Skip to main content

Back to Topics


Photo courtesy: verywellhealth

Cordyceps: A kind of medicinal fungus !

September 26, 2022

Cordyceps is a type of medicinal fungus said to offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. It grows on insect larvae carcasses and sprouts long, orangish-brown stems that can be harvested for use.1

Long used in traditional Chinese medicine, cordyceps is available in the United States as a dietary supplement.

There are over 400 species of cordyceps, most of which are native to various mountainous regions of Asia.2

 Wild cordyceps are highly valued and often expensive to purchase. Because of this, most cordyceps supplements available today are synthetic and have been man-made in a lab.

This article will examine the potential uses of cordyceps, side effects and precautions, dosage, and what to look for when choosing a cordyceps supplement.

Dietary supplements are not regulated like drugs in the United States, meaning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve them for safety and effectiveness before products are marketed. When possible, choose a supplement that has been tested by a trusted third party, such as USP, ConsumerLabs, or NSF.

However, even if supplements are third-party tested, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily safe for all or effective in general. Therefore, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take and to check in about any potential interactions with other supplements or medications.

Supplement Facts

  • Active Ingredient(s): Cordycepin, polysaccharides, sterols, fatty acids, phenolic compounds3
  • Alternate Name(s): Cordyceps sinensis, Cordyceps sobolifera, Cordyceps barnesii, Cordyceps hyphae, Cordyceps ophioglossoides, Cordyceps militaris, caterpillar fungus, cordyceps mushroom
  • Legal Status: Legal, available over-the-counter
  • Suggested Dose: There is not enough evidence to suggest a standard dose for cordyceps.
  • Safety Considerations: Mild side effects are possible when taking cordyceps. However, the safety of long-term use of cordyceps is unknown.

Purported Uses of Cordyceps Medicinal Fungus

Supplement use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or doctor. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease. Read more:

Follow Us