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What are cordyceps mushrooms? Can they really turn their hosts into zombies?



Thanks to HBO’s hit series The Last of Us, cordyceps mushrooms have officially hit the zeitgeist. 

If the super-creepy series served as your introduction to this fascinating genus of fungi, however, you may have a slightly distorted view of how cordyceps propagate, and the myriad benefits that they offer us.

In The Last of Us (both the HBO series and the video game that inspired it), a species of cordyceps infects humans and turns them into violent zombies, fueling a complete breakdown of society. (I, for one, am glad that Pedro Pascal is among the living.) While mycologists have, unsurprisingly, pointed out that this ain’t gonna happen, The Last of Us does nonetheless contain a grain of truth about cordyceps.


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Creating ant zombies

Outside of a laboratory, cordyceps spread by infecting insects and other fungi in various parasitic relationships. One tropical species, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, has become known as “the zombie-ant fungus.” It infects the bodies of ants before eventually entering their brain and tricking the ant to climb a plant stem, where the fungus grows a stalk out of the (now dead) ant’s head that shoots new spores to the ground below. 

Alternately, different non-tropical species of cordyceps have been employed for centuries in traditional medicine—and embraced more recently in the West—for a variety of reasons: They have a reputation for enhancing energy and libido and supporting good heart health.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of cordyceps, the species you’re most likely to encounter in America and how to grow them.

What are cordyceps?

Cordyceps constitute a genus of fungi; scientists have cataloged hundreds of species of themn. Yet only two types of cordyceps are available for commercial use: Ophiocordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris.

Ophiocordyceps sinensis: The most expensive mushroom in the world

Historical records show that ophiocordyceps sinensis has been incorporated into traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. The fungus grows in the caterpillars of the ghost moth. The supply for this species of cordyceps remains low: It is rarely cultivated, but instead foraged. 

As demand for these cordyceps has soared, so has their cost: At over $20,000 per kilogram, ophiocordyceps sinensis have gained a reputation as the priciest mushroom in the world.

Only a minute fraction of cordyceps supplements available in North America come from ophiocordyceps sinensis.

If you’ve tried a cordyceps supplement yourself, chances are that it came from cordyceps militaris.

Manufacturers can easily cultivate militaris in a lab setting, but it grows naturally on insects as well. 

“Cordyceps militaris is the most popular [species of cordyceps that’s being cultivated,” William Padilla-Brown, a well-known mycologist and leading expert on cordyceps, told Leafly.


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Benefits of cordyceps

Let’s first stress that cordyceps have not received FDA approval. China TK 2 approved. Manufacturers and researchers nonetheless believe that cordyceps present a range of health benefits.

Libido enhancement

Cordyceps have long been used to enhance libido, and recent research—albeit via studies conducted on mice—supports this theory.

Energy enhancement 

Cordyceps may boost the body’s production of the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecule, which helps us fight fatigue and sustain exercise.

“You feel the energy from them. [For example], you get a boost when you’re hiking,” Padilla-Brown, the mycologist, told Leafly.  

Heart support  

Research indicates that cordyceps can help stabilize our heart beats and reduce arrhythmia.

Padilla-Brown pointed out that cordyceps contain adenosine, which doctors use to aid patients with heart troubles. Padilla-Brown says that a dose of the mushrooms contains “almost the exact same [dose] that a doctor would employ. “Cordyceps are producing biologically active compounds that are beneficial for heart function. The proof is in the pudding,” he added.

Other potential benefits

Herbalists, scientists and consumers alike tout additional benefits of cordyceps as well, including their potential to combat Type II diabetes, reduce inflammation and slow tumor growth.

Yes. Americans can purchase cordyceps supplements online or at grocery stores and health food stores.

Manufacturers typically sell cordyceps in powder, capsule or liquid form.

Padilla-Brown told Leafly that prepubescent children and pregnant women should not take cordyceps, but that they are otherwise generally safe for adults to consume.

Cordyceps supplements tend to cost between 10 and 25 cents per capsule.


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Are cordyceps easy to grow yourself?

Padilla-Brown recommends cordyceps militaris as a great choice for amateur growers. “If you feel passionate about mushrooms at all, you’re going to be able to grow cordyceps mushrooms,” he told Leafly.

He pointed out that cordyceps must remain at 65 degrees Fahrenheit, and suggests that aspiring cordyceps cultivators utilize a basement or an easily air-conditioned space to grow them.

Finally, Padilla-Brown encouraged mushroom-minded entrepreneurs to lean into cordyceps. 

“It’s a cash crop, really. I think more young people should get into it as a way of developing wealth for themselves. [People] can grow cordyceps on rice. Ingredients are not very expensive, and pounds can go from $600 to 1,200. I think it’s a win-win,” he said.

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Functional Mushrooms – Boosting Health and Well-being




Are you looking to enhance your cognitive abilities, boost your energy levels, and improve your overall well-being? Look no further than functional mushrooms, specifically Lions Mane, Cordyceps, and Reishi. These three mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to promote physical and mental health, and recent scientific research has only confirmed their potential benefits.

Functional mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to support overall health and wellness. Today, their popularity has surged as people seek out natural ways to boost their immune systems, reduce inflammation, improve cognitive function and promote general well-being. Currently, as part of our Deal Of The Day offer, all three mushrooms are offered on a special BOGO sale: Buy One Get One FREE.

