Cordyceps: Is It a Zombie Fungus?

Discover the history and benefits of cordyceps, creepy fungi from the popular TV series The Last of Us. Learn how to take it and if it's really a zombie fungus!

Cordyceps: Is It a Zombie Fungus?

Have you ever heard of the mysterious cordyceps fungus? It's a strange and fascinating organism that has been used for centuries. Recently, it has gained notoriety in popular culture due to its appearance in the hit TV series The Last of Us. But what is this zombie fungus? In this blog post, we'll dive into what cordyceps are, their potential benefits, how they can be taken safely, if there is any truth behind them being called "zombie fungus," and lastly - why The Last of Us chose to feature them! So buckle up as we explore the mysteries surrounding these unique fungi—Cordyceps!

What are Cordyceps?

Cordyceps is a type of fungus that grows on the larvae of insects, typically found in mountainous regions. It has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine for a number of perceived benefits. In recent years, it has become popular among athletes and fitness enthusiasts due to its purported performance-enhancing effects.

Cordyceps is a genus of fungi belonging to the Ascomycota phylum. It is composed of over 400 species, most commonly found in mountainous regions such as Tibet and Nepal. The most widely studied species are Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris, both now widely available on the market.

History of Use

The use of cordyceps dates back thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It was believed to have restorative properties that could help improve energy levels and overall health. Over time, it became associated with increased longevity and vitality and improved bodily functioning. Today cordyceps are undergoing various forms of research to further investigate their true potential. However, as they are considered to have a good safety profile, they are widely available as supplements.  

How Does Corydeps Work?

The active compounds found in cordyceps are polysaccharides, adenosine, and cordycepin.

  • Polysaccharides are complex carbohydrates that help boost the immune system by increasing white blood cell production.
  • Adenosine is an important molecule involved in energy metabolism and helps regulate cellular processes like gene expression and protein synthesis.
  • Cordycepin is an alkaloid compound with anti-inflammatory properties.

Cordyceps also contains antioxidants which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, molecules that can cause oxidative stress within the body if left unchecked.

Benefits of Supplementing with Cordyceps

Cordyceps are thought to have various general benefits when take n as a supplement, a few include:

Athletic Performance Benefits: Cordyceps has been found to increase endurance during exercise by reducing lactic acid buildup in muscles. This can result in improved stamina during workouts or competitions. It may also help boost strength by helping the body produce more ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which provides energy for muscle contractions.

Cognitive Benefits: Cordyceps has been shown to improve memory recall and focus, while also reducing stress levels associated with mental tasks such as studying or taking tests. Additionally, it appears to have neuroprotective properties that could potentially slow down age-related decline in cognitive function over time when taken regularly as part of a healthy lifestyle routine.

Cordyceps offer a variety of potential health, athletic and cognitive benefits that can be experienced with proper dosage. It is important to consider the different forms of consumption as well as any potential side effects or interactions before incorporating cordyceps into your daily routine.

How Do Cordyceps Make You Feel?

Most people who take cordys report feeling more energized within an hour or two after taking them – similar to how caffeine makes you feel alert but without any jitteriness or crash afterwards!

Some users report improved focus when taking cordyceps regularly over time; others find them helpful for reducing stress levels too!

In general though, most people don't experience any side effects from taking this supplement so it's safe to say that if taken correctly (as recommended) then you should be able to reap all the benefits without worrying about adverse reactions!

The Types of Cordyceps

There are two main types of cordyceps: Wild cordyceps and lab-grown cordyceps.

Wild Cordyceps

Wild cordyceps is the original form of this fungi, found growing naturally on caterpillars in the Himalayan Mountains at high altitudes.

Wild cordyceps is highly sought after due to its rarity and limited availability, making it more expensive than other forms of these fungi.

Its potency can also vary depending on where it was harvested from and when it was picked, so quality control can be an issue with wild varieties.

Lab-Grown Cordyceps

Lab-grown or cultivated cordycep mushrooms are grown under controlled conditions in laboratories using a variety of substrates such as grains or sawdust instead of relying on natural sources like caterpillars for growth mediums.

Lab-grown varieties tend to be much less expensive than their wild counterparts but may not have the same potency or purity as those found in nature due to different environmental factors that affect growth rates and nutrient absorption during cultivation processes.

