Overview of Cordyceps
Botanical Name: Ophiocordyceps sinensis / Cordyceps sinensis
Cordyceps is a fungus that parasitizes moth larvae; therefore, it is sometimes called caterpillar fungus. The mature fungus emerges from infected larvae to produce a brownish fruiting body. Do not confuse the rare Ophiocordyceps sinensis / Cordyceps sinensis with Cordyceps militaris. Cordyceps militaris is a bright orange fungus that is used as an alternative because it can be easily grown on media. Both of these fungi are important in Asian traditional medicine.
Conflicting (Unclear):insufficient information
- Chronic Allograft Nephropathy [1-2]
- Contrast Induced Kidney Impairment in Stable Angina Pectoris (SAP) Patients 
- Endurance/Exercise Performance [4-7]
- Immune Stimulant, cordyceps in combination with reishi / cat’s claw water extract / Grifola blazei / Grifola frondosa / Trametes versicolor / nicotinamide / zinc 
- Liver Cancer 
- Prevent Rejection after Kidney Transplant, use of cordyceps may enable reduced use of cyclosporine [10-12]
- Anti-Tumor/Anti-Cancer, another species, Cordyceps militaris, with Panax notoginseng 
- Asthma in Children 
No Clinical Research:All other conditions.
- Allergic Reactions
- Avoid or contact a licensed healthcare practitioner, if you are allergic to mold and/or mushrooms.
- There were cases of lead poisoning in Taiwan due to contaminated cordyceps.
There is not enough research on the use of supplements containing cordyceps during pregnancy and breast-feeding, so consult a licensed healthcare practitioner before use or avoid use.
Cordyceps is not a "drug", the best doses have not been thoroughly established. Make sure to follow the specific product instructions and take as directed on the label, or consult a licensed healthcare practitioner before use.
1. Li Y, Xue WJ, Tian PX, Ding XM, Yan H, et al. Clinical application of Cordyceps sinensis on immunosuppressive therapy in renal transplantation. Transplant Proc. 2009 Jun;41(5):1565-9. 2. Zhang Z, Wang X, Zhang Y, Ye G. Effect of Cordyceps sinensis on renal function of patients with chronic allograft nephropathy. Urol Int. 2011;86(3):298-301. 3. Zhao K, Li Y, Zhang H. Role of dongchongxiacao (Cordyceps) in prevention of contrast-induced nephropathy in patients with stable angina pectoris. J Tradit Chin Med. 2013 Jun;33(3):283-6. 4. Chen S, Li Z, Krochmal R, Abrazado M, Kim W, et al. Effect of Cs-4 (Cordyceps sinensis) on exercise performance in healthy older subjects: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 May;16(5):585-90. 5. Colson SN, Wyatt FB, Johnston DL, Autrey LD, FitzGerald YL, et al. Cordyceps sinensis- and Rhodiola rosea-based supplementation in male cyclists and its effect on muscle tissue oxygen saturation. J Strength Cond Res. 2005 May;19(2):358-63. 6. Earnest CP, Morss GM, Wyatt F, Jordan AN, Colson S, et al. Effects of a commercial herbal-based formula on exercise performance in cyclists. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 Mar;36(3):504-9. 7. Parcell AC, Smith JM, Schulthies SS, Myrer JW, Fellingham G. Cordyceps Sinensis (CordyMax Cs-4) supplementation does not improve endurance exercise performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2004 Apr;14(2):236-42. 8. Pero RW, Amiri A, Sheng Y, Welther M, Rich M. Formulation and in vitro/in vivo evaluation of combining DNA repair and immune enhancing nutritional supplements. Phytomedicine. 2005 Apr;12(4):255-63. 9. Niwa Y, Matsuura H, Murakami M, Sato J, Hirai K, et al. Evidence that naturopathic therapy including Cordyceps sinensis prolongs survival of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Integr Cancer Ther. 2013 Jan;12(1):50-68. 10. Ding C, Tian PX, Xue W, Ding X, Yan H, et al. Efficacy of Cordyceps sinensis in long term treatment of renal transplant patients. Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2011 Jan 1;3:301-7. 11. Li Y, Xue WJ, Tian PX, Ding XM, Yan H, et al. Clinical application of Cordyceps sinensis on immunosuppressive therapy in renal transplantation. Transplant Proc. 2009 Jun;41(5):1565-9. 12. Wang W, Zhang XN, Yin H, Li XB, Hu XP, et al. Effects of Bailing capsules for renal transplant recipients: a retrospective clinical study. Chin Med J (Engl). 2013;126(10):1895-9. 13. Yoo HS, Yoon J, Lee GH, Lee YW, Cho CK. Best case series program supportive cases of Cordyceps militaris- and panax notoginseng-based anticancer herbal formula. Integr Cancer Ther. 2011 Dec;10(4):NP1-3. 14. Wong EL, Sung RY, Leung TF, Wong YO, Li AM, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of herbal therapy for children with asthma. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Oct;15(10):1091-7. 15. Wu TN, Yang KC, Wang CM, Lai JS, Ko KN, et al. Lead poisoning caused by contaminated Cordyceps, a Chinese herbal medicine: two case reports. Sci Total Environ. 1996 Apr 5;182(1-3):193-5. 16. Afendi FM, Okada T, Yamazaki M, Hirai-Morita A, Nakamura Y, Nakamura K, Ikeda S, Takahashi H, Altaf-Ul-Amin M, Darusman LK, Saito K, Kanaya S. KNApSAcK family databases: integrated metabolite-plant species databases for multifaceted plant research. Plant Cell Physiol. 2012 Feb;53(2):e1.