Backpacking · Food · Health · Hiking and Fitness · Iran · Islamic Republic of Iran · mountaineering · Travel · Trekking · Uncategorized

The Best Things in Life are Free: Turkey Tail Mushroom Tea Anyone?

The Best Things in Life are Free: Turkey Tail Shroom Tea Anyone?

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“The Best Things in Life are Free” should be THE MOTTO for any avid hiker. Outdoorsy inclined homo sapiens who have made some good finds in the wild should know exactly what’s implied by the popular cliche. Coming across rare and special gifts presented by Mother Nature that heal, provide clues to scientific theories, or even an idea of what the past may have once been like can make a poor lover of nature feel like the richest soul on earth. As a believer in one divine creator myself, I feel God has left us everything on earth we need that goes beyond our basic survival but also for healing our physical and emotional ailments. I have many examples of such healing rudiments found on my hiking trips. One such powerful healing shroom I would like to introduce is the commonly known turkey tail mushroom or to be more scientifically correct Trametes versicolor.

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The turkey tail has been the rave of scientific breakthroughs in the medical field over the last five years or so for its healing properties. There is a long list of healing properties this common little shroom is said to have. One of the greatest notions being put to test in US universities is it’s ability to boost the immune system in cancer patients. Many consumers of the mushroom are breast cancer patients from all over the world. They claim that the Turkey Tail – which grows on tree stumps everywhere – is responsible for overall improvement of their immune system. The following was taken from an article in the Huffington Post: “A promising clinical study shows that the turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor) improves the immune systems of breast cancer patients. The multiyear study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), tracked whether or not turkey tails could positively affect the immune system of patients rebound after they ended their radiation therapy. Turkey tail mushrooms have been used to treat various maladies for hundreds of years in Asia, Europe, and by indigenous peoples in North America. Records of turkey tail brewed as medicinal tea date from the early 15th century, during the Ming Dynasty in China. Our ancestors certainly encountered them and most likely explored their uses long before written history. Since the late 1960s, researchers in Japan have focused on how turkey tail benefits human health and how extracts of turkey tail can boost the immune system.” { Updated Oct 26, 2012 Paul Stamets Founder, Fungi Perfecti; Advisor, Program of Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Medical School, Tucson “ Turkey-Tails help the Immune System Fight Cancer” } The benefits of the Turkey-tail are endless according to several articles online. The only downside I seem to gather from consuming turkey-tail shrooms – especially if they are found in the wild= are the methods used to cook and use them (always research and know your s#$t before eating anything found in the wild) but overall the benefits seem promising.

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Apex or top view of several turkey tail mushrooms. Isn’t it obvious why they are called “Turkey tails” ?

 

So what is a Turkey Tail and how do we go about identifying them?
Trametes versicolor the turkey-tail is named as it is for its beautiful array of colors and a shape which fans out like the tail of the turkey. These mushrooms come in an assortment of colors like brown, blue and orange. Unlike some other mushrooms they do not have gills but have pores on the underside (anything with gills is not a true TT). I posted photos of true turkey-tail mushrooms which I so fortunately found on one of my hiking trips in Iran, Nahar Khoran area.

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The Turkey Tails with a porous underside.

Knowing the difference between false turkey tails and true tails is super important! Be aware! There are turkey-tail impostors out there! So, I took photos of the apex and underside view of the mushrooms for easy identification. The underside is porous and has no gills, you will notice this in my photos. It is good to know as well that these shrooms can be grown and harvested easily in your own backyard. A clean and controlled environment may as well be better for you – if you plan on consuming the shrooms and experimenting with them – because they tend to thrive on heavy metals and pollutants. Most people who eat the mushrooms claim they are too tough to eat in the raw or throw on a salad. So don’t eat them off the stump without careful preparations and consultation, if you know what I mean. I have read the best way to consume them is in a chai, preferably brewed for several hours. Some have suggested up to 3 days of a slow brewing process is needed to gain all the nutrients and benefits the tails have to offer. They are said to have a a yummy wal-nut like taste. I can’t wait to experiment on my own soon.

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They grow in clusters often on trees and stumps.

Personally, I was not very familiar with the variety of turkey tails that I found on this hiking trip. Which is why I took photos of them, it was done in order to identify them correctly before I brought them home for consumption. I am cautious more than ever, since I haven’t had some of the best experiences with eating mushrooms in the wild! That’s a long and embarrassing story which is all somehow a blur to me! (Some folks are probably thinking that I’m a little kooky, but luckily I am not the type of woman to give a flying mushroom about that.) Now that I have a bit more information on them I may try them in a tea. That being said, if any of my readers have more suggestions and methods on cooking the tails please provide as I am not a fungus expert!

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Tip – Always research and know your s#$t before eating anything found in the wild, unless you want a good hard trip, to the emergency room! People like me make mistakes to teach you 🙂

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8 thoughts on “The Best Things in Life are Free: Turkey Tail Mushroom Tea Anyone?

    1. Hi Arvi, good to hear from you! Well you never know, you just might have something incredible and it has gone unnoticed. Maybe you’ll be the first to point that out 🙂 I take little samples of interesting plant and finds and then come back home and do a little research on them. I do find many edible berries and saffron too. We have a pantry with some of our herbal finds. I’ll post on some of those finds soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sure do post them. well the terrain we live in is semi arid. so by now all hills are sporting trees devoid of leaves. only certain hardy trees usually with thorns is what we find here. In monsoon season it turns other way around, all green. Btw, what’s your name?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes it’s true. Surely ancient trade was flourishing between two countries. we have parsi community in India whose origin is from Iran. Are you aware?
        Mesopotamia and Indus are old civilizations, there is no doubt about their trade links and mutual influence.

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      3. Amazing! We have historical communities in Iran too that have Indian origins. I have a photo in one of my files, a lady playing violin on the Caspian whose ancestors are Indian. It makes you realize how small the world is and how people are in some way all beautifully connected.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Much before British rule and under mughal rule -they came from central Asia and ruled India for more than 200-300 years. Urdu was common language which came into existence due to amalgamation of Hindi, Arabic and Farsi! True it’s all connected! Even today we, enjoy dates from Iran!

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