The Evidence-Backing: Cordyceps [updated]

The Evidence-Backing: Cordyceps [updated]

Cliff Harvey PhD

A bit about Cordyceps…

Cordyceps sinensis is an endo-parasitic 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. 

Cancer inhibition

Compounds from cordyceps are capable of inhibiting several types of tumour cells (in vitro) and cordysinins A–E have also been linked to anti-inflammatory properties. 

Male reproductive function
Animal studies show a strong effect of cordyceps on testosterone production and future research will examine the role of cordyceps in male reproductive function. 

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).

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:

My favourite is the new Cordyceps coffee by Life Cykel. I think it’s the best tasting of the range. 

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!)


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