Environmental toxins, pollutants, and seasonal challenges affect our respiratory health. Even growing older impacts lung health as age-related changes reduce elasticity in the lung tissue.
So, is there a natural way to maintain optimum lung health? Fortunately, you can take advantage of cordyceps benefits for the lungs.
Cordyceps Sinensis is a mushroom used in traditional Chinese medicine as a tonic to help soothe the lung and aid in treating fatigue and respiratory diseases. The fungus may help maintain open airways, thus enabling free and easy breathing. They also can be effective for respiratory issues like shortness of breath.
Below we will explore Cordyceps for lung health: the benefits and the science behind it. We will also answer some of your most frequently asked questions.
Now, let's begin!
Cordyceps For Lung: What Do We Know?
Alternative and traditional medicine healers have been promoting Cordyceps as a guardian of respiratory health for more than a thousand years. Even in the modern world, much scientific evidence has emerged supporting cordyceps lung health benefits.
Here is what we know so far:
1. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Research has shown that Cordyceps extract may effectively treat chronic obstructive lung disease, also known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
In a study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, scientists evaluated the effectiveness and safety of Cordyceps Sinensis on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in a review of multiple studies.
Here, nine major randomized controlled trials were analyzed, including 1,238 participants. The analysis showed Cordyceps Sinensis has potential benefits in lung function, exercise endurance, life quality, and improvement of symptoms.
Read More: See how cordyceps boosts energy and exercise endurance.
There were no adverse events reported in the analyzed studies. The results of the study showed that the mushroom could improve pulmonary function. This could mean that Cordyceps Sinensis may be a promising treatment for patients with stable COPD.
In another 2018 study(1), researchers analyzed the effects of Cordyceps sinensis on airway remodeling in COPD and the underlying molecular mechanisms. Rats with COPD were given the mushroom at low, moderate, or high doses (equivalent to 2.5, 5, or 7.5 g/kg/day, respectively) for 12 weeks.
The treatment with Cordyceps mushroom significantly ameliorated wall thickening and fibrosis of the airways. Additionally, the mushroom also reduced inflammatory cell accumulation and markers of inflammation. These results indicated that treatment with Cordyceps Sinensis may be a valuable approach for COPD therapy.
Read More: Did you know there are two types of Cordyceps? Learn about cordyceps Sinensis and Militaris.
Asthma is a condition that makes it difficult to breathe because the person's airways restrict, swell, and create excess mucus. Asthma symptoms include breathing issues, chest pain, coughing, and wheezing. Sometimes the symptoms could worsen.
According to a research article published in 2019(2), globally, 300 million people have Asthma, and another 100 million people may develop it by 2025. Unfortunately, Asthma's prevalence, severity, and mortality vary incredibly geographically. Luckily, however, research has shown that Cordyceps can aid in the treatment of Asthma.
In a 2008 study(3), researchers evaluated the effect of cultivated Cordyceps militaris on airway inflammation in mice with Asthma. The groups of mice were either given Cordyceps, medications used for Asthma, or a placebo. The researchers assessed the reaction of the airway and inflammation.
Results demonstrated that Cordyceps militaris fungus could modulate airway inflammation in Asthma, but it is less effective than conventional drugs. The results are, however, promising.
3. Lung Cancer
Studies(4) have found that Cordycepin, the primary active compound in Cordyceps Militaris, induces the death of human lung cancer cells. Here, at a dose of 60 μg/mL, Cordycepin inhibited approximately 50% of the cancer cells.
Researchers observed similar results(5) in another study. The study evaluated the effect of Cordyceps militaris on the proliferation and spontaneous death of non–small cell lung cancer. Researchers found that the mushroom reduced the survival of the cancer cells and inhibited the pathways involved in cellular proliferation.
Read More: See the cordyceps cancer benefits.
4. Lung Fibrosis
In a study published in the Journal of ethnopharmacology(6), researchers explored the protective roles of Cordyceps on lung fibrosis.
Results indicated a reduction of inflammatory cell infiltration and the formation of reactive oxygen species, which damages the lung spaces. These findings provide insight into Cordyceps's preventive and therapeutic potentials for lung fibrosis treatment.
5. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
This is a prevalent respiratory disease that was discovered for the first time in China back in 2002. Within a few months, the debilitating lung disease had reached almost every corner of the world. Often abbreviated as SARS, Severe acute respiratory syndrome is a virus transmitted through droplets that enter the air when someone with the disease coughs, sneezes or talks.
You do not have to worry about SARS causing damage to your normal lung tissues if you are using Cordyceps for your lungs. Research studies have shown that cordyceps Sinensis may effectively control the disease and improve lung health in people with SARS.
Read More: See the best time to take cordyceps.
Closely associated with Covid-19, the most recent studies on how cordyceps Sinensis can help with SARs have focused on the impacts of cordyceps extracts on SARs-Covid-19. A research study conducted in 2020(7), for example, showed that cordyceps is an effective pulmonary medicine that can help treat SARS-Cov-2, a virus that often causes covid-19.
6. Lung-Related Allergies
Allergies can affect the lungs in numerous ways, and anyone who suffers from allergies understands how inconvenient seasonal allergies can be. Seasonal allergies can cause wheezing, sneezing, and coughing.
In addition, seasonal allergies can affect the lungs by causing Asthma, allergic bronchitis, and other lung issues. Pollen is one of the most common allergy triggers.
Plants produce pollen in the spring, summer, and early fall. Pollen exposure can cause allergic reactions that affect your lungs.
In addition to fighting Asthma, cordyceps can also aid in the fight against other allergies. In most cases, seasonal challenges result from mast cell activation. The mast cell is an immune cell that can release histamine, a chemical messenger that can easily wreak havoc in the body.
Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin (TLSP) is an epithelial-derived cytokine that plays an essential role in the development and activation of mast cells. Research studies have shown that Cordyceps may be effective in suppressing the activity of TLSP.
A research study conducted in 2016(8) analyzed the impact of Cordycepin—one of the bioactive compounds extracted from cordyceps—on TLSP. The research study determined that Cordycepin significantly reduced TSLP levels in activated mast cells. The researchers concluded that Cordycepin might help treat allergic inflammatory diseases exacerbated by TSLP.
The mushroom helps maintain homeostasis in the human body, reducing the risk of lung-related allergies. In addition, by lowering TSLP, the mushroom minimizes the risk of cytokines activating the production of allergy hormones.
Read More: Can you take cordyceps before bed if you have allergies?
7. Cordyceps Can Help Smokers
Smoking has many detrimental health effects. For example, smokers are at an elevated risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung diseases, cancer, stroke, chronic bronchitis, and more.
However, while most smokers may already know that the habit is detrimental to their health, quitting smoking tends to be complicated for many individuals.
Luckily, the traditional Chinese medicine cordyceps extract or cordyceps supplements can provide lung support while quitting smoking. Research studies have proven this.
For example, one research study conducted in 2016(9) investigated how Cordyceps Sinensis prevents cigarette smoke extract from making human bronchial epithelial cells age. The researchers, in their conclusion, indicated that Human bronchial epithelial cells could undergo cellular deterioration when exposed to CSE (cigarette smoke extract), and the ROS/PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway may be crucial in this process. C. Sinensis, however, can prevent cellular deterioration brought on by CSE.
8. Cordyceps Can Increase Oxygen Utilization Capacity
One way that cordyceps promotes lung function is by increasing oxygen utilization capacity. Various studies have verified this—researchers conducted one such study in 2017.
In the 2017 study(10), researchers analyzed the increased tolerance to high-intensity exercise after acute and long-term treatment with cordyceps militaris. In the research study, the scientists determined that cordyceps improved the Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), time to exhaustion (TTE), and ventilatory threshold (VT).
The mushroom's ability to improve oxygen utilization capacity is one of the reasons people use cordyceps pre-workout.
Can Anyone Use Cordyceps For Lungs?
If you have read this article, you already know that cordyceps can relieve lung injury and offer immunomodulatory effects that can prevent common conditions that affect adults and children, including cold and flu infections. However, the big question is, can everyone use cordyceps for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease OCPD or chronic bronchitis?
