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Mushrooms For Athletes: The Cordyceps

Updated on February 15, 2011

The Mushroom for Energy

The energizing effects of cordyceps (see photo) has been known and used in the East for thousands of years. In fact, this mushroom has garnered quite a bit of attention when the news revealed that Chinese Olympic runners used cordyceps to greatly increase their performance.

For more information about the benefits of cordyceps see the quick Q and A list below:

Are there other names for this mushroom?

It is also known as cordyceps sinensis and Chinese caterpillar fungus. You can see why in the photo.

How about some background?

The mushroom is a fungus that grows on the larvae of the Lepidoptera Moth. It is considered one of the highest valued medicinal fungi in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) and has been regularly used since ancient times.The mushroom takes about six years to complete its full life cycle. This makes cordyceps rare and expensive. However, it has been grown with successful results in cultures, making it far more cost effective and now more widely available to consumers.

How does it improve athletic performance?

It works in many ways such as by:

- Improving respiratory function and alleviating symptoms such as asthma and bronchitis

- increasing cellular oxygen absorption by as much as 40%

- reducing fatigue by increasing cellular energy production and oxygen supply

- relieving tired leg discomfort by increasing blood flow in the body by relaxing smooth muscles of the blood vessels, which in turn, allows them to expand

- improving endurance and stamina by reducing muscle soreness, promoting better oxygen efficiency and enhancing recovery time

What are the other benefits of cordyceps?

Cordyceps is also beneficial for:

- improving heart function

- lowering cholesterol and trigylcerides, and increasing good cholesterol

- provides chronic kidney disease improvement

- clinical studies in Japan and China have shown the mushroom to reduce cancer tumor size

- improves the immune system

- protects against against free radical damage

- and combats sexual dysfunction

For more information about the benefits of different mushrooms, see the link below:


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    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 6 years ago

      I'm familiar with Cordyceps as my mother used to include it in her herbal soup. It's supposed to increase qi. Great information.

    • CountryCityWoman profile image

      CountryCityWoman 6 years ago from From New York City to North Carolina

      I'm a mushroom lover and these are new to me. I hope I can find them because I can use a real energy boost now.

      Thanks for the information. Very useful!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I love how there are so many kinds of mushrooms and all have different benefits. How wonderful that we are finally realizing that food is the healer- not these nasty toxic drugs! Yay for this hub and rated up!

    • GreenThumbLady profile image

      GreenThumbLady 6 years ago from The Beautiful Earth

      I feel like I should be eating these before I go running. Do they taste good? Do you prepare them the same way as other mushrooms? Perhaps I shall look for these and try them! Thanks!