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Curious About Cordyceps? Here's a Crash Course

by ARIEL MOGHADDAM |

Cordyceps are a group of parasitic fungi that live off certain types of insects. Before cordyceps could be cultivated, they were rare and expensive medicine that had to be hand collected through wildcraft. Today, two types of cordyceps, Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris, are getting attention for how they can potentially help people.

Cancer Fighting Properties

As of now, research for the anti-tumor properties of cordyceps have only been completed in test tubes. We don't yet know how well it works in real patients, but what research has been done is very encouraging. Several studies have shown that in test tubes, cordyceps militaris was effective against lung cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer, and skin cancer.

Research is beginning in mice, and so far these findings have been replicated. That's very promising for humans, but more research still needs to be done to confirm this potentially life saving aspect of cordyceps.

Helps Enhance Performance

Cordyceps could be a new tool for athletic minded people in the search for self improvement. In a study performed on 30 healthy adults, coryceps sinensis improved VO2 max (a determination of fitness level) by 7%.

Research showed these improvements in both young adults and older adults, but supplementation may not be as effective in top trained athletes. In studies using athletes already in peak condition, cordyseps did not appear to make a difference in their performance levels.

Anti-aging Properties

Hundreds of years ago, cordyceps were carefully gathered and used to help reduce the effects of aging, and to improve sex drive in older people. Although its amazing cancer fighting powers have taken center stage, it turns out cordyceps miltaris also has significant anti-aging properties.

Researchers looked at short lived animals such as fruit flies and mice in order to understand the effects of cordyceps militaris on anti-aging. They found that these animals lived much longer compared to a control group when fed cordyceps.

Sex drive was also measured in castrated rats in one study, and there was some evidence that cordyceps did boost sex drive.

High Blood Pressure Reduction

Cordyceps sinensis contain cordycepin, which helps relax blood vessel walls. It may also help improve blood circulation and reduce blood pressure, which is in turn good for heart health. Many studies have shown that when used as part of a heart health program, cordyceps were a powerful tool in improving the heart health of patients with high cholesterol and blood pressure.

Side effects

Cordyceps have many benefits, and relatively few side effects. You should ask your doctor before starting cordyceps if you are already on heart drugs, as they may lower your blood pressure too much if prescription medications are not adjusted.

People with allergies to fungus or mold should not take cordyceps, due to the risk of them also being allergic to it.

Cordyceps are relatively safe, and the benefits of them are real. Regular use of cordyceps could potentially extend your life, and make it a healthier and more enjoyable one for you as well.

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