The most interesting health benefits of Cordyceps include its ability to improve respiratory health, increase oxygen uptake, boost heart health, detoxify the body, prevent certain types of cancer, slow the aging process, increase energy, and improve the immune system.
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What is Cordyceps?
The name cordyceps actually 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 particularly desirable. Cordyceps fungi varieties contain certain biochemicals that mimic current pharmacological substances in a natural way.
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 a long thing, brown/orange fingers. You can also buy the whole cordyceps in certain stores and add them 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.
Health Benefits of Cordyceps
Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of cordyceps.
One of the most undeniable health benefits of cordyceps is its ability to significantly boost energy levels and 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.
Protects Heart Health
Research on the effects of cordyceps has come up with many exciting results, especially in relation to cardiovascular health. One study showed that patients given a powdered supplement of cordyceps were significantly less likely to suffer heart failure. This is mainly due to the anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties of the herb, which can prevent heart arrhythmias and other complications.
Balances Cholesterol Levels
On a similar note, one of the chemical pathways affected by cordyceps is closely related to cholesterol levels. “Bad” cholesterol levels go down, and “good” cholesterol levels can go up, effectively protecting the heart, as well as numerous other organs that are affected by cholesterol, such as our metabolism and endocrine system. You can help prevent atherosclerosis and subsequent heart attack and stroke by making it a part of your weekly herbal treatments.
Regulates Respiratory Function
As mentioned above, 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 helps to oxygenate the body’s extremities better, so organ systems as a whole run more efficiently.
People are always looking for the next big solution in the battle against cancer, and some of the unique biochemical compounds found in cordyceps certainly fit the bill in that respect. There have been direct correlations between the consumption of Cordyceps sinensis and tumor size reduction. By shrinking tumors, it can help to slow the spread of cancer and even make it easier to eliminate or put into remission. This is combined with the antioxidant activities of cordyceps, which helps to eliminate free radicals throughout the body.
Strengthens Immune System
Cordyceps directly stimulates 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 with a wide range of ailments, from cancer to the common cold and everything in between.
Although many people claim to know the secret to anti-aging, some of the most reliable research stands behind using cordyceps, which has powerful concentrations of anti-aging compounds that can help to rejuvenate the skin, eliminate dead or dying cells, and improve the appearance of blemishes, wrinkles, and age spots, effectively shaving years off your life!
Treats Sexual Dysfunction
One of the most interesting effects of cordyceps is its apparent impact on sexual dysfunction in men. Numerous research 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.
Detoxifies the Body
Although the exact chemical pathway of this is unclear, studies have shown that kidney health improves notably after only one month of regular cordyceps herbal usage.
Word of Caution: Cordyceps does have a small effect on lowering blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous for diabetics, so they should be aware of the risks before adding that herbal element to their regimen. 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.