Is it worth trying some shrooms? A cordyceps mushroom supplement is delicious and has multiple benefits.
It’s hard to imagine what people thought when they first decided to try cordyceps sinensis. After all, it grows in caterpillar larvae! Someone took that vital first step, though, because cordyceps has been used as a supplement for centuries, especially in China, where it originated.
Cordyceps sinensis: Am I eating bugs?
Cordyceps sinensis is a parasitic fungus that attacks larvae of ghost moths in the high mountains of China.
At Wild Foods, we have an open mind, but even for us, caterpillars are taking it too far. Also, cordyceps sinensis is considered an endangered species and challenging to harvest. Researchers are looking into other ways to cultivate it, but right now, all these factors make it the most expensive herb in China, selling wholesale for as much as US$20,000 per kilogram.
The cordyceps supplement we (and most other retailers) sell comes from a cultivated mushroom called cordyceps militaris. Its many benefits include reducing stress, boosting the immune system, and supporting organ health.
Cordyceps Mushroom and Stress
Civilization has evolved dramatically, and we now have the knowledge and technology to solve many health issues. Yet modern society also takes a massive toll on us.
We’re designed to handle a certain amount of stress and anxiety, but research shows that the high levels we now experience daily are highly detrimental to our health and well-being. The effects can range from headaches, insomnia, depression[AL1], addiction to a weakened immune system, diabetes, and high blood pressure, putting you at risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Finding ways to combat stress is critical, and a cordyceps mushroom supplement can be highly beneficial in helping you maintain balance in tough times.
How Does Cordyceps Work?
Cordyceps works as an “adaptogen”. It is like a mini stress vaccine, subjecting our body to a small amount of stress to force it to adapt. This helps build our resistance to stress, so we can cope better rather than collapsing into exhaustion.
There is a fair amount of research available to support this:
- The main constituent of a cordyceps extract is Cordycepin, which has potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer effects.
- Other research on animals showed that endurance is improved and stress is reduced by cordyceps.
- A 2017 Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research study showed that cordyceps have a robust immune regulation component.
Other Cordyceps Benefits
Other research (albeit much of it on animals) has shown many other benefits of the cordyceps mushroom. For example, it improves:
Cordyceps Mushroom: Mycelium vs. Fruiting Bodies
When buying a cordyceps supplement, you need to know what you’re looking for.
Mycelium is the “root” of the fungus. It’s an underground network that expands by breaking down decaying organic matter.
When conditions are ideal, it produces a “fruit,” i.e., a mushroom. The high nutritional value of cordyceps lies mainly in the mushroom’s cap and stem.
Most supplements made from mycelium are cheaper, but they don’t contain high enough levels of active compounds like beta-glucans. The best cordyceps supplements are therefore made from fruiting bodies.
Cordyceps Extract and Supplements
At Wild Foods, our customers must get the correct dosage to maximize the benefits, and extracts are one of the best ways to ensure this. Our cordyceps powder is a 10:1 extract, i.e., it takes 10 pounds of raw cordyceps to create every pound of powder, making it highly potent.
The Wild Way: How to Use Cordyceps
Cordyceps supplements can be used in a multitude of ways. They have an umami quality and taste earthy and nutty. Try adding our Wild Shroom #5 Cordyceps Mushroom Extract to soups, broths, smoothies, tea, coffee, raw chocolate, or fat elixirs[AL2].
Although some businesses would have you believe differently, you’ll benefit the most by using cordyceps supplements in moderation. 3 – 5 times a week will help reduce stress and fatigue and ensure long-lasting health.