In traditional Chinese medicine, Cordyceps has been known for centuries. The fungus is believed to help with various ailments, which is why it is gaining more recognition here as well. For example, the Chinese caterpillar fungus is said to help with fatigue, chronic exhaustion, weakness, and even stress. Athletes and biohackers, for instance, take the fungus for natural performance enhancement to meet the challenges of training and daily life.
1. What is Cordyceps?
Cordyceps sinensis is not without reason called the Chinese caterpillar fungus, as its shape actually resembles a caterpillar. However, the caterpillar fungus is not an ordinary edible mushroom; it is a parasite that infects a specific caterpillar and spreads throughout its fruiting body.
Since the fungus spreads throughout the entire caterpillar and deprives it of oxygen, the caterpillar dies after infection. However, its form remains fully intact, so the fungus literally shoots up from the ground like a caterpillar. Due to its resemblance to both a caterpillar and a club, it is often referred to as the „Tibetan caterpillar club fungus“ on many websites.
The fungus thrives in its native land of Tibet at an altitude of about 3,000 to 5,000 meters. Although it is believed that the caterpillar fungus has been used for thousands of years, it was first mentioned in traditional Chinese medicine in the 15th century. It has been taken as a medicinal and dietary supplement for many years and is gaining more recognition in our country as well.
2. How does Cordyceps sinensis work and what is it good for?
The effects of Cordyceps are primarily attributed to its revitalizing and strengthening properties. It is not surprising that more and more athletes and biohackers are becoming interested in this fungus. Did you know that in Chinese medicine, it is believed that the fungus can strengthen the kidneys? The kidneys are generally considered the „storage place“ of life energy and are often referred to as the „root of life.“
The fungus is said to have a revitalizing effect on every cell in the human body, making the effects of Cordyceps noticeable on both a mental and physical level. By increasing oxygen uptake in the lungs and improving circulation, athletes and biohackers are said to benefit greatly from the revitalizing effects of Cordyceps, enhancing their physical and cognitive performance.
3. Why is Cordyceps sinensis an adaptogen?
When you search the internet for information about the effects of Cordyceps, you will often come across the term „adaptogen.“ Adaptogens are substances that can support your body in adapting to stress. You are probably familiar with the feeling of not knowing where to start and how to cope with tasks in stressful situations. Stress is a real energy killer that robs you of motivation and affects your concentration, focus, and perseverance.
If you are stressed for a long period of time, you will clearly feel the decline in your cognitive and physical performance. Fortunately, there are adaptogens that can lower your stress level and improve your stress resistance. The adaptogenic effects of Cordyceps are due to its strengthening effect on the adrenal glands, as it can inhibit the release of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that triggers a „fight or flight“ response in us, which can be traced back to our primitive instincts.
It raises blood pressure, puts our pulse and nervous system into overdrive. If this state persists for a prolonged period, it is not surprising that you eventually „blow a fuse.“ Cordyceps is believed to help you maintain a cool head and focus even in stressful situations. As an adaptogen, the fungus can contribute to good stress management and the prevention of fatigue, lethargy, and weakness, making it an ideal dietary supplement for biohackers.
4. Why do athletes buy Cordyceps sinensis?
Cordyceps is not only taken regularly by biohackers, but athletes have also discovered its benefits. Chinese athletes allegedly consume the fungus regularly to enhance their physical performance. The revitalizing and strengthening effects are believed to be due to an increased production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s own substance needed primarily in muscle cells to rapidly provide energy during physical exertion. This is why insiders also refer to the fungus as the „ATP fungus.“
With regular consumption of the fungus, it is believed that the body can provide more oxygen, which can be advantageous for athletes not only during training but also during competition.
5. Can Cordyceps sinensis help with diabetes and inflammation?
Many researchers even speculate that the fungus may help with type 2 diabetes by imitating the effects of insulin and maintaining balanced blood sugar levels. Furthermore, many researchers attribute anti-inflammatory effects to the Cordyceps fungus, which may be of particular interest to athletes. As an example, joints are especially prone to inflammation due to the increased strain they experience during training and competition.
6. What are the side effects of Cordyceps sinensis?
Now that you know the effects that the fungus can have on both physical and mental levels, you may be wondering if there are any side effects.
Like any other dietary supplement, there can be side effects from taking the fungus, although they are often attributed to excessive dosage. However, the fact that the fungus has been successfully used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries suggests a safe application that may be free of side effects. If you are taking certain medications, such as blood thinners or antibiotics, it may be advisable to consult a doctor before taking the fungus as a dietary supplement.
7. Is Cordyceps sinensis dangerous?
As you already know, there are no expected side effects when taking the fungus. However, it is important that you purchase a high-quality product of the highest quality. While quality may be reflected in slightly higher prices, these products are often free of harmful and additive substances, which is likely of particular importance to athletes or dedicated biohackers. The purity of the product is not only crucial for quality but also for tolerability and efficacy.
There is one more point to consider in order to avoid side effects from the fungus: Make sure to strictly follow the recommended dosage by the manufacturer, even if the positive effects of the fungus may seem tempting.
8. What is better: Powder or capsules?
Cordyceps can be taken either in powder form or in capsules. Both products can differ in terms of bioavailability and efficacy. At first glance, powder has many advantages as it allows you to dose it according to your own discretion and use it as an addition to cereals and smoothies. However, the disadvantage is that it is a powder and not an extract.
The fungus is first dried and then ground into a fine powder, which is not as elaborate as the production of an extract. For this reason, powder is usually much cheaper. Cordyceps extracts may be slightly more expensive, but they are also believed to have a greater effect on the body and brain.
The bioactive plant substances, especially polysaccharides, are believed to be responsible for the effects, and they are present in the extract in a much higher concentration than in powder. Since the ingredients can complement each other in their effects, the extract is believed to be better absorbed by the body (high bioavailability).
Capsules have an advantage: They are easier to dose than powder because the recommended dosage by the manufacturer is already contained in a capsule. They are often combined with vitamin C since the vitamin (like the fungus) can contribute to normal energy metabolism and the reduction of fatigue and exhaustion.
9. How to take Cordyceps?
As you already know, capsules are the best option as they contain the fungus extract in the correct dosage. The capsules should be taken two to three times a day, preferably with meals and a little water. However, don’t expect miracles after the first intake: Often, the extract needs to be consumed for several weeks before its full effect is realized.
10. Where can I buy Cordyceps?
The Chinese caterpillar fungus is now available in many online shops. The prices can vary considerably, influenced by the manufacturing process and quality. In principle, it doesn’t matter where you buy the fungus, but you should value purity and quality.
Like any other fungus, the caterpillar fungus thrives in the wild, where it can absorb heavy metals and other pollutants like a sponge. High-quality products are thoroughly tested for pollutants to guarantee high quality and transparency.
Our Cordyceps capsules contain a highly dosed extract of the fungus and are free from animal ingredients and additives. Due to their high content of polysaccharides and their effective combination with vitamin C, the capsules also have a high bioavailability, which can contribute to better performance and a strong immune system.
11. Conclusion: Cordyceps can have positive effects on performance
In Chinese medicine, the caterpillar fungus has a long tradition and has also gained popularity in our latitudes. Although there are still not many studies on this topic, the current research is promising. Researchers believe that the fungus can have positive effects on both mental and physical levels. It is believed to enhance performance, provide strength, and contribute to the prevention of fatigue. As an adaptogen, it is even believed to help with stress.