Cordyceps (caterpillar fungus) is a medicinal mushroom that is a wild fungus and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for over 5,000 years. There are numerous species of cordyceps, however the most researched and popular is Ophiocordyceps sinensis. It is found at high altitudes of the Tibetan plateau in China. Cordyceps is parasitic in nature given that it grows from within deceased caterpillar bodies that fill with mycelia, the vegetative portion of a fungus. In the autumn, the fungal mycelia infect the caterpillar, which then kills it by early summer of the following year, prior to its transformation into a moth and releases spores from the fruiting body. This has lead to it being called: yartsu gunbu, or “winter worm, summer grass” by the Tibetans. Read on to discover how this fungus can transform you with our Top 5 Health Benefits of Cordyceps!
1. Boosts athletic performance
Ever had those days where a workout or activity just seemed so easy, like everything just came to you exactly how it needed to, almost effortlessly? Well, Western interest in cordyceps began after Chinese runners broke the world record in 1993, accrediting their performance to this caterpillar fungus. I’m not suggesting that an occasional chew on cordyceps will make you a world-record runner, however personally I’ve found consuming cordyceps has the powerful ability of helping to achieve that invaluable sense of flow and rhythm whilst also focusing the mind, allowing you to push harder and perform better. Studies suggest that the mushroom is able to increase energy levels through elevating the production of ATP and upgrading the body’s ability to absorb oxygen.
2. Boosts immunity
This friendly, powerful fungus has the ability to increase vitality and longevity through its immune boosting, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown that cordyceps stimulate the immune system by augmenting the number of helper T cells in addition to increasing the activity of natural killer cells. Certain species can stimulate apoptosis (selective cell death) in breast cancer cells. Tumors have been found to decrease in size and reductions have been observed in other markers of cancer growth.
3. Supports liver and kidneys
Cordyceps can protect against liver atrophy and is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for the treatment of kidney disorders. In various studies, cordyceps has been shown to reduce kidney damage brought on by drugs. Cordyceps’ adaptogenic properties aid in protecting against adrenal fatigue brought on by prolonged stress. It is able to remarkably increase productivity as well as improve recovery.
4. Improves airways
Cordyceps aids in the alleviation of respiratory disorders such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) coughs and asthma. This is achieved through increasing oxygen availability to the lungs through dilation of the bronchi and alveoli, improving circulation through detoxification.
Bioactive components contained within the fungus such as cordycepin, adenosine, mannitol, cordymin, myriocin, melanin, lovastatin, cordysinins, vitamins B1, B2, B12, E and K and sterols allow for profound anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer healing effects. Improved antioxidant activity results in reduced oxidative stress, preventing premature degeneration.
Historically cordyceps was so rare and overharvested that it was only available to the extremely wealthy and royalty. Luckily for you, it can be purchased online from Amazon, Ebay or from health food stores in powdered form and consumed simply by adding it to smoothies, juices, cereal, tea, coffee, baked into foods or taken in capsule form. A high quality supplement is well worth finding as it will ensure optimum efficacy. I guarantee you’ll earn yourself a new PB if you can make good use of this phenomenal fungus! If you’ve tried cordyceps tell us about how it was for you below or @KeepFitKingdom !