Are you looking to buy top quality Cordyceps mushrooms products in the United States? This guide will help you find the best source for this medicinal mushroom and ensure you’re getting the highest quality product.
Cordyceps have quickly become some of the most popular medicinal mushrooms in the North American market. While countless studies have shown them to have health benefits for athletic performance, libido and cardiovascular function, not all Cordyceps products on the market may be equally effective. In fact, the potency and effectiveness of medicinal mushroom supplements have been shown to highly vary depending on the producer. Many supplement companies have in fact been accused of selling fraudulent supplements that only contain small portions of fungally derived components.
Thankfully, finding a quality Cordyceps supplement doesn’t require you to have any sophisticated knowledge or technology. All you need to know is how to properly read the product labels to identify the quality of the supplement.
- Health benefits of Cordyceps
- The best Cordyceps supplements in the United States
- Our selection process for potent Cordyceps mushroom supplements
Are you in Australia? Check out our recommendations for the Cordyceps supplements in Australia.
Our picks for the 3 best Cordyceps supplements
Before you purchase Cordyceps from the following mushroom brands, we strongly recommend that you read our buying guide below on how to purchase the best Cordyceps products. Our main goal here at WorldMushroomSociety.com is to help consumers to choose the best medicinal mushroom products to get the full health benefits for themselves and their families.
Our top 3 picks for the best Cordyceps supplements in the United States are from the following producers.
#1. Real Mushrooms Organic Cordyceps Capsules
- Skye Chilton is the founder of Real Mushrooms. He is also the son of Jeff Chilton, the founder of Nammex with over 40 years of experience in medicinal mushrooms! This makes Real Mushrooms is the most experienced medicinal mushroom company in all of North America.
- 25% beta-glucans mentioned on the label
- Made from Cordyceps Militaris, rather than Cordyceps Sinensis CS-4.
- Made from 100% organic mushrooms with no grain filler of any kind
- Improves cognitive function, mental clarity and focus
- Also available in powder form
- Health benefits: immune system support, endurance and athletic performance, energy support
- Does not ship internationally. Countries outside of North America need to access Real Mushroom products via iherb or Amazon. We hope to see direct access soon!
- Certificate of analysis available on request only. It would be great to see this on the website publicly, however it is worth noting that many medicinal mushroom companies don’t provide this publicly.
Our review and experience with Real Mushrooms’ Cordyceps
Real Mushrooms’ Cordyceps Mushroom powder and capsules is our number 1 choice for the best quality Cordceps and most recognised medicinal mushroom brand in the US market. Real Mushrooms is one of the most credible companies in the world, with a team of scientists, veterinarians and TCM professionals working together. Over 2200 medical practitioners are prescribing Real Mushrooms.
Their potent Cordyceps formula contains 100% organic, non-GMO, vegan, Cordyceps Militaris mushrooms from Siberia and uses Hot Water extraction to extract their compounds. It’s fantastic to see to see that this product contains real Cordyceps militaris fruiting bodies rather than Cordyceps CS5 liquid mycelium. It also does not contain mycelium, starch or grain filler of any kind. This Cordyceps product stands out with confirmed and lab certified >25% beta glucan content. We’ve tried many Cordyceps capsules and powders over the years and this product has a mild bitter/earthy taste.
“After taking Real Mushrooms’ Cordyceps for 6 weeks it was evident to feel the boost in athletic performance in the gym, especially while doing martial arts. In my Muay Thai and BJJ sessions I felt a significant difference on days that I took Real Mushroom’s Cordyceps an hour before class. As someone who suffers from asthma, after the third week of taking this supplement consistently I felt a greater lung capacity in the mornings and during exercise.” – Jason Vergara, Founder of World Mushroom Society.
#2. FreshCap Organic Cordyceps Capsules
- Extracted from mushroom fruiting bodies and does not contain any mycelium grain filler
- Hot water for increased bioavailability
- Huge amount of 32% beta-glucan amount specified on the label. This is the most beta glucan amount we have seen in any Cordyceps supplements on the market
- FreshCap founder, Tegan, has a degree in nutrition and food science
- Health benefits include energy support, physical endurance, athletic performance, immune system support
- Sometimes low stock availability
- No international shipping outside of North America
- Certificate of analysis available on request only.
Our review and experience FreshCap’s Cordyceps supplement
FreshCap is our pick for the second best Cordyceps supplement in the US. This product made our top list because it uses a 9:1 Dual extraction method which results in a soaring 32% beta glucan content with 0.3% Cordycepin. This is the highest beta glucan content in a Cordyceps product we have seen on the market. Every Cordyceps batch is tested heavy metals, potency, pesticides, pathogens and allergens in a US based GMP certified facility. We are thrilled that their product is non GMO, organic, and uses mushroom fruiting bodies with no grain or mycelium filler
The taste of this Cordyceps powder has an earthy taste and after taking this for 3 weeks we can confirm it provides a slow release of sustained energy throughout the day. Interestingly, we found that we have been taking the stairs more often instead of using the elevator lift.
