Cordyceps and its Top 5 Benefits
Deeply invigorating, in the medicinal mushroom world, Cordyceps is a force of nature. Revered for centuries in Ancient China and Tibet Cordyceps has been used traditionally as a lung and kidney tonic, for physical fatigue, to enhance libido and to replenish those deemed to have a weak constitution.
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, Cordyceps mushroom is considered to nourish both the yin and the yang energies that reside in the kidneys storing the life essence qi. By nourishing our qi we restore this primordial energy that increases our cellular performance, physical resilience and vitality, cultivating a sense of robustness in our mind and body.
Today Cordyceps is most commonly coveted to help build adaptive energy and restore foundational energy after times of physical exertion and fatigue, with studies validating the path laid by traditional wisdom. However, increasing our energy reserves is just one of Cordyceps’ incredible benefits. Read on to discover everything you need to know about this wonder-shroom and the type of Cordyceps we use, as not all forms of Cordyceps out there are created equally!
Energy & Athletic Performance
Cordyceps is known traditionally as a deep energy awakener and has a cult-like following with not only athletes looking to support their physical performance, but those seeking to support their day-to-day energy levels. Cordyceps has been studied for its potential ability to help support the production of mitochondrial ATP. ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is our body's main energy supply source and is required to fuel our muscles and keep us moving. By boosting our mitochondria's capacity to produce ATP we're more likely to find ourselves with optimal and consistent levels of energy.
Cordyceps’ energising benefits stem in part from its unique beta-d-glucans which have the potential to help support blood flow and deliver oxygen to the body on a cellular level fuelling aerobic capacity and stamina. A 3-week 2016 study on healthy individuals supplementing Cordyceps Militaris showed an improvement in VO2 max, time till exhaustion and ventilatory threshold.
Libido & Sexual Function
Cordyceps’ first medicinal use was recorded in a 15th-century Tibetan text titled An Ocean of Aphrodisiacal Qualities with a translated excerpt reading ‘having countless qualities and giving great benefits not only to libido but also to the seven bodily constituents and the five senses.’ It is said that Tibetan and Nepalese yak herders in the Himalayas first noted the effects of Cordyceps on their herds as they became more energised, and frisky for want of a better word, after grazing in areas in which it grew, which led to its medicinal use for humans and the exploration of Cordyceps' vitality and libido-enhancing benefits. It's no wonder Cordyceps is often referred to as Himalayan Viagra!
Used for thousands of years by the women and men of the East to support sexual energy, this traditional knowledge continues to be explored by science, delving into Cordyceps medicinal mushroom's potential to enhance libido, encourage fertility and support sexual health.
A 1985 study by Yang et al, looked at 155 patients with low sexual appetite. Those treated with Cordyceps showed a 64.5% improvement in sexual desire. While in 2016 Jiraungkoorskul & Jiraungkoorskul reviewed its benefits as a sexual tonic in further clinical studies. These included showing increased libido and desire in both males and females increased sexual performance, and a sperm count increase of 33% in 8 weeks. Further in-vitro studies suggest that Cordyceps' libido-enhancing effects and potential to support fertility may come from its hormone-stimulatory and supportive actions in both men and women.
While the studies are limited, the results are promising and Cordyceps still remains the ultimate shroom to get the inner fire burning and juices flowing.
Longevity & Healthy Ageing
Traditionally revered to nourish the foundational energy that resides in our kidneys, Cordyceps has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to support overall body vitality and healthy ageing and it’s often used as a tonic for the elderly to stimulate active energy and warmth.
Not just a powerful mushroom for the later stages in life, Cordyceps is a nourishing staple for the young and young at heart. The process of ageing is taking place in our cells moment by moment with the body replacing old cells with new to combat the free radicals that occur as a result of a range of factors like stress, pollution, sun exposure, inflammatory foods and exhaustion. Cordyceps has been studied for its ability to help combat the proliferation of free radicals by supporting the production of potent antioxidant superoxide dismutase (SOD) and cell turn-over earning its place as an abundant anti-ageing adaptogen.
Cognitive Performance & Stress
The energy-enhancing potential of Cordyceps is not only used to elevate physical performance but can be of great support to mental health, in particular feelings of stress and anxiety. Cordyceps has been shown to aid the neuroendocrine system during times of stress, balancing and elevating mood, while also stimulating the central nervous system and adrenal glands to stabilise energy.
While Lion’s Mane is often the medicinal mushroom most commonly coveted for cognitive performance, Cordyceps holds its own in this realm too. Cordyceps is thought to be neuroprotective by increasing oxygen uptake in the brainsupporting increased blood flow and mental energy, while studies have also assessed its potential anti-depressant effects
Like most of the superstars in the medicinal mushroom community, Cordyceps has the capacity to support and regulate the response of the immune system. As an immunomodulating adaptogen, Cordyceps is noted to be able to upregulate or downregulate the response of the innate and adaptive immune system to meet the needs of the body. An overactive immune response may be present in the case of autoimmunity, while conversely immune stimulation may be needed to help fight invading pathogens or viruses. It’s all about balance!
The Type of Cordyceps we use at Inner Atlas & Why It’s Important
Wild Cordyceps is born from pretty grizzly origins. It is a fungus that consumes the body of several different insect species, causing them to move up just below the surface of the ground into a vertical position so the Cordyceps' fruiting body can push up from the earth and release spores. Wild Cordyceps is extremely rare and comes with a price tag that's literally, not metaphorically, more expensive than gold. It's also noted to have a significant impact on the environment due to overharvesting and can prove dangerous to those that seek it navigating wild terrain at high altitudes, particularly on the Tibetan plateaus.
At Inner Atlas, we use the one type of cultivated Cordyceps that produces a fruiting body and is completely vegan and insect-free, Cordyceps Militaris. Cordyceps Militaris a species that has the closest related benefits and activity to wild Cordyceps according to chemical and pharmacological analysis.
You might have come across Cordyceps in your local health food store that lists Cs-4 in the ingredients. Cs-4 is properly named Paecilomyces Hepiali and is widely sold and marketed as Cordyceps even though in reality it’s not. This fungus is grown in liquid fermentation tanks and the latest DNA research shows Cs-4 is likely only a minor part of wild Cordyceps, but is popular worldwide due to its lower production cost.
We are one of the few companies that test our mushies for beta-D-glucans with the Megazyme testing method. As a result, we can guarantee that our Cordyceps extract contains greater than 30% beta-D-glucans so you can be confident your mushies are active and potent!
Inner Atlas Cordyceps
- Highly potent, containing greater than 30% beta-D-glucans.
- Certified USDA & EU Organic.
- Fruiting body only – 100% real mushrooms with no added fillers or mycelium.
- Lab-tested for purity.