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What Are Functional Mushrooms?

Functional mushrooms are a category of mushrooms that contain bioactive compounds that provide numerous health benefits. These mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides, beta-glucans, and other compounds that are known to support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and enhance cognitive function.

Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and Reishi are three of the most popular functional mushrooms available today, and for good reason. Let’s take a closer look at each of them:

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

BOGO: Functional Mushroom Gummies - Lion's Mane
BOGO: Functional Mushroom Gummies – Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane Mushroom, also known as Hericium erinaceus, is a white, shaggy mushroom with a unique appearance that resembles a lion’s mane. This mushroom is native to North America, Europe, and Asia and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom is known for its potential cognitive benefits. It contains compounds called hericenones and erinacines, which have been shown to stimulate the growth of new brain cells and improve cognitive function. Additionally, Lion’s Mane Mushroom may help reduce inflammation and improve heart health.

Cordyceps Mushroom

BOGO: Functional Mushroom Gummies - Cordyceps
BOGO: Functional Mushroom Gummies – Cordyceps

Cordyceps Mushroom, also known as Ophiocordyceps sinensis, is a unique mushroom that grows on the backs of caterpillars in the high-altitude regions of China, Nepal, and Tibet. While this may sound unappetizing, the mushroom itself is highly valued for its potential health benefits.

Cordyceps Mushroom is known for its potential benefits in increasing energy and stamina. It contains adenosine, a compound that helps improve oxygen uptake, making it an ideal supplement for athletes and those looking to improve their physical performance. Additionally, Cordyceps Mushroom may help reduce inflammation, improve heart health, and boost the immune system.

Reishi Mushroom

BOGO: Functional Mushroom Gummies - Reishi
BOGO: Functional Mushroom Gummies – Reishi

Reishi Mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum, is a red, kidney-shaped mushroom that is native to Asia. This mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and is believed to have a wide range of health benefits.

Reishi Mushroom is known for its potential benefits in reducing stress and improving sleep. It contains compounds called triterpenoids, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Additionally, Reishi Mushroom may help boost the immune system, improve heart health, and even potentially have anti-cancer properties.

By incorporating functional mushrooms like Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and Reishi into your daily routine, you may be able to reap the many potential health benefits that these mushrooms offer.

And with the Cannadelics coupon code, you can get an additional 20% discount on your purchase of these premium functional mushrooms.

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More popular functional mushrooms

Functional mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years, and their popularity has grown in recent years due to their potential health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular functional mushrooms and their potential benefits:

Chaga Mushroom:

Chaga mushrooms are known for their immune-boosting properties. They contain high levels of antioxidants, which help to protect the body from free radicals that can cause cellular damage. Chaga mushrooms are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties and may help to reduce inflammation in the body.

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Turkey Tail Mushroom:

Turkey tail mushrooms are a great source of polysaccharides, which are known to have immune-boosting properties. These mushrooms may also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making them a potential therapeutic tool for a wide range of health conditions.

Maitake Mushroom:

Maitake mushrooms are known for their potential anti-cancer properties. They contain a compound called beta-glucan, which has been shown to stimulate the immune system and may help to fight cancer cells. Maitake mushrooms may also help to lower cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar control.

Shiitake Mushroom:

Shiitake mushrooms are a great source of B vitamins and have been shown to have immune-boosting properties. They may also help to lower cholesterol levels, improve heart health, and have potential anti-cancer properties.

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Various ways to consume functional mushrooms

Functional mushrooms are highly versatile and can be consumed in a variety of ways. These mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked, taken as supplements, or used in teas or tinctures.

One way to consume functional mushrooms is by incorporating them into your diet through cooking. Many types of functional mushrooms, such as shiitake, maitake, and lion’s mane, can be used as an ingredient in a wide range of recipes, including soups, stews, stir-fries, and sauces. For example, shiitake mushrooms are a common ingredient in Asian cuisine and can be found in dishes such as ramen and stir-fries. Maitake mushrooms can be roasted or sautéed and used as a meat substitute in vegetarian dishes, while lion’s mane mushrooms can be used as a substitute for seafood due to their unique texture.

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Functional mushrooms can also be consumed in the form of supplements, such as capsules, extracts, or powder. This method of consumption is convenient for those who prefer to take their supplements in a more concentrated form. Supplements can be easily incorporated into your daily routine by taking them with water, adding them to smoothies or protein shakes, or even mixing them into your favorite recipes.

Another way to consume functional mushrooms is through teas and tinctures. Tea is a popular method of consumption for functional mushrooms as it is a soothing and relaxing way to enjoy the benefits of these powerful ingredients. Tinctures, on the other hand, are highly concentrated liquid extracts that can be added to water or other beverages. Tinctures are an excellent option for those who prefer a more concentrated and convenient way to consume functional mushrooms.

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In conclusion, functional mushrooms can be consumed in a variety of ways, each with its unique benefits and advantages. Incorporating functional mushrooms into your diet may be a natural and effective way to enhance your cognitive abilities, boost your energy levels, and improve your overall well-being. However, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before adding functional mushrooms to your diet, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking any medications.

With the Cannadelics coupon code, you can get an extra 20% discount on premium functional mushroom products and explore the potential benefits of these amazing fungi. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Cannadelics Sunday Edition for exclusive discounts and the best stories of the week in the cannabis and psychedelic world.

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