Cordyceps is a remarkable type of fungus known for its medicinal properties. The cordyceps species are primarily found in various regions around the world, including Asia, Europe, and North America. In recent years, it has gained popularity in the West for its potential health benefits, including increased endurance, enhanced athletic performance, and improved immune function. This article will explore the history and uses of cordyceps, the types available, its potential benefits, and how to take it. We will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding this unique fungus.
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The Definition: Cordyceps is a fungus that infects insects and is believed to offer a wide range of benefits for humans, including reducing inflammation, improving heart health, and boosting exercise performance.
The Process: Because cordyceps is a fungus, this supplement is typically farmed. It is then harvested once they reach the desired height, dried, and ground into a powder so that it can then be used as is or incorporated into other products.
How To Take: Generally, the recommended daily dosage of cordyceps is between 500 to 2,000 mg. Make sure to divide this dose throughout the day and take it with food so that you are able to absorb as much of it as possible.
History: While cordyceps has been used in traditional Chinese medicine as far back as the 15th century, cordyceps was first identified in the 19th century, with further studies taking place in the 20th century to introduce us to the many reported benefits of the fungi.
What Is Cordyceps?
Cordyceps is a parasitic fungus that grows on certain species of caterpillars, and it is known for its ability to improve physical and mental performance. It is believed to have anti-aging effects and potential heart health benefits, just to name a few. Cordyceps is available in various forms, including capsules, powders, and extracts. It can also be brewed into tea.
The two most popular types of cordyceps are Cordyceps Sinensis and Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis. Cordyceps Sinensis is the most commonly used form, while Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis is more expensive and harder to find. The recommended dosage of cordyceps varies depending on the individual, but generally, a dose of 500-1000mg per day is considered safe. It is important to consult a healthcare professional before taking any supplements.
History Of Cordyceps
Cordyceps has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. It is believed to have been first discovered in the 15th century by Tibetan shepherds, who noticed that their sheep and yaks were becoming stronger after eating the fungus. The shepherds then began to use the fungus for its medicinal properties.
In the 19th century, the fungus was identified as a species of cordyceps and was named Cordyceps Sinensis. In the 20th century, further research was conducted on the fungus and its potential medicinal properties. Studies have shown that the fungus contains a range of beneficial compounds, including polysaccharides, proteins, nucleosides, and alkaloids.
What Are The Benefits Of Cordyceps?
Cordyceps is believed to offer a variety of potential health benefits, including improved exercise performance, anti-aging effects, and more. Let’s take a closer look at some of these potential benefits.
- Cordyceps may help improve exercise performance. Cordyceps is believed to increase the body’s capacity to produce ATP, the molecule that provides energy for muscle movement. This increased energy production can improve endurance, allowing athletes to exercise for longer periods of time. It also increases oxygen uptake, allowing the body to use oxygen more efficiently. Studies have also shown that cordyceps can reduce lactic acid buildup in the muscles, which can lead to improved performance.1
- It has anti-aging benefits. Studies have suggested that cordyceps may have anti-aging effects on the skin, as well as on the body's organs and systems.2 It is believed that this is due to its antioxidant properties, which help to reduce oxidative stress and protect cells from damage. Studies have also suggested that cordyceps may help to reduce inflammation, which can contribute to aging.3
- It may help manage type 2 diabetes. Cordyceps may help in the management of type 2 diabetes, as it has been found to improve glucose metabolism and reduce insulin resistance.4 In a study of diabetic rats, cordyceps extract was found to reduce fasting blood glucose levels and improve glucose tolerance.5 Furthermore, it was also found to reduce levels of oxidative stress in the mice, which is believed to be a contributing factor in type 2 diabetes. While more research is needed to confirm the effects of cordyceps on humans with type 2 diabetes, these studies suggest that it may be beneficial for people with the condition.
- It has potential heart health benefits. Cordyceps may offer potential heart health benefits, such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. One study found that cordyceps can reduce inflammation and cholesterol levels, which can help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.6 Additionally, cordyceps may help lower blood pressure, which can also reduce the risk of heart disease. The antioxidants present in cordyceps may also help protect against oxidative stress, which is linked to heart disease.
- It helps fight against inflammation. In a study conducted on mice, researchers found that cordyceps reduced inflammation markers in the animals.7 Another study found that cordyceps could reduce inflammation in the lungs of mice with asthma.8 It is thought that cordyceps may help suppress the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increase the activity of anti-inflammatory enzymes.
What Are The Types Of Cordyceps?
There are three main types of this parasitic fungus cordyceps, each with its own unique properties and potential health benefits.
How Much Cordyceps Should I Take?
The amount of cordyceps you should take depends on your individual needs and health goals. Generally speaking, the recommended daily dosage of cordyceps is between 500 to 2,000 mg. When taking cordyceps as a supplement, it is best to take it in divided doses throughout the day. This will help to ensure that your body is able to absorb the full amount of cordyceps. Take cordyceps with food, as this can help to increase its absorption rate.
Cordyceps has not been extensively studied in humans, so it is not known what the long-term effects of taking cordyceps may be. Therefore, it is important to speak with your doctor before taking any cordyceps supplement to ensure that it is safe for you.
How Do I Store Cordyceps?
Storing cordyceps is relatively straightforward, as it is a dried mushroom. It can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to a year. Keep the container away from direct sunlight and moisture. Do not place it near heat sources, as this can cause the cordyceps to lose its potency.
