Tail, aka Yun Zhi) to treat high PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels. Luckily, I had these growing on a dead apple tree in my back yard for several years. After doing some research, (reading Stamets, and links below) I discovered that the powerful protein bound polysaccharides in the mushroom and the mycelia are hot water extracted. So I ground up the fibrous mushroom with (1) first, a blender, and then (2) a hand crank seed grinder and boiled the (basically) mushroom sawdust in water for 45 minutes. I'm convinced that taking a spoon full of this twice a day helped my PSA levels to plummet.

Apparently, in the case of Turkey Tail, the mycelia have even more of the good stuff. I never got around to cultivating it, however, as the mushrooms did the trick.

Some mushrooms (like Reishi) also benefit from an alcoholic extraction, where, as I understand it, the mushrooms and mycelia are soaked in ethyl alcohol for a time.

For preservation, I simply put the sawdust in a bag and placed that in the freezer.

For general and specific information check out:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trametes_versicolor
https://www.qut.edu.au/news/news?news-id=35959
http://psp-research.com/review1.htm

Turkey-Tail-Preparation.20150220-Initial-Grinder.jpg
[Thumbnail for Turkey-Tail-Preparation.20150220-Initial-Grinder.jpg]
Turkey-Tail-Preparation.20150220-Final-Grind-Setup-1.jpg
[Thumbnail for Turkey-Tail-Preparation.20150220-Final-Grind-Setup-1.jpg]
 
nancy sutton
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Thanks, Upgeya! Can you tell me what time of the year you harvested the turkeytails? I'm assuming it was sometime in spring... they seem to get even tougher in the summer. And is it possible to freeze the 'tea' ? And/or dry the 'sawdust' for future teas? How long did you take this tea before seeing 'results' ? i.e., got safe PSA test. Thx
 
Donna Kay
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http://www.bastyr.edu/news/general-news/2012/11/fda-approves-bastyr-turkey-tail-trial-cancer-patients
Turkey tails are in studies for efficacy for cancer
 
John Saltveit
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To get the most medicine out of them, slice them somehow to make more surface area, put them in at least 40% alcohol to make a tincture, and agitate them at least once a day. Do this for at least six weeks, then remove the mushrooms, and run them through boiling like upgeya says. Let the boiling down water stuff cool down, then mix them together and you get two types of tremendous turkey tail tea tincture.
John S
PDX OR
 
Upgeya Pew
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Nancy, I think it was middle to late spring. I cut them off the tree with a knife. I don't know if the tea can be frozen or not - but I don't see why not. The mushroom sawdust is very dry. I found no need to dry it. I think I took the tea (AND the fiber) for 1-2 months, but don't remember exactly how long. In looking back at my blood test results, it was two months between the test results. I attach another picture of the result.
Turkey-Tail-Preparation.20150220-Boiled-1-Hour.jpg
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Turkey-Tail-Preparation.20150220-Final-Grind-1.jpg
[Thumbnail for Turkey-Tail-Preparation.20150220-Final-Grind-1.jpg]
 
Peter Hooper
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It's possible to coarsely grind these woody fungi before the extractive process, instead of "somehow slicing" them.

When I process turkey tails and other woody fungi, I divide the harvest into two parts and then process the first part by tincturing and then decocting (and then filtering before mixing the results), and processing the second part in reverse order, decocting and then tincturing (and then filtering, etc.). After all is done with both of the two parts, I mix everything together.

The leftover marc goes into the compost.
 
Donna Kay
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Peter, what other devices will grind them?
 
Rob Read
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Awesome thread! I've learned a lot.

One thing I'll add, though it may be obvious, is dehydrating the mushrooms first before blending might make them easier to powder. Alternately, they might just go leathery and hard to blend.

I don't have direct experience with this, but another idea would be to make the mushrooms into a thick mush (add a bit of water and blend), then dehydrate on a tray, then powder them afterwards. This technique works very well with garlic scapes (no added water required) to make them into a delicious powder.

I'm wondering about just adding them to a tea (once they are powdered). Would that work?

Also - is turkey tail considered something that should be taken strictly therapeutically when someone is suffering from cancer, or could it work as something to take regularly for general good health (like chaga)?
 
Peter McCoy
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I would shred/grind the tissues, tincture all of it in high proof alcohol for 6 weeks, strain the marc, then make a strong decoction. Combine the two liquids 30:70 (30% alcohol). The solids can be calicined to extract their medicinal salts and these can be added to the mix. This is the best way to make a full spectrum extract.

Turkey tails are great as a tea or in soup. The flavor is soothing and almost sweet. At the least, they need to be simmered to make a strong to tea to thoroughly break down their cells walls and release the medicinal sugars found there. Just adding them dry to a pre-made tea wont extract nearly as much.

Cheers
Peter
 
Donna Kay
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Peter, I'm curious how long such a blend with 30% alcohol can be stored. Do you know?

Calcination uses high heat to remove the moisture (would this process be on the stove in a pan with constant stirring?), but would dehydrating be equally suitable?
 
nancy sutton
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Thanks, Peter :) And I'm, hopefully, waiting for the answers to Donna's follow up questions :)


 
Peter McCoy
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Hard to put a time frame on the shelf life. Most herbalists say 1 year to be safe. But, in theory, some of the compounds (such as the sugars) are quite stable and could persist for much longer than that.

Calcination fixes the salts, which drying does not. This an extra, experimental step that is not common.

Cheers
Peter
 
Timothy Black
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Peter McCoy wrote:Hard to put a time frame on the shelf life. Most herbalists say 1 year to be safe. But, in theory, some of the compounds (such as the sugars) are quite stable and could persist for much longer than that.

Calcination fixes the salts, which drying does not. This an extra, experimental step that is not common.

Cheers
Peter


Peter, when you say "Calcination" are you talking about heating to high temperatures in the absence of oxygen? And if so, how would you recommend the spec for that?
 
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