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Why Is Cordyceps Good For You? The Benefits of Cordyceps

Key Takeaways

  • Cordyceps, a fungus found in regions like the Himalayas and China, has long been used for its potential medicinal benefits.
  • Studies suggest Cordyceps may support the immune system by improving cellular and humoral immunity, potentially aiding autoimmune diseases.
  • Its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties may reduce inflammation, fight cancer cells, and protect against oxidative stress.
  • Different species like Cordyceps Sinensis and Cordyceps Militaris offer unique benefits, including immune support and liver protection.
  • Cordyceps may also promote kidney health by lowering creatinine levels and support lung health by reducing inflammation and inhibiting cancer cell growth.
  • Other potential benefits include enhancing athletic performance, reducing fatigue, managing blood sugar levels, and possessing anti-aging properties.
  • Caution is advised for certain groups, including pregnant or breastfeeding individuals, and those with conditions like multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • While more research is needed, Cordyceps' antioxidant-rich properties show promise for improving overall health and well-being.

Found in the Himalayan mountains, China, Korea, Nepal, and several other regions, Cordyceps has been used for centuries.

Cordyceps are parasitic fungi that grow on the larvae of insects. When they’ve attacked their host, they sprout a long thin brown stem from the body. Once dried, you can safely ingest this fungus.

Many people believe that these fungi contain medicinal properties and have traditionally used them to treat sickness, asthma, and kidney disease.

Cordyceps continues to grow in popularity as a result of the health benefits it may provide. You can find it in the form of dried cordyceps or supplements which contain cordyceps extract.

If you have been wondering about the benefits of Cordyceps, or whether it is something you should try, you’re in luck! This post gives you all the information you need on how cordyceps benefit your immunity, liver, kidney, and lung health.

Is Cordyceps Good For The Immune System?

Cordyceps tea in a glass jar

Our immune system plays a core role in protecting and defending our body from harmful pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. Made up of organs, cells, and proteins, our immune system must run smoothly in order for our bodies to stay healthy.

A healthy immune system should be able to recognize and neutralize harmful substances.

The natural response of our immune system is to attack and defend against invaders. However, some suffer from an immune system that doesn’t work in the way that it should. In these cases, the body will overreact and begin to fight itself by attacking its own healthy cells. We refer to this as an autoimmune disease.

Autoimmune diseases such as heart disease can be treated with immunosuppressant drugs. These drugs stop the immune system from damaging its healthy cells and tissues. They also control symptoms of the disease such as chronic inflammation.

Studies show that taking Cordyceps may be an alternative solution to treating autoimmune disease symptoms. It is believed to contain properties that help to heal the immune system by improving cellular and humoral immunity.

Cell-mediated immunity and humoral immunity are mechanisms that help to protect your body against disease when your initial immune system response fails.

They almost act as a backup immune response. Their function includes recognizing an invasion and generating a response to eliminate harmful pathogens or an infected cell.

So how else are Cordyceps good for the immune system?

Reduction Of Cancer Cells

Cordyceps contain properties that may treat the side effect of leukopenia (a side effect of leukaemia) by reversing the effects.

Leukopenia is a condition that decreases the white blood cells (leukocytes) in the body. This condition results in the reduction of the body’s defences, consequently increasing the risk of infection.

While the effect of Cordyceps on leukopenia in human tumour development is unknown, studies have shown that there is potential for it to be effective.

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Fighting Against Inflammation

Cordyceps may also reduce inflammation. Inflammation is the natural way our body reacts to defend itself against bacteria and viruses that pose a threat of infection.

An inflammatory response is a part of the healing process. However, sometimes the body reacts by accidentally perceiving its own tissues or cells as harmful invaders and will react by destroying them. This can lead to the occurrence of an autoimmune disease.

The significant difference between these two responses is that the first is a beneficial response that leads to the restoration of tissue structure and function. The other causes harmful side effects such as chronic inflammation.

Studies show that Cordyceps may combat the effects of inflammation by suppressing proteins within the body associated with increased inflammation.

Cordyceps Sinensis And Cordyceps Militaris

There are 400 different species of Cordyceps. One that stands out for its potential benefits is Cordyceps Sinensis. This species of Cordyceps is considered to be a powerful antioxidant.

Its properties are believed to boost the immune system by increasing the production of essential cells.

Another popular species is Cordyceps Militaris. This Cordyceps strain is another powerful antioxidant that contains antiviral properties. This species may offer immuno-protective properties including creating barriers and adaptive responses.

