Research & Writing

Journal of the American Herbalists Guild: Turkey Tail Mushrooms and the Antifragility of the Immune System

Article as published in the Journal of the American Herbalists Guild, Volume 12, Number 2

Interest in mushrooms is experiencing a resurgence in the West. Increasingly, people are growing oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) in laundry baskets, foraging for morels (Morchella spp.), and inoculating logs for shiitake (Lentinula edodes) production. Still, fear and confusion over mushrooms pervades in the form of disgust and repulsion toward anything fungal, fear of foraging and mushroom poisoning, and confusion over health effects between phyla of fungi (i.e., pathogenic fungi like Candida albicans versus immunomodulators like Ganoderma lucidum).

Medicinal mushrooms are relevant to herbal practice for several reasons. Firstly, they have constituents that are not found in plants. Fungal polysaccharides (such as ß-glucans, the focus of this article), novel antimicrobials, and many other secondary metabolites with unique bioactivity (such as herinacines and nerve growth factor upregulation) have been characterized and investigated …

Read more in: Turkey Tail and Antifragility DAVIS (PDF)

About Author

Renée A. Davis MA RH is a designer and educator in botanical and mycological medicine. Her training began at the Pratt Institute of Art and Design in New York City and concluded in biomedical sciences at the University of Washington. She currently directs research and development for a nutraceutical mushroom company in the Pacific Northwest.

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