Cordyceps sinensis is seen as a very precious medicinal mushroom in China and other Asian countries. For over 2000 years, Cordyceps sinensis has been used as a tonic, to increase health and vitality, combat aging and prevent various (age-related) diseases. Cordyceps sinensis is used in traditional Chinese medicine to benefit the working of the kidney and lung meridians. The strengthening of these meridians is said to strengthen the body, making it resilliant against fatigue, night sweats, lower back-pain, decreased libido, impotence, hyperglycemia, severe exhaustion, respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and even liver diseases. Cordyceps sinensis has been used medicinally in China for over 2000 years, but has only officially been classified as a medicine in Chinese medicine since 1964.
Cordyceps Sinensis nourishes yin and boosts yang
Cordyceps is classified in traditional Chinese medicine as a tonic that nourishes the Yin (Yin stands for structure) and strengthens Yang (Yang stands for function).
The Yin qualities of Cordyceps sinensis are in its antioxidant activity and immune system strengthening properties. Cordyceps stimulates and strengthens the immune system when it is weakened or requires additional support (against infectious diseases, aging, cancer), and inhibits and regulates the immune system when it is overactive (chronic inflammatory diseases) or out of balance (stress, allergies, autoimmune diseases).
The Yang reinforcing quality of Cordyceps expresses itself by increasing the cellular (mitochondrial) energy production and partly by reducing oxidative stress and improving glucose metabolism. Several human studies, including one placebo-controlled study of older people with chronic fatigue, confirmed that Cordyceps increases vitality. Symptoms such as fatigue, cold intolerance, dizziness, tinnitus and memory problems significantly decreased with use of Cordyceps, compared to the control group. In another placebo-controlled study of healthy elderly people, endurance and maximum oxygen capacity significantly increased during exercise (cycling on a stationary bike) after the use of Cordyceps.
A simple and reliable method to see if a preparation has an effect on endurance and fatigue, is to conduct an animal experiment. It may sound cruel, but it is real proof. In an experiment in which mice are forced to swim until they are completely exhausted, it can be measured if mice that have received a supplement have greater endurance. This test used supplementation with a (hot) water extract of Cordyceps sinensis (rich in polysaccharides) to significantly increase endurance and decrease fatigue, partly by improving stress tolerance. The acute stress situation led to the control animals increasing pressure on the adrenal glands and reducing the size of the liver, spleen, thymus and thyroid functions. In the animals that received cordyceps extract, no effect was measured on the stress scale and the weight of these organs. In other words, despite the incredible stress of being to swim for their lives, mice did not react adversely to stress becasue of Cordyceps sinensis. Image all the stressed out people out there… Imagine how good it would be for their health to take Cordyceps sinensis!
Cordyceps sinensis can also benefit people by improving energy production, antioxidant uptake, immunocompetence and stress resistance to delay the aging process.
Cordyceps Sinensis and sexuality and fertility
Cordyceps sinensis is known as an aphrodisiac, which increases the libido in both men and women. This is especially considered to be the case with those people above… a certain age. This is partly because Cordyceps sinensis enhances the biosynthesis of steroid hormones (such as cortisol, testosterone and estrogen). The production of these hormones decreases with age, leading to a decrease of the libido. Who needs blue chemical pills, when there is such a natural, healthy option?
Cordyceps has also been used traditionally for a long time to enhance the fertility of both men and women. Scientists believe that Cordyceps is a suitable supplement for enhancing female fertility and improving the success rate of in-vitro fertilization. In-vitro studies have shown that Cordyceps sinensis produces 17β-estradiol (by ovary cells) and dose-dependently stimulates the expression of enzymes, including StAR (steroidogenic acute regulatory protein) and aromatase.
Cordyceps Sinensis and cardiovascular health
Cordyceps sinensis has several components that help explain why the medicinal mushroom is so good for the heart and blood vessels. Cordyceps supports a regular heart rhythm, lowers cholesterol, inhibits the clotting of platelets, has an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect and improves blood flow to the heart muscles. In an animal study, Cordyceps sinensis proved to have a healing effect on hypertension.
Laboratory animals on a cholesterol-rich diet which received a hot water extract of Cordyceps sinensis, had lower total cholesterol levels than the controls. The animal study suggests that Cordyceps sinensis counteracts atherosclerosis by improving blood lipids. Various human studies have shown that the use of Cordyceps (about 3 grams per day) leads to significant reduction in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, increase and improve the ratio between HDL and LDL cholesterol levels.
If you still need a reason to love Cordyceps sinensis, just consider how good it is for your heart!