Our passion to know more about traditional chinese medicine has naturally brought us to one of the most popular medicinal mushrooms widely used in Asia for centuries – Cordyceps.
Cordyceps is a genus of ascomycete fungi (sac fungi) that includes about 400 species. Most Cordyceps species are endoparasitoids which are parasitic on insects and other arthropods and a few are parasitic on other fungi. The generic name Cordyceps can be traces down to the Greek words κορδύλη kordýlē that means “club” and κεφαλή (kefali), meaning “head”.
When these fungi attack their host, they replace its tissue and sprout long, slender stems that grow outside the host’s body.
The remains of the insect and fungi have been hand-collected and dried before they can be used to help improve our health. There are two species that are mostly of interest for the scientist for their medicinal benefits for the human body – Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris.
Can help you maintain a better shape
Cordyceps is known for increasing the production of the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the body, which is responsible for delivering energy to the muscles. The usage of oxygen is especially important when you exercise.
This theory was tested by a one study, where researchers observed the effects on exercise capacity in 30 healthy older adults using a stationary bike. Participants received either a placebo pill or 3 grams of a synthetic strain of Cordyceps called CS-4 per day for six weeks.
By the end of the study, the VO2 (measurement of fitness level) of the first group that took CS-4 had increased by 7%, while the other group that was given the placebo pill showed no change.
Another study used 20 healthy older adults who have received either 1 gram of CS-4 or a placebo pill for 12 weeks. This time there was no major difference in the results for the fitness level of both groups, however the people who took CS-4 improved in other aspects of their exercising performance.
Third similar study about the effects of Cordyceps mushrooms on exercise performance in younger adults showed 11% improvement compared to those who took the placebo pill.
However we should note that in every study the people who participated are not trained athletes and the results are not relevant for them.
May help the fight with Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is also a spreading disease in our century. Despite the fact that the causes are not yet exactly determined, it is believed to be caused by our lifestyle, poor health related choices, overeating and stress. Because of diabetes the body stops producing or responding to insulin – the hormone that transports the sugar glucose to the cells for energy. When this happens the glucose cannot enter the cells and therefore stays in the blood and over time this causes serious health issues.
That is the reason people struggling with diabetes have to check their blood sugar levels regularly.
So how is this related to Cordyceps?
Cordyceps contain a special type of sugar that may help treat diabetes.
In several studies conducted with mice who have diabetes, Cordyceps mushroom have been proven to decrease blood sugar levels.
Some evidence suggests that they may also protect against kidney disease, a common complication of diabetes. 22 studies including 1,746 people with chronic kidney disease have been already finished are showing that those who took Cordyceps supplements have improved kidney function.
However, these results aren’t conclusive, but there is a great potential that Cordyceps can help in managing diabetes and improve the function of kidneys.
May Help Fight Inflammation
Cordyceps is known for helping to fight inflammation in the body.
Some studies show that when people take Cordyceps, special proteins that increase inflammation in the body become suppressed.
Because of these potential effects, scientists believe Cordyceps may serve as a useful anti-inflammatory supplement or drug.
Cordyceps has also been shown to reduce inflammation in the airways of mice which can make this mushroom a potential therapy for asthma. However, the fungi appear to be less effective than commonly prescribed drugs used to provide relief for inflamed areas of the body.
Surprisingly Cordyceps may also have topical uses. One study found it reduced skin inflammation when applied topically in mice, further demonstrating its anti-inflammatory properties.
The potential inflammation-fighting properties of Cordyceps have yet to be observed in humans.
3 reasons why, 3 benefits what you help your overall well-being.
Please keep in mind at all times that none of the content published on the “Mushrooms Health” Foundation website constitutes any form of health or medical advice or recommendation. The information on our website is valid for a cumulative number of cases, and cannot be viewed as any type or form of medical advice. We insist that you consult a medical professional if you have any type of diagnosed medical condition, or have reasons to believe you have an undiagnosed one. The “Mushrooms Health” Foundation team is hereby released of any responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, which may arise out of applying or failing to apply any information published on this website.