Side Effects of Cordyceps Mushrooms - HONE
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Side Effects of Cordyceps Mushrooms

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Side Effects of Cordyceps Mushrooms - HONE

Cordyceps mushrooms have gained popularity for their considerable health benefits. While they are generally considered safe,there are a few potential side effects you may experience if you consume cordyceps for the first time

Article jumplinks:

What is cordyceps?

What are the side effects of cordyceps?

Are cordyceps mushrooms safe?

What are the benefits of cordyceps?

How to consume cordyceps mushrooms

We’ll help you understand what type of side effects you may feel after consuming cordyceps and how to reap all the health benefits of these amazing adaptogenic mushrooms. 

What is Cordyceps Militaris?

Cordyceps militaris is a medicinal mushroom long used in traditional Chinese medicine. It belongs to a genus of over 600 species of parasitic fungi. Cordyceps militaris and Cordyceps sinensis, two of the best-known species of the Cordyceps fungus family, feed on caterpillar larvae in order to survive. Some scientists believe that the cordyceps’ health benefits stem directly from their parasitic nature. 

For additional information on the two famous cordyceps species, check out our in-depth comparison of C. militaris and C. sinensis

Cordyceps militaris

Cordyceps mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than a thousand years. They are rich in bioactive compounds like adenosine, cordycepin, and polysaccharides that produce a wide range of health effects. These molecules have strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects. Because of their rich chemical composition, these medicinal mushrooms can help you boost your exercise performance, improve your heart health, boost your libido, and even fight cancer.

We’ll touch upon the amazing health benefits of cordyceps mushrooms in a sec. But first, let’s see what minor side effects cordyceps mushrooms may have. 

Side Effects of Cordyceps

Cordyceps mushrooms are generally considered safe to consume, with a very low chance of adverse effects. Some individuals may experience mild side effects, especially if they consume them for the first time or in excessive amounts. 

Possible side effects of cordyceps may include:

  1. Gastrointestinal discomfort. Some people may experience symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, or an upset stomach.
  2. Allergic reactions. Individuals with mushroom allergies may also develop allergic reactions to cordyceps. These may include skin rashes, itching, or difficulty breathing.
  3. Problems with sleep. Cordyceps mushrooms have been associated with increased energy levels, which may affect sleep. This is why the best time to consume cordyceps is in the morning or early afternoon
  4. Although rarely, some people may experience mild headaches after consuming a cordyceps dietary supplement. 

These side effects are typically mild and temporary, and individual responses to cordyceps may differ. If you experience any adverse reactions, stop using it and consult healthcare professionals for medical advice.

Is Cordyceps Safe to Consume?

There isno evidence to suggest that cordyceps is dangerous to our health. If you’ve never had them before, here’s what you need to know about consuming cordyceps mushrooms. 

  • If you’re sensitive to yeast or mold, or allergic to other fungi, you may have an allergic reaction to cordyceps as well. 
  • Cordyceps may have an antiplatelet effect. According to a 2019 research article, it acts as a blood thinner and can prevent blood clots with frequent use. Cordyceps may enhance the effects of anticoagulants, increasing the risk of bleeding or bruising in people on blood-thinning medication. 
  • Because of its potential anticoagulant properties, avoid taking cordyceps supplements if you’re about to have surgery. 
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your healthcare provider before using cordyceps. 
  • Cordyceps mushrooms have inhibitory effects on blood sugar. Chinese researchers found that the cordyceps water extract has a hypoglycemic effect: it lowers blood sugar levels in mice and can be used to treat diabetes. If you’re on antihyperglycemic medication, consult with your healthcare provider before taking cordyceps supplements. 

As with any supplement or natural product, consult with a healthcare provider before adding cordyceps to your daily routine, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking medications. 

How Long Does It Take to Feel the Effects of Cordyceps?

Cordyceps mushrooms affect each person differently, so the time it takes for their effects to kick in will vary from person to person. You’ll likely feel more energized and focused as soon as you start taking cordyceps. 

Some people may feel substantial improvement within a few days or weeks of consumption. Others may take longer. Take the following factors into consideration:

  • Individual metabolism
  • Overall health including specific health conditions
  • Dosage of cordyceps mushrooms
  • Method of consumption

Cordyceps is not a quick fix supplement. Its effects may build up gradually over time with regular use. If you add a packet of our cordyceps matcha tea to your morning routine, you will be able to reap the potential health benefits of organic cordyceps and premium matcha powder. 

Can I Take Cordyceps Every Day?

Cordyceps is perfectly safe to consume every day. Many people consume it on a regular basis as a dietary supplement. The longer you take them, the more pronounced the long-term beneficial effects of cordyceps become. 

