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A Comprehensive Guide to Mushroom Cultivation, Cooking, and Ecology

A Comprehensive Guide to Mushroom Cultivation, Cooking, and Ecology

Mushrooms, the often-overlooked fruiting bodies of fungi, offer a captivating blend of culinary delight, ecological importance, and cultivation challenges. As an expert in mycology, I find the world of fungi to be a cornucopia of discoveries and applications. In this article, we’ll delve into multiple aspects surrounding mushrooms—spanning from outdoor mushroom growing and sterile technique to culinary recipes and the ecological role of fungi.

Outdoor Mushroom Growing

Growing mushrooms outdoors is a rewarding experience that bridges the gap between nature and agriculture. Unlike indoor cultivation, outdoor growing requires less stringent environmental control. Wood-loving species like Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) and Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) are particularly well-suited for outdoor cultivation on logs or wood chips.

Sterile Technique

To prevent contamination by unwanted microbes, a sterile technique is essential when propagating mushrooms. Sterilization of substrates and the use of a laminar flow hood are recommended to maintain a clean environment.

Petri Dish Cultures

Mycelium, the vegetative part of a fungus, can be cultured in petri dishes containing a nutrient agar medium. This is the first step in creating a “master culture” which can then be expanded into larger substrates for fruiting.


Substrates are the materials that mushrooms grow on. Common substrates include grain, straw, and wood chips, depending on the species. Substrates must be sterilized before inoculation to eliminate competitor organisms.

Mushroom Recipes

Once you’ve successfully cultivated your mushrooms, the culinary world is your oyster—or, in this case, your Oyster mushroom! From mushroom sauce and mushroom soup to sautéed mushrooms, these fungi add umami and texture to a myriad of dishes.

Mushroom Sauce

A simple yet delicious mushroom sauce can be made by sautéing mushrooms in butter, adding garlic, and deglazing with white wine. Finish it off with some cream and season to taste.

Mushroom Soup

For a hearty mushroom soup, combine a variety of mushrooms like Cremini, Shiitake, and Portobello. Sauté them with onions and garlic, then simmer in vegetable broth and add cream for richness.

Sautéed Mushrooms

A quick sauté in olive oil, garlic, and a touch of salt brings out the earthy flavors of most edible mushrooms.

Fungal Ecology and Decomposers

Mushrooms play a vital role in ecosystems as decomposers. They break down organic material, converting it into nutrients that enrich the soil. This process is crucial for nutrient cycling and the health of various ecosystems.

Mushroom Hunting

For those less inclined to cultivate their own mushrooms, mushroom hunting can be an exciting alternative. Always follow safety guidelines and be absolutely certain of a mushroom’s identity before consuming it.

Notable Species

Lentinula Edodes

Commonly known as Shiitake, this mushroom is native to East Asia and is prized for its culinary and medicinal properties. Shiitake is also relatively easy to cultivate, making it a popular choice for home growers.

Ganoderma Lucidum

Known as Reishi, this mushroom has been hailed in traditional Chinese medicine for its supposed health benefits. It has a woody texture and is usually used in teas or tinctures rather than consumed whole.

In conclusion, mushrooms are an incredible fusion of science, nature, and culinary art. Their role as decomposers in ecosystems is as crucial as their potential for biotechnological applications. Whether you are a seasoned mycologist or a curious newcomer, the world of fungi has something to offer for everyone.

The Therapeutic Efficacy of Medicinal Mushrooms: An In-Depth Exploration of the Top Five Varieties

The Therapeutic Efficacy of Medicinal Mushrooms: An In-Depth Exploration of the Top Five Varieties


In recent years, the scientific community has displayed increasing interest in the medicinal properties of fungi, particularly mushrooms. Though these organisms have been utilized in traditional medicines for centuries, contemporary research is substantiating their therapeutic potential in multiple dimensions of human health. This article aims to provide an in-depth analysis of the top five medicinal mushrooms that have demonstrated noteworthy health benefits, supported by empirical evidence.


Mushrooms, belonging to the kingdom Fungi, are a diverse group of organisms with a long history of medicinal use across various cultures. Though their culinary applications are globally acknowledged, their therapeutic utility has often been restricted to ethnobotanical practices. However, in the wake of increasing antibiotic resistance and the rising demand for holistic approaches to healthcare, medicinal mushrooms have become the subject of scientific scrutiny. This article elucidates the therapeutic benefits of five select varieties: Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor), Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus), and Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis).

Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi)

Immunomodulatory Effects

The Reishi mushroom, known as the “mushroom of immortality,” has shown considerable promise in modulating the immune system. β-glucans, found in the cell walls, serve as biological response modifiers that trigger a cascade of immune reactions, augmenting the activity of macrophages and natural killer cells [1]. Moreover, triterpenoids found in Reishi possess anti-inflammatory properties [2].

