9 Facts You Didn't Know About Cordyceps Mushroom
Our recent article, Fascinating Facts About Lion's Mane Mushroom, focused on the increasingly popular Lion's Mane Mushroom. Its anti-ageing superpowers, peculiar appearance, unique taste and other incredible health benefits places it high on the list of notable medicinal mushrooms. While we're taking you on the journey of discovering the vast and intriguing world of medicinal mushrooms, we're obliged to touch base with another remarkable fungi, Cordyceps.
There are about 600 species of Cordyceps, most of which are native to Asia. The most well-known medicinal species is Cordyceps sinensis (now known officially as Ophiocordyceps sinensis) which originated in traditional Chinese medicine about 5000 years ago and is recognised as one of the world’s oldest superfoods!
If you don't know much about Cordyceps, we urge you to continue reading! On one hand, this medicinal mushroom is a powerful tool to exceptional health and wellness in so many different ways. On the other hand, it's also somewhat eerie, praying off the unsuspecting, and feeding off lifeforms in order to gain its badge of a mighty health supplement..
Keep reading to discover the wonderful (and somewhat sinister) facts about the Cordyceps mushroom!
The athletes' secret weapon
The Cordyceps Mushroom first gained the attention of ancient peoples when they observed the strength and endurance animals gained after consuming this particular fungus. Fast forward, Cordyceps is now known as the ‘the athlete’s mushroom’ as it boosts the body’s supply of ATP, a primary source of energy!
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a chemical substance better known as the energy currency of the cell responsible for storing and transferring energy in cells. Research proves that higher ATP production enables athletes to improve their physical performance and endurance. In 1993, headlines took off as athletes surpassed multiple world records, to which their coach accredited the success to Cordyceps supplements!
Weird and wonderful names
Owing to the popularity and reverence it's gained worldwide, the Cordyceps Mushroom has gathered a few nicknames for itself. It's often referred to as the 'zombie fungus', the 'caterpillar fungus' or the 'vegetable caterpillar', due to its thin, tubular shape. It's also known as 'Dong Chong Xia Ca' in traditional Chinese medicine.
The slow killer
This fact about the Cordyceps Mushroom is possibly the most interesting! Cordyceps sinensis is formed when the fungus attacks the larva of insects, infecting it with spores during autumn and then developing over the winter. By the time spring arrives, the fungus would have killed off the insects (slowly feeding off the host's nutrients) and will have grown out through their oral cavities, growing and producing a long slender fruiting body.
Before this puts you off the idea of taking Cordyceps Mushroom supplements, most Cordyceps supplements these days are made in a lab which eliminates the dependence on innocent insects, and are just as effective as wild Cordyceps!
Enhances sexual function
The Cordyceps Mushroom is also known as the Himalayan Viagra, and an aphrodisiac (libido enhancer) for both men and women. Not only is it used to boost sexual functioning, but it also helps to boost fertility and impaired reproductive function (i.e. erectile dysfunction).
Enjoy them in your daily diet
The fruit body of a Cordyceps Mushroom is safe to eat raw or cooked! In fact, cooking this mushroom does not decrease its nutritional value, and tastes way better than its raw counterpart. This mushroom fits well into most dishes because it blends in easily with almost all flavours, while giving your meal that extra punch of nutrition!
Please note that If you are allergic to molds or yeast, there is a chance that you'll be allergic to Cordyceps and should probably avoid them.
Have you ever eaten Cordyceps? Let us know what your experience was like in the comments below!
Say goodbye to illness
Do you have an overactive immune system, or compromised immune system? Cordyceps is known for its immunomodulatory function, which means that it has the ability to strengthen the response of the immune system and also has the ability to control its aggravated response.
If you're looking to prevent or treat infections, colds or flues, a Cordyceps Mushroom supplement is a great product to keep in your family medicine cabinet! It also has the ability to decrease coughs or congestion, asthma, as well as bronchial diseases.
Cordyceps can also assist in the treatment of depression, diabetes, fatigue, high cholesterol, renal disease, inflammation, liver damage and cognitive decline!
Say hello to anti-ageing superpowers
While ageing is a blessing, it also brings along a lot of uninvited guests such as fatigue, weakness, impotence, reduced libido, inflammation, cognitive (brain) decline, etc. Cordyceps is used to prolong one's life span and improve quality of living as one ages, by blocking oxidative stress to the cells and counteracting the decline in bodily functions.
Cordyceps is also known as an effective nootropic, which means it can enhance cognitive function and prevent neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Now would be a great time to start using a Cordyceps Mushroom supplement - prevention is better than cure, after all!
Kicking cancer in the butt
Various studies have been done, all seeing similar results. Researchers observed that Cordyceps has the ability to trigger apoptosis (cell death) in breast cancer cells, colon cancer cells and leukemia cells! Similar results have been seen with lung cancer cells. These are promising results, and we can't wait for further research to be conducted!
There's always an exception
While Cordyceps is largely considered safe for both short-term and long-term use, there's always an exception to everything in life. Please take note of the following precautions:
- People taking diabetic medication are encouraged to avoid using Cordyceps supplements as the combined use could result in hypoglycemia (sudden drops in blood sugar).
- People with bleeding disorders or those taking anticoagulants (blood thinners) or anti-clotting medication should avoid the use of Cordyceps as there is a risk of bleeding or bruising easily.
- If you're scheduled to undergo surgery, it's important to stop taking Cordyceps at least 2 weeks prior to surgery, otherwise there is the risk of excessive bleeding.
- Should you experience dry mouth, nausea or diarrhea after taking Cordyceps, this is a mild side effect that usually passes over without intervention. Should symptoms persist, stop taking Cordyceps.
Do you know any other interesting facts about the Cordyceps Mushroom? Show off your knowledge in the comments below!
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