#3. Nootropics Depot Organic Cordyeps Capsules
- Contains 100% mushroom fruiting bodies
- Does not contain any grain filler or additives
- Hot water extracted for increased bioavailability
- Contains Cordceps Militaris rather than Cordyceps Sinensis CS-4
- Manufactured in cGMP certified facility and iso17025 certified
- Health benefits includes cognitive function, energy support, immune system support, and improved cellular function
- Low beta-glucan content compared to the above
Our review and experience with Nootropics Depot’s Cordyceps
Nootropics Depot’s Cordyceps is our third choice for the best Cordyceps supplement. The extraction ratio uses a 1:1 Hot Water extraction resulting in a 25% max beta glucan content with 0.2% Cordycepin. We are glad to see that their product does not contain mycelium or any grain filler and is made of non GMO, organic, Cordyceps Militaris fruiting bodies.
After taking this product for 4 weeks months we felt an improvement in the gym and office work day, with a clean non crashing energy.
Health benefits of Cordyceps
The Cordyceps mushroom has been scientifically proven to:
- Improve the availability of oxygen in the blood
- Produce anti-inflammatory properties
- Improve heart health
- Have the potential to fight off cancer cells
Other Potential Health Benefits
- Cordyceps may have antidepressant like effects (Source: Guo 2010 – Nishizawa, 2007)
- Cordyceps extracts may help improve sleep (Source: Uchida, 2016)
Our Selection Process for High Quality Cordyceps
1. Mushroom fruiting bodies
While most Cordyceps supplements are traditionally made with the fruiting bodies or mushrooms of the fungus, some are made with fungal mycelium. Fungal mycelium is the white filamentous “body” of the fungus that is often seen growing within logs or leaf litter in nature. It is from this mycelium that the mushrooms we are familiar with grow.
While fungal mycelium has been shown to contain many of the bioactive compounds found in fruiting bodies, mycelium-based products are generally considered inferior. This is because mycelium products are not composed of pure mycelium but often contain other fillers like grain. The mycelium used in the supplement industry often originates from grains that have been colonized by the fungal mycelium. While there is a high turnover of the plant-based substrates into fungal tissues, there is still an overwhelming amount of grain that is left over. This means they not only contain a low percentage of fungal biomass but also unwanted components like starches found in the grains.
Certain Cordyceps supplements may actually be produced with 100% mycelium. This is the case for some “Ophiocordyceps” products that are made with a high-potency mycelium called CS-4. Pure mycelium products are considered to be much more effective than those which contain grain.
How Do I Know If My Mushroom Supplement Contains Grain?
- Read the label and check the ingredients. In most cases, they will mention it directly if it contains grains like brown rice, wheat, millet, or oats.
- Companies using pure fruiting bodies will often mention this directly in the label as well. If this is not mentioned it may indicate that they are not using pure mushroom fruiting bodies.
2. Cordyceps Sinensis CS-4 vs Cordyceps Militaris
It is important to note that Cordyceps products can originate from two distinct species. Ophiocordyceps sinensis is the original mushroom that grows from caterpillars in the mountains of China. It has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries, however due to its rarity and expensive price due to demand, it is not commercially used in medicinal mushroom products. Instead, a variation of it is created called CS-4 Cordyceps, using liquid mycelium.
Cordyceps Militaris is the second species of mushrooms used in medicinal mushroom products. The most common products in the market today originate from Cordyceps militaris while the more traditional and expensive products come from Ophiocordyceps sinensis (not to be confused with liquid mycelium version CS-4).
While both of these have distinct medicinal properties, Cordyceps militaris is generally thought to be superior for several reasons. These include the presence of unique compounds like cordycepin, the fact that it is created from the fruiting body, and that they are considered much more sustainable alternatives. There is 90x more Cordycepin in militaris compared to sinensis.
3. Ideal extraction method
Extractions are important for concentrating the medicinal components of Cordyceps and making them bioavailable. Because of this proper extraction methods are necessary to ensure the potency and effectiveness of the product.
Dual Extractions may not be necessary for Cordyceps products
Many medicinal mushroom supplements are produced using the Dual Extraction method. It is considered “dual” because they use both water and alcohol as solvents. This ensures the extraction of both water-soluble and non-water-soluble components. The most important compounds found within Cordyceps are easily extracted with water but some are still proponents of the dual extraction.
● Water extraction is typically done by decocting pulverized mushrooms in hot water for several hours. This is useful in extracting the active components such as Adenosine, Cordycepin, Cordycepic Acid, and Beta-glucans.