Anticancer Activity

Ganoderic acids, a family of triterpenoids, exhibit anti-cancer properties by promoting apoptosis and inhibiting angiogenesis [3]. Multiple in vitro and animal studies have revealed the potential utility of Reishi extracts against lung, prostate, and breast cancers [4].

Trametes versicolor (Turkey Tail)

Antioxidant Properties

Turkey Tail extracts are rich in polysaccharopeptides, which contribute to antioxidative activities. They neutralize reactive oxygen species, thereby reducing oxidative stress which is a precursor to chronic conditions like cancer and cardiovascular diseases [5].

Immunotherapeutic Efficacy in Cancer

Polysaccharide-K (PSK) and Polysaccharide-P (PSP), isolated from Turkey Tail, are clinically approved immunotherapeutic agents in certain countries. These compounds enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy and ameliorate side effects like immunosuppression [6].

Inonotus obliquus (Chaga)

Anti-inflammatory and Antiviral

Betulin and betulinic acid, found in Chaga mushrooms, demonstrate anti-inflammatory and antiviral activities. These compounds can down-regulate the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, effectively managing conditions like asthma and bronchitis [7].

Antidiabetic Effects

Studies on animal models have shown that Chaga extracts can reduce blood sugar levels by enhancing insulin sensitivity, thereby providing potential therapeutic utility in managing diabetes [8].

Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane)

Neuroprotective and Nootropic Effects

Lion’s Mane has gained attention for its cognitive-enhancing capabilities. The mushroom contains hericenones and erinacines that stimulate the synthesis of nerve growth factor (NGF), thereby promoting neuronal health [9].

Antidepressant Properties

Lion’s Mane extracts have shown the ability to elevate mood by modulating neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, offering potential benefits in treating conditions like depression and anxiety [10].

Cordyceps sinensis (Cordyceps)

Adaptogenic Benefits

Cordyceps is revered for its adaptogenic properties. By modulating physiological responses to stress, Cordyceps can improve mental clarity and energy levels, thereby contributing to general well-being [11].

Cardiovascular Health

Cordycepin, an active compound in Cordyceps, has shown vasodilatory effects and the ability to improve myocardial function, which could contribute to managing cardiovascular diseases [12].


The potential health benefits of medicinal mushrooms are manifold and supported by a growing body of scientific evidence. From immunomodulation and anti-cancer properties to cognitive enhancement and metabolic regulation, these fungi are emerging as potent therapeutic agents in contemporary healthcare.


  1. Zhang, M., et al. “Antitumor Polysaccharides from Mushrooms: A Review on their Isolation Process, Structural Characteristics, and Antitumor Activity.” Trends in Food Science & Technology, 18(1), 2007, 4–19.
  2. Wachtel-Galor, S., et al. “Ganoderma lucidum (‘Lingzhi’), A Chinese Medicinal Mushroom: Biomarker Responses in a Controlled Human Supplementation Study.” British Journal of Nutrition, 91(2), 2004, 263–269.
  3. Sliva, D., et al. “Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) in Cancer Treatment.” International Journal of Oncology, 21(4), 2002, 701–707.
  4. Wasser, S. P. “Medicinal Mushrooms as a Source of Antitumor and Immunomodulating Polysaccharides.” Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 60(3), 2002, 258–274.
  5. Jayachandran, M., et al. “A Critical Review on Health Promoting Benefits of Edible Mushrooms through Gut Microbiota.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 18(9), 2017, 1934.
  6. Standish, L. J., et al. “Trametes versicolor Mushroom Immune Therapy in Breast Cancer.” Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology, 6(3), 2008, 122–128.
  7. Cui, Y., et al. “Antioxidant Effect of Inonotus obliquus.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 96(1–2), 2005, 79–85.
  8. Xu, H. Y., et al. “Anti-Diabetic Effects of Inonotus obliquus Polysaccharides.” Chinese Medicine, 9, 2014, 1–6.
  9. Mori, K., et al. “Nerve Growth Factor-Inducing Activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 Human Astrocytoma Cells.” Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 31(9), 2008, 1727–1732.
  10. Nagano, M., et al. “Reduction of Depression and Anxiety by 4 Weeks Hericium erinaceus Intake.” Biomedical Research, 31(4), 2010, 231–237.
  11. Hirsch, K. R., et al. “Cordyceps militaris Improves Tolerance to High-Intensity Exercise After Acute and Chronic Supplementation.” Journal of Dietary Supplements, 14(1), 2017, 42–53.
  12. Ko, W. S., et al. “Antiinflammatory and Related Pharmacological Activities of the n-Butanol Subfraction of Radix Arnebiae: Its Antiinflammatory Mechanism.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 83(1–2), 2002, 117–125.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Can Vegetarians Eat The Yarsagumba Cordyceps Mushroom?

