Cordyceps are medicinal mushrooms that have been used in alternative medicine for hundreds of years. Originating in China, over 400 species of Cordyceps are said to have many benefits, including supporting athletic performance, organ issues, and healthy aging.
What Is Cordyceps?
The life cycle of Cordyceps mushrooms is one based on survival and consumption. This parasitic fungi finds a host, typically an insect, and makes a home inside the insect body.
As the Cordyceps mature, a long-stemmed fungal sprout emerges. This sprout, produced outside of the insect’s body, is the part of the Cordyceps that humans consume.
It sounds a bit like something out of a horror movie, doesn’t it? And yet, living fungi are experts at breaking down material, whether organic or artificial.
Dried Cordyceps mushrooms have been used for hundreds of years in ancient Chinese medicine to support, maintain, and improve health. The most common types of Cordyceps used today are Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris.
Can I Take Cordyceps Every Day?
While there's no consensus on a recommended daily intake for Cordyceps, this mushroom does not appear to pose any significant health risks if taken daily.
As with any new addition to your health and wellness routine, consult with your medical team and be sure to be mindful of any allergies, sensitivities, or medication interactions.
What Are the Benefits of Cordyceps?
There's a reason that this mushroom has been used in alternative medicine for centuries. Though Cordyceps are still being researched, various benefits have been discovered along the way.
Cordyceps may have the potential to support and help protect your health, with possible benefits ranging from supporting healthy metabolic functioning to immune health.
1. May Support Healthy Blood Sugar
Cordyceps interestingly mimics the function of insulin, which allows the glucose (sugar) in your blood to enter your cells.
As such, Cordyceps mushrooms may keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range. Though there is still much research on the impacts of Cordyceps, its potential for blood sugar regulation may prove beneficial.
2. May Support Heart Health
Cordyceps may support heart health because of the presence of adenosine. This compound contains heart-healthy properties and has been shown to support a healthy heart rhythm.
Mushrooms are powerhouses for the body, and each type of mushroom offers slightly different benefits. However, most mushrooms can provide benefits for heart health — as well as immune health, which we will expand on shortly.
3. May Support Athletic Performance
If working out is a part of your daily ritual, you might be interested in improving your exercise performance. Improved athletic performance is one of the more talked-about possible benefits of incorporating Cordyceps into your daily routine.
The compound adenosine works to help deliver energy to your muscles. A more efficient way of bringing energy to your muscles may impact the way your body uses oxygen, especially while exercising.
4. May Help Maintain Blood Pressure
Cordyceps are believed to have potential anti-inflammatory benefits.This is because Cordyceps contains another compound, similar to adenosine, called cordycepin. This compound can potentially help relax blood vessels, which can support healthy blood pressure and circulation.
5. May Support Male Sex Drive
Because Cordyceps have high antioxidant content, they may contain properties that support sexual function and healthy aging. Much of sexual function in males is linked to healthy circulation, which Cordyceps mushrooms can support.
There is some research into Cordyceps that shows how sexual function may be improved, particularly in people who are aging and using Cordyceps.
Kroma’s Spicy Passion Latte contains Cordyceps alongside other ingredients aimed to support libido, like decadent cacao and goji. This latte also boasts the rejuvenating properties of reishi mushrooms so you can feel revived and ready to spice it up.
6. May Help Reduce Stress
Cordyceps is an adaptogen. This means that it can help you and your body adapt to stress, whether that be physical or mental. When you take Cordyceps, it positively interacts with your nervous system, which is the system most overstimulated when you experience stress.
7. May Support Cognitive Function
Increasing and maximizing cognitive functioning seems to be one of the major driving factors of most wellness-oriented lifestyles. Who doesn’t want a more alert, high-functioning mental state?
Like several other fungi, Cordyceps have the potential to promote the improvement of learning and memory functions within the brain. There are a number of ways in which this mushroom has shown to support cognitive functioning, including emotional regulation and working to boost focus by reducing feelings of stress.
8. May Support Kidney Health
What’s so compelling about fungi and their associated benefits is the potential for offering whole and natural alternatives to support your wellness. Alongside Cordyceps’ other compelling benefits, it also has the potential to support your kidney health.
Particularly with people who are experiencing persistent kidney issues, Cordyceps may lower creatinine levels. Creatinine is a by-product of your muscles producing energy, which is removed from your body through urine.
High levels of creatinine generally indicate a kidney that isn’t functioning as effectively as it could be. With Cordyceps, there is potential for lower creatinine levels, and in turn, a healthier kidney.
9. May Support Immune Health
A healthy immune system is one of the most important ways to protect yourself against seasonal sickness, and generally keep your microbiome healthy. Cordyceps aren't the only fungi that have shown potential for boosting immunity, as most mushrooms prove powerful antioxidant properties, but what makes these mushroom special are their potential to support the immune system and boost immune cell production.
10. May Provide Energy Support
Through various studies, Cordyceps have shown to boost ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, in the brain. With this boost comes a surge in energy, and the potential for a more efficient energy delivery to all parts of the body's system. A boost in ATP can result in increased energy throughout your body and mind.
If you are looking to replace a sugar-filled caffeine source, reduce your coffee intake, or embrace a more natural means of energizing, Cordyceps might be a nourishing part of your new morning ritual with Kroma Wellness’ Change Your Life Chai Latte.
With turmeric, ashwagandha, and reishi mushrooms alongside Cordyceps, this latte offers immunity support and an energy boost to help you power through the day.
