Cordyceps Side Effects


Though this page is entitled Cordyceps Side Effects,  what I will be focusing on in general will be a small but important list of contradictions and warnings that everybody should take into account before taking this herb. While the list of cordyceps benefits is vast, we must do our homework.

Cordyceps Sinensis Drug Interactions

No specific drug interactions have been reported from taking cordyceps sinensis;  however,  cordyceps contains adenosine.  Adenosine inhibits platelet aggregation,  it is a natural blood thinner.  People who are taking any antithrombotic and blood thinning medication such as Warfarin (Coumadin) should consult a doctor experienced in holistic and herbal therapies before taking cordyceps sinensis.

While certain substances found in the fruiting body (stroma) of cordyceps sinensis have been found to have immune boosting properties (anti-tumor/increased NK cell activity),  there are other substances that have been isolated from the fruiting body (stroma) that have been shown to have immunosuppressant  effects.

Patients who are taking corticosteroids such as Prednisone or Cortisone should consult a licensed medical professional before taking cordyceps sinensis because of a possible additive effect that may require lower doses of corticosteroids

Pregnancy and Lactation

No reports have been found regarding the safety of cordyceps sinensis in pregnant women and breastfeeding infants.  If you are pregnant,  or breastfeeding a child,  consult a doctor experienced in herbal therapies before taking this, or any other herbal supplement.

Toxicology in Animals

Cordyceps sinensis in a dose of 30-50 g/kg caused death in every mouse in the study.   At 5 g/kg some mice died.  Administered by s.c. or i.v. a boiled extract and alcohol extract were nontoxic.  At a dose of 80 g/kg p.o. for a week or longer,  no deaths occurred in the mice.  No mutagenic effects were found when subjected to the Ames test in strains of salmonella typhimurium,  in animal studies,  no teratogenic activity was found.

Cordyceps Side Effects

No reports of side effects were ever found from taking cordyceps sinensis. But a person with any health concerns should consult with a doctor trained in herbal therapies before starting any herbal supplement plan. It is also recommended to follow the dosage instructions from the manufacturer.

Lead Poisoning From Cordyceps

Lead poisoning can be very dangerous.  The symptoms of lead poisoning in adults includes muscular weakness,  pain or numbness in the extremities,  decline in mental function,  headache,  and abnormal sperm.

While elevated levels of lead have not been found naturally in cordyceps sinensis,  there have been cases where wild cordyceps (still attached to the caterpillar) were found to have lead filaments inserted,  apparently to increase weight by an unscrupulous harvester.

All standardized cordyceps extracts tested (powder and capsules) have been found to be free of lead and other contaminants.

Wild grown Chinese cordyceps sinensis is easy to spot because it is rare and expensive. But due to large scale cultivation in both North America and Europe, standardized extracts are considered safe.

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