The weird and wonderful Cordyceps Militaris mushroom

The strange and the wonderful Cordyceps militaris Mushroom also known as The Puppet Master

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The entire fungal kingdom can seem strange, in large part because of how little we still know about it. Within this mysterious realm, the award for strangest of all strange mushrooms would definitely have to go to the genus Cordyceps. Like something out of science fiction, these eerie fungi feed on insects whose bodies they inhabit. These bright orange mushrooms essentially possess and control their insect hosts like puppets. It’s no wonder these fungal oddities have earned the nickname “The Puppet Master” mushrooms.

What else should you know about these weird, wonderful and unique mushrooms? They are both beneficial and strange. Search and find out why Cordyceps militaris is one of our favorite fungi.

What is Cordyceps Militaris?

Cordyceps militaris is a species of fungus that is native to Asia and has been found at impressively high altitudes. It is also known as “the red caterpillar” because of its vivid color and delicate appearance. This red caterpillar mushroom was first named in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus“the father of taxonomy”, after discovering them growing in the wild.

This particular species is mostly found growing its coral-like orange fruiting body in grasslands or woodland edges during late summer and autumn. It reaches a length between 1.25 inches and 2 inches.

Historical and contemporary, Cordyceps militaris has been awarded for its health-related features. Although there are varieties of Cordyceps species around the world, Cordyceps militaris it is well known due to its use in Traditional Chinese Herbalism. It has been added to culinary dishes and infused into tea as a way to support healthy stamina and energy at the cellular level.* For this reason, it is the main mushroom in ours Energy tincture.

Most notably, this mushroom is entomopathogenic which means it parasitizes insects. “So you’re telling me this mushroom mummifies insects AND has functional properties?” Yes, that is absolutely correct and why we believe it Cordyceps militaris it is one of the most beautiful mushrooms we have come across and continues to amaze us with everything it can do. But don’t worry, the Cordyceps we use in our products do not use any insects and are grown on a vegan substrate. No insects were harmed during the preparation of our mushrooms.

How does Cordyceps take over the body of its insect victims?

Cordyceps militaris mushrooms are essentially fungi parasites. Like most living creatures, Cordyceps has one goal: to reproduce and continue its genetic activity. But how does this fungus control its prey?

For a long time, scientists were confused. But thanks to recent studies from Penn State, we now have a clearer understanding of how the Cordyceps militaris he is able to control the body of his insect victims. Here’s how:

Cordyceps Attack of the Killer Fungi

Cordyceps militaris it uses its thread-like textures to confuse an insect from within. These fine hyphae extend, then begin to multiply and form the mycelia of the mushroom. This process slowly and internally mummifies the insect. But it’s the way mycelia (or “mushroom roots”) they form a structure around the host’s brain that allows them to take over its motor function.

Around the brain, Cordyceps mycelia absorb nutrients from the brain area, all while communicating with each other. This communication network, plus the lack of nutrients, disconnects the host’s brain from its body. With the death of the host’s brain, the mycelium is able to “lead” the host.

The mycelial biomass eventually replaces the host tissue. Meanwhile, the Cordyceps fruiting body produces a mushroom “spore factory”. Spores are like the seeds of the plant world. Inherently tiny, the spores are what allow the mushroom to continue to reproduce.

Where Cordyceps militaris Do zombie insects go away once infected?

Once it Cordyceps militaris has taken over its host’s body, it begins to move to an ideal spore location. Often the insect host is buried in the ground or in well-rotted wood, where the fungus will then produce spores from an orange club-like stem.

When it comes to other Cordyceps species, insects infected above ground are usually “driven” to areas raised above ground. These positions include the undersides of the leaves. This is an advantageous position for Cordyceps because it allows the mushroom to rain its spores on the soil and colonize more susceptible insects.

Other notable species of Cordyceps: The Ophiocord one-sided

One of the most well-known examples of zombie insects and mushrooms controlling the brain is the relationship between Ophiocord one-sided and the carpenter ant. This species transforms ants into zombies on a mission to climb plants and sink their jaws into leaves. From there the fungus can attach itself to the leaf, drop its spores onto an unsuspecting colony below, and spawn an entire legion of zombie ants. Neat, right?

Are Cordyceps Militaris mushrooms harmful to the environment?

No. Vermin tend to get a bad reputation, especially those that take over the bodies of their victims. However, they are a natural part of the ecosystem. When left in their natural environmentthere is a balance between fungi and their insect food.

In fact, overharvesting these mushrooms from their natural environment can disrupt biodiversity and threaten Cordyceps populations. In AdaptogenShrooms, we only use environmentally friendly and cruelty-free methods to grow and harvest the highest quality Cordyceps militaris in a controlled organic farm environment.

Cordyceps Militaris Mushroom: Bad for Insects, Good for Us!

Despite their naturally lethal effect on insects, Cordyceps offer a number of health benefits to humans.* Although this fact is widely accepted in the east, where Cordyceps is referred to as “the Olympic mushroom”, it is still growing in popularity in the USA* Only recently has Cordyceps undergone a fungal resurgence and come into use in the west.

How do Cordyceps mushrooms benefit us?

Cordyceps militaris The mushroom can be used to support energy levels, endurance and healthy lung capacity.* Its most valuable compound, the energizing cordycepin, is molecularly similar to adenosine, which is present in all human cells. Adenosine is used by the body to regulate heart rate and balance metabolic energy.* Since our bodies do not differentiate between cordycepin and adenosine, cordycepin is essentially free energy!

Is Cordyceps possible without cruelty?

Absolutely. At AdaptogenShrooms, our sister farms focus on cultivation Cordyceps militaris mushrooms in a way that does not harm insects. Insects are the soul of the ecosystem, after all, and we respect the natural balance of the natural world.

While we love this type of mushroom for its relatively easy cultivation, unique shape and color, and impressive health benefits, we don’t love its carnivorous habit. So we are able to grow them on a vegan substrate. No bugs are used in our facilities. Instead, we use all certified organic and vegan ingredients.

Cordyceps: Weird, wonderful and ready to help

One of nature’s strangest organisms turns out to be a useful, life-giving substance and is finally accessible to the general public in the west. Here at AdaptogenShrooms, we love the beauty and uniqueness of all mushrooms, including Cordyceps. We even have a pet nickname for them and their spores. We call Cordyceps ‘alien Cheetos’ and their spores ‘Cheeto dust’.

You’ll notice that Cordyceps tincture has somewhat of a sheen, similar to what you get when cooking with turmeric. This vibrancy reflects the glowing nature of the red caterpillar mushroom. Plus, we think it’s just right for the vibrancy it can bring to your life!

We know that beyond your curiosity about how this mushroom embodies insects, you’ll love this mushroom as much as we do, which is why we’re offering it to ENERGY Tincture.


Want to learn more about these fascinating mushrooms? Learn how to grow your own.

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