The benefits of cordyceps sinensis have been clearly demonstrated by numerous scientific studies. When we think of mushrooms, what might come to mind is the culinary mushrooms such as crimini and buttons. While these mushrooms are delicious and do confer nutritive benefits, they do not compare to medicinal mushrooms such as cordyceps and reishi in their medicinal qualities.
By adding cordyceps into our current diet, we can activate a state of health that keeps us strong and active even amidst changing environmental circumstances.
A Brief History of Cordyceps Mushroom
Cordyceps are a highly evolved organism with the ability to grow within and gain nutrients from living creatures such as caterpillars. Luckily, in our modern age a top strain, cordyceps sinensis, has been isolated and we can now grow it in controlled mediums that do not require caterpillars!
Traditionally cordyceps mushrooms grow at high altitudes in the mountains of Tibet, Nepal, and China. Because of the world communities recognition of the benefits of cordyceps, this medicinal mushroom is now grown all over the world.
In 1993 cordyceps came into the world spotlight when a group of Chinese runners broke nine world records in the World Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Germany (1). These results were attributed by the athletes coach to the regular use of a cordyceps-based tonic (2).
Health Benefits of Cordyceps Sinensis
There are many important health benefits to this medicinal mushroom. I will include below some of the most potent and beneficial to the public at large. The benefits below are all backed up by scientific studies.
- Chronic fatigue and low energy levels are rampant in the U.S. and many other so called developed countries. This is one of reasons coffee and caffeinated teas have become so popular.
- Through a placebo controlled study, cordyceps extract was shown to improve energy levels and reduce fatigue in the subjects (3). These benefits of cordyceps also came without any side effects, such as with coffee and caffeinated teas.
- Energizing qualities have also been associated with cordyceps sinensis by TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) (4).
2. Boosting Immunity: Research has shown that cordyceps can boost the ability of the immune system by:
- increasing the activity of helper T-cells and natural killer cells (5).
- accelerating spleen regeneration (6). The spleen is the largest organ of the immune system and is where bacteria are filtered out of the blood.
- increasing SOD (superoxide dismutase) activity (7). SOD is an important enzyme, which has been shown to support and enhance the function of the immune system (8).
3. Cardiovascular Benefits:
- According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Heart disease is the leading causeof death of humans in the United States (9).
- Human and animal studies have both shown many positive benefits of cordyceps for cardiovascular health (10). These studies showed a positive effect on arrhythmias, ischemic heart disease, and chronic heart failure (11).
- Animal studies showed that cordyceps can dilate the coronary arteries and increase blood flow to the heart (12).
4. Other Cordyceps Benefits:
- Respiratory support (13), improving adrenal and sexual function (14), improving kidney function (15).
Cordyceps Side Effects and Safety
Cordyceps have been proven extremely safe (16) and to have minimal or no side effects in humans at the recommended doses (17). It is recommended that individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to cordyceps, mold, or fungi, avoid using it (18). Because cordyceps mushrooms have immune modulating actions, individuals taking immunosuppressive agents should avoid it or use extreme care (19).
Uses of Cordyceps and Recommended Source
Cordyceps is typically found as a liquid, powder, or extract from mycelia (the thread-like mass that blossoms into a fruiting body). Occasionally, it can be found as the fruiting body. I prefer an extract of both (mycelia and fruiting body) to access a concentration of all the vital compounds this incredible fungi has to offer. I also highly recommend that you purchase a product that is certified organic. For dosage, typically 1 teaspoon or about 1500mg is recommended daily. Fungi Health offers an organic extract of both the mycelia and fruiting body of cordyceps and is my personal choice for where to buy this product.
Benefits of Cordyceps Sinensis Review
The Chinese have known for centuries the many benefits of cordyceps mushroom. Modern science has validated many of these benefits, and we now have easy access to products that are safe and control cultivated. By consuming this product we have the potential to increase our energy levels and experience numerous health benefits such as the ones described above and even more!
(1) Stengler, Mark, N.D. The Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms. pg. 15
(3) Stengler, Mark, N.D. The Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms. pg. 15
(4) Page, Linda, Ph.D. Healthy Healing. pg. 104
(8) http://www.squidoo.com/superoxidedismutase Retrieved February, 2010.
(9) http://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/ Retrieved February, 2010.
(10) Stengler, Mark, N.D. The Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms. pg. 17
(13) Stengler, Mark, N.D. The Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms. pg. 16
(15) Wolfe, David. Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future. pg. 248
(16) Stengler, Mark, N.D. The Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms. pg. 18
(17) http://www.healthline.com/natstandardcontent/cordyceps-1/2?brand= Retrieved February, 2010.
(19) Stengler, Mark, N.D. The Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms. pg. 18