Can Vegetarians Eat The Yarsagumba Cordyceps Mushroom?

This question is very debatable. In the end, it depends on the individual vegetarian’s ethical views – do they think all killing of animals for food is unethical, or is it kosher when the humans are not the ones doing the killing?

Yarsagumba takes lives to grow and reproduce, so the question is if you see it as the same or similar thing as the Inuit people and their meat-only diet, or simple circle of life.

So, what’s up with the debate?

As mentioned in the intro, the Inuit population’s diet mostly consists of meat and fish. Their environment doesn’t really allow for growing crops. With all that being said, some vegetarians still consider their eating habits to be unethical and cruel to animals.

So, where does this leave our friend yarsagumba? It still kills animals to survive. One may argue that it has less choice since the gods of evolution made it that way (unlike the Inuit who can “simply move”).

And that’s where we get the other side of the coin. There is no choice in the way yarsagumba exists, just the way there is no choice in the anteater eating ants, or a bird eating a worm, or a lion eating an antelope.

We as humans can operate on a (slightly) higher intellectual level and can consider the ethics, economics, and environmental impact behind all of our choices. Therefore, we are automatically held to a higher standard than other creatures whose instincts and natures don’t allow them to change their behaviors willingly.

There really is nothing else that is comparable to this situation. There is no other veggie-friendly food that kills animals in this manner. So, as the situation is very unique, it’s up to the individual to decide where they stand.

The fact is that yarsagumba is not an animal even though it kills animals. It’s also a fact that it has no control over the evolutionary card it was dealt with, and neither is there a human hand in any of these things.

Where are the vegans in this conversation?<h3?

Probably in the same place, though some on the extreme side of the spectrum may argue that killing is killing, and it doesn’t matter if a “plant” is doing it.

Luckily, yarsagumba is not the only member of the cordyceps family, and it certainly isn’t the only one that has medicinal properties. If they have issues with the ones that grow on ants, they can always switch to the ones that grow on plants.

How does yarsagumba kill animals?

It starts with a single spore. It lands on a humble ant (in this example). The ant starts behaving strangely since they are in obvious pain and distress. The spore is growing and developing a system of roots in its tissue now. It takes only a couple of days for its body to be completely taken over.

Yarsagumba plugs into its brain and floods it with chemicals. Once in the driver’s seat, it leads the ant towards perfect conditions. There it parks itself and starts growing. The ant is dead the second it finished its role as a transportation vehicle.

Within 3 weeks, the yarsagumba is fully grown and ready to release a new batch of spores. Ready to infect more ants.

Can yarsagumba survive without doing all that?

No. Many of its cousins can, but it cannot.

This is just one of those weird quirks of evolution. We don’t even know for sure why it infects insects in the first place.

Some scientists propose that this ability is older than most of the species of insects in the first place, and quite possibly originates in the times before plants and animals branched out from each other.

But then again, there are multiple species of fungi that have no issue feeding off of decomposing animal flesh. It could be that yarsagumba at some point just couldn’t wait for the heartbeat to stop.

The species that kill animals

When you read articles or watch documentaries, the species that is always depicted is cordyceps unilateralis, or better known as yarsagumba, winter worm, or caterpillar fungus. For centuries, it used to be considered to be an actual parasitic worm since it both looks the part and acts like one.

Obviously, it’s not. It’s a parasitic mushroom, just like all other members of the cordyceps genus and numerous other species of fungi.

Yarsagumba is native to the Himalayas, but other species all over the world behave the same. It’s just that this particular one has a spotlight on it because it’s the one humans have known about the longest and have been making use of it. It’s cousins behave the same, just with slight differences in their preferred conditions for growing and releasing spores.

can i grow cordyceps at home

Does yarsagumba only kill ants or does it kill other animals as well?

As far as we know, yarsagumba only goes after worms and insects. To date, there was never a single legitimate case presented that it can infect mammals, birds, or fish.

There is also a possibility that it can’t infect anything larger in size. This conclusion mostly comes from the lack of cases where yarsagumba or any of its siblings have infected crabs or lobsters (which are in essence giant bugs).

All the confusion comes from entertainment and media, primarily the video game The Last of Us. The plot for it is a spin on the very popular zombie/post-apocalyptic genre in which cordyceps infect everything from humans to both wild and domesticated animals.

Believe it or not, several scientists actually had to come out and explain why these types of infections are improbable. It boils down to our central nervous systems being far more complex than the ones that exist in ants. Plus, our tissues are too good at protecting it.

If we get to see cordyceps jump from bugs to larger creatures, it would have to be the ones with a simpler nervous system (i.e., jellyfish).

The species that grow on plants

With about 600 species of cordyceps, you better believe that a vast majority of them grow on plants. The species that is most often farmed is called cordyceps militaries, and it’s probably the stuff you’ll get your hands on if you decide to give it a go yourself.

