If you’ve never heard of “Winter Worm Summer Grass” mushroom, you’re not the only one! This mushroom is otherwise known as Cordyceps Militaris, and it was named “Winter Worm Summer Grass” because it has a unique life cycle that begins as a parasite. But don’t let that scare you—Cordyceps has some amazing properties which make it a very valuable medicinal mushroom.
Cordyceps is used in folkloric medicine in East Asia, specifically China and Korea. In Korea, they call it “Dong Chung Ha Cao.” After many years of being used traditionally, Cordyceps has now been scientifically researched, and it has a proven track record of benefits which range from increased exercise endurance, antioxidant properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and it can even boost your immune system.
A study was conducted where healthy adults were given an extract of Cordyceps Militaris mushroom in a powdered form. The powder was encapsulated, as many medicinal mushrooms are. The scientists also used a control group that was given placebos. They asked them to take the extract capsules for 4 weeks and they monitored both the Cordyceps group and the placebo group for markers that indicate how well an immune system is functioning.
Some of these markers included natural killer cell activity, tumor necrosis factor, T-helper cell cytokine clusters, lymphocyte proliferation, and interleukin. After the bloodtests, the scientists found an increase in the areas of natural killer cells, tumor necrosis factors, T-helper cell cytokine clusters, lymphocyte proliferations, and interleukin concentration. This was a study that also noted that no adverse or harmful side effects were noted.
It seems like Cordyceps is so far-fetched that it’s hard to believe it can have any therapeutic properties, but as the above study showed, it can boost immunity. Some people take medicinal mushrooms to boost their immunity because medicinal mushrooms usually contain active polysaccharide compounds which give them unique medicinal properties.
Cordyceps mushrooms are made for commercial purposes through fermentation. It is important to buy a Cordyceps Militaris Mushroom Extract that has the “fruiting body” of the mushroom and not just the “mycelium” which is the like a root system for the mushroom through which it receives its nutrients. The reason why you want to be selective when choosing a mushroom extract is that all of the helpful polysaccharides are contained in the fruiting body and not in the mycelia. This is not true for all medicinal mushrooms, but it is definitely a selling point when you are looking for Cordyceps mushrooms. Along with the polysaccharides, large amounts of amino acids and unsaturated fatty acids are found in the fruiting body.
When selecting Cordyceps mushroom extract, you also want to make sure you are using a vendor who tests the product before selling it, like Pure Nootropics offers. Mushrooms can be subject to some soil toxicities and heavy metals that can make you sick. You can take medicinal mushrooms safely if you go with a trusted vendor who third-party tests.
Another unique way that Cordyceps may boost immunity is through modulating the immune systems through a process called adaptive immunity. In this way, Cordyceps functions much like an adaptogen and can respond by increasing or suppressing certain immune system functions as it adapts in real-time to what your body needs.