Scientific Name: Cordyceps sinensis
Other Names: Caterpillar fungus, Zhiling, CS-4, CS-X100, CX aweto.
Uses: As a Supplement and tonic
What is Cordyceps Supplement?
Cordyceps is a fungus that grows in high altitudes in Tibet and China. The spores of this fungus parasitize moth caterpillars, but the fungi can also grow on other insects and arachnids. This mushroom has been used in China for centuries by the wealthy as an aphrodisiac, vitality and stamina booster. The first documented use of the supplement was dated 15th century.
Today, the wild form of Cordyceps capsules is considered rare and extremely expensive, so most Cordyceps in the market are cultivated in laboratories from Paecilomyces hepiali Chen or Cs-4 strain isolated from wild cordyceps. Cordyceps sinensis is just one of the 400 species of Ascomycete fungi found worldwide. Make sure that the supplement bottle specifically indicates Cordyceps sinensis in the ingredients. Because of the high demand of the supplement today, some supplements marketed as Cordyceps are not pure Cordyceps sinensis.
Health Benefits and Medicinal Value
Cordyceps contain an abundance of nucleosides, proteins, essential amino acids, peptides, sterols, saccharides, vitamins, fatty acids and adenosine derivatives. The recommended dosage ranges from 1,000 to 3,000 mg per day after meals. The species sinensis is the most commonly used because of the highly bioactive compound called Cordycepin, a nucleotide analogue which is structurally similar to adenosine.
Cordyceps is commonly used as a tonic to increase energy, libido, stamina and to achieve longevity. It has high antioxidant activity due to polysaccharides. It is particularly used by the older generation because of its benefits. The following are the health benefits of Cordyceps sinensis.
- Adaptogen/ Stress reliever
Stress causes the body to produce chemicals that, in turn, indicate the level of stress. This causes organs and glands such as the liver, spleen and adrenal glands to increase in weight because of the chemicals they need to produce and metabolize. Taking Cordyceps has shown to decrease the biochemical markers that indicate the levels of stress.
- Libido Booster
Cordyceps has shown positive results in clinical studies when it comes to increasing bioactive testosterone.
It is no wonder why this mushroom is a popular supplement among older generations. Cordyceps is an excellent supplement to treat fatigue and overall decline in bodily functions associated with aging. Red blood cell activity has been found to improve among elderly subjects in studies. In addition, the active compounds of Cordyceps have been proven to show positive action with mental and cognitive functions.
- Inhibits proliferation of cancer cells
Studies have shown that Cordyceps sinensis exhibits anti-proliferative action on cancer cells found in kidneys and breast. Traditionally, Cordyceps has been used to protect renal tissue and prevent kidney dysfunction. For the breast, it has been found that Cordyceps induces cancer cell death. The wide peptide content of Cordyceps has different effects on cancer cells. For example, the peptides that inhibit breast cancer cell proliferation exhibits no beneficial action against colorectal cancer cells.
- Helps with diabetes
The high polysaccharide content of Cordyceps decreases blood sugar levels by enhancing glucose metabolism, thus increasing energy. A dosage of 3,000 mg shows significant effect against placebo.
- Improves heart health
Traditionally, Cordyceps has been used to treat arrhythmia. In fact, it is an approved medication in China for arrhythmia today.
Majority of diseases are brought by inflammation. Regardless of the cause for inflammation, Cordyceps has demonstrated efficacy in reducing overall inflammation up to the cellular level.
Individuals taking Cordyceps are advised not to take it with blood thinners and caffeine. Pregnant and lactating women are advised not to take this supplement as well.