Cordyceps for Anxiety: What You Need To Know

Cordyceps for Anxiety: What You Need To Know - Lucid™

Cordyceps is an age-old medicinal mushroom known for its stress-relieving and endurance-boosting properties. What you may not know is that it has traditionally been used as a tonic for various health benefits, including mood enhancement. This has caused many people to wonder–can you use cordyceps for anxiety?

We’ll dig into the science behind using Cordyceps for anxiety, plus give you some tips on how to incorporate medicinal mushrooms to help ease your stress. Let’s start with some basics:

Key Takeaways

Cordyceps’ adaptogenic properties may help to balance stress hormones and promote a sense of calm.

Cordyceps has been found to have potential anxiolytic benefits in animal trials thanks to its ability to regulate inflammation and neurotransmitter levels.

Choosing a high-quality cordyceps supplement and developing an anti-anxiety regimen with your doctor is crucial to a safe and effective experience.

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are incredibly common today, affecting millions of people each year. The term “anxiety disorder” encompasses various conditions, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and phobias. Each type presents with its own set of symptoms and triggers. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can significantly impact daily life functioning.

Symptoms of anxiety may include:

  • Excessive worry

  • Restlessness

  • Poor sleep

  • Appetite irregularities

  • Irritability

  • Muscle tension

  • Difficulty concentrating

Unfortunately, anxiety medications are not a one-size-fits-all all solution and they come with many unwanted side effects. So, many people prefer to try natural anxiety alternatives to calm anxiety, either in place of or in addition to anxiety medications. 

(As a note–always talk to your doctor before mixing natural supplements with your current medications or stopping or starting new medications.)

Cordyceps: Medicinal Mushroom for Mood

Cordyceps is a fungus that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries for its potential health benefits. However, what we know about Cordyceps and how we use it has changed substantially since its first recorded use in 1694.

Cordyceps Sinensis, a strain of the fungus that grows on certain caterpillars in the mountainous regions of China, is the traditional form of the mushroom used for therapeutic applications. 

However, Cordyceps Sinensis has become difficult to access and expensive due to overharvesting, so a new strain of the mushroom, Cordyceps Militaris, was synthesized. The new Cordyceps strain can be easily cultivated and, ironically, may have greater benefits than the traditional form.

In fact, it’s the only type of cordyceps that contains cordycepin, the bioactive compound thought to be responsible for many of the mushroom’s modern medicinal marvels. In fact, Cordycepin was originally investigated for its antibiotic potential, but that research fell through to a much wider therapeutic potential. A review published in 2020 stated:

“Cordycepin is known for various nutraceutical and therapeutic potential, such as anti-diabetic, anti-hyperlipidemia, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antioxidant, anti-aging, anticancer, antiviral, hepato-protective, hypo-sexuality, cardiovascular diseases, antimalarial, anti-osteoporotic, anti-arthritic, cosmeceutical etc. which makes it a most valuable medicinal mushroom for helping in maintaining good health.”

Throughout history and today, cordyceps is highly valued for its therapeutic properties, particularly:

  • improving physical performance

  • improving circulation and oxygen distribution

  • enhancing overall well-being

  • stress-relieving (adaptogenic) properties

  • reduction in physical exhaustion and fatigue

  • anti-inflammatory effects on the brain

So, how does all of this benefit anxiety? Let’s get down to it:

Cordyceps for Anxiety Benefits and Research

Studies have shown that cordyceps supplementation may lead to a reduction in anxiety and other mood-disorder-related symptoms.

For example, research on unpredictable chronic-to-mild-stress animal models demonstrated that a formula containing cordyceps exhibited antidepressant and anxiolytic effects. The cordyceps extract formula was found to reduce inflammation and regulate neurotransmitter levels in a manner that may help to prevent both anxiety and depression.

Cordyceps is also believed to enhance physical performance, reduce fatigue, and, in effect, alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety. One way that cordyceps are able to promote physical well-being and endurance is by improving circulation and enhancing the body’s ability to carry oxygen to the brain, which may lower inflammation. According to a 2022 study, cordyceps may help manage anxiety symptoms and promote overall well-being by targeting inflammation in the brain.

In fact, cordyceps’ ability to regulate inflammation and neurotransmitter production is a central theme in most research. Let’s take a deeper look at how these mechanisms may benefit symptoms of anxiety:

How Cordyceps Works

So, there is some evidence to help us understand that Cordyceps may positively impact anxiety, but how does it work?

Unfortunately, we don’t have enough research to know for sure. However, some experts believe Cordyceps may impact anxiety via the following mechanisms:

  • Interacting with neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, which are involved in mood regulation.

  • Exhibiting anti-inflammatory effects on the brain, which may contribute to its ability to alleviate anxiety and stress.

  • Producing adaptogenic effects, meaning it may help the body adapt to stressors and maintain balance. Adaptogens play a role in the regulation of cortisol, the stress hormone, which plays a heavy role in the development of anxiety and other anxiety-related factors, like your sleep cycle.

