Cordyceps at a Glance:
Latin names: the most common species are Cordyceps sinensis (wild), Cordyceps militaris (cultivated)
Common names: Winter worm summer grass, vegetable caterpillar, Chinese caterpillar fungus
Habitat: while there are 350 Cordyceps species worldwide, the best-known wild species are native to China and other Asian countries
Common and traditional uses: Adaptogen; energy, stamina, and endurance; immune health*
Learn More about Cordyceps
Cordyceps is the common name for a genus of fungi that, in the wild, feeds on insect larvae, turning each one into a sclerotia from which a fruiting body then grows. In China, Cordyceps is found at elevations of 3,500 to 5,000 meters, mostly in five provinces. It has been known and used for hundreds of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine, where it is considered to be both an adaptogenic mushroom and a tonifying one (meaning it supports overall health).*
With such a specific habitat, you can imagine that Cordyceps was both rare and costly (before vegan, commercial equivalents were discovered). In fact, in imperial China, the mushroom’s use was restricted! Common folks could neither afford nor access Cordyceps.
Wild Cordyceps sinensis is threatened by overharvesting and a loss of habitat, but cultivated versions have been shown to offer the same support. It is used in herbalism much like ginseng is, to promote stamina and energy, healthy aging and a healthy sex drive!* Cordycepin is its best-known active component.
Cordyceps is a favorite mushroom among athletes. Research shows promise that it may promote exercise performance.* (That research is why people point to Cordyceps as a mushroom to support performance in the bedroom, too.*)
The Cordyceps used in commercial products are vegan — no worms or larvae are harmed during the process! Most wide-scale growing operations use a substrate made of rice or other grains plus added nutrients. In North America, Cordyceps militaris is the primary species used.
Curious about Cordyceps? 7 Ways to Bring It Into Your Daily Routines
Only you know what’s right for you — and always talk to your trusted health-care provider before starting any new routine. But here are some suggestions to integrate Cordyceps into your daily rituals and routines.
- Gift them to your sweetie. With Valentine’s Day coming up, consider this pair of tinctures from Rosebud Woman. Desire - Arousal Support for Woman* contains organic Cordyceps, wild harvested muira puama, wild harvested catuaba and damiana in a base of spring water and organic cane alcohol to support a healthy sex drive and arousal.* Manpower - Natural Testosterone Support contains beet root, Alpha-GPC, pine pollen, nettle root and Cordyceps in a base of spring water and organic cane alcohol to support healthy hormones, energy and libido.*
- Give thanks for your body. Our new Gratitude Mushroom Drops contain eight mushrooms — including Cordyceps. While you can take a dropperful any time of day, we like taking this blend before a gratitude meditation or other practice. Formulated to support your mood, immunity and longevity, this blend is also designed to inspire infinite gratitude — for the mushrooms and nature’s wisdom.*
- Replace morning coffee or tea. RASA is known for adaptogen-infused coffee and tea alternatives. Their Magnificent Mushrooms Extract Powder contains a blend of Turkey Tail, Reishi, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Tremella, and Poria — super-powered mushrooms for a daily dose of immunity, energy, performance, focus, and vitality.* If you’re breaking up with caffeine, try this in the morning instead.
- Take tea time to a new level. If you love your morning matcha, this one's for you. A blend of ceremonial grade Matcha (green tea) and USDA Organic Cordyceps Militaris with monk fruit blend as a clean-tasting sugar-free sweetener, Hone Mushroom Matcha is all about supporting healthy energy!*
- Keep it simple with capsules. Yes, it’s fun to integrate mushrooms by trying them in food, gummies or teas. But you can also streamline your routine with capsules. Try Alchemi Energy Balance Capsules, with Cordyceps and energizing herbs like matcha, ginseng and maca.*
- Power up your protein shake. For all you athletes and gym goers who love adding things to your shakes and smoothies, pure mushroom powders are the way to go. RealMushrooms Organic Cordyceps Mushroom Powder contains 100% Pure Cordyceps Militaris Mushroom Extract (The powder is made with genuine mushrooms — it is hot water extracted from 100% Cordyceps militaris mushrooms).
- Take a shot! (No, not that kind of shot!) Shroomworks Inner Energy Shot is a better, mushroom infused version of those energy shots you see at gas stations and checkout lines. They blend Cordyceps extract with living probiotics, adaptogens and organic juice. Each shot is crafted for clean energy and endurance.*