Cordyceps mushrooms have bodies full of beta-glucan, the strongest immune modulator known to humanity. That’s why it’s important to learn more about how to take cordyceps powder. Studies show that cordyceps militaris bodies are made of as much as 35% beta-glucans. Apart from beta-glucans, in the last phase of Cordyceps militaris growth into form and sporulation, it evolves highly unique and potent compounds like cordycepin, adenosine, cordymin, ergosterol, vitamin B12, etc. Now, beta-glucans are also found in oats, barley, and yeast, but they are very low amounts when compared with mushrooms.
Mushroom cells are made up mostly of chitin, beta-glucans and other components which are trapped within fungal cell walls and they cannot be easily broken down to release essential micro nutrients, so they might not be that beneficial for you, and you might not experience any healing effects when consumed raw. That is why mushrooms need to be cooked well before eating. Cooking helps to break down the chitin and release the beta-glucans and other essential compounds from the mushroom cells.
Now, freed beta-glucans, which are not digestible in our stomachs after eating, are sitting there until they are moved to the small intestine, where they are absorbed by enterocytes, or gut absorption cells, which are simple columnar epithelial cells that line the inside of the small intestine. Enterocytes promote transport of b(1,3)-glucans and similar compounds through the gut wall to the lymph where they start to interact with macrophages to activate the immune functions. It takes up to 72 hours for beta-glucans to diffuse throughout our bodies and into the cells of our immune system to start their therapeutic effects.
So, in summary, there are a number of different pharmaceutical compounds found in cordyceps that have a number of different functions in the body depending on its absorption, bioavailability, and breakdown. Cordycepins and adenosine, which are mostly responsible for energy and productivity, begin working once the Cordyceps is consumed. However, medicinal effects like lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, sugar regulation, etc. take some time before benefits are experienced.
1. How to Take Cordyceps Powder
Cordyceps powder is like taking the powder out of the capsule supplements that you see online, in which the Cordyceps is dried out and packed in capsules, while the extract from the Cordyceps hot water extraction process can be dried out by machines as well, crushed up along with the fruiting bodies of the Cordyceps, making a powder.
Cordyceps powder is equivalent to the capsules of Cordyceps, both in dosage and potency. Most hot-water-extract cordyceps powders are sold on the market, and if you buy high quality powders, they should have no fillers. Although if the Cordyceps powder says 25% beta-glucan (1:1 hot-water extract), each gram in a serving would contain over 250 mg beta-glucan, as well as other specific compounds such as triterpenes, ergosterols, and cordycepins, and is the best product according to most experts.
2. Drinking Cordyceps as Tea
Drinking fungi tea is one of the oldest, traditional methods for consuming and getting the most out of cordyceps and other mushrooms.
Now, mushrooms come in different textures, ranging from gelatinous and spongey, such as wood ears, to woody, such as Ganoderma mushrooms. So, in order to extract essential compounds, boiling times or even heating temperatures differ depending on the mushroom type and disease. Ancient Chinese used to make extracts from the mushrooms cordyceps in various temperatures and in a liquid base to treat various illnesses and problems.
For instance, wild-type cordyceps (O.sinensis) has a harder texture than the C. militares species, so if you want to extract all of the necessary components from sinensis in tea, it needs to be cooked for 45 minutes on a medium heat, while studies claim C. militares needs just 15 minutes to extract their water-soluble components.
Cordyceps tea is an excellent way of getting these immune-modulating substances, and it can be taken every day in morning and evening teas, both with or without food, you can also use the Cordyceps fruit bodies into a soup, or ingest it raw. Cordyceps tea can be stored in a glass container as well for future use, not losing effectiveness of the necessary compounds.
There is also another benefit to taking Cordyceps tea, which is its higher bio-availability and faster bio-molecule uptake into the body. Check out our recipe for cordyceps tea below. Cordyceps tea is like making green tea.
