M Y C O - M E D I T A T I O N 3.
Ode To Turkey Tail, Bard of Bioremediation
More than any other medicinal mushroom, Turkey Tail supports the body’s ability to detoxify. Be it the noxious aftereffects of industrialization or structures that poison and bind, she is a decomposer of the highest order, fanned fungal fronds emerging like feathered tails upon dead hardwood, singing ‘Disintegration’ as she devours her host. Some may call her a necromancer, finessing life from death and reversing the cloying pull of entropy, a Confederate of Chaos that has found her way through to the other side. Call her what you will, she is pluripotent - Adaptogen, Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory, Antibacterial, Immunostimulant. In Chinese she is called Cloud Fungus, and like a cloud she rises up from the depths ensconcing us in tendrils of protective magic, increasing our Wei Qi forcefield against pathogens & the rigors of our environment, replenishing essence and qi with her licentious largesse. With an affinity for the lungs (where clouds like to gather in the cosmos of the body), I use her in my practice to prevent infection, assist in balancing the microbiome, and to support my cancer patients, as Turkey Tail helps mitigate the pernicious side effects of chemo and radiation whilst sporting anti-tumoral properties. In latin, she’s known as Trametes Versicolor - a group of small, thin ones, tremendously variable in color. A cluster of witches in colorful robes, feeding upon the dead, casting out poisons and spitting them into the cuspidors of the void.
Some Trametes fungi are used for bioremediation, the process of training microorganisms to consume and break down environmental pollutants like oil, pesticides, and industrial waste. In this capacity, Turkey Tail is Wei Qi for Gaia herself, denaturing substances that aim to harm her whilst sheltering her from human folly. Like a more genteel Tiger King, Paul Stamets trained Turkey Tail to digest the chemical warfare agent, VX. At the ready, she dismantles the military industrial complex, gnawing upon its corpse.
She is a reminder that all poisons can be degraded, nothing is too abject to be out of bounds, balance will be found through decomposition and disintegration, the gold is in the dungheap. Seeker of cancers, devourer of blight, eviscerater of our chemical sins, she can be used for energetic bioremediation when taken daily as a sacramental tea. Ingested with reverence, she is an ally if you feel heavy and laden with toxicity, overly sensitive, teetering on collapse, exposed to noxious situations or people, besotted with negative self-talk (especially invalidating patterns that have been culturally-enforced against your will), possessing low resistance or fragile immunity. To use her this way, or rather, to fuse with her (mushrooms prefer reciprocal aid to transactional capital), follow these loose brewing guidelines and feel free as always to embellish:
Bring 2 liters of purified water to a boil, along with 3-6 g of dried Turkey Tail pieces. Slow your roll to a simmer, and let it stew for about 1-2 hours on low. Remove from heat, strain the mixture, drink what thou wilt and store the rest in a jar in the fridge, where it will keep for up to one week. When you are bonding with a mushroom, you should commune daily in open-ended spacetime in seated silence. Follow the energy downward as you sip your tea, down, down, down, into the chthonic underbelly of your gut, following the tendrils as she snakes through your body. Allow her to disembody your contaminants, for she builds armor from venoms. Imagination is key. Let your feelings be felt and fester, and trust her to dissolve their density. Repeat, repeat, repeat.