6 Powerful Benefits of Cordyceps Mushroom

6 Powerful Benefits Of Cordyceps Mushroom

........To Get You Feeling Your Best

 

      Have you been feeling worn down after the holidays? Having a hard time bouncing back into the swing of regular routines and long hours at work? Today’s blog post may have a solution for you!
 
Mushrooms have been used as food, medicine and in spiritual practices across the world since at least 5000 BC. There are more than 14,000 species of mushrooms that are recognized and of these 2000 of them are edible. Within the 2000 edible mushrooms, about 300 of them are considered therapeutic agents which can be beneficial to human health. As a result of this, mushrooms are being developed as nutraceuticals! 
 
Today, we will be talking about the mushroom, Cordyceps Sinensis. Cordyceps is a rare fungus that grows in the cold, snowy mountains of Tibet, Nepal and India. There are more than 400 species of Cordyceps - the most well-known one being Cordyceps Sinensis. It has a 2,000 year long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  It was described in ancient TCM texts to treat patients suffering from urinary disturbance, sexual dysfunction, fertility and one of its biggest functions is restoring energy and vitality for the body.
 

The Main Ingredients Of Cordyceps 

Cordyceps contains various biologically active substances that play a pivotal role in the body, including: 
  • Nucleosides (adenosine, guanine, uracil, thymine)
    • Building blocks of DNA, protein and ATP (energy storage in the body)
  • Cordycepin
    • Contains anticancer, immunomodulating and antioxidant abilities
  • Amino Acids (Tryptophan)
    • Supports synthesis of serotonin (happy hormone)
  • Minerals + Vitamins
    • Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron,  Zinc, CoQ10
    • Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B12, Vitamin E, Vitamin K
  • Phytosterols (B-sitosterol)
    • Plays a protective role against colon, prostate and breast cancer
    • Helps to lower cholesterol
  • Ergosterol
    • Used in the production of Vitamin D
  • Essential Fatty Acids (Lauric Acid, Linoleic acid, Oleic acid)
    • Essential nutritional compounds that helps with decreasing inflammation in the body, lowering cholesterol and boosting the immune system 
  • Polysaccharides (Ribose, glucose, fructose, mannitol)
    • Important for respiratory diseases and renal dysfunction
 
Now that we know what makes Cordyceps so powerful, let us discuss why Cordyceps sinensis is used in the wellness industry….
 

Health Benefits Of Cordyceps Sinensis

 (1) Reduces Fatigue & Improves Vitality 

Chronic fatigue has the ability to affect a person both physically and mentally. Cordyceps acts as an adaptogen and helps stimulate the production of cortisol to combat fatigue and lower stress levels through increasing the availability of oxygen. 
 
Cordyceps also is involved in the production of ATP which is the body’s energy storage form. When ATP is increased it can help to decrease physical fatigue. As well, since Cordyceps also has a powerful antioxidant effect it helps muscles recover quicker during exercise and relieves exercise induced fatigue. 
 
Cordyceps supplementation everyday is a way to increase energy and overall productivity. 
 

(2) Acts As A Sexual Tonic In Men

Cordyceps is used to enhance sexual and reproductive function in humans. It has been shown to increase sexual urges by affecting sexual hormones. It works to increase testosterone synthesis which raises testosterone levels in the body and helps to enhance libido. It also aids with normal sperm development and helps to increase sperm motility. 
 
Cordyceps can also increase nitric oxide production to the sexual organs which improves blood circulation to enhance erections. 
 
Cordyceps is a great option for improving sexual health, especially in men who are suffering from sexual dysfunction. 
 

(3) Antitumor Activity

Even though cancer is the second leading cause of mortality throughout the world, treatment options are limited to surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Due to the side effects of these treatments alternatives are in high demand. 
 
Cordyceps and one of its major constituents, cordycepin have been extensively studied in various types of cancers, including the breast and lung and has shown antitumor activity. 
 
Cordyceps is a useful adjuvant therapy in cancer due to its ability to kill tumour cells, while leaving normal cells unharmed. 
 

(4) Improves Lung Function

Since Cordyceps has an affinity for the lungs, it has been used to treat many respiratory conditions like cough, increased phlegm, asthma and even common ailments like the cold and flu. 
 
Several studies have shown that Cordyceps improves lung function by increasing airflow into the lungs. These studies also showed that Cordyceps helps to improve lung function scores and reduce inflammation which is especially important for those with asthma. 
 

(5) Balances The Immune System 

The immune system protects the body from infection through use of various immune cells. There are three layers to the immune system: physical barriers which prevents pathogens from entering the body; innate immune system which provides immediate action; and adaptive immune system which comes into play when the innate system activates it. 
 
When it comes to the immune system, there are two main types of drugs: ones that stimulate the immune system to reduce infections and ones that suppress the immune system such as in autoimmune disorders, inflammation and to prevent transplant rejection after organ transplant. 
 
The reason that Cordyceps has a balancing effect is because it has the ability to both upregulate and downregulate the immune system depending on the body’s particular needs. Cordyceps is used in the treatment of respiratory infections and cancer, which works to activate the immune system to kill the “bad cells”. Cordyceps can also work to suppress parts of the immune system such as is necessary in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, like lupus and for immunosuppression after organ transplant.
 

(6) Improves Kidney Function

Cordyceps has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to protect the kidney in conditions like, renal dysfunction and chronic nephritis. Kidney issues can be linked to back pain, fatigue, and high blood pressure. 
 
 

What Is the Dosage For Cordyceps Sinensis?

The daily dosage of Cordyceps is 3-4 grams a day in divided doses. Typically it can be consumed as tea, in capsule form, tincture form (1:5, 40%) or cooked in a variety of dishes. 
 
 

Interactions with Cordyceps Sinensis

Cordyceps may cause dry mouth and stomach discomfort if taken at high doses. It is contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation. 
 
 
 
 
Cordyceps Sinensis is a rare mushroom that is highly valued in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Research has shown that Cordyceps has many benefits to health such as, acting as an adjuvant treatment option in cancer, improves lung function, balances the immune system, enhances sexual and reproductive activity, reduces fatigue and improves kidney function. 
 
Cordyceps is a great addition to one’s daily supplement regimen as it focuses on providing the body with many key nutrients and regulates self-healing. 
 
 
 
References:
  1. Yang ML, Kuo PC, Hwang TL, Wu TS. Anti-inflammatory principles from Cordyceps sinensis. J Nat Prod. 2011 Sep 23;74(9):1996-2000. doi: 10.1021/np100902f.
  2. Marciano M & Vizniak N. (2015). Evidence Informed Botanical Medicine. Professionals Health Systems Inc. 
  3. Lin B, Li, Shao-Poing. (2011). Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular Clinical Aspects 2nd edition. Chapter 5. Cordyceps as an Herbal Drug. CRC Press. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
**Disclaimer: The advice in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the care of a Naturopathic physician.