While we would all want to take cordyceps to enjoy lung health and protection from different types of lung disease, this experimental and therapeutic medicine may not be for everyone. So now, the next question is, who should not use cordyceps?
Pregnant women should seek a second opinion from their doctor before using Cordyceps. The mushroom may also not be a perfect supplement for breastfeeding women.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women may want to stay away from cordyceps to avoid passing on the mushroom's relatively powerful active ingredients to their fetus or baby.
Read More: Does cordyceps have any dangers?
It would also be a good idea for people with the following conditions to avoid using Cordyceps:
- Severe autoimmune conditions
- Bleeding disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
Additionally, some medications can interact with cordyceps. These include:
- Blood thinning medications. Combining cordyceps and blood thinning medications can increase the risk of bleeding as cordyceps affect platelet aggregation.
- Immunosuppressant medications. Cordyceps also have immunomodulatory effects. As such, the mushroom may interact with immunosuppressant drugs.
- Antidiabetic medications. A combination of antidiabetic medications and cordyceps can cause hypoglycemia.
Since cordyceps affects platelet aggregation and blood clotting, it may not be advisable for anyone expecting to undergo surgery to use it. Also, if you are recovering from recent surgery, you should wait until you heal entirely before using Cordyceps Sinensis or militaris.
It is important to note that your doctor can help you adjust cordyceps dosage so that you take it without suffering side effects. Therefore, always talk to your doctor before using the mushroom.
Can Cordyceps Help With Bronchitis?
Cordyceps extracts are potentially helpful in bronchitis, an inflammatory condition of the airways. The anti-inflammatory properties of the mushroom and their ability to widen the bronchus are beneficial in bronchitis.
Is Cordyceps Good For Asthma?
Cordyceps mushrooms can improve asthma symptoms by combating inflammation and improving lung function.
Is Cordyceps Good For Cough?
Cordyceps have the potential to strengthen the lungs, fight inflammation, and widen the airways. Hence, it can help treat a cough.
What Is The Cordyceps Sinensis For Lungs Dosage?
At present, there are no guidelines that recommend a specific dosage for the lungs. Instead, talk to your healthcare provider to work out a dose best suited for your condition.
Cordyceps for the lungs is gaining popularity as a natural supplement to boost respiratory health. The fungus is helpful in chronic respiratory disorders, including COPD, Asthma, lung fibrosis, and even lung cancer.
After several weeks of use, the mushroom offers maximum benefits in improving lung health. Therefore, if you start today, you do not have to give up the mushroom if you do not notice results in the next few days.
The good news is that the cordyceps market has various products you can use to get maximum benefits. For example, if you are always traveling, the cordyceps capsules should help you take the mushroom consistently for its benefits.
Have you used cordyceps for the lungs before? What was your experience with the mushroom? Let us know in the comments section.
- Cordyceps sinensis inhibits airway remodeling in rats with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5795554/
- Epidemiology of Asthma in Children and Adults, (2)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6591438/
- Effects of the Immunomodulatory Agent Cordyceps militaris on Airway Inflammation in a Mouse Asthma Model, (3)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1875957209600048
- Cordycepin induces human lung cancer cell apoptosis by inhibiting nitric oxide mediated ERK/Slug signaling pathway, (4)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5385633/
- Cordyceps militaris Exerts Anticancer Effect on Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer by Inhibiting Hedgehog Signaling via Suppression of TCTN3, (5)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7265736/
- Protective roles of Cordyceps on lung fibrosis in cellular and rat models, (6)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7125542
- Cordycepin: a bioactive metabolite of Cordyceps militaris and polyadenylation inhibitor with therapeutic potential against COVID 19, (7)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7754931/
- Cordycepin Suppresses Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin Expression via Blocking Caspase-1 and Receptor-Interacting Protein 2 Signaling Pathways in Mast Cells, (8)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26725432/
- The inhibitory mechanism of Cordyceps sinensis on cigarette smoke extract-induced senescence in human bronchial epithelial cells, (9)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4968689/
- Cordyceps militaris improves tolerance to high intensity exercise after acute and chronic supplementation, (10)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5236007/