Which Type Is Better?

When choosing between these two types of fungi, there are several things you should consider before making your decision; cost, quality control issues associated with harvesting from nature versus laboratory production methods, desired effects (some people prefer one over another), availability (wild varieties may not always be available) etc.

Ultimately though both forms offer potential  benefits if taken correctly so deciding which one is better really comes down to personal preference based on individual needs and budget constraints.

Where to Buy Cordyceps?

​Cordyceps is available in a range of convenient, safe and easy-to-take supplements, often in tincture or capsule form. Here are some options.

Cordyceps Mushroom Tincture: This is for those wanting a concentrated cordyceps experience. Containing Cordyceps militaris and vitamins B3 and B6, it's a fast and convenient way to get this fungus into your system.

Power 5 Mushroom tincture: Why settle for just cordyceps when you can combine it with the power of four other well-known and sought-after mushrooms. This supplement combines Lion's Mane, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Reishi, and Chaga for a well-rounded experience.

Cordyceps Mushroom Capsules: For those who don't like the taste of tinctures, these capsules offer a convenient way to ingest a set and measured amount of Cordyceps militaris without taste. Ideal for on-the-go.

How do You Take Cordyceps?

 Taking cordyceps can be beneficial, but it's important to know the proper dosage guidelines and potential side effects before taking it.

Dosage Guidelines: The recommended dose of cordyceps is 500-1000 mg per day. However, this may vary depending on your individual needs and goals. For example, if you are looking to improve your physical performance or cognitive function, you may need a higher dose than someone who just wants general health benefits from taking cordyceps. Talk with your doctor about what would be best for you before starting any supplement regimen.

Forms of Consumption: Cordyceps comes in several forms such as capsules, powder or liquid extract form which can all be taken orally or added into food or drinks like smoothies and juices. Capsules are the most common form as they provide an easy way to get precise doses without having to measure out powders or liquids each time you take them.

Can I Take Cordyceps Long Term?

The safety profile of cordyceps is generally considered good when taken in recommended doses. In fact, studies have shown that taking up to 4 grams per day for 8 weeks had no adverse effects on healthy adults. It is generally not recommended to take cordyceps for more than 3 months at a time, with at least a 1-2 week break between use. 

However, there are some potential side effects associated with higher doses or prolonged use such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach upset.

Therefore, if you're considering taking cordyceps long-term then it's important to speak with your doctor first before doing so.

Drug Interactions

It's also important to note that cordyceps may interact with certain medications including anticoagulants (blood thinners), immunosuppressants and chemotherapy drugs.

Therefore, if you're currently taking any of these medications then you should not take cordyceps without consulting your doctor first as they can potentially increase the risk of bleeding or other serious side effects.

How to Store Cordyceps

Storing cordyceps supplements correctly is essential for maintaining their potency and effectiveness. To ensure your cordyceps remain potent, it's important to store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This will help prevent the breakdown of active ingredients that can occur when exposed to light or heat.

It's best to keep your cordyceps supplements in their original air-tight containers. If you transfer them into another container, make sure it has an air-tight seal as well so no moisture or other contaminants can get inside and degrade the supplement quality.

Some types of cordyceps tinctures or oils may need to be refrigerated after opening for optimal freshness and shelf life. Be sure to read all directions on the label before storing any type of supplement product, including tinctures and oils made with cordyceps mushrooms extract.

Cordyceps powder should also be stored properly if you plan on using it over time instead of taking all at once right away. Transferring the powder into an air-tight glass jar is recommended since plastic containers may contain chemicals that could leach into the powder over time if not stored correctly in a cool environment out of direct sunlight exposure.

If you are traveling with your cordyceps supplements, always pack them carefully in a secure container such as a pill box or baggie along with other items like hand sanitizer and masks during these times where safety measures are more important than ever! Make sure they stay upright while traveling so they don't spill out onto other items which could contaminate them further leading to decreased potency levels when consumed later on down the line!

Is Cordyceps a Zombie Fungus?