These species of cordyceps are still parasites and they are still bound to kill their host. However, they do in a very similar manner to any other parasitic mushroom – by slowly draining out the nutrients.

It’s argued that these types are a lot more destructive, considering that they are not as picky to what they like to latch on to. They have an almost identical life span to their ant-eating counterparts, therefore making a few errant spores capable of destroying an entire ecosystem.

So, if you’re dealing with these guys, still practice caution. Otherwise, you may have to say goodbye to your ficus, lawn, or that lavender meadow behind your house.

can i grow cordyceps at home

Know the difference when buying

The price tag is a decent indicator of what you’re getting. Cordyceps that prey on insects can be up to 160+ times more expensive than the stuff that can be cultivated on plants. This means if you see it going for $60, it’s the vegan-friendly stuff. But if the price tag goes into 4 or 5 digits, it may be the ant-killing kind.

There’s a quick visual indicator as well, but it’s not accurate all the time. The stuff that grows on plants tends to be brighter in color. Even when dried, the species that grew by hijacking insects lean more towards brown, while the veggie kind is a bit more orange.

It’s not a 100% clear indicator since there are quite a few plant-growing species that have a duller color, but it’s something to look for when someone is trying to sell you a “genuine article freshly harvested from the Himalayas”.

Finally, there’s the country of origin. All cordyceps that are farmed in the US are (currently) grown on plant-based substrates, The only “animal farmed” specimens could come from China where they grow them on maggots.

The stuff you’ve seen on the Discovery Channel should come from Tibet or Nepal. But note that the cordyceps from the last three countries rarely hits US shores, and when it does, it costs an arm and a leg.

Know the difference when growing

Make sure that you are working with the species called cordyceps militaries. It’s perfectly suited for growing on classic mushroom farming substrates, and most importantly, it won’t kill your friendly neighborhood ant colony.

They also look very different. While yarsagumba has a textured surface and looks like a caterpillar, these guys more resemble bloated orange enoki mushrooms. The outer skin is smooth and often bright tangerine color.

As of now, it’s difficult to get your hands on cordyceps unilateralis spores in the US (the Himalayan species that infects insects), so be very skeptical if someone is offering syringes with it for sale. Especially if they are doing so at a very attractive price.

can i grow cordyceps at home

Is there a difference in nutrition and medical properties between different species of cordyceps?

Yes, but it’s so small it’s irrelevant. It would take hundreds of years of consumption to see a significant difference.

Species of cordyceps are just a smidgen more effective. That may be the case because of their ability to seek out the perfect growing conditions on their own.

Still, considering how much of this mushroom humans consume and how our digestive system works, you can ignore all of that since you’ll get the benefits either way. So, pick the species that aligns well with your ethics and your wallet.

Himalayan Caterpillar Fungus cordyceps gold viagara
I Am a Vegetarian. Can I Eat The Yarsagumba Cordyceps?

I Am a Vegetarian. Can I Eat The Yarsagumba Cordyceps?

Vegetarians can consume the Yarsagumba Cordyceps. Why you ask? As will be explained further in the article, the only evidence of meat left after formation is the exoskeleton of the caterpillar, which constitutes about one percent of the entire mushroom.

Also known as the Caterpillar Fungus or the Cordyceps Sinensis, the Yarsagumba is one of the rarest and oldest mushrooms found mainly in China, Nepal, India, Tibet, and Bhutan above 3500 feet. With a risk of endangerment, cordyceps is a unique caterpillar mushroom fusion that occurs when the parasitic mushroom pores (ophiocordyceps sinensis) infect and mummifies the ghost moth larva habiting in the soil. Later on, a fungus sprouts through the host’s head.

To help you understand better as to why we consider the caterpillar fungus fit for a vegetarian and not a vegan, we will first define the terms vegan and vegetarian, then explain the formation of the Yarsagumba Cordyceps and why it is okay for vegetarians to eat it.

Who is a vegan?

A vegan is an individual who, for diverse reasons such as ethics, religion, individual convictions, to mention a few, chooses to avoid eating meat and any animal products such as eggs, honey, dairy, or anything that was once alive. This kind of lifestyle is called veganism, and it aims to preserve and control the exploitation of all animals.

Who is a vegetarian?

On the other hand, vegetarians are a bit more open. These individuals avoid meat, fish, and fowls for reasons such as health or ethical concerns such as the preservation of life, but are open to consuming animal products such as eggs, honey, and fish.

Vegetarians have further been classified into the;

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy products
  • The Lacto vegetarians who eat dairy products but no meat, poultry, eggs, or fish
  • The ovo vegetarians who eat eggs but not meat, fish, dairy, or poultry
  • And the partial vegetarians who do not eat meat but are partial to consuming fish and poultry.

