Coriolus versicolor (Kawaratake)

Also named as "Turkey Tail mushroom" or "Cloud Mushroom (Yun Zhi)". Another popular commercial title related to this mushroom is "PSP" (polysaccharopeptide).


Coriolus versicolor (Yun zhi) is a medicinal mushroom used in traditional Asian herbal remedies. According to the American Cancer Society’s report, polysaccharide extracts from Coriolus vesicolor maybe used as possible complementary cancer treatments.


Clinical trials suggest that Polysaccharide K (PSK) isolated from C. versicolor may aid in increasing cancer patients’ survival rates and lengthening periods of time without disease with little side effects. PSK is believed to be a strong antioxidant. In some animal studies, PSK slows the spread of cancer cells. It also appears to have some immune system–boosting properties in people undergoing chemotherapy and may lessen some side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.


More than 2 dozen human studies of PSK focused on cancer of the esophagus, stomach, colon, or breast were carried out in Japan and reviewed by experts at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The researchers concluded that most of these patients benefited from PSK administration.


People who received PSK with other treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy, generally had longer periods of time without disease and had increased survival rates compared with patients who received only standard treatment.


Another Yun zhi substance under extensive study is Polysaccharide peptide (PSP). Studies in animals have suggested that PSP may slow the growth of lung cancer and sarcoma, and may help make radiation therapy more effective in treating certain brain tumors. A 2002 double- blind placebo-controlled randomized study evaluated the effects of 28-day administration of PSP on patients, who had completed conventional treatment for advanced Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). After the treatment period, significant improvements in blood leukocyte and neutrophil counts, serum IgG and IgM, and percent of body fat were observed among the PSP patients, but not the control group. 


There were significantly less PSP patients withdrawn from the study due to disease progression than their control counterparts. PSP treatment appeared to be associated with slower deterioration in patients with advanced NSCLC (Tsang et al.). Other research has shown that PSP exhibited ciclosporin-like activity in controlling aberrant lymphocyte activation, and it carries a potential to be a specific immunomodulatory adjuvant for clinical applications in the treatment of autoimmune diseases (Lee et al.).