Mushroom Learning Center: Cordyceps Mushroom

Mushroom Learning Center: Cordyceps Mushroom

Cordyceps Sinensis is a Chinese medicinal parasitic fungus that can be found in the tropical rainforests of Asia. Cordyceps have become very popular in most recent years due to the purported health benefits.

People have used Cordyceps over the years as a stimulant, an adaptogen, and a tonic. Cordyceps stamina boost makes it an ideal energy enhancer. It is important to note that most of the research on this mushroom is limited to animal or lab studies. That being said, health experts find the fungus' health benefits to be very promising.

Cordyceps Mushrooms are found in two main species- Sinensis and Militaris. Both are known to have similar bioactive components, however, Militaris is known to more tested and concentrated. The main difference between each one is in the concentrations of two compounds: adenosine and cordycepin. Based on studies, Cordyceps Sinensis has more adenosine than Cordyceps Militaris, but no cordycepin. 

This article highlights the critical aspects of Cordyceps, according to scientific rediscovery. Read on to learn more about this mushroom and what it can do for you! 

What is Cordyceps?

Cordyceps is a medicinal mushroom that offers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. There are over 400 species of Cordyceps, and the fungus is of high value, with a kilogram going for over $20,000.

This fungus grows by living on certain caterpillars in high mountain areas. When the fungus attacks its host, it replaces the host’s tissue and sprouts slender and long stems that grow on the outer part of the host’s body. 

Thankfully, most Cordyceps today are grown by other methods including in labs, plastic bags, and glass jars. In addition to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, this mushroom is used today to help improve immunity, fight cancer cells, shrink tumor size (especially with lung or skin cancers), enhance athletic performance, treat kidney disorders and liver problems, and enhance sexual drive. As mentioned above, scientific research on these benefits is limited.

What is the difference between Cordyceps Sinensis and Cordyceps militaris?

As mentioned above, the difference between the two is dependent on the concentrations of the two compounds adenosine and cordycepin. Cordyceps Sinensis contains more adenosine than Cordyceps Militaris and no cordycepin. 

Additionally, Cordyceps Sinensis is an expensive and rare fungus that can’t be grown in the lab, whereas Cordyceps Militaris is a potent commercially cultivated version of Sinensis in a sterile lab. 

What is Cordyceps Used For?

As an alternative medicine, Cordyceps is a natural energy-boosting mushroom. Proponents of Cordyceps also allude that it helps keep certain health conditions under control, such as respiratory tract diseases, high cholesterol, fatigue, and diabetes. 

Moreover, it helps boost athletic performance. Accordingly, as herbal medicine, some specialists believe that Cordyceps slows down aging, increases libido, and its supplements act as growth inhibitors against tumor cells.

Cordyceps Mushroom Benefits

A photo of Cordyceps mushrooms.

Below are six potential benefits of Cordyceps, backed by scientific rediscovery:

Potential Benefits for Heart Health

There’s an approval for using Cordyceps to treat arrhythmia in China, which causes irregular heartbeats. A study also found minimal heart injuries in mice suffering from chronic kidney disease.

Chronic kidney disease increases the risk of heart failure, so reducing the injuries helps avoid the outcome. 

May Help in Managing Type 2 Diabetes

Cordyceps contains a particular sugar type that helps treat type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, Cordyceps helps keep your blood sugar levels healthy by mimicking insulin action.

Possible Anti-Tumor Properties

Cordyceps are growth inhibitors against tumor cells. In some test-tube studies, the Cordyceps supplements are protective of growth inhibitors in tumor cells such as the liver, skin, colon, and lungs.

An animal study shows that Cordyceps extracts are growth inhibitors against tumor cells for lung cancer, melanoma, and lymphoma.

Anti-Aging Effects

The elderly use Cordyceps for its anti-aging factors and to improve libido. It’s believed that Cordyceps increases antioxidants that have a protective role in fighting cell damage by neutralizing free radicals. These free radicals contribute to aging and diseases.

May Boost Athletic Performance

Cordyceps may increase your body’s ability to produce ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), essential for energy delivery to the muscles. Accordingly, this helps improve oxygen use, especially during workouts.

May Help Fight Against Inflammation

According to scientific rediscovery, Cordyceps may have a protective role in fighting body inflammation. Animal research shows that Cordyceps contains a protein that helps reduce inflammation. Thus, it serves as an excellent anti-inflammatory drug or supplement.

