Cordycepin: The Magical Compound With Endless Health Benefits

So you’ve heard all about this magnificent mushroom called Cordyceps and a few of its wacky characteristics, like how it colonizes insects and grows out of their bodies or that these little orange mushrooms can give you more energy than ever before. In this blog, you’ll learn more about Cordyceps and what makes it so magical, namely the compound, cordycepin. 

Cordyceps is an entomopathogenic fungus and grows parasitically on different insects. At Mushroom Revival, we work with a locally growing strain called Cordyceps militaris that can be found fruiting out of a variety of insects in the wild.

A National Treasure, and So Much More

Cordyceps has been used for over 1,000 years in China, where it is recognized as a national medicinal treasure, and a precious and sacred tonic. It is traditionally cooked in specialty recipes for health or drank as a tea to provide stamina, energetic vigor, and immune support. Cordycepin is one of the hundreds of compounds that comprise the medicinal properties of Cordyceps, along with sterols, polysaccharides, and more.

Cordycepin is a compound found in Cordyceps and was named after the mushroom. Through scientific research, we are now able to identify and extract it, and it is being studied extensively for its therapeutic benefits. When one ingests Cordyceps, it is cordycepin that is responsible for many of the therapeutic effects, including immune support and prolonged energy.

Interestingly, cordycepin is chemically similar to adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter found in every cell in the body and regulates basic bodily functions, like sleep cycle and energy levels. Adenosine helps in cellular energy transfer by forming molecules like adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and adenosine diphosphate (ADP). 

Modern research has shown that cordycepin plays a role in the induction of apoptosis of human colorectal cancer cell lines, breast cancer cell lines, leukemia cells, and melanoma cells. (1) 

Cordycepin is being studied for its anti-cancer properties, including for the role it plays in apoptosis, programmed cell death, and cell cycle arrest, which stops cell proliferation at certain check-points. Cordycepin might be useful for the prevention of cancer by acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. It has been shown to inhibit the secretion of pro-inflammatory and inflammatory cytokines. Cordycepin is a potent inhibitor of free radicals.

We love Cordyceps so much that we add it to almost all of our blends. Looking for an added boost of energy to combat fatigue and the effects of stress on your body, check out our Manifest blend tincture- certifed organic and 100% mushroom fruit bodies!

Get the Most Cordycepin Out of Your Tea!

Our friend at Bastyr University, Reishi Strauss, has been conducting tests with our Cordyceps to find the best preparation methods to extract cordycepin. Her studies have found some really exciting results that have been consistent over the last two years of study through testing fresh versus dried, water temperature and brew time.

The studies concluded that the best way to get the most cordycepin is to brew the dried mushrooms for 15 minutes, covered. The trick to getting a quality, medicinal mushroom tea is proper brewing. Longer steep times degraded the compounds while shorter times did not extract nearly enough. If tea is your preferred medium for getting those vital compounds, we recommend 0.5 gram of 100% fruiting bodies per day. This amount will brew a potent 12 oz cup of tea, but you may be flexible with the volume of water and increase if desired. 

Check out this podcast we recorded with Reishi to learn more about her research and the results!

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