Ever heard of the mushroom “Cordyceps-sinensis”?
Cordyceps is a mushroom, that is known to give you more energy.
Cordyceps sinensis is the common (but scientifically obsolete) name of the Chinese caterpillar fungus, a parasitic fungus that attacks the caterpillars of certain butterflies and occurs only in the highlands of Tibet (at 3,000 to 5,000 m altitude).
It was first described in Tibet in the 15th century and has since been used in classical Chinese and Tibetan medicine. In Asia, the mushroom is extremely popular as a medicinal and food.
According to Wikipedia: “In traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine, the Chinese caterpillar fungus is considered invigorating and aphrodisiac, after Chinese success at the 1992 Summer Olympics” (3 Chinese runners broke 5 world records).
What is the Science behind Cordyceps?
Let’s look at what science says: The data on immunomodulating effects are contradictory, some studies find a stimulating, others an inhibiting effect of the fungus on the immune system.
An explanation for this could be that either different strains of the fungus were used or different extraction methods. The effect on the immune system probably also depends on the assumed anti-carcinogenic effect, which, like its effect as an aphrodisiac, is scientifically controversial.
Cordyceps increased Energy
The stimulating, performance-enhancing effect, is represented not only by the Chinese Olympians but by many successful athletes.
There is a study on this topic by the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles. It tested healthy, older adults between the ages of 50 and 75 in a randomized, double-blind study for 12 weeks with and without Cordyceps sinensis extract.
It was examined whether with Cordyceps their physical performance increases.
Result: Several parameters measured improved in the Cordyceps group, while no effect was evident in the placebo group. The authors conclude that “supplementation with Cordyceps sinensis may improve exercise performance and contribute to the health of older people.”
How does Cordyceps effect the Brain and Energy Levels?
There are a number of other studies with similar results on physical performance.
Does Cordyceps also have positive effects on the brain?
For this, we have been able to find some papers that describe that Cordyceps extracts have stimulating effects on the growth of nerve cells.
Studies on the effect of Cordyceps on the human brain could not find any significant impacts.
Cordyceps regulates the Immune System
The Cordyceps has great influence on the immune system, in particular, the activity of white blood cells, macrophages and natural killer cells and also has an antibiotic effect.
In kidney dysfunction and nephritis, Cordyceps improves creatinine clearance. Also, the deposits of immune complexes in kidney ducts in kidney autoimmune diseases can be prevented by this fungus.
The delivery of hormones of the adrenal cortex is stimulated, there is an increased release of endogenous cortisone and thus stress symptoms are counteracted. Since many different diseases can be caused by chronic stress, the Cordyceps is very versatile here.
From a Chinese point of view, the kidney not only harbors our physical but also our psychic energy. Cordyceps can, therefore, be used very well against depression.
Frequent side effects – such as lack of willpower, motivation, anxiety, worry and a sense of emptiness – result from a Chinese perspective, from kidney weakness.
According to studies, Cordyceps inhibits monoamine oxidase (MAO). School medicine MAO inhibitors are used for the treatment of depression and other neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The medicinal mushroom Cordyceps also works against irregularities of the heart activity strengthens the heart and contributes to the lowering of the lower elevated blood pressure value. The lungs can also be strengthened by this fungus. There are positive testimonials when used in the treatment of asthma and pneumonia.
Likewise, in some cases, tinnitus can be improved by this fungus.
Like all adaptogens, Cordyceps has liver-protective and antioxidant effects: superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase are activated by the Cordyceps.
Conclusion: Cordyceps for More Energy
Let’s summarize: Cordyceps sinensis is a very interesting power mushroom, which is extremely popular in Asia and shows increasing demand among us.
It has numerous health properties that have been proven to have positive effects on the brain and nervous system, at least in animal experiments.
Compilation of the effects proven by studies
- The macrophages are activated.
- By stimulating Peyer’s plaques, the entire immune system is stimulated.
- The activity of natural killer cells is increased.
- One hour after administration, there is a dose-related increase in corticosteroids that can last up to 24 hours.
- Liver metabolism is improved.
- Gallbladder-induced liver fibrosis can be prevented.
All in all Cordyceps looks promising to me, still, no actual health claims can be made. If you are into trying different herbs like me, give it a try. But this one is definitely no must-have.