Cordyceps are part of the fungus kingdom and as such are classified separately from animals, plants, or bacteria. Known as caterpillar mushrooms, cordyceps have been used as medicinal mushrooms for centuries. However, cordyceps are not typical cave-dwelling mushrooms and therefore have some pros and cons that you may not expect.
While some mushrooms host on plants, cordyceps host on insects such as caterpillars, grasshoppers, and even ants. The parasite infiltrates the insect, drives it insane, and then kills it, at which time the cordyceps burst out from the body of the insect. In time the fungus grows and the spores go on to infest more insects.
Cordyceps by nature are not toxic to humans and have been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. However, cordyceps are not easily found in nature and are therefore manufactured as supplements, which can have some toxic effects.
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Cordyceps Benefits Originally cordyceps were used to treat various lung related conditions. They can help with inflammation of the lungs and with asthma, although the effects of it are not as strong as modern medicine. However, unlike modern medicine which risks some serious consequences f... more
Originally cordyceps were used to treat various lung related conditions. They can help with inflammation of the lungs and with asthma, although the effects of it are not as strong as modern medicine. However, unlike modern medicine which risks some serious consequences for asthmatics, there are no major side effects resulting from taking cordyceps.
Some researchers have also proven cordyceps to work as a blocking agent to rheumatoid arthritis. However, the biggest health benefit currently believed to stem from cordyceps is as a cancer fighter.
Cordyceps contain molecules called polysaccharides, which have been successfully used in lab animals to sow down the growth of cancerous tumors. Small traces of selenium are also found in certain kinds of cordyceps, and selenium is an antioxidant that fights cancer causing cells. It is important to note, however, that selenium can be toxic in high doses.
Although there are no definitive side effects from eating cordyceps or taking cordyceps supplements, some people have reported various side effects. Some symptoms to watch for include difficulty breathing, chest discomfort, a tightness of the throat, or a skin rash.
Since not everyone reacts to herbs or fungal treatments the same way, it is a good idea to consult with a physician before beginning cordyceps supplements or any other herbal remedy. If you develop any symptoms mentioned above or any other unexpected side effects, you should discontinue use immediately and call your doctor.
More possible common side effects include diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, loss of appetite, and nausea. Cordyceps supplements can produce effects that are similar to taking steroids and because of the effect on hormone balances it is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Cordyceps that occur naturally may not contain as many potentially negative side effects. It is difficult to know what types of cordyceps are being manufactured and how they are being created and therefore this makes the list of side effects and interactions more difficult to trace.
There have been a couple of cited cases of lead poisoning directly related to cordyceps supplements. However, there are no traces of lead naturally in cordyceps. Instead, these cases may be isolated to the improper manufacturing practices of certain illegitimate manufacturers.
Naturally grown cordyceps are difficult to come by, so most cordyceps supplements are manufactured without the use of the host insects. However, some manufacturers grow the parasites and even sell the cordyceps with the caterpillar or insect still in place.
If cordyceps are farmed naturally then there is no real danger. However, a few unscrupulous manufacturers of cordyceps supplements add lead filaments to the caterpillars in order to increase their body weight. The increase in body weight only serves the purpose of increasing the cost, yet it poses a serious health hazard at the same time.
Therefore, if you buy cordyceps supplements from trusted sources there should be no issue with lead contamination or toxicity. However, there is always a difference between what grows naturally in nature and what is manufactured by man. If you have any questions about cordyceps supplements, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking them.
Taken by themselves, cordyceps supplements should pose no imminent dangers and may provide immune boosting enzymes for your body and help fight various inflammations and cancers. You may also benefit from an increase in your energy levels as a direct result of taking cordyceps supplements.
However, there may be many adverse side effects, especially if you are taking any other prescription drugs or herbal remedies. Possible interactions should always be investigated taking a new supplement or medication. Use the free supplement finder now!
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