Can Cordyceps Be Used for Treating Asthma?
Updated September 20, 2023.
Cordyceps is a functional mushroom often used for its beneficial effects on the immune system. Many claim that it can treat several health conditions, including asthma, but how valid is this claim? Can Cordyceps treat asthma directly, or does it help the condition in a number of different ways?
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes an individual's airways to swell, become narrower, and produce extra mucous.
Although it can never be cured, asthma varies in severity from being almost unnoticeable to requiring hospitalisation. It's not clear what causes asthma (though some researchers believe it to be a combination of genetics and environment).
Typical symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath.
- Chest tightness.
- Coughing or wheezing.
In some cases, asthma can go unnoticed until triggered or aggravated by certain conditions, such as:
- Allergens (pollen, dust, etc.).
- Cold air.
- Physical activity.
- Respiratory infections.
How Can Cordyceps Help Asthma?
Standard treatment options for asthma include various anti-inflammatory drugs. As noted by this study, polysaccharide extracts of Cordyceps mushrooms showed surprising anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, this suggests that using Cordyceps could reduce inflammation throughout the body and alleviate symptoms of inflammatory conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Additionally, a separate study suggested that Cordyceps might be beneficial in combating one of the aggravating causes of asthma directly: allergens. As the study discusses, "Results suggest that [Cordyceps extract] has the potential to alleviate immune hypersensitivity reactions in AR and asthma." Essentially, the study found that Cordyceps can be beneficial for allergic reactions by suppressing the release of histamine, a compound that aggravates asthma symptoms.
Finally, Cordyceps is often characterised by giving individuals a stamina boost by improving the body's ability to transport oxygen to the muscles, as noted by this study. Since one of the triggers for asthma attacks is physical activity, a boost to your physical performance could suppress the risk of an attack. This is one of the reasons that so many people advocate for using Cordyceps for working out.
Can Cordyceps Enhance Other Asthma Treatments?
Unfortunately, there is no evidence to suggest that Cordyceps can be used to enhance the efficacy of existing asthma treatments. However, there are also no known severe interactions between Cordyceps and common asthma medications. Although there are mild to moderate interactions between Cordyceps and some asthma medications, they appear relatively safe.
While this doesn't suggest Cordyceps being able to enhance the efficacy of existing asthma treatments, it does imply that using them in combination might contribute to a more holistic therapy with better overall results. However, you should exercise caution and consult your doctor to learn more about the potential for adverse interactions between Cordyceps and any medication you are currently taking.
How to Take Cordyceps for Asthma
Unfortunately, there isn't a "best way to take Cordyceps" for any condition. It depends largely on your individual needs and requirements. However, more information is listed below.
When Should You Take Cordyceps for Asthma?
A popular question about many functional mushrooms, whether you should be taking Cordyceps at night before bed or in the morning. Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer for how long it takes for Cordyceps to work.
The benefits of Cordyceps tend to build up over time instead of acting immediately like many pharmaceutical drugs. However, many suggest taking it in the morning for the energising boost to your daily functions, but it's up to you. Just so long as you understand that it will be a few weeks before you notice any benefits from these mushrooms.
Recommended Cordyceps Dosage for Asthma
Like the previous question, there is no right or wrong answer for how much Cordyceps (fruiting bodies, supplements, or extracts) to take when treating asthma, COPD, or other conditions. No studies have looked specifically at the effects of Cordyceps at different dosages. All we have to go on is that most scientific studies that found significant benefits to Cordyceps mushrooms tested them at daily doses of between 1,000mg and 3,000mg.
Can Cordyceps Cure Asthma?
As stated earlier in the article, there is currently no known cure for asthma. The best available options involve prevention and treatment of symptoms, which could likely continue for an individual's entire life. Although Cordyceps can assist in treating asthma, no studies have looked at the long-term side effects of this mushroom, and so they appear safe only up to a year of continual use. Therefore, you should exercise caution when using Cordyceps for a long time.