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September 20, 2021 3 min read
Like many supplements currently found in the Western world, cordyceps mushrooms originate in the East where they have been traditionally used for centuries in Chinese and Tibetan medicine. In fact, traditional healers in Sikkim (where cordyceps are found in the wild,) recommend a strain of cordyceps called cordyceps sinensis for “all illnesses…because they claim that it improves energy, appetite, stamina, libido, endurance, and sleeping patterns.”‡
These benefits were first discovered by local herders in Sikkim when they noticed that their animals’ strength and vitality improved after consuming the fungus in the wild. They began collecting and drying the mushrooms to consume themselves.
Cordyceps continue to be used to this day by traditional or folk healers worldwide to support a wide array of health benefits.
Cordyceps are adaptogenic mushrooms,which means they have some additional properties above and beyond what you would find in your standard grocery store variety. Adaptogens are known to help maintain good overall health by supporting the body’s healthy stress and immune responses.‡ Sounds pretty good, right? Well, cordyceps go even one step further because they contain potent antioxidant properties, which help minimize cell damage from free radicals, and naturally occurring compounds that may improve availability of oxygen to muscles in the body.‡ There are many reasons why you should care about Cordyceps!
Scientific studies on the benefits of superfood mushrooms like cordyceps are still quite new, but initial results are promising. Cordyceps are most commonly known for supporting stamina, energy and fighting fatigue but there are many other benefits still being studied.‡
Perhaps most popular as an energizing adaptogen, cordyceps have been studied for their ability to help fight fatigue and provide natural energy, both mentally and physically.‡ In these studies, conducted in a lab, scientists discovered that the benefit of increased physical energy could be related to the enhancement of immunity (man, do we ever love a two-in-one!) They also found that cordyceps had an impact on mental fatigue, which can lead to depression.‡
Because our immune system works to protect our bodies from harmful outside invaders, like germs and toxins, it is essential to protect our immune systems! Cordyceps have been suggested to help support our immune systems because they contain anti-inflammatory compounds called polysaccharides, which play a huge role in our bodies to support food processing and overall health ‡ Cordyceps may also help support a healthy gut microbiome by regulating healthy intestinal bacteria.‡
If Cordyceps can help fight physical fatigue, it stands to reason that they may also support stamina and endurance in athletes.‡ In fact, there have been a number of scientific studies conducted recently to better understand how cordyceps impact high-intensity exercise, and the findings are exciting: cordyceps may not only improve the function of oxygen consumption, but increased availability of oxygen to the muscles suggests an optimization of how the body uses oxygen during exercise.‡
We might not always think of brain health as part of our body’s overall heath, but our mental health can be supported by our diet, too! Brain function, like learning and memory, could benefit from the addition of cordyceps to our daily routine.‡ One study shows that “Cordyceps polypeptide could improve…learning and memory”, while others have studied the neuroprotective function of cordyceps, which could help prevent damage and protect the brain.‡
Well, there you have it! Cordyceps are showing a great deal of promise to help support the body and promote good overall health.‡ But these “magic” little mushrooms can be both expensive and difficult to find. Adaptogenic mushroom supplements can still help provide the above benefits of cordyceps mushrooms, but in a much more convenient format! Try adding these powders to hot water to create your own tea, or add them to your cup of tea or coffee for an added boost of flavor.
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What are nootropics supplements and how do they benefit your brain? In this guide, we look into the potential benefits derived from nootropic supplements.
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What are natural nootropics and how do they benefit you? We look at the potential cognitive benefits of organic nootropics to help support mental acuity.‡