• Dr. Wilde

CORDYCEPS MUSHROOM

Updated: Oct 20, 2019


Cordyceps is a medicinal mushroom, one of 146 remedial species, in fact. The most popular curative species is Cordyceps sinensis, known also as Ophiocordyceps sinensis. It is oft-referred to as the “caterpillar fungus” because of its long tubular morphology. Wild Cordyceps can fetch as much as $20,000 on the open-market. Most cordyceps supplements on the market are processed from a cultivation of an engineered fungus in laboratories which mimic the properties of, but can not grow the cordyceps mushroom


Source: Most of the 400 species of Cordyceps grow wild in China, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal and Bhutan. A lab-engineered supplement is also cultivated for consumption



Benefits:


Lowers Cholesterol: Herbalists have long-touted it for Cordyceps' ability to lower cholesterol. This translates to protection against heart attacks and benefits for diabetics as decreasing cholesterol numbers usually increases insulin sensitivity


Hypertension: Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is helped by Cordyceps due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The “cordycepin” in Cordyceps benefits circulation, relaxes blood vessels and lowers hypertension


Anti-Inflammatory: Cordyceps decrease proteins that cause inflammation in the body. There has also been a similar effects observed in the lungs, meaning cordyceps could have limited benefit for those with asthma


Cancer: Cordyceps can limit the growth or a wide range of cancer cells, as well as catalyze apoptosis (cell death) in certain tumors and cancers. Additionally, cordyceps can reduce the side effects of cancer treatment drugs, chemotherapeutic agents and protocols


Fatigue and Athletics: Shown to increase ATP or cellular energy and improve efficient use of oxygen



Risks: Those on diabetes medication should consult a doctor before trying Cordyceps as combining both could result in a drastic drop in blood sugar resulting in hypoglycemia. This goes for people on blood-thinners or anticoagulants, as well. Due to Cordyceps' effects on circulation and relaxing blood vessels, this combination could lead to excessive bleeding issues. By extension, avoid Cordyceps before any major surgery to prevent excessive bleeding


Minor side effects could include nausea, dry mouth, diarrhea or stomach ache but these typically subside when the individual ceases taking Cordyceps or lowers the dosage



Sustainability: Due to its high dollar demand, some harvesters are paring down Cordyceps populations to low levels in certain Asian countries, especially China. There are sustainable ways to cultivate this medicament and so when purchasing Cordyceps, be mindful that the harvesters you’re purchasing from are involved in proper farming and renewable practices


Processing: Cordyceps is a parasitic mushroom that grows on the larvae of insects. The fungi replace the host’s tissue with its long, slender growths. This phenomenon is very common naturally in the many Asian countries it grows wild. The cordyceps imitation engineered in laboratories for supplemental use are subject to pharmaceutical standards


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Resources:


https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/acm.2009.0226 - Effects on exercise performance

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/743107/ - Lowering cholesterol

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19131705 - Triggers apoptosis in cancer cells

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26263965 - Reduces cancer growth

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8874668 - Immunomodulatory effects

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28094746 - Effects on physical fatigue

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