What is Cordyceps Mushroom?
Cordyceps is a type of fungus that grow mainly in the mountains of China, Nepal, Tibet, and other parts of Asia. Cordyceps belong to the genus Cordyceps, which includes about 400 species of parasitic fungi that infect insects and other arthropods.
Cordyceps has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, including respiratory, immune, and sexual dysfunction. It is also used as a dietary supplement and has gained popularity in the Western world in recent years.
Most recently, in the TV series and video game "The Last of Us", Cordyceps was the cause of a pandemic that turns humans into aggressive, zombie-like creatures. While it is true that the Cordyceps fungus can infect and take over the bodies of insects in the wild, there is no evidence to suggest that it could cause a pandemic in humans. The concept of a pandemic caused by a mutated Cordyceps fungus jumping from insects to humans is purely a work of fiction.
Top 5 Benefits of Cordyceps:
Boosts Athletic Performance
Cordyceps has become a common household name in the world of high performing athletes due to its ability to enhance athletic performance and endurance.
One of the primary ways that Cordyceps can improve athletic performance is by increasing oxygen uptake. Cordyceps contains a compound called Cordycepin, which has been shown to improve the delivery of oxygen to the body's cells. By increasing oxygen uptake, Cordyceps may enhance endurance and reduce fatigue during exercise.
In addition to improving oxygen uptake, Cordyceps also has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce muscle damage and inflammation caused by intense exercise. Cordyceps contains a variety of compounds, including polysaccharides and ergosterol, that have been shown to reduce inflammation and promote recovery after exercise.
Another way that Cordyceps can enhance athletic performance is by enhancing energy production. Cordyceps contains adenosine, a compound that plays a key role in energy production in the body. Adenosine is involved in the production of ATP, the primary source of energy for the body's cells. By increasing adenosine levels, Cordyceps may improve energy levels and reduce fatigue during exercise.
In a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, researchers found that Cordyceps supplementation improved endurance in healthy adults. Participants who took Cordyceps for six weeks showed a significant increase in their ventilatory threshold, which is an indicator of aerobic capacity.
Another study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that Cordyceps supplementation reduced inflammation and oxidative stress in trained cyclists. Participants who took Cordyceps for three weeks had lower levels of inflammation markers and oxidative stress compared to those who took a placebo.
Boosts Immune Function
One of the key ways that Cordyceps helps with immunity is by stimulating the production of white blood cells, which are an essential part of the immune system. White blood cells are responsible for detecting and destroying pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and other harmful substances that can cause illness. Cordyceps contains polysaccharides and beta-glucans, which have been found to increase the production of white blood cells in the body. In addition to stimulating the production of white blood cells, Cordyceps has also been shown to improve the activity of natural killer cells, which are specialized white blood cells that play a key role in fighting cancer cells and viruses.
Another way that Cordyceps helps with immunity is by reducing inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. By reducing inflammation in the body, Cordyceps can help to support a healthy immune system.
Several studies have investigated the effects of Cordyceps on the immune system. In a study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, researchers found that Cordyceps supplementation increased the number of white blood cells in healthy adults. Participants who took Cordyceps for six weeks had higher levels of white blood cells compared to those who took a placebo.
Another study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology found that Cordyceps can enhance the activity of natural killer cells. In the study, participants who took Cordyceps supplements for 12 weeks had higher levels of natural killer cell activity compared to those who took a placebo. The researchers concluded that Cordyceps has the potential to be used as an immune-modulating agent.
Improves Heart Health
Cordyceps have been found to have potential benefits for heart health. This is because they can help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, researchers found that Cordyceps supplementation decreased blood pressure in adults with mild hypertension.
Another study found that Cordyceps supplementation improved cholesterol levels in rats by decreasing LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is often referred to as "bad" cholesterol because it can contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries, while HDL cholesterol is often referred to as "good" cholesterol because it can help remove excess cholesterol from the body.
Additional human studies need to be conducted, but the research so far is extremely promising.