The recommended daily dosage of cordyceps is 1-3 grams of cordyceps powder for healthy individuals. If you’re planning to add it to your everyday wellness routine, stick to the recommended dose. 

What Happens If I Take Too Much Cordyceps?

There are no serious side effects from taking a high dose of cordyceps. If you do consume cordyceps in excessive amounts, you may experience mild digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhea, or stomach discomfort, but these side effects should subside within a day or two.

Don’t forget that our fragrant mushroom tea also contains matcha, which can boost energy levels with its rich supply of caffeine. 

Similarly to cordyceps mushrooms, matcha helps you boost energy in a natural, safe way

Health Benefits of Cordyceps Mushrooms

Traditional Chinese medicine has been using cordyceps to treat a slew of health conditions for a very long time. Modern clinical research is validating the benefits of this mushroom. Research indicates cordyceps has the following properties:

  • Immunomodulatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-fatigue
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antitumor

Let's take a look at some of the cordyceps benefits and the evidence behind them.

Cordyceps for Healthy Heart

Cordyceps for Healthy Heart

Cordyceps mushrooms promote heart health. They are particularly effective in improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure. 

Clinical studies show that cordyceps helps relax and widen blood vessels, alleviating circulation, and regulating blood pressure.Wang, et. al. found that “Cordyceps could increase the blood flow of the heart and brain, improve microcirculation, and stabilize blood pressure.” This is great news for people who struggle with hypertension (high blood pressure). 

An animal study found that cordyceps can reduce the levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol by regulating blood sugar levels.

Cordyceps Can Lower Blood Sugar Levels

We already mentioned the hypoglycemic effect of cordyceps extract. In other words, cordyceps may be effective against diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels. 

Dong, et. al. suggested that cordyceps decreases sugar levels in the blood by helping your body utilize insulin, a hormone that turns sugar into energy, more effectively. In diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or is unable to effectively use the insulin it produces. This can cause elevated blood sugar levels, leading to various complications associated with diabetes. 

Cordyceps Against Cancer

Including cordyceps in your diet may help you fight cancer and alleviate its symptoms. Due to its powerful antioxidant and anti-metastatic properties, cordyceps is a powerful cancer-fighting fungus. 

Studies suggest that Cordyceps militaris has:

  • Anti-proliferative effects: it helps prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells. 
  • Anti-metastatic effects: it may be able to block cancer cell migration and invasion, limiting their potential to spread and infect healthy cells. 
  • Anti-angiogenic effects: cordyceps may prevent the creation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) that surround tumors. Tumors need a constant supply of blood in order to grow and thrive. 
  • Pro-apoptotic effect: cordyceps militaris has been reported to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in tumors. 

Research on leukemia and melanoma shows how cordyceps causes apoptosis and inhibits cancer cell growth. 

…these results indicated that the anti-proliferative effects of [aqueous extract of C. militaris, or AECM] were associated with the induction of apoptotic cell death through regulation of several major growth regulatory gene products such as Bcl-2 family expression and caspase protease activity, and AECM may have therapeutic potential in human leukemia treatment.

Cordyceps may have therapeutic potential in treating various types of cancer, such as leukemia, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, glioblastoma, and melanoma.

AC. militarisinhibited the growth of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and HT 1080 cells. It down-regulated, in dose- and time-dependent manners, bFGF gene expression in HUVEC cells and MMP-9 gene expression in HT 1080 cells. The growth of melanoma cells in mice was suppressed. In addition, anti-angiogenic activity was manifested. (Russell & Paterson)

Russell and Paterson go on to suggest that “the fungus demonstrated cytotoxic activities on the three kinds of human cancer cell lines, stomachic adenocarcinoma, colorectal adenocarcinoma, and hepatocellular carcinoma.”

Cordyceps for Chronic Pain and Inflammation

Cordyceps mushrooms have extraordinary anti-inflammatory properties. Cordyceps is rich in bioactive compounds like cordycepin and polysaccharides that pack some serious anti-inflammatory action. 

2020 study revealed that a cordycepin-rich cordyceps extract can block inflammatory mechanisms in chronic inflammatory conditions, such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, and even viral infections like COVID-19.

…cordycepin enhanced immunity, inhibited the proliferation of viral RNA, and suppressed cytokine storms, thereby suggesting its potential to treat COVID-19 and other viral infections. 

Clinical studies found that polysaccharides may aid in lowering chronic pain and inflammation by suppressing certain types of pro-inflammatory cytokines, proteins that play an important role in mediating inflammatory responses. 

