Cordyceps vs Lion's Mane: Benefits Compared

Cordyceps vs Lion's Mane: Benefits Compared - Lucid™

In the realm of natural supplements and traditional medicine, two fungi have been gaining attention for their potential health benefits: Cordyceps and Lion's Mane. These mushrooms, each unique in appearance and properties, have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine.

But how do they compare in terms of their potential health benefits? Let's take a closer look at Cordyceps vs Lion’s Mane, how to choose between them (and why you may not have to):

Key Takeaways

Cordyceps and Lion's Mane both provide distinct health benefits, including energy enhancement and cognitive support.

Mushroom stacking combines these fungi for synergistic effects, targeting energy, cognition, and immune function simultaneously

Prioritize quality and dosage when selecting mushroom supplements, consulting healthcare professionals for personalized guidance to optimize wellness.

Cordyceps: The Energizing Adaptogen

Cordyceps, scientifically known as Cordyceps sinensis, is a unique fungus that traditionally grows on the larvae of insects. It has long been treasured in traditional medicine for its purported ability to enhance energy levels, improve athletic performance, and support overall vitality.

Because Cordyceps Sinensis has become difficult to forage, a new form of Cordyceps, Cordyceps Militaris, was synthesized. (Read “ Cordyceps Sinensis vs Cordyceps Militaris '' to compare the two.)

Now, Cordyceps Militaris is the primary type of Cordyceps supplement used for therapeutic applications, and it’s said to have greater therapeutic potential than the wild strain. Research has linked most of Cordyceps Militaris benefits to Cordycepin, a primary bioactive compound found in the mushroom.

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.”

So, what does that mean for Cordyceps benefits? Here are the key benefits that are backed by research:

Key Benefits of Cordyceps:

Cordyceps May Boost Athletic Performance

  • Evidence suggests Cordyceps enhances ATP production, vital for muscle function.

  • Studies show improved endurance in both mice and humans during physical activities.

  • Research on healthy older adults indicates increased exercise capacity with Cordyceps supplementation.

Cordyceps May Have Anti-Aging Benefits

  • Antioxidant properties of Cordyceps may combat aging-related issues.

  • Studies on mice ( 2009 , 2010 , 2012 ) demonstrate improved sexual function and memory with Cordyceps supplementation.

  • Potential extension of lifespan observed in animal studies, though human research is ongoing.

Cordyceps May Have Anti-Tumor Effects

  • Test-tube studies ( 2015 , 2015 , 2015 ) reveal Cordyceps' potential ability to inhibit various cancer cell growth, including lung, colon, skin and liver cancers.

  • Research spanning two decades( 1990 , 1999 , 2005 , 2007 ) suggests potential anti-tumor effects on lymphoma, melanoma, and lung cancer.

  • Further investigation is required to understand these benefits in human subjects.

Cordyceps May Help Control Blood Sugar

  • Cordyceps may aid in managing blood sugar levels, potentially beneficial for Type 2 Diabetes.

  • Animal studies ( 2004 , 2015 , 2016 ) indicate a decrease in blood sugar levels, mimicking insulin's actions.

  • Evidence suggests potential protection against kidney disease, a common diabetes complication.

Cordyceps May be Good for Heart Health

Cordyceps Ma y Have Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

  • Cordyceps exhibit potential anti-inflammatory properties, crucial for disease prevention.

  • Studies( 1996 , 2002 , 2003 , 2015 ) indicate increased production of proteins regulating inflammation.

  • Research suggests Cordyceps as a potential anti-inflammatory medication, pending further investigation.

Lion's Mane: The Brain-Boosting Mushroom

Lion's Mane, scientifically known as Hericium erinaceus, is a unique mushroom with a distinctive white, shaggy appearance resembling a lion's mane. It has garnered attention in recent years for its potential cognitive benefits and neuroprotective properties.

In fact, Lion’s Mane is often considered the best medicinal mushroom for memory, and it’s celebrated for its nootropic potential, or its ability to enhance many aspects of cognitive function. Many of these benefits are linked to Lion’s Mane potential ability to enhance Nerve Growth Factor production, which facilitates the growth of new nerve cells.

Let’s take a deeper look at Lion’s Mane’s benefits and how they compare to Cordyceps benefits:

Nootropic Benefits

Nervous System Repair

Antioxidant Benefits

  • Lion’s Mane exhibits potent antioxidant activity , potentially protecting against age-related cognitive decline and tissue damage.

  • Antioxidants may also reduce inflammation, benefiting conditions like brain fog and fatigue.