11. May Combat Inflammation
Inflammation in the body can range from uncomfortable to damaging, and can be found across several complex body systems. It generally occurs when your body is trying to fight off unwelcome infections or injuries.
However, if your body remains inflamed for too long, chronic inflammation can be harmful. Cordyceps has been found to provide soothing effects when the body is experiencing chronic inflammation, as it shows potential to help regulate the presence of proteins that cause inflammation.
12. May Respiratory Function
In traditional Chinese medicine, Cordyceps have been taken to ease respiratory issues. This mushroom has been used as a cough suppressant, asthma support, and a variety of other respiratory-related challenges. Cordyceps can help relax your bronchial walls, which eases respiration, in addition to promoting how effectively your body uses oxygen.
What Are the Side Effects of Cordyceps?
If you experience any negative effect you attribute to Cordyceps, discontinue use and consult your physician. However, negative reactions to Cordyceps are rare, and this ingredient has been used safely for thousands of years in ancient medicine practices.
That said, you should always consult your doctor if you have uncertainties, and proceed with caution if you are prone to allergic or adverse reactions.
Can You Take Cordyceps If You’re Diabetic?
If you have diabetes, or are on diabetes medication, consult with a medical professional before incorporating Cordyceps into your Wellness routine, as a combination of Cordyceps and insulin may not be recommended.
Does Cordyceps Cause Drowsiness?
With Cordyceps’ potential for improving your overall energy, it is unlikely that it would cause drowsiness. However, because of its potential benefits for improving your daytime functioning and energy flow, you might find yourself in a more effective bedtime routine.
With Cordyceps’ energizing qualities, if you're sensitive to caffeine or other natural sources of energy, try taking Cordyceps earlier in the day with food so as not to interrupt your sleep cycle.
Incorporating Cordyceps into a daily routine that includes hydration, exercise, and a well-balanced diet can help support your overall sleep routine, while not inducing drowsiness.
How Does Cordyceps Impact Testosterone?
While both men and women have naturally occurring levels of testosterone, men generally have higher levels than women do. Though no conclusive research has been conducted about whether Cordyceps actually boost hormone production, several studies suggest that testosterone found in the Leydig cells in men can be stimulated by the presence of Cordyceps.
Does Cordyceps Have Drug Interactions?
Cordyceps is still a relatively under-researched fungi, but it has shown to potentially interact with several medications. If you take diabetes medication, Cordyceps may interact by creating a significant drop in blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia.
In addition, if you are taking blood thinners, Cordyceps’ potential interaction can include easy bruising or an increased risk of bleeding. As with any new addition to your wellness routine, consult with a medical professional before incorporating Cordyceps into your life.
Is Cordyceps Safe To Use Long-Term?
Cordyceps have been used by healers in traditional Chinese medicine for a long time, which suggest that this fungus does not have any harmful impacts if used long-term. However, no conclusive studies have been published about safety and longevity of Cordyceps in humans, though evidence seems to show it’s fairly safe to use in small amounts everyday long-term.
What Is the Best Way To Take Cordyceps for Best Results?
Cordyceps come in several different forms. There are capsules with powdered Cordyceps available, tinctures, tea made from the dried steps of the fungi, and powder available to be mixed in with milks or water. How you choose to incorporate Cordyceps into your supplemental routine is up to you, but all forms of the fungi can potentially benefit you.
However, if you are looking for a delicious and energy-boosting Cordyceps treat, the Spicy Passion Latte from Kroma Wellness will not disappoint. Crafted from superfoods like cacao, maca, and goji berries, this Cordyceps latte is a sleek energizer wrapped up in a delicious afternoon latte.
What Time of Day Should Cordyceps Be Taken?
While there is no specific time that Cordyceps should be taken, if you're including them as a capsule supplement in your routine, it might be easiest to take them in the morning or evening.
If you're using Cordyceps broth or having tea, including it in the afternoon or even to kick start your day might work best for you.
Find where you feel the benefits most and stick to a routine for best benefit.
How Long Will It Take To See Results?
Like any supplement to a health routine, sometimes it takes a while to see the results. With so many incredible benefits supporting longer-term health and wellness, the results may be seen more clearly in the long-term.
If you are using Cordyceps for its energizing qualities, you may start to feel the effects after incorporating this supplement into your routine in just a few hours. If you’re looking for metabolism or immune support, it may take a few weeks.
What Do Cordyceps Mushrooms Taste Like?
Like most mushrooms, Cordyceps mushrooms have an umami-tasting quality to them. Slightly nutty and earthy, Cordyceps are great for tasty tea or flavorful broths.
If you're taking Cordyceps in capsule form, it's not likely that you'll taste them at all. However, if you're using Cordyceps in powdered form alone or as a broth or a tea, you're more likely to taste its rich umami flavor.
Though Cordyceps doesn’t have an overwhelming flavor, it’s nutty distinctness can be a welcome addition to a veggie-filled pasta dish, or included with a fish or vegan protein option. Like most fungi, this mushroom will take on the flavor of a dish, while still offering subtle notes.
Though Cordyceps have been used by traditional healers for hundreds of years, there is still more research to be done around the benefits, side effects and long-term impacts of Cordyceps.
However if you're interested in potentially boosting your energy, supporting your immunity, or reducing stress, Cordyceps might offer a natural complement to your wellness.
For more superfoods that can boost your nutrition and support your wellness in a convenient, easy-to-take form, explore Kroma Wellness here.