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Evidence-based Health Benefits Of Cordyceps

by | Health & Wellness

Last updated Aug 26, 2021 | Published on Sep 8, 2020

According to evidence-based sources, Cordyceps fungus has the power to solve and protect against numerous health problems. Many believe cordyceps also offer both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits. 

Before now, the Chinese have long utilized cordyceps in their various local traditional medicines. It seems to work pretty well for them. Other countries worldwide, including the United States, now used it as a dietary supplement.

Also, advocates of cordyceps insist that cordyceps have the power to cure a host of health problems such as depression, asthma, diabetes, muscle fatigue, high cholesterol, and other numerous illnesses. (1)

Traditional healers also believe that Cordyceps can boost libido, slow the aging process, and help fight cancer. They use cordyceps for the treatment of 21 different ailments. However, based on research, some of these claims are to be true. (2)

Cordyceps have over 400 species. Among these many species, health research focuses on two of them. They are Cordyceps Sinensis and Cordyceps Militaris. The potential health benefits made from the studies of this fungus are auspicious. Here are the evidence-based health benefits of Cordyceps.

9 Facts-Based Health Benefits Of Cordyceps


1. Cordyceps May Improve Learning and Brain Function 

Previous studies revealed that Cordyceps militaris could improve learning and memory. Although the main active ingredient should be its polypeptide complexes, its activity’s underlying mechanism remains poorly understood. 

In this study, the mechanisms by which Cordyceps militaris improves learning and memory we explored in a mouse model. The Mice were given scopolamine hydrobromide intraperitoneally to establish a mouse model of learning and memory loss. 

The results showed that the genes Pik3r5 (Phosphoinositide-3-Kinase Regulatory Subunit 5), Il-1β (Interleukin1β), and Slc18a2 (Solute Carrier Family 18 Member A2) were involved in the effects of Cordyceps polypeptide on these mice’s nervous system. Also, the findings suggest that by scavenging oxygen-free radicals, preventing oxidative damage, and protecting the nervous system, Cordyceps polypeptide may improve learning and memory in the scopolamine-induced mouse model. (3)

2. Cordyceps May Help manages diabetes.

Cordyceps may help keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range by doing the work of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that your pancreas produces to enable cells to use glucose. When your body isn’t producing or using insulin the right way, you can take a human-made insulin type to control your blood sugar levels.

Also, research has shown that cordyceps may also take the place of insulin and help decrease blood sugar levels. This goes to show that cordyceps can help manage diabetes.  (4)

3. Cordyceps May reduce Physical Fatigue.

One study investigated Cordyceps’ effect on physical fatigue in animals through a forced swimming test. The result of the studies suggests that Cordyceps may have an anti-fatigue effect. (5).

Besides, another study in older people suggested that there was a significant increase in VO2max after taking Cordyceps Sinensis for six weeks. VO2max is the maximum rate at which the muscles, lungs, and heart can efficiently use oxygen in exercise. It’s for measuring a person’s aerobic capacity.

4. Cordyceps May Help Fight Inflammation

Based on research, another health benefit of cordyceps is that it helps fight inflammation in the body. Since too much inflammation can lead to cancer and heart diseases, a unique way cordyceps helps in this regard is to suppress those special proteins that give rise to inflammation in the body. Also, researchers believe Cordyceps may serve as a useful anti-inflammatory supplement or drug. 

This research done on animals was promising. However, Cordyceps’ effects on inflammation in humans remain yet unknown.

5. Polysaccharides From the Cordyceps Show Antioxidant and Immune Enhancing Activities.

Antioxidants are substances that protect cells from free radicals. These radicals may play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other ailments. Cordyceps may have a positive effect on these beneficial substances.

Furthermore, findings suggest that polysaccharides are a promising source of natural antioxidants and antiaging drugs.

Also, researchers investigated the antioxidant pharmacological properties of Cordyceps taii, and the results were promising. The administration group shows significantly enhanced immune system function. This shows the Cordyceps taii polysaccharides had potent antioxidant activity, which is closely associated with improving immune function and eliminating free radicals (6).

6. Cordyceps May Boost Libido.

The elderly have traditionally used Cordyceps to boost sex drive

Sexual dysfunction is one of the critical health problems affecting men and women. Some of the available treatments are pharmacologically proven and tested medications. However, a significant number of people use unproven medical plants and mushrooms to improve sexual drive. One such fungus is Ophiocordyceps; traditionally used for the enhancement of sexual function.

There is still not much data about the positive performance on sexual dysfunction of this medicinal mushroom, Ophiocordyceps Sinensis

Furthermore, various searches carried out on ScienceDirect, SpringerLink, PubMed, Google Scholar scientific database, search engines, including using different combinations of keywords and synonyms, show that Ophiocordyceps Sinensis supplementation increased sperm number, the motile sperm cell percentage, and serum testosterone. (7)

7. May Improve Liver Function.

One of the essential health benefits of cordyceps is that it may be used to treat chronic hepatitis B. The inflammation linked with a hepatitis B infection can lead to extensive liver scarring (cirrhosis), affecting and weakening the liver’s ability to function. Also, there is an increased risk in people with chronic hepatitis B infection.

In addition, cultured Cordyceps sinensis mycelia show improvement in thirty-three patients with chronic hepatitis B cases. The results were good. The drug improves liver function, promotes negative transfer HBsAg, and markedly helps raise plasma albumin, resist high gamma globulin, and adjust body immunocompetence. (8)


8. May Relieve Asthma

Study shows that Cordyceps can modulate airway inflammation in asthma, improved lung function, and other health-related issues. However, other commonly prescribed drugs for asthma appear to be stronger than Cordyceps in this regard. (9)

9. May Boost Exercise Performance

Cordyceps can increase the body’s production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that delivers energy to the muscles.

This may improve the way your body uses oxygen, especially during exercise (1Trusted Source2).

In one study, researchers tested Cordyceps’ effects on exercise capacity in 30 healthy older participants using a stationary bike. Each person got either 3 grams per day of a synthetic strain of Cordyceps called CS-4 or a placebo pill for six weeks.

Results show the increase of VO2 max by 7% in persons who had received CS-4, while other persons who got the placebo pill showed no change (10)

Also, another study tested the effects of a Cordyceps on exercise performance in younger participants. The result shows that VO2 max had increased by 11% in the participants after 3 weeks, compared to a placebo. (11)

Bottom line

Alongside other medicinal mushrooms, Cordyceps is a powerful immune booster. In addition, its many health benefits range from improving the liver organ’s function, enhancing erectile function, virility, and stamina to managing diabetes.


Also, Cordyceps is known as Caterpillar Fungus, Himalayan Viagra, Yatsa Gunbu, Yarshagumba, Keera Jhar, Dong Chong Xia Cao, meaning “Winter Worm, Summer Grass” in Chinese. (10)


See also: Top Health Benefits Of Saffron

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By Sara Leandro

Sara Leandro is a certified health coach who helps others feel their best through individualized lifestyle changes that meet their unique needs and health goals. She covers topics ranging from health and productivity to relationships.

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