○ Adenosine and Cordycepin are the most bioactive compounds found within Cordyceps. Cordycepin is exclusive to Cordyceps militaris and not found within Ophiocordyceps sinensis.
○ Cordycepic Acid is also known as D-Mannitol and has various activities including anti-cancer properties.
○ Beta-glucans are fungal polysaccharides shown to have great benefits to immune function.
● Alcohol extraction is not considered to be particularly beneficial for Cordyceps although some proponents suggest it likely helps incorporate more obscure compounds. An alcohol percentage of 20% is also beneficial for the shelf life of tinctures. High quantities of alcohol are not recommended for Cordyceps tinctures as they may dilute the water-soluble medicinal component.
4. Extract powders and capsules
Extract powders are typically produced by evaporating the solvents used in the extraction process. In some cases the original fungal biomass used during the extraction may be incorporated back into the evaporated extract, this produces a 1:1 Powdered Extract. Powdered extracts are what is typically placed within capsule and other supplement products like supplement formulas, food, and beverages.
Mushroom powders are the items that require the most caution as to avoid grains. Since many regulatory agencies do not require supplement companies to specify between mushroom, mycelium, and myceliated grain they often use ambiguous ingredients in the product packaging. They may say mushroom powder, cordyceps powder, and other non-specific ingredients. Most companies actually using fruiting bodies will proudly list “100% Cordyceps Fruiting Bodies” or something similar on their label.
5. Beta glucan content on the label
The most reputable producers will include a chemical analysis that shows the beta-glucan content of their product. These not only ensure the quantity of beta-glucan in the product but they also are good indicators of other fungally derived content such as Cordycepin. Ideally these tests are tied to specific batch numbers allowing you to know exactly what is in the product. Some companies even go as far as to verify their results via multi-lab testing.
While beta-glucans are a type of polysaccharide, polysaccharide content may not always be a good representative of the beta-glucan content. This is because some products may contain other polysaccharides like starches derived from grains.
A high-quality product should contain at least 10% beta-glucans and less than 4% starch content. Supplements should contain no more than 5% greater total polysaccharide content than beta-glucan content. You should also check the ingredient list to ensure that beta-glucans are not originating from yeast, oats, and other natural sources of beta-glucans which will not have the same effect
Some producers may go as far as including other fungally-derived compounds that can be great indicators of quality. Others may include quantities of heavy metals and other toxins to show that they are within the safety thresholds for these components. This can be reassuring information as some products may be exposed to contamination during their production. If you are worried about toxic compounds you can also purchase certified organic products that undergo more rigorous regulation.
While beta-glucans are not the only active compounds in Cordyceps they are typically the most frequently tested due to it’s relative ease. Testing for Cordycepin, Adenosine, and some of the other active compounds is more difficult and thus more expensive or inaccessible.
6. North American grown Cordyceps vs Chinese grown
There is frequent discussion about the quality of Cordyceps mushroom supplements coming from China. Some areas of China have high rates of air pollution which can negatively affect the quality of soil with unwanted pollutants and heavy-metals. But this does not mean Chinese mushroom products are bad.
China has been using mushroom-based medicine for thousands of years, long before it became popular in the west. China is the largest producer of organic Cordyceps and medicinal mushrooms in the world and grow their products from provincial areas in rural mountain provinces.
With decades of research and usage, China produces some of the most potent Cordyceps and medicinal mushroom products on the market, and also has some of the most sophisticated extraction labs in the world.
Certificate of analysis
If you are unsure of the quality of the Cordyceps product, you can request a third party Certificate of Analysis (COA) from the producer. A Certificate of Analysis from a third party lab is important to identify the beneficial compounds in a Cordyceps product (such as Cordycepin, beta glucans, Adenosine), as well as to avoid heavy metals, pesticides and other foreign contaminants. Heavy metals that are typically tested for range from arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.
Always look for organic Cordyceps supplements. This verifies that the cultivation process is compliant and is grown without using harmful chemicals, herbicides, and pesticides.
Look for the widely recognized stamp of quality and integrity of a Certificate Organic from the regulatory body, the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic certification for the United States
Cordyceps Supplements Types in the United States
Cordyceps dried powders are made from pulverizing the 100% fruiting body of Cordyceps Militaris. Cordyceps Powders allow for the full consumption of the entire mushroom and therefore getting all the nutritional benefits as a whole-food. Powders are generally made from mushrooms that have been heated or processed in a way to break down the indigestible cell walls, known as chitin, and make the medicinal compounds bioavailable.
Extracts contain the individual medicinal compounds of Cordyceps without the biomass. This is done via an extraction process with hot water and/or alcohol and solvents (dual extraction). This makes small doses of Cordyceps highly potent, extremely compact, and have a longer shelf life.