Improving Gut Health

  • Lion’s Mane may promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria, crucial for immune function and neurotransmitter production.

  • Enhanced gut health may have a positive impact on both physical and mental well-being over time.

Mood Support

  • Animal studies suggest Lion’s Mane may reduce depressive behaviors and improve blood markers associated with depression.

  • Limited human evidence suggests potential mood improvements, including better sleep quality and reduced anxiety levels in women.

Cordyceps vs Lion's Mane: Which One Is Right for You?

Both Cordyceps and Lion's Mane offer unique health benefits, and the choice between the two may depend on your specific health goals and concerns.

  • Choose Cordyceps If: You're looking to boost energy levels, improve athletic performance, support respiratory health, or enhance immune function. Cordyceps is an excellent choice for individuals seeking natural energy and vitality.

  • Choose Lion's Mane If: You're interested in improving cognitive function, supporting brain health, or alleviating symptoms of neurological conditions. Lion's Mane is ideal for individuals looking to enhance focus, memory, and overall cognitive performance.

Why Choose? Consider Mushroom Stacking

In the world of natural supplements, there's a growing trend known as "mushroom stacking," where individuals combine different mushroom varieties to reap the benefits of multiple fungi in a single regimen. Cordyceps and Lion's Mane are often paired together in mushroom stacks to leverage their respective health-promoting properties.

Benefits of Mushroom Stacking:

  • Synergistic Effects: Combining different mushroom species may lead to synergistic effects, where the compounds in one mushroom enhance the benefits of another. For example, Cordyceps' energy-boosting properties may complement Lion's Mane's cognitive benefits, creating a holistic approach to overall well-being.

  • Targeted Health Support: By combining mushrooms with different health benefits, individuals can tailor their supplement regimen to address specific health concerns. For instance, someone seeking both cognitive enhancement and immune support may benefit from stacking Cordyceps and Lion's Mane.

  • Comprehensive Wellness: Mushroom stacking allows individuals to support multiple aspects of health simultaneously, from energy and vitality to cognitive function and immune resilience. This comprehensive approach aligns with the principles of holistic health and wellness.

Comparing Mushroom Dosage

When incorporating Cordyceps and Lion's Mane into your wellness routine, it's essential to consider the appropriate dosage for optimal results. The recommended dosage can vary depending on factors such as age, weight, health status, and individual sensitivity.

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Cordyceps : The typical dosage of Cordyceps extract ranges from 500 mg to 1,500 mg per day. However, it's crucial to follow the manufacturer's recommendations and consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

  • Lion's Mane : For Lion's Mane extract, the recommended dosage typically ranges from 500 mg to 2,000 mg per day. Again, it's essential to start with a lower dose and gradually increase as needed, under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

  • Stacking Dosage: When combining Cordyceps and Lion's Mane in a mushroom stack, consider starting with the lower end of the dosage range for each mushroom and gradually increasing based on individual response and tolerance.

How to Choose a High-Quality Mushroom Supplement

Selecting a high-quality mushroom supplement is crucial to ensure safety, efficacy, and potency. With the growing popularity of medicinal mushrooms, it's essential to be discerning when choosing a product.

Here are some tips for selecting the best mushroom supplement:

  • Look for Organic Certification and Fruiting Body Supplements: Choose mushroom supplements made from organically grown mushrooms to minimize exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and other contaminants. Furthermore, look for supplements made from fruiting bodies and not mushroom mycelium. Mycelium contains little to no polysaccharides, and therefore produces a low-quality extract.

  • Check for Third-Party Testing: Opt for products that undergo third-party testing for purity, potency, and safety.

  • Consider Extraction Method: Pay attention to the extraction method used to produce the mushroom supplement. Methods such as hot water extraction are preferred to alcohol extraction or dual extraction (water and alcohol) because alcohol can degrade polysaccharide content.

  • Read Reviews and Reputation: Research the brand's reputation and read reviews from other customers to gauge the quality and effectiveness of the product. Choose brands with a track record of transparency, integrity, and customer satisfaction.

  • Consult with a Healthcare Professional: Before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications, consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized guidance and recommendations.


In conclusion, Cordyceps and Lion's Mane offer distinct health benefits that can be enhanced through mushroom stacking. When selecting mushroom supplements, prioritize quality, dosage, and individual health needs to optimize your wellness journey. With careful consideration and guidance from healthcare professionals, incorporating these powerful fungi into your daily routine can support your overall health and vitality.

Lucid beverages contain a blend of brain-boosting nootropics + powerful mushrooms designed to unlock your brain's full potential so you can zone in on what's important. 