Looking at the above explanations, it can be said that the vegetarian is more likely fit to eat the Yarsagumba Cordyceps as they are more open to animal products which the mushroom is as compared to the vegan.

can i grow cordyceps at home

Origin of the fungi

This is an exciting story. About 1500 years ago, in a country known as Tibet, some herders noticed that their animals were acting weird. They were lustful and chasing each other with the same lust after eating the Yarsagumba Cordyceps. Later on, the herders experienced the same aphrodisiac experience together with some locals after consuming the fungi.

It is not a surprise that the fungus’s earliest documentation is as a sexual tonic by one Tibet physician and lama called Nyamnyi Dorje in the year 1439-1475.

Formation process

The caterpillar fungus is not cultivated. It remains a wild plant whose magic the world has barely touched.

The caterpillar fungus is revered as a living mystery for its medical value or its impeccable history and the incredible process of formation. It is warm in the winter, but then comes summer, and it becomes one of the rearrests and most distinguished plants.

During the summer seasons, the Cordyceps, which are the parasitic fungi, produce spores that scatter all over the soil. Later on, when it rains, the rainfall makes it possible for the spores to find deeper soil roots. When winter comes, the caterpillar larva of the order Lepidoptera land on the alpine-grass to feed. In the process of feeding, it gets infected by the parasitic fungus forming a larva-fungi symbiote.

We say it is infected because a parasitic organism gains from other organisms by taking from them and causing harm, which the cordyceps do to the caterpillar.

Once infected, the caterpillar larva acts as the parasites’ host, where it feeds on the larva gradually and surely. During this process, the host skin turns color from brown to milkfish-white. This color change is evidence that the mummification process of the host is almost complete.

After the color change, the cordyceps fungus replaces the larva’s interior by gutting it and replacing it with string-like hyphae (the host dies from the inside out). The host then crawls into the best position possible where it can dispose of more fungal spores. At this stage, the larva has been coated with mycelia causing it to stiffen gradually.

Once the mummification process has been completed, the exoskeleton( only remaining part of the caterpillar) acts as a fungal food cache while finally awaiting the warm weather to fruit into the Yarsagumba cordyceps.

Basically, after the fusion, nothing but the caterpillar’s shell is left—only the skin.

can i grow cordyceps at home

What makes the caterpillar fungi perfect for the vegetarian?

There are two significant aspects of the caterpillar fungus that make it perfect for the vegetarian. One is its ethical aspect, and the other is its medicinal benefit.

It is ethical in that no animal was harmed in the process of harvesting, considering that the caterpillar’s death was from a fungal infection. When you look at the formation process, it is clear that the mushroom came about merely by a parasite’s help. This is normal for all plants during the natural cycle of life in plants.

Also, the fungus for years has proven to contain immense medicinal benefits some that would otherwise need to be obtained from animal products. These are;

  • The Yarsagumba Cordyceps is known to boost performance during exercise, especially in adults and children. The mushroom acts as a catalyst in Adenosine Triphosphate (ADT) production, an essential enzyme in delivering energy to the human muscles. It, however, has shown not to have any effects on athletes. It is, therefore, a perfect meat substitute.
  • The Yarsagumba Cordyceps contains antioxidants that help slow the aging rate by neutralizing the free radicles, primary aging, and disease-causing agents. In the process, the body and the brain are nourished hence establishing proper metabolism and less aging.
  • The Yarsagumba Cordyceps helps to manage type two diabetes by acting in place of the insulin.
  • The Yarsagumba Cordyceps is used to treat asthma, tuberculosis, and bronchitis, among other cardiovascular diseases.
  • The Yarsagumba Cordyceps acts as an aphrodisiac by improving the quality of your sex life. Traditional Chinese medicine states that it will help cure erectile dysfunction, boost longevity, stamina, and endurance levels needed to perform if you drink the boiled broth from the fungus. It works best for both genders
  • The Yarsagumba Cordyceps Helps cure hepatitis B
  • The Yarsagumba Cordyceps Helps improve the liver functions
  • People with cancer use Yarsagumba Cordyceps to reduce chemotherapy’s effects during cancer treatment and improve life quality by fighting against tumor cells.

It contains about 35% beta-glucans, which are the most renowned immune modulators. This activates the production of immunity, which in turn helps to fight cancer.

The benefits of consuming the caterpillar fungus are more than any individual would obtain from merely incorporating meat into their diet. There is healing, prevention, enhancement, all attributes that help a vegetarian live a fulfilled life. They get a complete package without compromising on their convictions.

can i grow cordyceps at home

Modes of consumption

  • You can take the Yarsagumba Cordyceps one or two pieces a day in its original form.
  • You can boil it and make the broth as a soup.
  • You can make tea from the Yarsagumba Cordyceps and consume it, preferably after meals. Soak it in water for about 20 minutes. This allows for the soluble components to dissolve in the water. You take it similarly to how you take green tea.
  • Grind it and mix the powder with milk, for vegetarians okay with animal products.
  • Make capsules of about 400mg and take two capsules three times a day.
  • You can make a tincture by soaking in water for the soluble extracts or alcohol for the antioxidants. All remedies ensure that you consume within three months to preserve the immunity properties, such as the beta-glucans.


