The unique and amazing Cordyceps mushroom came to the attention of the international public after Chinese athletes broke two world records with major advantages over previous records at the 1993 Asian Games. It seems that the secret to outstanding performance was the Cordyceps mushroom.
Renowned for its natural ability to fight free radicals, infections and inflammation, Cordyceps has been used for centuries to treat respiratory problems, cancer, liver disease and more.
Moreover, the Cordyceps mushroom is considered a superfood, able to fight the effects of aging and stress, prevent disease and fully energize the body.
What is Cordyceps
Cordyceps is a type of edible medicinal mushroom with rich nutritional content and multiple benefits. Cordyceps mushrooms are slightly different from other medicinal mushrooms, being classified as Ascomycetes, a class of parasitic saprophytic fungi with a body consisting of filaments, which live in symbiosis with a species of caterpillar.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinesis) has been used in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine since the 15th century. They are harvested from mountainous regions at high altitudes (over 3800 meters), especially from certain regions of the Himalayas and China, where the caterpillars are found.
In Tibet, this special mushroom is known as “yartsa gunbu“, “summer grass” or “summer worm”. It was first identified when local shepherds noticed that the yaks and goats that ate this mushroom were healthier and stronger. This observation led to a more detailed examination in order to better understand the benefits offered.
The Cordyceps mushroom has a somewhat bizarre life cycle. Its spores are deposited on some species of caterpillars, which it infects. This species of the caterpillar is buried underground before dying, and in the spring small Cordyceps fungi emerge from the caterpillar’s body.
Unlike ordinary mushrooms, Cordyceps mushrooms have a curved, elongated, stick-like shape, usually colored orange or brown.
Benefits of Cordyceps Mushroom
One of the main beneficial effects of Cordyceps is the more efficient oxygenation of the body. Thus, the fungus dilates the airways, and a greater amount of oxygen reaches the blood and organs, improving the functions of the cell.
The benefits of the Cordyceps mushroom on the human body are many, so we present the most relevant of them to understand how it can help you treat and prevent your health problems.
Several laboratory studies have shown that Cordyceps has effective anti-tumor properties in treating lymphoma, melanoma, prostate, breast, liver and colorectal cancer.
The use of cordyceps with chemotherapy and medicine is safe because it is toxic to cancer cells without affecting healthy ones. Several clinical trials have shown a reduction in Cordyceps tumors due to its antioxidant effect.
Thus, the Cordyceps fungus (Cordyceps sinesis) is found in the composition of many natural supplements with anti-tumor effect, such as Tien Hsien Liquid . In addition, the special properties of this mushroom make it useful in the prevention of cancer.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Two active ingredients in Cordyceps, d-mannitol cordycepin and 3′-deoxyadenosine, are partly responsible for their actions in helping to regulate insulin and blood sugar. Careful monitoring of blood glucose, using a glucometer or seeking the help of a specialist, is very important for people who have been diagnosed with diabetes and beyond.
Another substance isolated from this medicinal mushroom reduced both blood sugar and dangerous triglycerides and cholesterol in diabetics. Laboratory studies have shown that using Cordyceps reduces weight, and excessive thirst and increases glucose tolerance, which leads to a lower risk of diabetes.
Protects the Heart
Research on the beneficial effects of the caterpillar fungus has had good results, especially in terms of cardiovascular health. One study found that patients who took a Cordyceps powder supplement had a reduced risk of heart failure due to the anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties of this food.
Recently, a number of preparations of Cordyceps fungal mycelium have been approved in China for the treatment of arrhythmias.
Protects the Kidneys
Cordyceps contains CS-4, a substance that improves kidney function, lowers blood urea and creatinine, and increases protein and calcium levels.
In China, this fungus is often used to treat kidney disease, including chronic nephritis and pyelonephritis, chronic liver dysfunction, or nephritic syndrome.
Balances Cholesterol Levels
Certain components of Cordyceps lower the level of LDL cholesterol, the bad one, and increase the good one, HDL, by regulating the liver function and protecting the heart, as well as the endocrine system.
A 1999 study of 245 patients found that after consuming one gram of ‘mushroom caterpillar’ every day for two months, 61% of them had a 17.5% reduction in bad cholesterol. and the higher one.
Supports the Immune System
A 2012 study found that Cordyceps polysaccharides induce immunosuppression, which increases lymphocyte activity and macrophage function in laboratory mice. Lymphocytes produce the immune response to infections or wounds, and macrophage cells detect and destroy pathogens and diseased cells in the body.
In other words, eating caterpillar mushrooms can strengthen your immune system and protect you from a wide range of ailments, from colds to cancer.
Fighting Aging: Although many people claim to have learned the secret of eternal youth, research into the Cordyceps fungus has yielded surprising results. Contains concentrated anti-aging substances that help rejuvenate the skin, remove dead cells, reduce wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Improves Sexual Function
Traditionally, both women and men in Asia use Cordyceps to increase libido and improve sexual function. Laboratory studies have shown that the fungus helps oxygenate and improve blood circulation, treating impotence and increasing fertility.
Fight Fatigue and Increase Physical Performance
A 2010 study found that Cordyceps extract improved the physical performance of 20 healthy adults. The adenomyosis it contains stimulates the body to produce adenosine triphosphate, the main source of energy for the functioning of cells.
Other medical research has shown the property of the fungus to help athletes cope more easily with sustained training, and its ability to lower blood pressure allows them to exert intense effort for a longer period of time.
Improves respiratory function
As mentioned above, Cordyceps increases the amount of oxygen that reaches the lungs, helping not only athletes but also those suffering from respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic bronchitis.
A higher supply of oxygen in the body prevents respiratory failure, and the organs function more efficiently. Laboratory studies have also shown that this fungus helps to cure respiratory infections faster.
How to Use Cordyceps
Given the hard-to-reach places where they grow naturally, Cordyceps mushrooms were hard to come by and were available at high prices.
Even today, these medicinal mushrooms are not very easy to find, but scientists have managed to reproduce them in the laboratory, in order to be more easily accessible on the market.
Thus, several types of Cordyceps-based supplements are available in pharmacies and specialty stores, from tablets to capsules and from tinctures to powders. To adhere to the long tradition of Chinese medicine, some consumers use dehydrated mushrooms in teas, soups and other foods.
The quality of Cordyceps products varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, so we advise you to choose the products of a reliable company with experience in the field. In addition, when it comes to medicinal mushrooms, organic supplements are the most appropriate.
The dosage of the caterpillar mushroom depends on why we use it and the effects we want. Some doctors recommend using Cordyceps daily to treat ailments and once or twice a week for prevention and maintenance.
In general, the opinions of specialists on the amount used vary, from 2 grams per day to 20, in several administrations. Most Cordyceps supplements come with precise dosage and administration instructions.
Of course, it is best to consult a doctor to determine the exact recommended dosage for the condition you are treating.
Side Effects and Contraindications
In general, Cordyceps does not cause any side effects, but there are some situations in which its use is not recommended. People suffering from an autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis or lupus, should not consume it, as they may experience negative effects of the fungus, as it intensifies the activity of the immune system, aggravating the condition.
Do not take Cordyceps even if you have problems with blood clotting or other such disorders, as it may make them worse. If you are going to have surgery, stop taking it two weeks before surgery.
Doctors also draw attention to the use of Cordyceps in pregnant or lactating women, which is prohibited because clinical trials have not yet yielded sufficient results on its effects in these cases.
We hope you’ve found the information you’re looking for on Cordyceps and will decide if it addresses the issues you want to address or prevent. For additional questions or concerns, feel free to email us. Good health!