Ready to become lucid?  Check out our starter kit. 


  1. “Cordycepin for Health and Wellbeing: A Potent Bioactive Metabolite of an Entomopathogenic Medicinal Fungus Cordyceps with Its Nutraceutical and Therapeutic Potential”

  2. “Effect of Cs-4® (Cordyceps sinensis) on Exercise Performance in Healthy Older Subjects: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial”

  3. “Cordyceps sinensis: Genotoxic Potential in Human Peripheral Blood Cells and Antigenotoxic Properties Against Hydrogen Peroxide by Comet Assay”

  4. “Antiaging effect of Cordyceps sinensis extract”

  5. “Protective effects on mitochondria and anti-aging activity of polysaccharides from cultivated fruiting bodies of Cordyceps militaris”

  6. “Polysaccharides from the Medicinal Mushroom Cordyceps taii Show Antioxidant and Immunoenhancing Activities in a D-Galactose-Induced Aging Mouse Model”

  7. “The lifespan-extending effect of Cordyceps sinensis Cs-4 in normal mice and its molecular mechanisms”

  8. “Anti-cancer effect of Cordyceps militaris in human colorectal carcinoma RKO cells via cell cycle arrest and mitochondrial apoptosis”

  9. “Anti-tumor effect of Cordyceps militaris in HCV-infected human hepatocarcinoma 7.5 cells”

  10. “Augmentation of various immune reactivities of tumor-bearing hosts with an extract of Cordyceps sinensis”

  11. “Inhibitory effect of Cordyceps sinensis on spontaneous liver metastasis of Lewis lung carcinoma and B16 melanoma cells in syngeneic mice”

  12. “Pharmacological actions of Cordyceps, a prized folk medicine”

  13. “Inhibitory effects of ethyl acetate extract of Cordyceps sinensis mycelium on various cancer cells in culture and B16 melanoma in C57BL/6 mice”

  14. “The anti-hyperglycemic activity of the fruiting body of Cordyceps in diabetic rats induced by nicotinamide and streptozotocin”

  15. “Hypoglycemic Activity through a Novel Combination of Fruiting Body and Mycelia of Cordyceps militaris in High-Fat Diet-Induced Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Mice”

  16. “Antidiabetic and Antinephritic Activities of Aqueous Extract of Cordyceps militaris Fruit Body in Diet-Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Sprague Dawley Rats”

  17. “Cordyceps sinensis (a traditional Chinese medicine) for treating chronic kidney disease”

  18. “Cordyceps as an Herbal Drug”

  19. “Lipid-lowering effect of cordycepin (3'-deoxyadenosine) from Cordyceps militaris on hyperlipidemic hamsters and rats”

  20. “Cordyceps sinensis as an immunomodulatory agent”

  21. “Immunomodulatory functions of extracts from the Chinese medicinal fungus Cordyceps cicadae”

  22. “Methanol extract of Cordyceps pruinosa inhibits in vitro and in vivo inflammatory mediators by suppressing NF-kappaB activation”

  23. “Anti-inflammatory effects of Cordyceps mycelium (Paecilomyces hepiali, CBG-CS-2) in Raw264.7 murine macrophages”

  24. “Anti-inflammatory effects of Cordyceps mycelium (Paecilomyces hepiali, CBG-CS-2) in Raw264.7 murine macrophages”

  25. “Dietary Supplementation of Hericium erinaceus Increases Mossy Fiber-CA3 Hippocampal Neurotransmission and Recognition Memory in Wild-Type Mice”

  26. “Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial”

  27. “The Neuroprotective Properties of Hericium erinaceus in Glutamate-Damaged Differentiated PC12 Cells and an Alzheimer’s Disease Mouse Model”

  28. “Lion's Mane, Hericium erinaceus and Tiger Milk, Lignosus rhinocerotis (Higher Basidiomycetes) Medicinal Mushrooms Stimulate Neurite Outgrowth in Dissociated Cells of Brain, Spinal Cord, and Retina: An In Vitro Study”

  29. “Peripheral Nerve Regeneration Following Crush Injury to Rat Peroneal Nerve by Aqueous Extract of Medicinal Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae)”

  30. “Immunomodulatory effects of Hericium erinaceus derived polysaccharides are mediated by intestinal immunology”

  31. “Immunomodulatory Activities of a Fungal Protein Extracted from Hericium erinaceus through Regulating the Gut Microbiota”

  32. “Effects of amycenone on serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-10, and depression-like behavior in mice after lipopolysaccharide administration”

Older post Newer post