Is Cordyceps Good For The Kidneys?

Bowl of cordyceps mushrooms

Evidence suggests that Cordyceps provides regenerative properties that trigger immune cells. This is beneficial when it comes to maintaining kidney health.

Studies show that Cordyceps has the potential to help the immune system fight against pathogens such as viruses and cancer by lowering the creatinine levels in the bodies of people with chronic kidney disease.

The believed effect is that the Cordyceps protect the kidneys from toxins and complications.

Cordyceps may also have free radical scavenging abilities. To understand how Cordyceps achieve this, we first need to break down the meaning of oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is a process that is caused by an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals. The role of antioxidants is to keep the free radicals in check. But when free radicals outnumber antioxidants, the body isn’t able to detox properly as the antioxidants can’t protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals.

So where does Cordyceps come in? Cordyceps contain antioxidants that help to restore balance. Studies suggest that their properties help to reduce the development of fatty liver, oxidative stress, and reduce inflammation.

Is Cordyceps Good For The Liver?

There is a chance that Cordyceps promote the longevity of liver health. Considered a powerful antioxidant, Cordyceps contains superoxide dismutase (SOD) which is a potent antioxidant known for eliminating free radicals and other toxins.

Many people believe that Cordyceps have the ability to restore and regenerate cells and provide hepatoprotection. Hepatoprotection prevents damage to the liver. Cordyceps also contain polysaccharides, glycoproteins, and peptides.

All of these are components that have the ability to influence cell activation. Studies show that as Cordyceps contain this component, they have the properties that can normalize and restore liver enzymes.

Is Cordyceps Good For The Lungs?

Cup of cordyceps tea with flowers and cordyceps scraps beside it

Containing SOD and considered a powerful antioxidant, it’s no wonder that we believe Cordyceps has pretty amazing health benefits.

To add to the long list of believed abilities, many believe that Cordyceps has an effect inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in human lungs.

Other than SOD, Cordyceps contains cordycepic acid, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. These are properties that are known for helping to reduce inflammation and the effects of inflammatory conditions in the lungs such as asthma and bronchitis.

An even more severe condition of lung inflammation is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), this condition is a chronic lung disease that scars tissue in the lungs leading to difficulty breathing.

IPF increases inflammation and causes oxidative stress. Studies show that Cordyceps could potentially relieve fibrosis in the lungs, liver, and kidney by triggering collagen degradation.

Collagen is the building block of our tissue. It is one of our main structural components. Collagen degradation is an important process that remodels, repairs, and rebuilds tissue ultimately reversing the effects of IPF.

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Other Potential Benefits of Cordyceps

Cordyceps may also:

  • Enhance athletic performance by improving oxygen use.
  • Reduce fatigue and boost energy levels.
  • Manage blood sugar levels.
  • Possess anti-aging properties by fighting inflammation and oxidative stress.

Precautions and Risks of Cordyceps

We are still exploring the effects of Cordyceps on humans.

As Cordyceps may affect the immune system, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis (RA), professionals advise that you don’t take Cordyceps.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you take Cordyceps every day?

Yes, it’s generally safe to take Cordyceps daily. The recommended dosage is 1-3 grams per day. Start with a smaller amount and gradually increase if needed.

What does Cordyceps do to the brain?

Cordyceps may have several effects on the brain:

  • It can increase dopaminergic activity, which is involved in mood regulation.
  • It may reduce oxidative stress and neuroinflammation.
  • These properties suggest potential benefits for mental health, including anxiety and depression.

Does cordyceps mushroom help mental health?

Yes, Cordyceps has promising findings related to mental health. It may offer a safe, natural treatment option for anxiety and depression. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects.


As a powerful antioxidant containing a host of properties associated with health benefits, Cordyceps may be an effective solution for those suffering from autoimmune, liver, kidney, and lung conditions.

Whilst the effects of Cordyceps are inconclusive, there is evidence of the amazing potential the properties it embodies have on the human body.

If you’d like to know more about the different types of medicinal mushrooms, and which ones best fit your needs, check out our ultimate guide on medicinal mushrooms and where to find them!

Darcy Ogdon-Nolan

Holding a Bachelor Of Science (Hons.) combined with close to a decade now in the health food and wellness industry, I believe I'm uniquely positioned to provide a depth of knowledge and first-hand experience on emerging health products, trends and ideas! From greens powders and medicinal mushrooms through to protein powders and workout nutrition - I'm particularly interested in what modern science can uncover about what human cultures have been using to treat ailments for millennia!

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