Improves Respiratory Health
Cordyceps have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for respiratory ailments such as asthma and bronchitis. One of the ways that Cordyceps can help with respiratory health is by improving lung function. As mentioned earlier, studies have shown that Cordyceps can increase oxygen uptake, which improve breathing capacity and endurance. This is particularly important for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other lung conditions that affect breathing.
In a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, researchers found that Cordyceps supplementation improved lung function in adults with moderate to severe asthma. Another study found that Cordyceps supplementation decreased symptoms and improved quality of life in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Inflammation is a common problem in respiratory conditions such as asthma, COPD, and bronchitis, and can make breathing more difficult. Cordyceps has also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce inflammation in the lungs. By reducing inflammation, Cordyceps can help to improve lung function and reduce the severity of respiratory symptoms.
Research has also suggested that Cordyceps may have potential as a treatment for asthma. In a study published in the journal Allergy, researchers found that Cordyceps improved lung function and reduced inflammation in people with asthma. The study participants took Cordyceps supplements for 12 weeks, and at the end of the study, they had improved lung function and reduced levels of inflammatory markers in their blood.
Improves Sexual Function
Cordyceps has been a popular method to improve sexual health for hundreds of years and has even been coined as the "Himalayan Viagra". One of the key ways in which Cordyceps may help with sexual function is by increasing levels of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is a compound that helps to dilate blood vessels, allowing for increased blood flow to the genitals. This increased blood flow can result in improved erectile function, which can be particularly beneficial for men who suffer from erectile dysfunction.
Testosterone is a hormone that plays a key role in the development of male sex organs and secondary sexual characteristics, as well as in the regulation of libido and sexual function. Cordyceps help boost testosterone levels, which can further enhance sexual function in men. By increasing testosterone levels, Cordyceps may help to improve sexual desire and overall sexual function in men.
In addition to its potential benefits for men, Cordyceps may also help to improve sexual function in women. One study found that women who took a Cordyceps supplement experienced improved sexual desire and overall sexual function compared to those who took a placebo. The researchers suggested that Cordyceps may help to increase blood flow to the genitals, which can improve sexual function both women and men.
Another way in which Cordyceps may help with sexual function is by reducing stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety can have a negative impact on sexual desire and performance, and many people experience sexual dysfunction as a result of these issues. Cordyceps has been shown to have adaptogenic properties, which means that it can help the body to better cope with stress and reduce feelings of anxiety. By reducing stress and anxiety, Cordyceps may help improve sexual function and overall sexual satisfaction.
Lastly, Cordyceps may also help to improve energy levels and stamina, which can be particularly beneficial for sexual function. Sexual activity requires a significant amount of physical energy, and people who are fatigued or low on energy may have difficulty performing sexually. Cordyceps has been shown to have energizing properties, which can help to improve overall energy levels and stamina.
Summary of Benefits
- Boosts athletic performance
- Strengthens respiratory health
- Improves sexual function
- Improves heart health
- Improves immunity
- Regulates blood sugar levels
- Improves cognitive function
- Anti-inflammatory & anti-cancer properties
Cordyceps is a type of fungus with potential health benefits for athletic performance, immune function, heart health, respiratory health, and sexual function. While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind these benefits, Cordyceps supplementation is a promising natural approach to improving health and well-being. As with any supplement, it's important to consult with your healthcare provider, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medication.
How to Use
There are many ways that one could incorporate Cordyceps into their daily routine. If you’re looking to use Cordyceps in cooking, it can be used in many dishes such as soups, stir-fries, and risottos.
Bloomable’s Cordyceps Powder can be used by adding to tea, coffee or smoothies. It can also be incorporated into chia puddings, overnight oats, or protein drinks before a workout. It is encouraged to take Cordyceps in the morning, ideally before or after a workout to improve performance. We recommend not taking Cordyceps in the evening or before bed, as it is an energy enhance it will provide opposed desired effect.
This article is not medical advice, and it is not meant to diagnose or treat any condition. More human studies are always needed, but the research that has been conducted so far is extremely promising. If you have a question about whether Cordyceps mushrooms (or any other mushroom supplement) is right for you, please consult with a qualified healthcare provider.