What Is Cordyceps Used for Today?
Cordyceps is widely marketed today as treatment for many conditions. However, there is no reliable scientific evidence that it actually provides any medical benefits.
Most research on cordyceps was done in China and is not up to modern scientific standards. In general, double-blind , placebo-controlled studies are the most reliable form of evidence. (For information on the reasons why, see Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies? ) However, such studies have to be performed and reported according to certain standards. Although several double-blind studies have been reported on cordyceps, they all fall considerably short of the level necessary for scientific validity. These somewhat dubious double-blind trials hint that cordyceps might be helpful for reducing high cholesterol ^ and improving male sexual function . ^ Evidence is more negative than positive regarding whether cordyceps is helpful for enhancing sports performance . ^ ^ Weak evidence hints that cordyceps may modulate the immune system, which means that it stimulates some aspects of the immune system while suppressing others. ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ On this basis, it has been tried in China as an aid in organ transplant surgery ^ and for the treatment of viral hepatitis ^ and lupus . ^ Highly preliminary test-tube and animal studies hint that cordyceps may help fight stress , ^ control blood sugar levels (potentially making it useful in diabetes ), ^ ^ reduce cancer risk , ^ lower high blood pressure , ^ and help protect the kidney against damage caused by the drugs cyclosporin and gentamycin . ^ ^ Other test-tube studies hint that cordyceps may stimulate production of hormones, such as cortisone and testosterone. ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ However, contrary to what some websites say, these studies are far too preliminary to indicate any therapeutic hormonal effect.