If stored properly, cordyceps can retain its beneficial properties for up to a year. Additionally, keep the container tightly sealed to prevent the cordyceps from becoming contaminated.
How Can I Take Cordyceps?
Cordyceps can be taken in a variety of ways, depending on the individual's preference and desired effect.
- Take cordyceps as a supplement, either in capsule or powder form. Capsules are easy to swallow and are often preferred by those who don't like the earthy taste of the powder.
- Brew it into tea. To make tea, add one teaspoon of dried cordyceps to a cup of hot water and let steep for five minutes. The tea can be sweetened with honey or lemon if desired.
- Add it to smoothies and other drinks. This is a great way to get the benefits of cordyceps without having to take it as a supplement.
- Cordyceps can be cooked into food. It can be added to soups, stews, stir-fries, and other dishes.
How Do I Choose Cordyceps Supplements?
Look for one that is made from high-quality, organic sources. Additionally, you should always check the label to ensure that the product is free from contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, and other toxins. Habitually check the dosage of the supplement to ensure that it is appropriate for your needs.
When selecting a supplement, make sure that it is standardized to contain a specific amount of active ingredients. It is essential to look for supplements that are free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Finally, read customer reviews to ensure that the supplement is effective and safe.
Why can't cordyceps infect humans?
Cordyceps is a type of fungus, and while some fungi can cause infections in humans, cordyceps does not. It only affects insects and has no known ability to infect humans or other animals.
Is cordyceps a fungus or parasite?
Cordyceps is a type of fungus, not a parasite. It is a species-specific fungus, meaning it only affects certain species, namely insects. Cordyceps do not affect humans or other animals.
Is the cordyceps virus real?
No, it is not real. While some fungi can cause infections in humans, cordyceps does not. Cordyceps only affects insects and has no known ability to infect humans or other animals.
Does cordyceps raise blood pressure?
There is no evidence to suggest that cordyceps can raise blood pressure. In fact, some research suggests that cordyceps may help to reduce blood pressure. However, more research is needed to confirm this.
Can you take cordyceps without food?
Yes, you can take cordyceps without food. However, it is recommended that you take it with food to increase its absorption and maximize its potential benefits.
How long does it take to feel the effects of cordyceps?
The effects of cordyceps can vary from person to person. Some people may feel the effects of cordyceps within a few days, while others may take up to a few weeks to feel the effects.
Does cordyceps affect kidneys?
There is no evidence to suggest that cordyceps can affect the kidneys. In fact, some research suggests that cordyceps may help protect the kidneys from damage.10 However, more research is needed to confirm this.
Can I take cordyceps before sleep?
Yes, you can take cordyceps before sleep. However, it is recommended that you take it with food to increase its absorption and maximize its potential benefits.
What do cordyceps do to the body?
Cordyceps have been used for its potential health benefits, including increased endurance, enhanced athletic performance, improved immune function, and anti-aging benefits. It may also help in the management of type 2 diabetes, improve heart health, and help fight inflammation.
- Van, G. (2018, May 9). 6 Benefits of Cordyceps, All Backed by Science. Healthline; Healthline Media. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cordyceps-benefits
- Cordyceps Is a Killer Fungi With Potential Health Benefits. (2023, March 10). Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/cordyceps-benefits/
- 4 Benefits of the Medicinal Mushroom Cordyceps. (n.d.). Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/benefits-of-cordyceps-89441
- Dong, Y., Jing, T., Meng, Q., Liu, C., Hu, S., Ma, Y., Liu, Y., Lu, J., Cheng, Y., Wang, D., & Teng, L. (2014). Studies on the Antidiabetic Activities of Cordyceps militarisExtract in Diet-Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Sprague-Dawley Rats. BioMed Research International, 2014, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/160980
- Cheng, Y.-W., Chen, Y.-I., Tzeng, C.-Y., Chen, H.-C., Tsai, C.-C., Lee, Y.-C., Lin, J.-G., Lai, Y.-K., & Chang, S.-L. (2012). Extracts of Cordyceps militaris Lower Blood Glucose via the Stimulation of Cholinergic Activation and Insulin Secretion in Normal Rats. Phytotherapy Research, 26(8), 1173–1177. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.3709
- Shweta, Abdullah, S., Komal, & Kumar, A. (2023). A brief review on the medicinal uses of Cordyceps militaris. Pharmacological Research - Modern Chinese Medicine, 7, 100228. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prmcm.2023.100228
- Lin, S., Hsu, W.-K., Tsai, M.-S., Hsu, T.-H., Lin, T.-C., Su, H.-L., Wang, S.-H., & Jin, D. (2022). Effects of Cordyceps militaris fermentation products on reproductive development in juvenile male mice. Scientific Reports, 12(1), 13720. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-18066-2
- Chen, J., Chan, W. M., Leung, H. Y., Leong, P. K., Yan, C. T. M., & Ko, K. M. (2020). Anti-Inflammatory Effects of a Cordyceps sinensis Mycelium Culture Extract (Cs-4) on Rodent Models of Allergic Rhinitis and Asthma. Molecules, 25(18), 4051. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25184051
- Tuli, H. S., Sandhu, S. S., & Sharma, A. K. (2013). Pharmacological and therapeutic potential of Cordyceps with special reference to Cordycepin. 3 Biotech, 4(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13205-013-0121-9
- Cordyceps: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. (2019). Webmd.com. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-602/cordyceps