There are two different types of extracts available in the United States:
1. Cordyceps tinctures
Tinctures are liquid extracts that most often use water and alcohol solvents. They are a convenient method of consuming Cordyceps. Tinctures can be made by extracting both cordyceps militarism and/or cordyceps sinensis CS-4.
2. Cordyceps powdered extracts
Powdered extracts are the dry powdered result of extracting the individual medicinal compounds from the Cordyceps mushroom. Powdered extracts can be extracted from both the fruiting body and/or the mycelium of Cordyceps Militaris, or the CS-4 cordyceps sinensis liquid mycelium.
Capsules and Tablets are usually either filled with Cordyceps mushroom powders or extracts. They are the most convenient way to dose and consume Cordyceps. Buying capsules are in growing demand in the United States as they are an easy option for those already regularly taking supplements or other medications in this form.
Cordyceps coffee and tea
Cordyceps can be incorporated into hot drinks such as coffee and tea. The big benefit these products have is that they are easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
Cordyceps Tea can be purchased as tea bags containing both Cordyceps powder and dried tea herbs; leaves.
Cordyceps Coffee products are sold as ground coffee beans mixed with Cordyceps powder.
Fresh Cordyceps mushrooms
Cordyceps Militaris fruiting bodies can be consumed fresh, but they are most often sold dehydrated. These can be easily prepared by decocting in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Alternatively, they can be added to soups or cooked in other brothy dishes.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Should You Not Take Cordyceps?
If you have cancer, diabetes, or a bleeding disorder, avoid taking Cordyceps. Children and pregnant or nursing women should also steer clear of the mushroom. You should also stop taking Cordyceps two weeks before any surgery, as the mushroom increases the risk of bleeding.
Can You Take Cordyceps Every Day?
You should take Cordyceps daily to get the most out of it because its benefits build over time. Cordyceps is generally safe for most people when taken daily for up to a year in dosages of 3-6 grams. However, it could have mild side effects like constipation, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort.
How Long Does It Take For Cordyceps To Kick In?
According to research, Cordyceps can produce results in as little as one week of usage. Regular use of a daily dose results in even more advantages.
Can I Take Cordyceps Long Term?
Cordyceps can be taken either long-term or short-term. This fungus is abundant in naturally occurring active compounds that people have consumed without adverse side effects for centuries.
Do Cordyceps Increase Estrogen?
The natural compound cordycepin, found only in Cordyceps, can boost the production of estrogen and progesterone. An animal study published in 2014 examined the effects of isoflavones obtained from Cordyceps sinensis, which demonstrated significant estrogenic activity.
Does Cordyceps Raise Testosterone?
Numerous studies on animals suggest that both Cordyceps militaris and Cordyceps sinensis raise testosterone levels. In test animals, Cordyceps supplementation increases testosterone levels and improves sperm quality and motility.
What Is The Best Time To Take Cordyceps?
The best time to take Cordyceps for an energizing start to the day is in the morning. A significant advantage of this mushroom is an improvement in athletic performance, which essentially enhances daytime performance.
Does Cordyceps Make You Sleepy?
Although Cordyceps aids in sleep, it does not cause sleepiness. However, numerous studies claim that it promotes sleep by enhancing cellular function and increasing blood circulation throughout the body.
Does Cordyceps Affect Blood Pressure?
Cordyceps supplementation can help lower high blood pressure. In addition, the potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of Cordyceps are thought to help prevent or treat hypertension.
Are Cordyceps Mushrooms legal in the United States?
Yes, Cordyceps mushrooms are legal for purchase and consumption in the United States.
In the US, all Cordyceps supplements and medicinal mushroom products must be registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Can Cordyceps be purchased from my doctor?
Although Cordyceps is considered a Medicinal Mushroom, you cannot buy it from your doctor. You also do not need a prescription for it. It is considered a complementary therapeutic medicine, that can be purchased online or in stores. You may however be able to purchase dried Cordyceps mushrooms from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner.
Can Cordyceps be purchased from a naturopath?
Yes, many naturopaths sell Cordyceps supplements as part of their treatment for various illnesses.
How much does Cordyceps mushrooms cost in the US?
The price of Cordyceps mushrooms in the Untied States, depending on the product type and producer.
Cordyceps Extracts, powders and capsules can range from $20 USD per product to over $80 USD.
We hope this guide gives you all the right information to choose a top quality Cordyceps product in the United States. It is important to know the difference between mycelium, fruiting bodies, Cordyceps Sinensis CS-4 and Cordyceps Militaris, when looking to purchase and use Cordycep supplements. Check out those brands mentioned above for the best quality Cordyceps supplements on the market. Mush love!
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