8 Interesting Cordyceps Benefits

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

The most interesting health benefits of cordyceps include its ability to improve respiratory health, increase oxygen uptake, boost heart health, and detoxify the body. It slows the aging process, increases energy, and improves the immune system.

What is Cordyceps?

The name cordyceps describes a genus of fungi that includes more than 400 unique species of parasitic types. Fungi are essential parts of many ecosystems, but this particular genus also has a great deal of importance for people, as it has been traditionally used in herbal medicine for centuries. These “club head” mushrooms have a wide range of chemical components and compounds that make them valuable in traditional medicine, as they are globally available and relatively inexpensive. The widespread of the Cordyceps genus makes it desirable. Cordyceps fungi varieties contain certain biochemicals that mimic current pharmacological substances in a natural way. [1]

As the popularity of cordyceps increased so did the access and variety of the herbal supplements. Around the world, you can utilize it in liquid extracts, tinctures, powders, and capsules, but the mushrooms themselves, when dried, look like long brown/orange fingers. You can also buy the whole cordyceps in certain stores and add it directly to soups for flavor, or brew tea from the dried and powdered fungi. The origin of most of the species seems to be Asia, prior to its global spread, which is why it is so frequently found in the traditional medicines of that region. [2]

A white plate of cordyceps sinensis on a wood log

Cordyceps is a fungus that lives on certain caterpillars in the mountainous regions of China. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Health Benefits of Cordyceps

Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of this fungi.

Boosts Energy

One of the most undeniable health benefits of cordyceps is its ability to significantly boost energy levels. It has long been known among athletes for the bursts of energy it can provide. It increases the amount of oxygen uptake in the body and enhances cellular energy production, thereby providing that extra push for people who need a shot of energy. [3]

Protects Heart Health

Research on the effects of cordyceps has come up with many exciting results, especially in relation to cardiovascular health. This is mainly due to the anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties of the herb, which can prevent heart complications. [4]

Balances Cholesterol Levels

Cordyceps helps LDL (bad) cholesterol levels go down and HDL (good) cholesterol levels go up. Thu, effectively protecting the heart and endocrine system, as well as boosting metabolism. It also prevents atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. [5]

Regulates Respiratory Function

Cordyceps is able to increase the amount of oxygen taken in by the lungs, and while this is helpful for athletes, it is also beneficial for those suffering from respiratory conditions, such as asthma or chronic bronchitis. By increasing your oxygen intake, you help prevent respiratory distress and weakness. Also, increasing oxygen levels help oxygenate the body’s extremities better, so the organ systems as a whole run more efficiently. [6]

Strengthens Immune System

Cordyceps directly stimulate the production of NK cells (Natural killer cells), which are one of the body’s first lines of defense against infection and illness. These immunoprotective effects help against a wide range of diseases, from common cold and everything in between. [7]

Anti-aging Properties

Cordyceps have powerful concentrations of anti-aging compounds that can help rejuvenate the skin, eliminate dead or dying cells, and improve the appearance of blemishes, wrinkles, and age spots, effectively shaving years off your life! [8]

Improves Libido

Cordyceps impact sexual dysfunction in men. Numerous studies have shown that men suffering from low levels of sexual energy or poor libido saw clear improvement after adding its herbal supplements to their diet. [9]

Detoxifies the Body

Although the exact chemical pathway of this is unclear, studies have shown that kidneys health improve notably after only one month of regular cordyceps herbal usage. [10]

Word of Caution: Cordyceps does have a small effect on lowering blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous for diabetics, so they should avoid its use. Also, as a blood-thinner, it shouldn’t be taken before or after surgery, by those already taking blood-thinners or suffering from bleeding disorders.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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