Would you eat the fungus from a caterpillar’s head? It may seem strange, but you may actually want to add “caterpillar fungus” to your diet for a serious health boost! Cordyceps mushrooms are called “caterpillar fungus” because they grow on the head of one particular type of caterpillar. Curious to know who was the first person to try it and find out it had so many incredible medicinal properties?
Cordyceps mushrooms belong to a genus of rare parasitic fungi found primarily at high altitudes in the Himalayan Plateau, and has been used for centuries in Chinese and Tibetan medicine because of its potent health benefits. Cordyceps are a nutrient dense functional food – it contains complex polysaccharides, all the essential amino acids, sterols, nucleosides (precursors for DNA synthesis), vitamins E and K, and several minerals including manganese, iron, zinc, and calcium. These nutrient benefits as well as other healthy properties have increased interest in these mushrooms significantly, and the demand has skyrocketed.
Tibetans in the Himalayan region traditionally consider cordyceps mushrooms to be a remedy for weakness and fatigue, and as a medicine often used to recover from serious illnesses. Today, researchers have found that cordyceps mushrooms are effective in the treatment and management of many illnesses. Cordyceps have additional benefits of helping increase energy production, oxygen utilization, and improving glucose metabolism.
In a review published by the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms in 2008, supplementation with cordyceps or cordyceps extracts were found to be effective in animal and clinical trials for several health conditions including cardiovascular disease, immune disorders, renal disease, hyperglycemia and liver disease.
Use of cordyceps has also garnered interest as an adjunct treatment in cancer management. A review published in 2015 in the Journal of Pharmacological Sciences found that water extracts of cordyceps reduced the growth and metastasis of cancer through inhibiting cancer cell-induced platelet aggregation making it difficult for tumors to grow and by prohibiting cancer cells from communicating with each other.
Athletes are also turning to cordyceps as a natural way to boost performance during exercise. A 2018 review published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition examined the research on use of cordyceps and other herbal medicinal products on sports performance. Studies with athletes have shown that cordyceps supplementation resulted in more endurance, increased hemoglobin levels, and enhanced lactic acid production (thus increasing resistance to muscle fatigue).
Interested in adding the power of cordyceps to your diet to boost your health? Our Cordyceps Medicinal Mushrooms can be added to your daily diet to help promote health and longevity. Add a teaspoon of our whole food product to your favorite juice, smoothie, or other recipe. Cordyceps can also be eaten whole, or taken with tea. Just a simple teaspoon of these rare mushrooms can help add a boost of well-being to your day.