Everything under the surface of the earth has risks. Generally, there are no risks that have been linked to the consumption of the Yarsagumba Cordyceps. However, prevention is better than cure. So, people about to go for surgery should avoid it due to the risks such as bleeding out, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid it also or keep it to a minimum to prevent complications.

This should be the case until further studies have established the correct dosage and safety of the fungi.

In conclusion, the caterpillar fungus is a gift to vegetarians and all of humanity. Goats are herbivorous animals, and they discovered the fungus, which reinforces the fact that it is a plant. This fungus is quite lucrative and more expensive than gold in some countries. It is one of the rearrests and undoubtedly the most distinguished medicinal mystery plant with an even more exciting history behind it.

Currently, in the international market, a kilogram of the fungus goes for about 10,000 dollars, give or take. And you thought vegetarians had it cheap. As more and more comprehensive research and resources go into studying the further benefits of the Yarsagumba, a more precise and more elaborate picture of its composure continues to emerge; the one thing known for sure is that it is perfect for the vegetarian.

can i grow cordyceps at home
Can Mushroom Spores Survive in Deep Space?

Can Mushroom Spores Survive in Deep Space?

Mushrooms are something of an enigmatic lifeform. They are incredibly hardy, versatile, and they make up around a quarter of the total biomass on our planet. Their spores have been found in the upper reaches of our atmosphere—bordering on space itself—which naturally leads to the question of whether mushroom spores could survive in deep space.

Experiments have shown that most microorganisms were not viable after more than two weeks in space, with lichens being the only exception. Given that it takes human-made rockets three days to get to the nearest celestial body and months to get to the closest planet, mushroom spores could not survive in deep for any useful amount of time.

The basic question of this post doesn’t really paint the full picture, of course, so keep reading as we do our best to fill in those blanks.

What Are Mushroom Spores?

The easiest way to think of mushroom spores is as the seeds of the fungus world, a statement that may surprise some people as fungi is often mistakenly considered a type of plant rather than an entirely separate branch on the tree of Earth-life. Spores are very durable so that they can survive traveling long distances and extended waits before an opportunity to grow. This is crucial as the way they reproduce is by sending their spores out into the wind to settle elsewhere, so fragile spores that died easily would be of no use.

Part of the fungi’s lifecycle involves the mycelium—the main body of the fungus—growing to fill as much of the available substrate as it can. This makes finding new ground to inoculate harder since the mycelium will already have attempted to colonize the immediate area.

What Has This Got to do With Space?

There are many reasons why the ability of mushroom spores to survive in deep space might be of interest, not least of which is it would be a remarkable fact about an already remarkable organism. As for the rest, let’s take a look.


There is an international treaty regarding the activities of humankind in space. For the most part, this treaty covers things like preventing any country from putting weapons of mass destruction in space or claiming planets by merely occupying them. The relevant part here, however, is that it states all human activity in space should avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies.

In short, we don’t know much about life outside of our own planet because we have yet to discover any. If and when we do, it will likely be microbial life, and there is a concern that any life we take with us could cause harm to that microbial life. The fact that fungal spores can only survive for a week or two in deep space is useful because it means that even if some spores were to cling to the outside of a spaceship on its way to Mars, those spores would be dead by the time the ship arrived.


The origins of life on Earth began billions of years ago, so naturally, there is a lot of guesswork involved in determining how it happened. One theory is that life was brought to Earth from outer space. This could have been from a collision with another planet like the one thought to have caused the Moon or from a smaller body collision like an asteroid. If you are into more exotic theories, it could even have been “seeded” by intelligent beings, though that theory needs those intelligent beings to exist in the first place. One theory, though very improbable, is that it could have got here through spores traveling across interplanetary—even interstellar distances.

While the short lifespan of a mushroom spore in deep space doesn’t necessarily disprove such a theory, having an example of life that could survive in such a way would have added a lot more weight to the theory as a possibility.

can mushroom spores survive in space

Could Fungi Colonize Other Planets?

Pretending for a moment that mushroom spores could survive the trip to another celestial body, would there be anything for them at the other end?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. At least in the immediate vicinity. Mars has an extremely thin atmosphere and is very cold. Venus has an atmosphere so thick that standing on the surface would be equivalent to being 3,000 feet underwater, and you wouldn’t want to be standing on the surface because it would be around eight hundred degrees Fahrenheit down there. And the Moon has no atmosphere at all. But all of the atmospheric concerns pale in comparison to a more fundamental roadblock—the substrate.

