Kat Hoyle Updated by Kat Hoyle

Cordyceps, which includes species such as Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris, is one of the more unusual fungi, as it's also known to grow parasitically on insects and other arthropods (don’t let that put you off, though). In traditional Tibetan and Chinese medicines, cordyceps were a prized possession, often used as a tonic and aphrodisiac and reserved for the elite due to its rarity.

Cordyceps increased in popularity recently, thanks to the latest science finding an array of health benefits:

Athletic performance and energy: Cordyceps has been popularised for its potential to enhance athletic performance. Studies, such as one published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, suggest that Cordyceps might increase VO2 max, indicating improved oxygen usage during exercise. (Hirsch et al., 2016)

Libido and reproductive function: Historically prized as an aphrodisiac, some scientific research supports its use in enhancing libido and reproductive function. A study in Life Sciences journal indicated that Cordyceps might improve testosterone production, suggesting a role in male fertility. (Hsu et al., 2003)

Anti-cancer properties: Preliminary studies, such as one in the Phytotherapy Research journal, indicate that Cordyceps might have anti-tumour effects on various cancer cell lines, including lung and colon cancers. (Yoshida et al., 1989).

Kidney and liver health: Cordyceps has been researched for its protective effects on the kidneys and liver. A study in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that the fungus could offer protective benefits against kidney damage in mice. (Li et al., 2006)

Try adding it to any hot drink, smoothie, shake or favourite recipe. It is very versatile. 

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