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Trametes versicolor – also known as Coriolus versicolor and Polyporus versicolor – is a common polyporemushroom found throughout the world. Meaning 'of several colours', versicolor reliably describes this mushroom found in different colors. By example, due to its resembling multiple colors in the tail of wild turkey, T. versicolor is commonly called turkey tail.
The top surface of the cap shows typical concentric zones of different colours. The flesh is 1–3 mm thick and has leathery texture. Older specimens, such as the one pictured, can have zones with green algae growing on them, thus appearing green. It commonly grows in tiled layers. The cap is rust-brown or darker brown, sometimes with blackish zones. The cap is flat, up to 8 x 5 x 0.5-1 cm in area. It is often triangular or round, with zones of fine hairs. The pore surface is whitish to light brown, pores round and with age twisted and labyrinthine. 2-5 pores per millimeter.
T. versicolor contains a range of immunologically active polysaccharides, including the protein-bound PSP and B-1,3 and B-1,4 glucans. The lipid fraction contains the lanostane-type tetracyclic triterpenoid sterol ergosta-7,22,dien-3B-ol as well as fungisterol and B-sitosterol.
According to the American Cancer Society: "Available scientific evidence does not support claims that the raw mushroom itself is an effective anti-cancer agent in humans. But there is some scientific evidence that substances derived from parts of the mushroom may be useful against cancer."
Polysaccharide-K (PSK) displays anticancer activity in preliminary laboratory assessments in vitro,in vivo and in preliminary human research. Other basic research showed that PSK might reduce mutagen-induced, radiation-induced and spontaneously induced development of experimental cancer cell preparations. PSK is beneficial as an adjuvant in the treatment of gastric, esophageal, colorectal, breast and lung cancers. Human pilot studies indicate PSK adjuvants might reduce cancer recurrence. Other basic research demonstrated that the mushroom inhibited certain human cancer cell lines in vitro.
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