The polysaccharide extracts from this mushroom exhibited different effects related to their monosaccharide composition. The alkaline extract, from which a linear β-(1→3)-D-glucan was isolated, showed the higher anti-inflammatory effect by the inhibition of IL-1β, TNF-α, and COX-2 expression. The β-(1→3)-D-glucan showed the same effect as well, indicating that this polymer is the most potent anti-inflammatory compound present in the polysaccharide extracts of C. militaris. (Smiderle, et. al.)

While more research is needed, these studies have shown promising results in favor of cordyceps mushrooms and their pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.

Cordyceps Boosts Exercise Performance

There are so many people out there who rely on cordyceps mushrooms to boost their athletic performance. And for a good reason: cordyceps can increase an athlete’s oxygen absorption, boost energy levels, and improve mental performance and focus.

Cordyceps is often linked to increased energy and stamina. 

Researchers investigated the effects of Cordyceps militaris on high-intensity exercise performance in healthy individuals. The results demonstrated that three weeks of supplementation improved maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max), time to exhaustion (TTE), and ventilatory threshold (VT) during exercise testing. 

The anti-inflammatory effects of cordyceps help improve your exercise performance by reducing muscle soreness and speeding up your post-exercise recovery. So next time you hit the gym, drink a cup of our mushroom matcha tea (it works well in protein shakes or smoothies, too) and let its bioactive compounds unlock your inner beast mode.

The Effects of Cordyceps on Men’s Health

Men can benefit from consuming cordyceps mushrooms on a regular basis. Cordyceps has been used in traditional medicine to help with sexual health and libido and improve erectile function as well as sperm count and motility.

Cordyceps improves men’s health by boosting testosterone levels. Testosterone regulates libido, sperm production, and erectile function in men. Higher testosterone levels are linked to normal bone density and muscle strength, healthy sexual and reproductive function, and an overall sense of well-being. 

An animal study confirmed the positive effects of cordyceps on sperm production and mobility. 

Increased serum testosterone and estradiol-17 (E2) concentrations were found in rats with the [Cordyceps militaris] supplementation (p < 0.05)... Importantly, percentages of motile sperm cells were also enhanced significantly… 

We’ve mentioned that cordyceps might be a powerful weapon for fighting cancer. Clinical studies show that cordyceps contains molecules that fight prostate cancer. Similarly, cordyceps mushrooms seems to battle testicular cancer. Remember cordycepin, one of the main bioactive compounds found in cordyceps?

…cordycepin inhibited FGF9-induced testicular tumor growth by suppressing the ERK1/2, Rb/E2F1, cell cycle pathways, and the expressions of FGFR1-4 proteins, suggesting that cordycepin can be used as a novel anticancer drug for testicular cancers. (Chang, et. al.)

Taking cordyceps may be able to increase libido in men, hence the moniker “Himalayan Viagra.” However, both sexes can benefit from consuming these medicinal mushrooms, as cordyceps has beneficial effects on sexual health in both men and women

The Effects of Cordyceps on Women’s Health

Cordyceps has demonstrated potential therapeutic benefits for women's health. Here are some of the ways cordyceps may benefit the ladies:

The Best Way to Consume Cordyceps

You can take cordyceps mushrooms in many forms: capsules, powders, extracts, and teas. You can also eat them raw or use them in cooking. At Hone, we like to keep things simple and traditional. That means that this herbal medicine is best consumed in the form of tea. Our cordyceps matcha tea contains all the amazing compounds of two powerful adaptogens, packed with medical and therapeutic benefits. 

Mushroom Matcha - 30 Serving Jar

The finely powdered matcha adds a deep, earthy aroma, ideal for early morning enjoyment, while organic cordyceps mushrooms sourced from China add a unique richness and subtle nutty flavor, creating a harmonious blend that invigorates both body and mind. 

We’re sure our 30-serving jar of cordyceps matcha tea is going to become a staple in your household. 

Cordyceps Side Effects FAQ

Can I lose weight with cordyceps?

Cordyceps mushrooms have been associated with weight management. Some research suggests that it may have effects on metabolism and fatty acid utilization, which could potentially support weight loss or weight maintenance efforts.

We found that cordycepin modifies the relative abundance of intestinal bacteria in high-fat-diet-induced obese rats... Our study suggests that cordycepin can reduce body weight and microbiome done by cordycepin seems be a result among its mechanisms of obesity reduction.

Cordyceps is not a quick fix for losing weight. However, regular supplementation of cordyceps mushrooms may increase the chances of a healthy weight loss and promote your metabolism and immune system. 

How does cordyceps affect the brain?

Cordyceps has potential beneficial effects on cognitive function. Research suggests that cordyceps may have neuroprotective properties and could support brain health by enhancing antioxidant activity, reducing inflammation, and promoting neurogenesis.

