Cordyceps Sinensis: 9 Cordyceps Benefits from Workout Performance to Sexual Function

Cordyceps sinensis has been a mainstay in Tibetan and Chinese traditional medicine for centuries and is even now considered the rarest and most precious herb in Chinese medicine.

Its use dates back to the Ming dynasty, when the emperor's physicians began studying the benefits of this superfood.

Cordyceps soon became one of the most respected ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine - but back then, it was only available to those belonging to the Imperial Palace.

cordyceps sinensis: everything you need to know

Cordyceps found its way to the West when Dr. Georges Halpern, a physician and professor at the University of Hong Kong, conducted a series of experiments and confirmed the health benefits associated with it.

But it really made headlines when the Chinese team at the 1993 Chinese National Games broke 9 world records and attributed their stamina and athletic performance to the benefits of Cordyceps sinensis.

Yet it remains a somewhat controversial superfood - traditional herbalists and Chinese medicinists swear that it's one of the most potently beneficial herbs in the natural world while others point out that the majority of the facts and research comes from studies done by Chinese scientists and anecdotal records from Chinese traditional medicine.

Still, we can't ignore a superfood that's been sought after and praised for centuries - especially when Chinese traditional medicine fills in so many of the gap that Western medicine misses. Not to mention the glowing personal reviews from people who've seen great results from Cordyceps.

So, let's get to the point: what is Cordyceps sinensis and what does it do?

What is Cordyceps Sinensis?

Just to be clear - there are lots of Cordyceps varieties (over 680 species, to be exact), but the most well-known is Cordyceps sinensis and that's specifically the Cordyceps variety this entire post is dedicated to.

Cordyceps sinensis is entirely unique to the Tibetan plateau, growing wildly in the high plateaus of this region. It is usually brown or orange in color and has the appearance of a tiny, curvy cane.

It's pretty cool looking - we think you'll agree.​

Okay, you say, but what exactly is it?

Well, we won't lie to you - although it's often mistakenly identified as a type of mushroom, modern studies show that Cordyceps sinensis is actually a parasitic ascocarp fungus.

cordyceps sinensis mushroom

Gross, we know. But wait, it gets grosser...​

The Cordyceps sinensis "mushroom" is formed during fall when the ascocarp spores infest the moth caterpillars that dwell in low-lying trees and shrubs. These spores feed off the caterpillars and develop throughout the winter. They reach their full size when spring arrives, completely encasing the remains of their hosts.

So, Cordyceps is more accurately a caterpillar-eating fungus. But before you close this page in disgust, you should really know why this unlikely fungus is a superfood and what it can do for your body and health.​

Cordyceps Benefits: 

In traditional Chinese medicine, Cordyceps is commonly used to enhance kidney function, invigorate the lungs and improve respiratory health and most importantly, to promote general strength.

But that doesn't even begin to tell the full story of Cordyceps benefits for your health...

1. Cordyceps Gives a Huge Energy Boost

​Cordyceps sinensis is hands down one of the best supplements for energy you can add to your diet.

You see, this fungus undergoes a fermentation-like state when ingested in the body.

This state promotes the faster breakdown and metabolism of the fatty acids already absorbed by the digestive system, which in turn optimizes energy production.

9 amazing cordyceps benefits

But more importantly - one of the key active ingredients of Cordyceps is adenosine, a nucleic acid which is a crucial component of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

ATP is basically energy - it's considered by biologists to be the energy currency of life. It is the high-energy molecule that stores the energy we need to do pretty much everything we do. Each and every action you perform gets the energy it requires for operation directly from stored ATP.

Cordyceps significantly boosts your body's ability to produce this important, energy-giving ATP, which is why cordyceps is a superfood darling for everyone from athletes looking to boost their stamina and performance to the elderly who're looking to stay active.​

2. Cordyceps Powers Your Workouts

There's good reason Cordyceps is so popular with athletes and body builders...

  • It boosts ATP generation to increase energy so you can have longer, more intense workout sessions.
  • It maximizes your body's oxygen utilization, which is awesome since aerobic endurance is crucial to workout performance - helping an athlete extend performance times without becoming fatigued. A 2004 study published in the journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that Cordyceps improved oxygen utilization by as much as 50%
  • It acts as an effective stimulant, giving a boost similar to caffeine but minus the jittery, sleep-depriving side effects
  • It helps to maintain steady bloody glucose levels during prolonged workouts, preventing burnout and energy crashes
  • It lowers your heart rate, allowing you to train harder for longer periods
  • It promotes muscle growth - Cordyceps has been shown to boost testosterone levels, which are crucial for supporting maximum muscle growth
  • It even helps post-workout: users report Cordyceps reduces muscle soreness and fatigue - most likely due to the fact that it improves blood flow in the body, relaxing muscular blood vessels and allowing them to expand

3. Cordyceps Improves Sexual Function

Energy and sexual function go hand-in-hand and Cordyceps gives a huge boost for both.