Earth has been teaming with life for billions of years. It permeates everything we know. The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil we stand on. All of it is full of microbes and nutrients. There is none of this on any of the planets we have been able to study. The “soil” on Mars is sterile. The regolith on the Moon is nothing but pulverized rock. Even if a mushroom spore were to reach one of these celestial bodies and still be viable, there would be nothing for it to feed on, and so it would never grow.

can mushroom spores survive in space


It would be understandable to think of the vacuum of space and the incredibly cold temperatures as the reason why things like mushroom spores can’t survive up there, and these certainly play their part in making space inhospitable for Earth life. However, it seems to be the radiation that does most of the short term damage, as experiments like the one linked above have shown by comparing life exposed to space with life exposed to space while being protected from radiation.

Our planet has a strong magnetic field that keeps most of that cosmic radiation out, and our ozone layers further cuts down the amount of radiation reaching us down here on the surface. But, out beyond the protection of the ozone layer, there is enough radiation to significantly reduce the chances of a mushroom spore being viable after prolonged exposure to space.

The above study also showed that coating the spores with a thin layer of aluminum drastically increased the amount of time they could withstand exposure to space, though we’re not sure how useful that information is.

can mushroom spores survive in space
Are Cordyceps Good for Heart Health and Liver?

Are Cordyceps Good for Heart Health and Liver?

An enhanced immune system, better stamina, disease toughness, Liver, and heart health are all guaranteed by cordyceps fungus. Cordyceps are processed into pills that can be swallowed or powder, which is taken with coffee or tea. The cordyceps medical history traces a century back in Tibetan and China, where it was used to cure headaches, coughs, diarrhea, heart disorders, and liver disease. Currently, it is cultivated in the Himalayan plateaus and other parts of the world.

What are cordyceps?

Cordyceps mushrooms are parasitic fungi found in the USA, India, China, Japan, and Peru. They comprise 400 species and typically use insects and arthropods as hosts. However, each species targets a specific host.

How does cordyceps grow?

Cordyceps grows inside arthropods and insects’ body whilst consumes them. Given that the conditions are favorable for the mushroom’s growth and the insect is fully consumed, a blade-like mushroom protrudes from the host’s head. Meanwhile, as they are still being hosted, they coerce the victim to relocate to trees and low lying plants to thrive.

When it comes to the mushroom medication, the prevalent species are the cordyceps sinesis and Cordyceps militaris. However, sinesis is expensive due to the difficulties that arise when culturing. As a result, it does not make up the Cordyceps supplement’s constituents. It costs up to $20000 Per kg and is sold in Asia and North American markets.

Health benefits of cordyceps on heart

With the advanced research on cordyceps effect on the heart, the benefits are becoming more lucid. For instance, cordyceps has been medically approved in china as a treatment for arrhythmia. Arrhythmia affects the heart by elevating and lowering the heartbeat. In other words, it causes irregular cardiac frequency.

Analysis from research studies has also outlined cordyceps as an effective remedy in reducing heart injuries. Therefore, it’s effective in persons with chronic kidney disorders. Chronic kidney disorders can aggravate the risk of heart failure. Prevention and alleviation of these injuries can help with the outcome evasion.

Furthermore, cordyceps have traces of adenosine, which is an existing natural compound that has heart-protective properties. Should you choose to use cordyceps as a regular dose, you will realize the positive effects in no time.

Apart from cordyceps being able to protect the heart by preventing injuries, it also affects cholesterol levels by reducing their arteries’ build-up. Consequently, it enhances proper blood circulation. Moreover, it makes the heart-beating process easy and non-strenuous.

To some extent, research has also elucidated the cordyceps effect on triglycerides. Tryglecirdes fall under the category of fats that are found within the blood. These fats pose a significant threat to the heart functions, and they may reduce the heartbeat, eventually causing heart failure. However, with cordyceps, the risk issue can be addressed.

can i grow cordyceps at home

Health benefits of cordyceps on the Liver

Since Cordyceps prevent and reduce inflammation, they turn out to be beneficial to the Liver. Inflammation in low quantities can be right. However, to the Liver, it poses a significant risk of Hepatitis B disease. Moreover, it may cause cancer and even heart disease.

According to research, human cells with proteins that increase inflammation can get suppressed if exposed to cordyceps. In light of this research, cordyceps can be attributed to the reduction of inflammation in the body. Undoubtedly if your Liver has the potential of inflammation, cordyceps will outdo it. Moreover, taking cordyceps orally can help victims of hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B, if prolonged, can result in liver cancer. In that case, Cordyceps will help cure the Hepatitis and counteract its effects in its early stages. Nonetheless, in victims with prolonged Hepatitis, liver cancer can be investable. In such an incident, should you choose cordyceps to combat the situation, its anti-tumor properties will prevent the tumor cells from developing and kill cancerous cells.

