There are many species of Cordyceps mushrooms throughout the world. Two species, Cordyceps militaris and Cordyceps sinensis have attracted considerable attention from the medical community and extensively researched because of their significant medicinal properties. Cordyceps are recognized for their ability to support vitality, endurance and stamina as a result of the naturally occurring compounds in the mushroom that improve availability of oxygen in the blood. Whether you’re looking for a pre- or post-workout supplement or the secret weapon to charge through busy days with the kids, back-to-back meetings or double shifts, here are some of the top benefits of Cordyceps mushrooms and the best ways to incorporate them into your wellness routine.
Cordyceps are ideal for athletes looking for clean sources of energy that help make a positive difference to their performance. The impact of increased availability of oxygen also has relevance beyond athletes. It can play an important role in supporting the natural energy needs for daily routines, cognitive health and mood across the general population. It has particular importance for those suffering from low energy, fatigue, and respiratory challenges. Cordyceps mushrooms have cardiotonic properties. They support a healthy inflammation response. Cordyceps also has a long history of supporting sexual health by helping to restore and enhance sexual function. Several clinical trials conducted on patients with low libido and impotency issues have reported significant improvements.
A Brief History of Cordyceps Mushrooms
In traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine, Cordyceps was highly valued as a natural vitality elixir to help combat illness, improve stamina and was thought to increase longevity. With an unusual spindly appearance like that of a bright orange caterpillar, it was originally discovered by Tibetan herdsman working at high altitudes who took Cordyceps to cope with the impact of low oxygen on their level exertion. It gained popularity in the West for its effects on athletic performance in 1993, when world record-breaking performances of Chinese female athletes were attributed to a nutrition regimen that involved Cordyceps supplementation. Now, cultivators are bringing the medicine of the Himalayas to the West in dietary supplement products.
The Power Behind Cordyceps
Cordyceps mushrooms contain cordycepin and other important bioactive compounds. Studies show that in addition to the Cordyceps mushroom’s ability to improve availability of oxygen in the blood, it helps to support cardiac function and respiratory health. Researchers reported that in a 28-day trial of Cordyceps administration during high-intensity exercise, it benefited both aerobic and anaerobic performance, improving oxygen consumption and blood lactate levels. The increased availability of oxygen to exercising muscles has been shown in a recent study to significantly increase Max VO2, time to exertion and other sports performance parameters, helping with overall endurance and recovery. These performance results demonstrated the effect of an enhancement of the mitochondrial production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the “cellular currency” or fuel that provides cellular energy for the body. Other studies have shown the mushroom’s ability to enhance blood flow to the liver and non-exercising skeletal muscle may also aid lactate clearance, allowing athletes to maintain a higher intensity of exercise without fatigue. Elderly subjects who experienced extreme fatigue participated in a study in which Cordyceps was administered daily over a 30-day period. The treatment group showed an increased level of energy and vitality and reported a higher quality of life and self-esteem.
Who Should Take Cordyceps Mushrooms?
While the energizing benefits of Cordyceps make it ideal for athletes, anyone can benefit from its natural power. Take it before a hard workout or competition or take it afterward to aid recovery. Take it just after waking up in the morning to jumpstart your day or take it in the afternoon when your energy level is getting low. If the demands of modern life often leave you feeling depleted, you may find that Cordyceps has you bouncing back with much needed energy and there’s no better time to bounce back than the present.
How to Take This Mushroom
Om Superfood Mushrooms makes it easy to incorporate this functional mushroom into your daily routine with a variety of products incorporating certified 100-percent organic, whole food mushrooms grown at their state-of-the-art indoor farm in California. The product ENERGY+ can be added to your water bottle for days when you’re on the go. Available in two natural flavors, citrus orange, and lemon lime, it offers a combination of four species of mushrooms, Cordyceps militaris, Cordyceps sinensis, Reishi and Lion’s Mane, plus B-Vitamins and natural botanicals, including guarana, yerba mate and turmeric. Or if you prefer that your sole energy source be delivered by Cordyceps alone with no added flavor, opt for the Cordyceps mushroom powder product. Add it to juice, a smoothie, coffee, tea or your favorite recipe. Don’t have time to make a smoothie? Take your Cordyceps in convenient capsule form for natural endurance and stamina made easy. You can find other products with Cordyceps here and you don’t even have to trek the Himalayas.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist from Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, and VICE.