Cordyceps militaris | This Mushroom Can Help Your Cardio and Cognition, But It Won’t Take Control Of Your Brain…Unless You’re A Caterpillar

Cordyceps militaris | This Mushroom Can Help Your Cardio and Cognition, But It Won’t Take Control Of Your Brain…Unless You’re A Caterpillar

A Miraculous Mushroom With
A Dark Side

We can’t think of a more exciting family of mushrooms than the various species of cordyceps. Fabled for their invigorating effects, and feared for their zombie-like effects! This is because the various species of cordyceps mushroom have the ability to infect insect hosts. Once the cordyceps mushroom infects their unfortunate hosts, it takes over their central nervous system. This allows them to control the movements of their host. This is how many of the cordyceps mushroom species travel around their environment. The most famous example of this happening is with Ophiocordyceps sinensis, which infects various species of caterpillars. These infected caterpillars of Ophiocordyceps sinensis are quite rare and highly revered in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine. “In Tibet, they are especially popular, referred to as yartsa gunbu. In other parts of the world, they are called “caterpillar fungus.”

Both the video game and HBO series The Last Of Us, centers around cordyceps. That’s the fungus that causes the “infected,” and results in the apocalypse seen in those series. Luckily, that cordyceps is just fiction. In reality, cordyceps is only able to infect arthropods… for now!

Cordyceps militaris

Exploring Cordyceps: From Traditional Medicine to Pop Culture

Finding and collecting Ophiocordyceps sinensis infected caterpillars in the wild is incredibly difficult. This has made the caterpillar fungus extremely expensive, fetching up to $50,000 per pound. The concept of cordyceps mushrooms taking over insect nervous systems inspired ‘The Last of Us’ game, released in 2013.

Cordyceps Resurgence: From Games to TV

In 2023, cordyceps saw a resurgence with the HBO MAX ‘The Last of Us’ series, exposing a larger audience to this “zombie fungus”. Fear not, however, as the cordyceps mushroom won’t infect humans anytime soon, but it can enhance physical and mental well-being.

Cultivating Cordyceps: Accessibility and Challenges

The most common species of cordyceps used in supplements today is Cordyceps militaris. Cultivating it on grain-based substrates is feasible, making cordyceps mushrooms more accessible worldwide. However, it’s still tricky and different from cultivating other types of fungi.

Which Cordyceps Is Best For You?

Understanding Our Cordyceps Products

The differences between our two cordyceps products might seem a bit confusing at first. Our full spectrum Cordyceps militaris, which we call the 1:1 extract, is actually more like an optimized Cordyceps militaris mushroom powder, rather than an extract. To create our Cordyceps militaris 1:1 product, we use a proprietary hot water processing technique to break down the chitin in the cell walls of the mushroom. Chitin makes up the cell walls of the cordyceps mushroom, and humans can’t efficiently break down chitin. This means that many bioactives in Cordyceps militaris are locked away in the cell walls, inaccessible to our bodies.

Production Process: Cordyceps 1:1 Extract

By breaking down the chitin with our hot water processing technique, we can then more easily access the bioactives in Cordyceps militaris! After the hot water process breaks down the chitin, we retain the entire mushroom material, dehydrate it, and turn it into a powder. So our 1:1 “extract” does not lose any compounds that are not soluble, making it the most full spectrum Cordyceps militaris product we offer.

Production Process: Cordyceps 10:1 Extract

In contrast, we make our 10:1 extract using a much more complex dual water/ethanol extraction technique. This extraction technique allows for the concentration of both water and ethanol soluble compounds. In this process, hot water breaks down the chitin and acts as a solvent to extract and concentrate the water-soluble fraction of Cordyceps militaris. Subsequently, we use ethanol to extract and concentrate the ethanol-soluble fraction of Cordyceps militaris. Unlike our 1:1 Cordyceps militaris product, we only collect the water and ethanol that has been enriched with Cordyceps bioactives, while the remaining mushroom biomass is discarded.

The highly concentrated water and ethanol fractions are then dried to yield a high potency Cordyceps militaris extract powder. What this means is that we start the extraction off with 10 kg of Cordyceps mushroom, and end up with 1 kg of finished extract. This is why it is called a 10:1 extract, and goes to show just how potent the 10:1 extract is!

Contrasting Effects: 1:1 vs. 10:1 Extracts

One interesting thing to keep in mind with both of these Cordyceps militaris products, is that the Cordyceps 10:1 extract certainly is much more potent than the cordyceps 1:1, however, what is perhaps more interesting is the difference in character of effects. The cordyceps 1:1 is much more rounded in effect, providing a wonderful energizing and invigorating effect. The cordyceps 10:1 extract on the other hand, is much more focused in effects. The energizing effects of the Cordyceps militaris 1:1 turn into a much zippier stimulating and mood  boosting effect in the cordyceps 10:1 extract. Even if you were to take higher doses of the Cordyceps militaris 1:1, you would not be able to achieve the same overall character of effects that you can achieve with the Cordyceps militaris 10:1 extract. This means that the two mushrooms have two very different applications!

Cordyceps 1:1 For Smooth Full-Spectrum Effects

Our Cordyceps militaris 1:1 is best for those looking to add a little pep to their steps during the day, whilst keeping the effects smooth and balanced. The cordyceps 1:1 is wonderful for dialing in overall cardiovascular function, whilst giving a nice yet subtle lift to overall cognitive function. With the high beta-glucan content, it is also great for dialing in overall immune function. We also enjoy the cordyceps 1:1 as a component of more complex stacks, where cordyceps shouldn’t be the star of the show, but rather one of the many synergistic components of a great stack.

Cordyceps 10:1 For Electric Energy

Our Cordyceps militaris 10:1 dual water/ethanol extract provides a completely different experience than our more mild mannered Cordyceps militaris 1:1 extract. With the cordyceps 10:1, the natural feeling energizing effects of the cordyceps 1:1 is ramped up significantly and gains a fairly pushy edge. The mood boosting effects are also significantly elevated with the cordyceps 10:1. Finally, the cardiovascular enhancing effects are also more pronounced with the cordyceps 10:1. This makes it a very interesting Cordyceps militaris extract for those looking to use cordyceps primarily as a pre-workout ingredient or as an uplifting mood booster! The cordyceps 10:1, unlike the cordyceps 1:1, definitely attracts more attention to itself, so it is slightly harder to integrate into a more complex stack. However, if your current stack is missing some energizing drive, then the cordyceps 10:1 is still an ideal candidate!

Similar to the cordyceps 1:1, the cordyceps 10:1 is also good for enhancing overall immune function. That being said, the cordyceps 1:1 edges out the cordyceps 10:1 slightly in this area, because the cordyceps 1:1 has a higher immune function promoting beta-glucan content.

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