Cordyceps can also fight inflammation on mouthparts and skin. It can, therefore, be used in asthma therapy. Furthermore, it can be applied on top of the skin to reduce inflammation.

can i grow cordyceps at home

What are the other health benefits of cordyceps?

· Decreases the rate of aging

Cordyceps are rich with antioxidants, and that explains their anti-aging induced mechanisms on individuals. Oxidants and radicals formed within the body are responsible for cell-damaging, resulting in rapid aging and disease. Oxidation and radicals can also cause stress on the skin, and it can be presented as skin sagging and wrinkles.

If cordyceps were to be taken to suppress the aging process, their antioxidants would antagonize any oxidation activity. The antioxidants are also capable of reversing the aging process if already started. Cordyceps also prevent radicals that are capable of rapid aging from entering the skin.

According to tests that were conducted on mice and fruit flies, the subjects treated with cordyceps lived longer than those that were not. With all things considered, cordyceps does not only prevent and reduce aging but can also increase life expectancy. The study again proved that cordyceps antioxidants contain cell regenerative properties.

· It has anti-tumor properties.

In recent years the cordyceps potential for regressive tumor growth has generated various follow-ups. Due to that, multiple types of research have been done on the fungus using different tumor cells. The results show that the anti-tumor properties are exerted in specific ways depending on the tumor type.

In consideration of test-tube studies that have been contacted, cordyceps have been found to inhibit various cancer growth types. The tests have been efficacious on lung cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer, and sarcoma. Additionally, cordyceps have positive effects on lymphoma and melanoma.

On the other hand, cordyceps has also been proven to reverse various forms of cancer therapy effects. However, the studies were conducted on mice with cancer; thus, it’s not yet ascertained on humans. The results proved that the fungi suppressed the radiation from the therapy and treatments of taxol.

can i grow cordyceps at home

· Help in the treatment of type 2 diabetes

Cordyceps constitutes a particular type of sugar that treats diabetes in their makeup. Diabetes is a condition in which the body fails to produce or respond to insulin. Given that your body fails to produce enough insulin or even react to it, glucose will not enter the cells. Consequently, it remains in the blood and builds up with time, causing diabetic health concerns. Keeping blood sugars well controlled is vital, and in this case, cordyceps can mimic the actions of insulin.

To some extent, other evidence suggests that cordyceps mushrooms can prevent kidney diseases and any diabetic disorder. Further study tests have been done on 1,746 subjects with aliments from chronic conditions of the kidney. According to the results, victims who were cordyceps supplements realized better kidney functioning.

· Cordyceps can boost exercise performance.

Cordyceps are attributed to the increment of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the boy. They also contain adenosine on their own accord. The combination of these chemicals results in extreme energy delivery to the muscles. In return, the oxygen usage in the body, mostly during exercises, is improved hence performance.

This evidence is backed up with a study on the exercise effects of cordyceps. The research was done on thirty healthy adults using a mounted bike. Test subjects were given 3 shots of synthetic cordyceps and other placebo shots for six weeks. The result unraveled that exercise performance was boosted by 7 % in individuals given cordyceps shots. On the other hand, placebo individuals’ conditions remained still.

can i grow cordyceps at home

Side effects of cordyceps

· Induces coagulopathy

This is a condition in which the ability of blood to clot is impaired. Cordyceps have the properties that cause the blood to thin. The effects of thinning consequently lengthen the time for a blood clot to form. Life hazards, in this case, are always excessive bleeding during surgeries and other cuts.

· Induces autoimmune disease

If taken orally, cordyceps will trigger the immune system to become more active. In return, there will be elevated signs of autoimmune diseases. Provided that you have immune conditions, it will be wise to refrain from the use of cordyceps.

Verdict on Cordyceps dosage

When it comes to dosing, the right dose shall depend on various factors such as the user’s health, age, and other apparent conditions. However, there is no substantial scientific evidence that acts as a guide towards the right cordyceps dosage. You should also be aware that natural meds are not always safe, and the correct dosages are essential.

With all things considered, it will be a wise move if you follow directions that are pertinent to the dose label on the product. It would be best to communicate with your physicians or any other healthcare personnel before commencing their use.

Bottom line

Cordyceps are prominent Chinese traditional medicines that have been used for decades to cure ailments. Though the fungi are still going through tests and researches, they are becoming more promising in medical fields.

The fungi are being portrayed as an essential cure for diabetes, lung cancer, and aging with advancing research. Moreover, it perfectly enhances exercise performance. On the other hand, its effect on the Liver and heart’s health is effective in positive ways. For the general body, Liver, and heart health, you should consider using cordyceps supplements.

can i grow cordyceps at home