How to Incorporate Cordyceps into Your Routine

If you’re ready to give cordyceps for anxiety a green light, you need to consider a few factors (which we’ll cover below), including:

  • What type of cordyceps to take

  • When to take Cordyceps

  • How to verify the quality of a mushroom supplement

  • Potential side effects

Types of Cordyceps Supplements

Cordyceps supplements are available in various forms, including capsules, powders, and extracts. You’ll also need to choose from two primary formulas:

  • Cordyceps Extract: Cordyceps extract is often standardized to contain specific levels of active ingredients, ensuring consistency in dosage and efficacy. In other words, extract will offer a concentrated dose of cordycepin and other bioactive compounds.

  • Whole Mushroom Powder: Alternatively, you can opt for whole mushroom powder, which retains all the natural compounds found in the cordyceps mushroom. This less processed form may offer a broader spectrum of nutrients and bioactive compounds, but at a much lower concentration.

For therapeutic purposes, you’ll likely want to select a Cordyceps extract product (or a mushroom extract blend containing cordyceps and other mushrooms for anxiety ). Additionally, it's essential to choose high-quality supplements from reputable brands to ensure purity, potency, and safety. 

Read "Mushroom Powder vs Extract: Benefits & Which is Best For You?" to learn more. 

High-quality supplements are generally:

  • Made from mushroom fruiting bodies and not mushroom mycelium, which contains a high grain content.

  • Made using single extraction. Double extraction includes an alcohol immersion and the second step. While brands often tout this as a more thorough extraction process, alcohol can actually harm the beta-glucan content of the final extract.

  • Lab-tested and proven to contain a beta-glucan content of 20% or more.

When to Take Cordyceps for Anxiety

Determining when to take Cordyceps depends on a number of lifestyle factors. Many people find that taking Cordyceps in the morning is best because of the mushroom’s capacity to increase energy and endurance through the day. However, some people also take Cordyceps before bed or at other points throughout the day with great success. 

Read “When’s the Best Time to Take Cordyceps ” to learn more.

Cordyceps Dosage for Anxiety

Dosage recommendations may vary depending on the form of cordyceps and individual factors such as age and health status. It's best to start with a low dose and gradually increase as needed, under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Cordyceps dosage can range from 0.5 grams to 3 grams daily. Read “ Cordyceps Dosage: What the Science Says is Optimal ” to learn more.

Potential Side Effects of Cordyceps for Anxiety

Cordyceps side effects are rare and almost always mild, but the possibility of side effects or drug interactions does exist. Some possible side effects include:

  • Nausea

  • Upset Stomach

  • Allergic Reaction symptoms, such as:

    • Swelling of the lips, mouth, and airways

    • Difficulty breathing

    • Skin rashes or hives

    • Runny nose

    • Watery eyes

You may be at a higher risk for side effects if you have a mushroom allergy or take certain medications, or have a bleeding disorder, blood sugar issues, heart problems, or other life-threatening conditions. Most people can take Cordyceps without any complications, but you need to choose a high-quality supplement

Read “ Cordyceps Side Effects & How Quality Impacts Risk ” to learn more.

Consult with a Healthcare Professional

Before starting any new supplement regimen, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications.


Cordyceps shows promise as a natural remedy for managing anxiety, thanks to its stress-relieving, mood-enhancing, and anti-inflammatory properties. While more research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms and efficacy, preliminary studies suggest it may be a valuable addition to holistic anxiety management approaches.

In addition to supplements like cordyceps, holistic approaches to mental health, including regular exercise, stress management techniques, and social support, are essential for overall well-being and anxiety management.

If you want to take full advantage of the "functional" side of functional mushrooms, consider a mushroom super-blend like our Lucid Coffee, Chai, or Matcha powders. 

It harnesses the maximum benefits of these superfood mushrooms by pairing Cordyceps,  Maitake, Tremella, and Lion's Mane, plus powerful nootropics, like BCAA's, L-Theanine, Alpha-GPC, and more to boost brain power and bring you back into focus. Ready to become lucid? 


Frequently Asked Questions

Can Cordyceps relieve anxiety?

Cordyceps, known for energy-boosting properties, also reduces stress and anxiety symptoms by improving the body's stress response.

What are potential downsides of Cordyceps?

Possible mild side effects include diarrhea, constipation, and stomach discomfort. Its safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding is uncertain, so it's advisable to avoid use

How does cordyceps affect feelings?

Cordyceps is known to energize, reduce fatigue, and enhance libido, and promote relaxation and positive mood.

How quickly does cordyceps work?

Immediate energy boost is common post-consumption. A daily two-week regimen is recommended for noticeable long-term effects.

Does cordyceps aid stress management?

As an adaptogen, cordyceps  may help to alleviate stress and anxiety symptoms by supporting the body's adaptation to stressors

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