2018 study revealed that Cordyceps militaris improves learning and memory in mice. Other studies show the neuroprotective effect of cordyceps.

C. militaris has the ability to improve memory impairments due to global cerebral ischemia and scopolamine-induced memory deterioration. Our present findings suggest that C. militaris may be a potential candidate for the neuroprotection of hippocampus and the recovery of various vascular dementia or neuroinflammatory disorders. (Kim, et. al.)

Does cordyceps get you high?

Cordyceps does not have psychoactive effects. It does not produce a "high" sensation typically associated with substances that alter consciousness. Cordyceps mushrooms are herbal supplements, not recreational drugs.

Can cordyceps increase anxiety?

Cordyceps is typically not associated with increasing anxiety. On the contrary, researchers suggest that cordyceps may have anxiolytic properties: it could help reduce anxiety levels. 

2021 study showed the stress-reducing and antidepressant-like effects of Cordyceps militaris. The results indicate that “all doses of the [water extract of Cordyceps militaris] prevented abnormal behaviors induced by [unpredictable chronic mild stress], including anhedonia and hypoactivity.”

Who should avoid cordyceps?

You should avoid cordyceps in the weeks leading up to any surgeries and while you recover from the procedure. If you are prone to allergies—especially to other fungi, yeast, or mold—be cautious when you first start taking cordyceps. Stop taking the fungus immediately if you notice any signs of an allergic reaction and contact your doctor.

Does cordyceps affect dopamine?

Cordyceps has been investigated for its possible effects on dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, motivation, and pleasure. Research indicates that cordyceps may impact dopamine levels in the brain, which may contribute to its stated advantages for mental health and well-being.

Is cordyceps good for insulin resistance?

Cordyceps prevents insulin resistance and increases insulin sensitivity in people suffering from diabetes. It helps fight diabetes by helping your body absorb more sugar from food, increasing insulin sensitivity, and inhibiting insulin resistance. 

During insulin resistance, cells become less responsive to its effects, resulting in higher amounts of insulin in the body. According toresearch, cordyceps can improve insulin sensitivity, allowing cells to better respond to insulin and facilitate glucose uptake. 

Does cordyceps make you sleepy?

Cordyceps is not typically associated with drowsiness or sleepiness. It is often regarded as an energizing supplement that may support physical performance and vitality. However, individual responses may vary. Be mindful of your own body's reactions when taking cordyceps.

Should I take cordyceps on an empty stomach?

Cordyceps may or may not be consumed on an empty stomach. It depends on your own individual tolerance for this herbal medicine. Some people take their cordyceps supplements before breakfast, while others like to have their bellies full before preparing the most delicious cordyceps tea

If you experience any digestive discomfort when you take cordyceps without food, consider taking it after you eat. A good, hearty breakfast goes a long way. 

Is cordyceps good for the kidneys?

Studies suggest that cordyceps supplementation may promote kidney function. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that a Jinshuibao capsule treatment improved chronic kidney disease. Jinshuibao capsules are made from fermented cordyceps powder. They contribute to “decreasing blood pressure and the content of triglycerides and improving the renal function of early diabetic nephropathy patients.”

Are adaptogens real?

Adaptogens are the real deal. Adaptogens are a class of herbs and natural substances, such as Rhodiola rosea, ashwagandha root, and lion’s mane, that have been traditionally used in herbal medicine for their ability to help the body adapt to stress and promote balance. These substances are believed to support the body's response to various physical, emotional, and environmental stressors. Some adaptogens may be able to help our bodies fight against cancer

Cordyceps and matcha, found in our tea, are two powerful members of the adaptogen family. Here are some other popular adaptogens and their benefits: 

  1. Ashwagandha root has been used in alternative medicines for its potential benefits in reducing stress, promoting relaxation, and supporting mental well-being. 
  2. Rhodiola rosea is believed to enhance resilience to stress and support mental and physical performance. 
  3. Reishi is a medicinal mushroom that has been used in traditional medicine to boost the immune system. It may have potential benefits in supporting heart health and reducing the risk factors associated with heart disease.
  4. Lion's mane has gained popularity for its ability to support brain health, memory, and focus. This adaptogenic mushroom contains erinacines, an active component that promotes the growth and function of nerve cells.

While more research is needed to fully understand their mechanisms of action, adaptogens have gained popularity as natural remedies and are often included in mushroom blends and herbal supplements due to their potential benefits for human health. Consult with a healthcare professional before including any adaptogen in your diet, especially if you are taking any medications, as some adaptogens may have potential drug interactions. 


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