Cliff Harvey PhD
Cordyceps Sinensis is an endoparasitic fungus naturally distributed in the Tibetan plateau of the Himalayas. It forms when the fungus begins to feed on the body of Ghost Moth larvae, forming a fruiting, fungal ‘bud’ prized for its medicinal value in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Vedic medicine systems, and even earlier in traditional Tibetan medicine.
It is claimed to be Adaptogenic, nootropic, anti-aging, anti-cancer, antioxidant, immune-modulating, and renal, hepato-, neuro-, and lung-protective.
Active constituents are still being identified and the fungi contain various bio-active polysaccharides, nucleosides, and sterols.
In particular, epipolythiodioxopiperazines and gliocladicillins A and B are capable of inhibiting the growth of HeLa, HepG2, and MCF-7 tumour cells (in vitro) and cordysinins A–E have been linked to anti-inflammatory properties.31, 32
Male reproductive function
Animal studies show a strong effect of Cordyceps on Leydig cell steroidogenesis (androgen/testosterone production). So, further research will examine the role of cordyceps in male reproductive function.33
Cardiovascular performance and function
In a randomised controlled trial of 37 elderly Chinese, improved aerobic function (VO2 max) and anaerobic threshold were significantly improved after 6 weeks use of Cordyceps (3 g per day).34
The bottom line:
While more research needs to be performed for cordyceps in humans, for specific outcomes, there is a huge history of use from traditional medicine systems, and merging research shows a positive role for a number of benefits from performance, through to health. Anecdotally and in clinical practice, we have noticed a big effect on alertness, performance, and energy.
How to take cordyceps:
I also love the Four Sigmatic Cordyceps coffee and as it comes in easy-to-use single-serve sachets, this is one of my ‘go-to’ products for traveling. (And if you don’t dig caffeine – you can try the Four Sigmatic Cordyceps Elixir—all the mushy benefits, without the caffeine!)