A study published in the medical journal Life Science in 2004 reports that the use of Cordyceps sinensis among adult men boosts testosterone levels by stimulating the body to churn out more testosterone.

Which makes it easier for to get in the mood for lovemaking as well as improve their virility and sex drive while at it.

energy-giving cordyceps sinensis benefits

A similar result was described in a related study that focused on elderly male populations.​

4. Cordyceps Promotes Better Circulation and Blood Flow

Cordyceps sinensis flaunts a very diverse lineup of nutrients that have been seen to have a positive effect to the overall function of the circulatory system.

That's 'cause cordyceps contains a number of nucleosides like deoxyuridine, thymidine, hypoxanthine and adenosine which play a key role in producing energy and enhancing blood flow.

These nucleosides also provide you with several essential amino acids and sterols that help maintain the elasticity of channels where blood flows through like blood vessels, veins and arteries.​

5. Cordyceps Improves Respiratory Function

9 surprising benefits of cordyceps

The adenosine and cordycepin in Cordyceps sinensis optimizes the transport of ions to the epithelial cells found in the human airway.

Besides boosting the body's oxygen utilization capacity, this also helps the respiratory system beef up its defenses against illnesses like bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.​

Experts speculate that this is perhaps a factor why people living in Nepal and Tibet who have been using Cordyceps sinensis for centuries seem to have stronger respiratory systems and can equalize faster to bouts of altitude sickness than the most.​

6. Cordyceps Has Anti Aging Benefits

In a 2009 study published in Phytotherapy Research, scientists found that treatment with cordyceps helped improve brain function and increase antioxidant activity in aging mice.

Much of this is due to the fact that Cordyceps sinensis is loaded with a variety of flavonoids and polyphenols that help get rid of free radicals, which set off oxidative stress in the body.​

7. Cordyceps Protects Against Cancer

Several studies conducted with lung cancer patients in China and Japan showed that a therapeutic dose of 6 grams per day of Cordyceps sinensis combined with chemotherapy reduced tumor size in 46% of the patients.​

8. Cordyceps May Help Prevent Diabetes

Published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a 2002 study on rats showed that cordyceps may help fight insulin resistance (a condition linked to increased diabetes risk).​

9. Cordyceps Improves Heart and Liver Health

Based on the results of a 2010 study published in the Journal of Pharmacological Sciences wherein hamsters exposed to a high-fat diet were given regular doses of Cordyceps sinensis, the levels of phospho-AMP-activated protein kinase in their bodies went up.

This helped reduce the amounts of low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides that can cause hyperlipidemia.

the many health benefits of cordyceps fungus

Interestingly, a spike in phospho-acetyl-CoA carboxylase in their livers was also observed, which means Cordyceps sinensis may hold promising cures for liver issues and optimize its overall function.​

How to Choose the Best Cordyceps Supplement

the best cordyceps supplement

As far as cordyceps supplements go, this is by far the best value. It's 100% concentrated cordyceps mushroom powder, distilled in a 20:1 concentration so all you need is a teaspoon of powder per day. 

​The company is Canadian and the extract is produced in an FDA Approved Facility according to GMP procedures. 

The powder blends really well into smoothies as well as hot water and it has a subtle, earthy taste so you can add it into your foods as well.

This is by far the best pure cordyceps supplement​ and it'll last you ages.

the best immune boosting cordyceps supplement

If you're looking for a convenient pill-based cordyceps supplement that also gives you the immune-boosting benefits of a wide array of super mushrooms - Host Defense's Comprehensive Immune Support pills are perfect. 

These pills combine 17 powerful mushroom species for total immune system health, you'll get the benefits of: Royal Sun Blazel, Cordyceps, Enokitake, Amadou, Agarikon, Agarikon, Artist Conk, Reishi, Oregon Polypore, Maitake, Lion's Mane, Chaga, Shiitake, Mesima, Birch Polypore, Zhu Ling, Split Gill Polypore and Turkey Tail combines into convenient capsules. 

About the Author Jessica

After growing up a perpetually pudgy kid, Jessica discovered real food - and her waistline shortly afterward. When she's not crafting concoctions in the kitchen, she spends her free time writing about food, making her own deodorant, watching sci-fi, doing headstands, and looking for gluten free food that doesn't suck.

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