Improving your Immune System

Cordyceps Militaris extracts contain potent antioxidants that may help stimulate cells and specific chemicals in the immune system. This can bring a wide range of benefits including protecting your body against heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. 

Cordyceps Powder Dosage

There’s limited animal research regarding Cordyceps; therefore, no consensus on the suitable dosage. However, the typical dosage is between 1000 and 3000 milligrams per day of Cordyceps powder. This dosage is seen as safe and has profound health benefits. But, there’s still a need for more trials on its safety on people.

It’s advisable to first consult your doctor on what dose is suitable for your condition. 

Health Canada, however, does have guidelines on Cordyceps dosage based on different methods of preparation. These recommendations are as follows:

Method of Preparation

Uses or Purpose

Doses (grams)/day

Dry, Powder, Non-Standardized Ethanolic Extracts (Dry extract, Tincture, Fluid Extract)

Source of fungal polysaccharides

Not to exceed 3 g of dried stroma per day

Standardized Ethanolic Extracts (Dry extract, Tincture, Fluid Extract)

Source of fungal polysaccharides

Not to exceed 3 g of dried stroma per day and 40 % polysaccharides


Source of antioxidants/fungal polysaccharides

Not to exceed 9 g of dried stroma per day

Decoction standardized

Source of antioxidants/fungal polysaccharides

Not to exceed 9 g of dried stroma per day and 40 % polysaccharides

Dry, Powder, Non-Standardized Ethanolic Extracts (Dry extract, Tincture, Fluid Extract)

TCM claim

1.5-3 g of dried stroma per day

Standardized Ethanolic Extracts (Dry extract, Tincture, Fluid Extract)

TCM claim

1.5-3 g of dried stroma per day and not to exceed 40 % polysaccharides


TCM claim

3-9 g of dried stroma per day

Decoction standardized

TCM claim

3-9 g of dried stroma per day and not to exceed 40 % polysaccharides

According to Health Canada

Side Effects and Safety

Cordyceps is safe when taken by mouth in doses of 3-6 grams daily for up to one year. However, you might experience mild side effects such as stomach discomfort, constipation, and diarrhea.


How Does Cordyceps Mushroom Make You Feel?

This mushroom stimulates both your energy levels and libido. Therefore, it’s suitable for when you’re low on energy, or you need to boost your energy before a workout.

Who Should Not Take Cordyceps?

People with blood disorders should avoid Cordyceps because it slows blood clotting. Taking Cordyceps increases the chances of bleeding. 

What Happens If You Take Too Much Cordyceps?

If you take too much Cordyceps, there are increased chances of developing autoimmune diseases. In addition, there’s an increased risk of bleeding for people with blood disorders. It’s, therefore, advisable doses of 3-6 grams daily for up to a year.

What Does Cordyceps Do For The Body?

Cordyceps may enhance blood flow and help the body utilize oxygen more effectively. This flow is beneficial to those who work out regularly or athletes. 

Do Cordyceps Increase Testosterone?

Cordyceps supplements enhance testosterone, and serum LH levels, and improve sperm count. Subsequently, Cordyceps can improve one’s sex drive.

Will Cordyceps Keep You Awake?

There are high chances that Cordyceps might keep you awake if taken before bedtime. It works as a stimulant and increases energy production, so it’s best not taken before you go to sleep. 

Can I Take Cordyceps Every Day?

Yes, you can take Cordyceps every day for up to one year. It’s best to use the mushroom in the short term due to its adverse side effects.

How Long Does It Take for Cordyceps To Kick In?

You’re likely to begin seeing results in as little as one week of using Cordyceps. Also, you’ll experience more benefits with everyday use. 

Is Cordyceps Good For Lungs?

Cordyceps serve as a tonic for soothing lungs and other respiratory diseases. It’s, therefore, recommended for people with asthma and bronchitis.

What is the Best Time to Take Cordyceps?

The best time to take Cordyceps is in the morning. One of its significant benefits is boosting athletic performance and general daytime functioning.

Can You Take Cordyceps On An Empty Stomach?

You can take Cordyceps capsules with food or on an empty stomach. Consequently, it would be best to take the capsules at regular intervals for maximum results. 


Cordyceps is a well-known traditional Chinese medicine that has been there for centuries and treats different ailments. Though there are positive reviews on its use, there are minimal clinical trials on its impact on humans.

Nevertheless, the fungal cells boost your energy levels and improve oxygen use when exercising. There’s no consensus regarding the required dosage for maximum benefits or how safe it is for use.

Therefore, when taking Cordyceps supplements, ensure they pass the quality and purity test.

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