The Coriolus versicolor

Turkey tail – the mushroom has been used for generations in East Asia and supports the immune system in the fight against viruses. Even “Ötzi” the Iceman – a well-preserved natural mummy of a man who lived between 3400 and 3100 BC – had a relative of this kind in his travel pharmacy 5,200 years ago.

Coriolus, also called turkey tail, can be found in the wild practically all year round.  It dwells in the woods. Its thin, flat caps reach a size of three to ten centimetres.

Areas of use in mycotherapy:

The glycoproteins of Coriolus, PSK (Krestin) and PSP, support the immune system. They have antiviral, antibacterial and cytotoxic effects on cancer cells. According to studies in cancer patients, the Coriolus can inhibit angiogenesis and metastasis and initiate apoptosis. Coriolus activates the TH1 immune response, which is why it works especially against viruses and tumour cells. However, this can cause it to be contraindicated for autoimmune diseases!

The medicinal mushroom Coriolus has very strong antiviral powers in cases of herpes zoster, flu viruses and cytomegaly.  It activates cellular defence and the production of antibodies. Especially in the case of HIV or hepatitis, it contributes to the improvement of the quality of life.

Viruses can also be significant in the development of cancer: Epstein-Barr infection causes a heaped lymphoma and breast cancer, and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is blamed for cervical cancer. There is a clinical study that shows that Coriolus can turn HPV-positive findings into a negative result after one year of ingestion. Existing lesions on the cervix have also decreased over the course of ingestion. Coriolus is therefore also an important mushroom in the prevention of cancer.

Antibacterial and antifungal effects have been observed in the case of various pathogens (E. coli, streptococcus or candida). Aphlates and inflammation of the oral mucous membranes can be treated with the help of Coriolus.

The medicinal mushroom Coriolus is mainly used before and during radiotherapy. It can also reduce side effects of radiotherapy on blood formation and mucous membranes can prophylactically. There are studies that show that radiotherapy damage in healthy tissue is reduced by this mushroom. This is probably due to its antioxidant effect. Its polysaccharides suppress fat peroxidation and trap other free radicals caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Antioxidant enzymes of the body such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase are activated by this mushroom.

Individual studies also mention the efficacy of Coriolus against hormone-dependent tumours such as breast and prostate cancer. It has a positive supportive effect in treatment with hormone blockers.

Areas of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine:

Characteristics: sweet, slightly warm

  • Strengthens spleen
  • Influence on heart and liver
  • Dissipates heat and flushes out toxins
  • Strengthens energy and spirit
  • Reduces mucus and moisture
  • Strengthens kidney and liver yin
  • Against cancer
  • Against chronic hepatitis
  • In case of infections of the upper respiratory tract, urinary tract and digestive tract
  • Against fatigue


  • Tze-Chen Hsieh, Joseph M. Wu: “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. Journal of Oncology 18: 81-88, 2001
  • Kevin K.W. Chu, Susan S.S. Ho, Albert H.L. Chow: “Coriolus versicolor: A Medicinal Mushroom with Promising Immunotherapeutic Values.”; J Clin Pharmacol 2002, 42: 976-984
  • T.B.Ng: “A Review of Research on the Protein-Bound Polysaccharide (Polysaccharopeptide, PSP) from the Mushroom Coriolus versicolor (Basidiomycetes: Polypora ceae).”; Gen. Pharmac.Vol. 30, No.1, pp. 1-4, 1998
  • Monte Fisher, Li-Xi Yang: “Anticancer Effects and Mechanisms of Polysaccharide-K (PSK).”; Implications of Cancer Immunotherapy; Anticancer Research 22: 1737-1754 (2002)
  • Vincent E.C. Ooi, Fang Liu: “Immunomodulation and Anti-Cancer Activity of Polysaccharide-Protein Complexes.”; Current Medicinal Chemistry, 2000, 7, 715-729
  • Jennifer M.F.Wan, Xiaotong Yang, …: “The I´m-Yunity Polysaccharopeptide ( PSP From Coriolus versicolor Cov-1 Mycelia Induces Cell Cycle Block and Apoptosis in HL-60 Cells2; P-IN COMM-32
  • Prof. Dr. med. Ivo Bianchi: “Moderne Mykotherapie”; Hinckel Druck, 2008
  • Hobbs, C.: “Medicinal Mushrooms”, Botanica Press, 1995

Note: The described effects are based on taking medicinal mushroom powder made from the whole mushroom. Please consult your therapist before use.

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