Here is a medicinal mushroom that I find growing abundantly in oak logs around my property, and is found thus throughout much of the US. Of course, positive identification should be made of any mushrooms for consumption (or for teas and extracts). Though not necessarily edible, most of the polyspore mushrooms are fairly safe, but I would do a positive Identification using one of the mushroom field guides available. There is a false turkey tail and though maybe not poisonous, I don’t know if it possesses the health benefits of Trametes Versicolor. This would be fairly easy to grow by inoculation of logs using commercially available spawn if you do not find it naturally occurring or are not certain of your identification skills.
Concerning it’s health benefits, and referring to the publication ”MycoMedicinals” by Paul Stamets, I see the following properties listed: Immune Enhancement, anti-tumor, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-oxidant. It is used quite commonly in a number of health supplements, but I would be leery of any claims from preparations that did not use the proper processes or natural and pure forms. There is quite a bit of anecdotal evidence of its beneficial use in treating a variety of cancers, but most of these studies originate in Japan and other parts of Asia. Here are a couple of promising studies underway:
- A Mushroom Extract May Impact The Body’s Immune System
- Mushroom Extract may fight infection and cancer
- Mushroom Health Benefits Diagram
My personal method of preparation is to cut it off the log, dry it (doesn’t take long), or use it fresh in teas or soups. I simply take some scissors and slice thin little sections off to use in this method. I do not consume the resulting small pieces – though it wouldn’t hurt anything to do so. Also, if you wish to try and grow this yourself using an easy kit, you might want to consider this product:The Turkey Tail Mushroom Patch – Indoor / Outdoor Mushroom Growing Kit – Grow Your Own Edible Mushrooms & Fungi. Easy & Fun Mush Room Growing Kit – Grow Mushrooms for Cooking Ingredients. Great Gift Idea for a Cook.