The zombie fungus myth has been around for centuries, but it wasn't until recently that science began to uncover the truth behind this mysterious organism. Cordyceps is a genus of fungi that grows on insects and other arthropods, causing them to become infected with its spores. This infection leads to the insect becoming a host for the fungus, which eventually kills it and sprouts out of its body in an eerie fashion.

The Science Behind the Mythology: The scientific name for cordyceps is Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, which translates literally as "worm-killing club" due to its ability to infect and kill ants or other small insects. It's believed that this fungus evolved from parasitic wasp larvae over millions of years ago, making it one of nature's oldest parasites. Scientists have studied how cordyceps affects insects by studying their behavior when they are infected; some species will climb up plants before dying so that their bodies can be closer to where new spores can spread more easily.

In recent years, cordyceps has gained popularity through popular culture references such as the video game and tv series  "The Last Of Us". These references often portray cordyceps as a deadly virus capable of turning humans into zombies or monsters - though in reality there is no evidence that suggests any form of human infection exists yet. Despite this fact, these fictional stories still help bring attention to this fascinating organism while also providing entertainment value at the same time.

How Does the Parasite Infect Ants?

The parasitic fungus, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, is a master of manipulation. It infects its ant host by entering through the insect's exoskeleton and releasing spores into its body. The spores then germinate and grow mycelia (thread-like structures) that spread throughout the ant's organs.

Once inside, the fungus begins to take control of the ant's nervous system. It does this by producing chemicals that alter an insect's behavior and DNA, allowing it to manipulate its host into doing what it wants. This can include forcing them away from their colony or up onto vegetation where they will die in order for the parasite to reproduce more effectively.

In addition to controlling an ant's behavior, the fungus also takes over other parts of its body as well. For example, it can cause changes in muscle activity which allows it to move an infected insect around like a puppet on strings - something scientists refer to as "zombie walking"!

The fungus also produces toxins which damage vital organs such as the brain and digestive tract leading ultimately lead to death for its host within days or weeks after infection has occurred. Once dead, fungal cells emerge from the head of an infected ant and release thousands of new spores into air ready for another unsuspecting victim!

the Link to the Last of Us

The unusual zombie fungus behaviour was popularized by the video game and more recent TV series, The Last of Us, where cordyceps takes on an even more sinister role.

In The Last of Us, cordyceps acts as a deadly virus that turns humans into zombie-like creatures known as Clickers or Runners.

While this may seem far-fetched, there are some similarities between what happens in the game and what can happen with real-life cordyceps infections.

For example, both cause changes in behaviour and physical appearance such as loss of muscle control and discolouration of the skin.

The Last Of Us also portrays how quickly infection can spread from person to person through contact with infected individuals or their bodily fluids like saliva or blood - something which can be seen in real life when it comes to certain types of fungal infections, including those caused by cordyceps in insects.

Overall, while it's unlikely that we'll ever see anything quite like what's portrayed in The Last Of Us here on Earth any time soon (if ever), it does provide us with an interesting glimpse into how powerful these tiny fungi can be, especially in the insect world - even if they don't turn us all into zombies!

Conclusion: Cordyceps—boosting wellbeing

Cordyceps has many potential benefits, including increased energy levels, improved immunity, and enhanced cognitive function. Taking cordyceps can be done in various forms such as capsules or powder. Although it is often referred to as a zombie fungus due to its parasitic nature, it does not actually cause zombies! 


For the TL;DR, here are some of the most common questions about cordyceps answered.

What does cordyceps do to humans?

Cordyceps has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, and is now a popular supplement. Its purported benefits include boosting energy levels, improving lung function, and enhancing exercise performance. There is some scientific evidence to support these claims, but more research is needed.

Is cordyceps a drug?

No. cordyceps is an edible fungus and not considered a drug. Cordyceps has recently become popular as a dietary supplement due to its potential health benefits, such as boosting energy and immunity. However, it does not have any psychoactive effects and is therefore not considered a drug.

Can you take cordyceps every day?

Cordyceps should not be taken for more than 3 months at a time. An interval of 1-2 weeks is suggested between courses, and it may be best to avoid taking cordyceps during the summer or in hot climates.

How does cordyceps make you feel?

Some users claim to experience enhanced mental clarity and energy levels when using this supplement. Similar to caffeine, but without the crash.