Cordyceps is one of the most unique, rare, and treasured plants used in herbal medicine. In its natural form, Cordyceps can be found only at elevations above 3500 meters in isolated areas of southwestern China. This herb is actually a type of fungus which grows on the backs of caterpillars indigenous to China, Nepal, and Tibet. Due to its rarity, Cordyceps harvested in the wild is very expensive, costing about $1000 for 100 grams. Wild cordyceps from Tibet is supposed to be the best in the world. Scientific research has proven that wild cordyceps is richer in certain components, and also that the proportions of its ingredients are different from the cultivated herb, and this might make some differences in the activity. Nevertheless, the laboratory versions of Cordyceps are still a premium and valuable tonic herb.
Used for nearly 1500 years in traditional Chinese medicine, the Cordyceps fungus has been found to be very effective in treating circulatory, respiratory, and immune system problems in addition to its most popular usage as a powerful aphrodisiac. Recent studies performed at Beijing Medical University of China and in Japan have shown a 64% success rate among men suffering from impotence vs. 24% in the placebo group.
In ancient China, Cordyceps was highly recommended as one of the most effective medicines for all illness. Due to its anti-aging and cure-all properties, it can be compared to ginseng, reishi and deer velvet. In general, cordyceps is a tonic that helps build strength, improve organic functioning, strengthen the immune system and contributes to longevity.
Cordyceps is a powerful tonic and can help restore normal function of the body, stimulate immune response, increase energy, vitality, and longevity. Recent research has shown that cordyceps can improve sport performance and muscle-building capability. In TCM, Cordyceps has been used to help regulate blood pressure, strengthen cardiovascular system, and improving sexual energy and desire. Clinical tests performed at Hunan Medical University have shown that cordyceps is effective in relaxing the smooth muscles tissue of the penis, increasing blood flow, resulting in harder erections. A few animal studies have shown cordyceps feeding to increase the ratio of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to inorganic phosphate (Pi) in the liver by 45-55% - an effect that may be viewed as beneficial in terms of energy state and potential for performance enhancement. Furthermore, mice fed cordyceps and subjected to an extreme low oxygen environment, were able to utilize oxygen more efficiently (30-50% increase), better tolerate acidosis and hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and live 2-3 times longer than a control group. A number of Chinese clinical studies, primarily in elderly patients with fatigue, cordyceps-treated patients reported significant improvements in their level of fatigue, ability to tolerate cold temperatures, memory and cognitive capacity and sex drive.
Several studies have demonstrated that Cordyceps sinensis helps to lower total cholesterol by 10 to 21% and triglycerides by 9 to 26%. At the same time it helps to increase HDL-cholesterol (“good cholesterol”) by 27 to 30%
Several studies have shown Cordyceps to increase Natural Killer (NK) cells, our body’s first line of defense against infections and illness. In in-vitro study, Cordyceps significantly enhance the NK cell activity in healthy individuals as well as in patients with leukemia. According to a study published in Chinese J Integrated Traditional Western Med, Cordyceps enhanced the NK cell activity in healthy individuals by 74% and increased the NK activity of leukemia patients by 400%. Similar improvements of NK cell activities were found in patients with melanoma cancer.
Several studies with animals have demonstrated that Cordyceps sinensis increases the cellular energy production and oxygen supply. Cordyceps increases ATP synthesis, the basic unit of energy production, thereby promoting better oxygen efficiency, faster energy recovery, and reduce fatigue. In a clinical research involving elderly individuals with fatigue, after taking Cordyceps supplement for 30 days, 92% of individuals are showing reduction of fatigue, 89% showed reduction in feeling cold, 83% showed reduction in dizziness. Cordyceps has been clinically proven to increase cellular Bio-Energy by as much as 55%. In a double blind, placebo controlled investigation that involved elderly individuals, volunteers that took 3 gram of Cordyceps a day showed a marked reduction in fatigue and improvement shortness of breath.
Cordyceps help reduces muscle Soreness, enhances recovery, improves staminaand athletic performance.In a study with mice demonstrated their improved swimming capabilities after six weeks of Cordyceps supplementation compared with a control group.
Cordyceps may help improve libido and quality of life in men & women experiencing sexual frustration. In a double blind and placebo-controlled study involving 200 men with reduced libido and other sexual problems, Cordyceps significantly enhance their sexual function. 64% of the Cordyceps-users reported significant improvement in sexual function compared with 24% of the placebo group. According to a double blind, placebo controlled study published on Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 21 elderly women experiencing sexual frustration were given Cordyceps supplementation. 90% reported improvements in libido and sexual health following the use of Cordyceps, compared with none in the control group. In another human clinical study involving 189 men and women with decreased libido and desire, 66% showed improvement of symptoms and desire after Cordyceps supplementation.
Cordyceps help improve fertility by increasing sperm count. According to a study published on J Modern Diagnostics Therapeutics, 22 males with low sperm count were given Cordyceps supplement for 8 weeks. The result showed 33% increase in sperm count, 29% decreased in incidence of sperm malformations, and a 79% increase in survival rate.
Several scientific studies have demonstrated the benefits of Cordyceps sinensis in alleviating the symptoms of several respiratory illnesses including chronic bronchitis and asthma. In a double blind, placebo controlled study with 30 elderly volunteers Cordyceps significantly improved the maximum amount of oxygen these people were able to assimilate.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of Cordyceps sinensis on heart rhythm disturbances, such as cardiac arrhythmias and chronic heart failure. In an in vivo mouse model induced with Pneumonia, research results showed that animals taking Cordyceps had a significantly greater survival rate of 20% mortality vs. 80% mortality in 30 minutes, a startling 400% improvement.
In a research published on China J Chinese Materia Medica, that involved 33 patients with Hepatitis “B”, 8 patients with cirrhosis taking Cordyceps supplement showed 71.9% improvement on “Thymol Turbidity Test” and 78.6% improvement in” SGPT Test”, both are enzyme test showing improvement in liver functions.
According to J Administration Traditional Chinese Med, patients with chronic kidney diseases showed 51% improvement after one month with Cordyceps supplement.
Several clinical studies have been conducted in China and Japan with cancer patients. The studies were done with CSE (Cordyceps sinensis mycelium) using a therapeutic dose of 6 grams per day (= 4 capsules twice daily). In one study with 50 lung cancer patients administered CSE in conjunction with chemotherapy, tumors reduced in size in 46% of patients. A study in cancer patients with various types of tumors found CSE (6 g/day for over 2 months) improved subjective symptoms in the majority of patients. White blood cell counts were maintained and tumor size was significantly reduced in about half of the patients. Researchers in Japan reported that CSE enhances the general reactivity of the immune system in individuals with cancer. Mice were injected with cancerous (lymphoma) cells and then orally administered CSE. This lead to a reduction of tumor size and prolongation of the host survival time. CSE also improved the antibody responses.