The new forum format is awesome :!:

Anyone heard of Cordyceps?

- What is it purported to do?
- Help strength, endurance, recovery?
- How is it used?
- Dangers, side effects?
- Useful for athletes?

Any information (academic, experential) would be helpful.

Thank you!

Mike Hansen


I found this with a quick google search. Mind you, this was originated out of the Weider group. Smiling

CORDYCEPS IS A FUNGUS THAT GROWS on Tibetan caterpillars. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) have used it to treat fatigue and other ailments for 1,500 years. After the 1992 Olympics, Chinese athletes attributed their wins to their use of the fungus, which sparked American interest in cordyceps. Most Western manufacturers grow it without caterpillars.

How It Works

Researchers don't know exactly how cordyceps boosts energy and endurance. They theorize that it may help your body use energy more efficiently by increasing blood flow to your liver and other organs and by improving your oxygen use. Cordyceps's antioxidant activity may alleviate fatigue.


Recent research on cordyceps is limited. The few studies conducted were sponsored by supplement manufacturers, and the results are modest.

One double-blind study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in February, tested the energy and endurance of 110 healthy sedentary adults. In it, half took 3 g of cordyceps daily while the other half took a placebo. After 12 weeks, the cordyceps group could bicycle 2.8 percent longer than they could before taking the supplement, while the placebo group decreased the length of their rides by 5.6 percent.

In a double-blind study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise last year, researchers gave 30 male athletes either 4.5 g of cordyceps daily or a placebo. The athletes did not change their exercise routine during the study. After six weeks, the cordyceps group's oxygen intake was almost double the placebo group's. This increased oxygen intake helped their bodies work more efficiently.

In another study published in the same journal in 1999, 30 healthy elderly Chinese people took either 3 g of cordyceps daily or a placebo. After six weeks, aerobic capacity in the cordyceps group increased 9 percent, which researchers say produced higher energy levels, while those taking the placebo saw no energy change.

How to Take It

Many pharmacies in the Chinatowns of large cities sell the cordyceps fungus with the caterpillar. But some American practitioners recommend taking the capsule form found in natural food stores instead. It's less expensive, more widely available, and doesn't carry the risk of lead poisoning that some caterpillar-grown cordyceps does; some fungus harvesters attach lead filament to caterpillar-grown cordyceps to increase its weight and price, says Kenneth Jones, a Vancouver, British Columbia-area author of Cordyceps (Sylvan Press, 1997).

To increase your energy and endurance and fight fatigue, take 2 to 3 g a day with meals, suggests Jones. You need to take cordyceps regularly to get results, and you should start to see benefits in one to two months.

The supplement form of cordyceps appears to be safe.

Health Claims

Proponents say cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis) improves your energy level and endurance and reduces fatigue.

The Bottom Line

TCM practitioners have long used cordyceps to increase energy and endurance and overcome fatigue, but more clinical research is necessary to support these claims.

Rich Gravelin is a freelancer in Boston.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Weider Publications
COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group


Thanks for the info, Pow.