Common Names: Caterpillar Fungus, Caterpillar Mushroom, Champignon Chenille, Chinese Caterpillar Fungus, Vegetable Caterpillar, The Last of Us Mushroom
Earthy, Nutty, Slightly Sweet
Cultivated Year Round
Asia, Mostly China
Edible Cultivated + Wild Mushroom
~ 7 days
Club-like bright orange clusters
Cordyceps militaris, Cordycepssinensis
CORDYCEPS Mushroom Health Benefits
Cordyceps mushrooms are a group of medicinal mushrooms known for their potential health benefits. They have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and Tibetan medicine. Cordyceps species are parasitic fungi (Ophiocordyceps sinensis or Cordyceps sinensis) that typically infect insects and other arthropods, but cultivated strains (Cordyceps militaris) are used for medicinal purposes. Cordyceps are available in various forms, including supplements, mushroom extracts, and fresh. Here are some of the potential health benefits of cordyceps associated with clinical studies:
Boosting Energy and Stamina: Cordyceps are often used to enhance athletic performance and endurance. They may help improve oxygen utilization in the body, leading to increased energy levels during exercise performance. Individuals looking for a natural energy boost may find Cordyceps supplements or extracts beneficial to help reduce fatigue.
Enhancing Respiratory Health: Cordyceps have been traditionally used to support lung wellness and respiratory function. They may help improve symptoms of respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Immune System Support: Cordyceps contain compounds that may stimulate the immune system. They can help the body defend against infections and illnesses. Cordyceps may also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can contribute to overall immune health.
Anti-Aging Properties: Some research suggests that Cordyceps may have anti-aging effects due to their antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, potentially slowing down the aging process.
Improved Sexual Health: Cordyceps have been traditionally used as an aphrodisiac and to support sexual function. They may help improve libido and fertility in both men and women.
Balancing Blood Sugar Levels: Cordyceps may have a role in regulating blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition.
Kidney Health: In traditional Chinese medicine, Cordyceps have been used to support kidney health. They may help improve kidney function and reduce the risk of chronic kidney disease.
Anticancer Properties: Some human studies and animal studies suggest that Cordyceps supplements may have potential anticancer and antitumor properties by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and tumor cells. However, more research is needed in this area.
Stress Reduction: Cordyceps may help the body adapt to stress and reduce its negative impact on overall wellness. They are considered adaptogens, which means they can help the body respond to various stressors and improve your health.
Cordycepin: This is a nucleoside known for its potential antiviral, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties. It structurally resembles adenosine but contains a modified ribose sugar, making it an interesting subject. Cordycepin is being studied for its ability to inhibit cancer cell growth, enhance energy production, and improve immune function.
It's essential to note that while Cordyceps have promising health benefits, individual responses to supplements may vary along with positive or negative side effects. Before adding Cordyceps supplements or any herbal medicine to your routine, consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications to confirm there are no negative side effects. Additionally, choose products from reputable sources to ensure their quality and safety.
How To Store Fresh “The Last of Us” Cordyceps Mushrooms
Keep your fresh cordyceps mushrooms in the fridge, inside the wax paper bag. They'll keep fresh for about 7 days.
Pro Tip → Store mushrooms towards the top of the fridge. Avoid the veggie drawer, it's often too cold for them!
If you don't plan on eating them within the 7-day window, we recommend:
Drying in a dehydrator.
Turning them into a tincture.
How To Prepare Cordyceps Fungus
Cordyceps are easy to overcook so keep an active eye on them!
Place your fresh cordyceps in a sauce pot filled halfway with water. Bring the water to a low boil and simmer for about one minute while gently stirring.
After softening the mushrooms, transfer the cordyceps to a bowl filled with ice water. Submerge the cordyceps in the ice bath for about five minutes to help stop the cooking and preserve their beautiful color and texture.
Strain and they are now ready for use in a recipe!
Mushroom Hunting for Cordyceps Mushrooms (Ophiocordyceps sinensis species of Cordyceps)
Hunting for cordyceps mushrooms can be an interesting but challenging endeavor, not to mention a most likely expensive trip halfway around the world. Here's a general summary of how to go about it when hunting for larvae:
Choose the Right Location: Cordyceps mushrooms are typically found in high-altitude regions, often in mountainous areas. Research and choose a suitable location known for cordyceps growth. Tibet, Nepal, and parts of China are renowned for cordyceps foraging.
Season and Timing: Cordyceps tend to emerge in the late spring and early summer. Timing is crucial, so plan your trip accordingly.
Equipment: You'll need basic foraging tools, such as a small shovel, brush, and a container to collect the mushrooms.
Altitude: Cordyceps grow at high altitudes, often above 10,000 feet. Acclimatize yourself to the altitude, as it can be physically demanding.
Patience: Cordyceps hunting is tedious. You'll need to carefully scan the ground for signs of the fungus and mycelium. Look for small, thin, brownish-black stalks protruding from the ground, with a tiny bulbous head.
Don't Damage Them: When you find a cordyceps mushroom, be extremely gentle when harvesting it. Damaged mushrooms are worth significantly less, and it's essential to preserve the natural habitat.
Collect and Store: Place the collected cordyceps in a container. Keep them dry and well-ventilated to prevent mold growth.
Local Regulations: Be aware of any regulations or permits required for foraging cordyceps in the area you choose. Some regions may have restrictions to protect the ecosystem.
Ethical Foraging: Respect the environment and the local culture. Cordyceps harvesting is often a traditional practice for some communities, and it's essential to be respectful and ethical in your approach.
Health Precautions: Wear appropriate clothing and gear for the harsh mountain environment. High altitudes can pose health risks, so be prepared and consult with a healthcare professional if necessary.
Identify Correct Species: Ensure you can accurately identify cordyceps mushrooms to avoid harvesting the wrong fungi, which can be toxic.
Consult Experts: If you're new to cordyceps hunting, it's advisable to learn from experienced foragers or local experts who can teach you the ropes and help you distinguish between different species.
Remember that cordyceps hunting can be physically demanding and requires careful attention to detail. Always prioritize safety, environmental conservation, and respect for local customs and regulations when foraging for these valuable fungi.
Cordyceps Mushroom Recipes We LovE
Cordyceps mushrooms, a prized delicacy, are renowned for their delightful chestnut-like earthiness, they bring to dishes, accentuated by their distinctive orange hue that adds a rich, captivating color to any culinary creation. If you’re feeling lazy but still want to add a mushroom supplement to your life, check out our Organic Cordy Creamsicle Popsicle that’s packed with the same health-beneficial cordyceps extract tucked into a delicious dessert.