As more time passes and more studies are done, more of cordyceps benefits continue to come to light. This medicinal fungus is unique in the way it grows, as well as the beneficial chemical compounds contained within. And I’m sure that in the near future, more insights will come to light regarding the benefits of cordyceps.
Cordyceps benefits were first recorded in ancient China. In that time, wild cordyceps sinensis was rare and only consumed by the rich and by royalty. After being harvested, it was cooked and served with duck, meat, and other poultry as well as being cooked into soups. Along with ginseng, it was considered a useful tonic for increasing vitality and overall well being. It was used specifically as a cure for impotence, to treat back pain, and as a tonic for kidney and liver health.
Cordyceps Studies in Humans
In clinical studies, cordyceps sinensis has been shown to have positive effects on hepatic diseases, high cholesterol, and various aging disorders including sexual dysfunction and loss of vitality. One particular study among men with sexual dysfunction showed an improvement in 67% in the group taking cultured cordyceps, and 31% in the group taking wild cordyceps.
These trials in human volunteers were supported by animal studies in which rats treated with cordyceps sinensis showed lower levels of cholesterol and plasma tryglycerides. Another effect was increased spermatogenesis (sperm production) in mice and rabbits.
Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Another study was conducted on volunteers with high cholesterol and high tryglycerides. After a period of 2 months, the cordyceps group showed a decrease in cholesterol of 17.5% and a decrease in tryglycerides of 9.9%. No side effects were reported.
Another study involving 87 patients with arrhythmia showed impressive results. An improvement of 87% was observed with a dose of cordyceps 3 times per day. 3 Cases of lung carcinoma were also treated over a period of 3 months with excellent results. Also, 18 cases of chronic nephritis showed significant signs of improvement after treatment with cultured cordyceps sinensis, as well as patients with chronic kidney disease.
In a human study involving 51 patients with chronic renal (kidney) failure, the administration of 3g-5g per day of cordyceps sinensis to 28 of the patients improved immune and renal function. No serious cordyceps side effects have ever been reported.
In a study involving 33 chronic hepatitis B patients, cordyceps sinensis was reported to improve liver function, and adjust protein metabolism. In 45 patients treated for cirrhosis, the group treated with cordyceps sinensis showed increased NK cell activity, and improved liver function.
Probably one of the most suprising of cordyceps benefits is in the treatment of tinnitus. Of 23 cases treated, 8 were reported as cured, and 9 improved greatly. The group that showed improvement had tinnitus due to fluid build up in the middle ear. The group that showed no improvement had a long history of auditory nerve disorders.
Olympic Athletes Break World Records
The Chinese team made an impressive showing at the 1992 Olympics. They broke several world records by wide margins. Right away everyone suspected steroids, but the Chinese claimed that cordyceps were the key to their success. These results have been replicated with lesser results. It is suspected that any benefit may come from more effecient use of oxygen, and increased blood flow to the organs.
Current Medical Uses
Cordyceps is known as an anti-asthmatic and anti-cancer agent which helps smooth muscle relaxation. It is used to stimulate the endocrine system, as an antibacterial agent, and to aid patients suffering from chronic renal failure.
Today, cordyceps is used in China specifically for the treatment of fatigue, cough, impotence, and anemia. It is listed in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia as a treatment for asthma and “impotence and seminal emissions with aching of loins and knees.”
One of the newest on the long list of cordyceps benefits is that of an immune modulator. While certain compounds in cordyceps significantly boost immunity, there are others that appear to modulate the immune system so that the body doesn’t attack healthy tissue. This could be a huge breakthrough in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Cordyceps is truly a miracle fungus.