In recent years, one of the mushrooms to start popping up as a supplement or a health food is cordyceps mushrooms. What are they, pray tell?

Cordyceps Mushrooms Guide

Cordyceps mushrooms are a type of sac fungus, and in fact, they are actually a parasite. It's totally fascinating, and we'll get into that. Cordyceps mushrooms are also known for their health properties, having been renowned in Asia for centuries. They are quickly becoming well-known for their advantages in the West as well.

Want the skinny on cordyceps mushroom benefits and what this fungus among us is all about? Let's get into it.

Cordyceps Mushrooms Are Like "The Thing"

Ever see the movie "The Thing?" It's about an alien that takes over living organisms at the cellular level, taking over the host body until it becomes that organism. Cordyceps mushrooms do nearly the same thing.

They are an ascomycete, a class of fungi that also includes yeast. The mycelium of cordyceps mushrooms - the hair-like vegetation that grows on them - grows outward in search of a host. Once it finds it, the mycelium begin to invade the host body, replacing the host's living tissue until the organism dies and is completely taken over. During that period, the creature will walk around with a mushroom growing out of it.

During that time, cordyceps usually finds one of the host organisms buddies. It typically grows on insects such as ants, beetles, caterpillars and similar creatures. There's no danger of that happening if you eat one, but that's how cordyceps lives. Freaky, right?

Cordyceps Mushrooms Health Benefits

The story goes that a bunch of yak herders noticed their yaks were really friendly and energetic after eating cordyceps, and thus humans began consuming them to get cordyceps mushrooms health benefits. They were eaten and otherwise ingested by kings and nobility for centuries for their properties, and are now gaining some traction as a serious superfood.

Chief among benefits is that cordyceps mushrooms enhances the level of ATP in the blood supply. ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is the molecule of energy transfer between cells in living organisms. This means more efficient transfer of energy...and more for you to use, giving you a boost.

They are also known to improve lung function, which is why they have long been a favorite among yak herders in the Himalayas. Living at high altitude, you need all the oxygen you can get and cordyceps have been noted for their beneficial properties in this regard - or at least associated with it - for centuries.

Cordyceps are also known for containing polysaccharides that increase insulin sensitivity and decreasing insulin challenge response. The practical effects are reducing fasting blood sugar and insulin levels. That same polysaccharide has also been shown to reduce triglyceride and cholesterol levels, meaning it's also good for the heart.

Cordyceps mushrooms have also been shown to improve liver function - enough to slow cirrhosis - and kidney function. White blood cell counts are known to improve when taking cordyceps mushrooms medicinally or as part of the diet, so they also happen to improve and maintain a healthy immune system as well.

There are also effects that improve function in...let's say sensitive areas. One of the known cordyceps mushroom benefits for men is a boost in testosterone production and, with the increase in white blood cells and ADP, better blood flow to certain regions. That's why it's been called "Himalayan Viagra" in some literature.

Oh, and it also works for women. It's been known as an effective folk remedy for post-menopausal arousal.

Cordyceps Go Well In Mushroom Coffee And Other Blends

The health benefits of cordyceps mushrooms - and incidentally they taste pretty good too! - has made them one of the most beneficial and popular component mushrooms in mushroom blends, such as Defiant Coffee's Mushroom Blend.

We incorporate cordyceps mushroom into our blend because of its potency as a superfood. Along with Lion's Mane, Chaga mushrooms, and the potent powers of our locally-roasted, 100 percent Arabica bean coffee (coffee is a powerful source of antioxidants and caffeine is the world's most popular nootropic drug) it is an elixir of life that will get your morning started right.