As with many things internet based, a lot of information is copied and pasted, has a dash of creative license, a sprinkling of Chinese whispers and boom you have a new superfood or a superherb. When we select our products we look for the most effective and the very best quality. So we research, then research some more, and provide all of that research here, so that you can make up your own mind.
Ophiocordyceps is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a Jing tonic for the Kidneys. Studies as recent as 2015 have suggested that further investigation is required, but there is potential for Ophiocordyceps to aid the health of the Kidneys, lungs, heart and liver, specifically due to its support / effects on the immune system. (8, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17)
Studies indicate a strong anti-inflammatory activity of Ophiocordyceps using a water extraction. Since chronic inflammation is rather rampant in the 21st century and is directly related to pain, these potential benefits position Ophiocordyceps as one of the most significant tonic ‘herbs’ (super-foods) we have access to. The compound corysinin has been associated with Ophiocordyceps anti-inflammatory capacity. (1, 6, 10)
ANTI-OXIDANTS (ADAPTING TO STRESS)
Ophiocordyceps is also classified as an ADAPTOGEN which science suggests is any product than when consumed helps the body adapt to stress. Cordyceptin has been linked to the beneficial effects of Cordyceps regarding stress. (21)
Anti-oxidants play an important role in preventing the body being put under stress from oxidation. Science suggests that the high levels of polysaccharides (phenols and flavonoids), cordymin and melanin found in Ophiocordyceps could potentially provide anti-oxidative effects, coupled with studies also suggesting that Ophiocordyceps potentially increases the ability of anti-oxidants to scavenge free-radicals — seek and find activity — within the blood, it becomes the perfect product to protect athletes (and non-athletes alike) from oxidative stress.
Studies are also providing increasing evidence that the anti-oxidative compounds of Ophiocordyceps, when combined with a balanced diet, may be responsible for supporting the following effects:
- anti-inflammatory, and
It is suggested that the best way to obtain these benefits is by making a tea, these anti-oxidant effects also appear to be present when extracted via alcohol. (1, 7, 8, 10, 13)
NERVES / IMMUNE (COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE, FATIGUE and DEPRESSION)
Due to its immunomodulating and adaptogenic abilities, Ophiocordyceps has the ability to potentially aid in treating fatigue and depression—which often come hand in hand. This makes perfect sense, since energy levels can often be implicated by having a compromised immune system coupled with excessive inflammation because the body needs to work harder and thus you to feel less energised/fatigued. Once fatigued you are then less functional, mentally and physically, potentially leading to depression when you have chronic fatigue. Obviously fatigue is not caused or solved by one thing, but if we look beyond fatigue as the symptom and pay attention to the cause, the fatigue could be helped by regularly drinking a simple Ophiocordyceps tea, better still Reishi and Ophiocordyceps tea to support the immune system and help reduce inflammation. :)
Ophiocordyceps has also been linked to helping improve memory and have an anti-aging capacity via its anti-oxidative effects.
Through a more complex extraction Ophiocordyceps could potentially have an impact on the dopamine and adrenaline nervous systems, having a more direct effect as an anti-depressant. (6, 8, 22)
When the bodies immune system is compromised it is susceptible to disease. As with all Medicinal Mushrooms/Fungi, Ophiocordyceps is classified as an 'Immunomodulator', which essentially means it modulates the immune system; strengthening, balancing, supporting and regulating the immune system, optimising immune response.
Studies have also suggested that the combined immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory abilities of Ophiocordyceps may aid the regulation of intestinal bacteria and improve organ health (liver / kidneys). Many studies have been performed surrounding Medicinal Mushrooms and various cancers, studies have suggested that Ophiocordyceps may help treat tumour growth in various cancers including lung, prostate, breast, colon, lymphoma and skin. See studies opposite for more information.
Many studies have shown that extracting Ophiocordyceps into a hot tea or adding it to various water based foods can aid in activating it's immunmodulatory effects. (2, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13)
Ophiocordyceps when studied in respect of the immune function of the gutt, specifically the gastrointestinal-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), it was shown that it may be helpful in reducing bad bacteria (salmonella sp. and E. coli) and increasing the good bacteria (Lactobacillus sp.), this was due to its phenomenal immune support and anti-inflammatory abilitites. (8)
CIRCULATORY (BLOOD SUGAR)
Ophiocordyceps similarly to the other medicinal mushrooms, has also been shown to aid in the management of blood sugar, proving that this could be beneficial for those suffering from Diabetes. The fermented variety of Ophiocordyceps has been suggested to have anti-diabetic agents that may help those at risk. It has also been studied to suggest that Ophiocordyceps may help reduce diabetic induced endothelial dysfunction by reducing oxidative stress. (8, 18)
HORMONES (PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE)
Ophiocordyceps has been proven to increase the a free radical scavenging ability of Anti-oxidants — seek and find activity — protecting the athletes from oxidative stress. Studies also show that when supplemented with Reishi, over a 3 month period, the hormone testosterone) and the stress hormone (cortisol) ratios changed, which is great for athletes who are at risk of overtraining or overreaching in the lead up to an event.
Further studies suggest that supplementation improves;
- exercise performance by increasing the metabolism as well as extending the time before becoming out of breath,
- endurance by lowering fatigue, and
- cellular ATP production = useful energy! (Rather than CNS stimulation, and potential energy deficiency, via say caffeine)*.
*The Adenosine compound is required in ATP (adenosine triphosphate), ATP is responsible for the bodies energy production, studies suggest that Ophiocordyceps has the ability to aid ATP in energy metabolism, improving exercise performance and resisting fatigue. (3, 5, 8, 12, 13)
Traditionally, Ophiocordyceps has been used to enhance sexual function. Ongoing studies now suggest that it may have the ability to improve libido and sexual activity and repair reproductive function in both men and women. This is achieved via water extraction — more cups of tea! :)
Some studies suggest that it is over three times more effective in increasing libido of men, compared to a placebo. It has also been reported that treatment with Ophiocordyceps resulted in a 33% increase in sperm count. This increase has been attributed by some to nutrients within Ophiocordyceps, such as amino acids, vitamins, and zinc. (8)