Take six to eight globules of cordyceps in 200-250ml of water.
Keep boiling the cordyceps bodies in the water for 1 minute.
Now, after a hard boiling of 1 minute, turn flame to its lowest setting, cover vessel with a lid, and allow to simmer for an additional 14 to 15 minutes.
Studies have shown that making Cordyceps Tea using this method extracts maximum water-soluble components of Cordyceps in water.
Serve and drink your delicious cordyceps tea, preferably after meals. Fill your tea bottle or thermos so you can consume it at a later time. Or dump it in with a meal or a soup. Take one cup of cordyceps tea twice daily to get the full effects.
3. Taking Cordyceps Capsules
A large number of fresh mushrooms, including the fruiting bodies of cordyceps, may contain as much as 90% of their total volume in water, making effective amounts and dosages difficult to calculate. So, the scientific literature also suggests taking dried, powdered mushrooms in teaspoons. Cordyceps can be dried and placed into capsules called “00”s, where an average of about 400 mg powdered mushrooms/capsule.
So, taking up to 2 capsules in the morning and evening for mild-to-moderate immune support, and 2-3 capsules three times per day for specific immune-suppressing conditions, is usually recommended.
However, just placing powdered cordyceps in capsules might not be so effective because the trapped biomolecules inside fungal cell walls in chitin are unavailable because cordyceps bodies are not treated with hot water.
Therefore, the other technique, which is the more efficient method for making Cordyceps capsules, is used where hot water extracts of cordyceps are dried and powdered, then encapsulated.
Hot water extract capsules have the majority of the water-soluble polysaccharides (total glucans including the beta-glucans) in their purest form, along with other specific compounds such as triterpenes, ergosterols, cordycepins, and trace elements.
Each capsule of 00 can have as much as 100 mg of beta-glucans, so taking two capsules per day would be sufficient for keeping you free of diseases and providing you with a bulletproof immune system. And, if you are suffering from any kind of disease or infection, doubling your dosage would make sense to boost or maintain your immune system for fighting off both the external and internal health problems. You should experiment to figure out the dose per day for you.
4. Cordyceps Tinctures
A tincture is one of the best ways to consume all of your mushroom and botanical medicines. Tinctures use a dual-extraction process, allowing for the extraction of both water-soluble polysaccharides as well as alcohol-soluble antioxidants, which are beneficial to health.
Although different recipes are followed for making tinctures, studies have shown that extraction in 60% alcohol and keeping for a month removes all of the polysaccharides which are immunoactivating and tumor-fighting, and the polysaccharides which are bound to proteins, and would be more tonifying than an initial alcohol-based preparation.
Soaking herbs in water can soften and break down the cell walls, which releases immune-boosting, high-molecular-weight polysaccharides.
It is best to take any tonic herbs, like medicinal mushrooms, for a minimum of three months, and up to nine months. This is the general course of every “constitutional remedy” taken for its overall tonic and strengthening effects.
You may want to take 1 -2 dropperfuls (1-2ml of a 1:23 double extract) of the cordyceps extract, morning and evening, in some water or ginger tea, for a good medium dosage.
5. Using Cordyceps Hot Water Extracts
Cordyceps extract in warm water is the best method to use when taking supplements for training or for breathing exercises. It is easier to get a ready-to-use cordyceps concentrate in water, which you can add straight into tea, coffee, juice, and smoothies.
The hot water extract is prepared by boiling Cordyceps for hours at different temperatures to bring out all of its water-soluble components, and then heating the liquid supernatant over a low flame until it is rendered to a thick paste, which you can keep for several years as medicine in the kitchen.
Alternatively, this extract can be further frozen-dried and made into capsules to take directly, as mentioned above with the hot-water extract capsules. Cordyceps hot-water extract gives it the immediate edge over the other forms of taking cordyceps, since it can be consumed in points with no additional processing to reap all of its benefits, as well as blended into anything else that you are eating, turning it into a superfood.