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Functional Fungi and Sexual Health

Young couple being intimate in bed at home.

Functional fungi have been used in traditional medicine for centuries, and they have been found to have various health benefits. Sexual health is a crucial aspect of overall health. While a limited amount of research has been done on the impact of functional fungi on sexual health, the evidence suggests that some functional fungi may have a positive impact on sexual health. Some of these mushrooms have been used traditionally to improve libido and sexual stamina, so it is no surprise mushrooms are starting to show up on lists of popular aphrodisiacs. Let’s review the available scientific evidence on the impact of functional fungi on sexual health.

 Reishi mushroom
Some studies suggest that reishi mushrooms improve sexual health.

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is one of the most commonly used functional fungi, and it has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its health benefits. According to a study published in the journal Andrologia, reishi has been found to improve sexual function in rats with erectile dysfunction (ED). The study found that reishi was able to improve the function of the penile smooth muscle, which is essential for an erection, and improve blood flow to the penis. 

Another study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found that reishi extract supplementation improved erectile function and sexual satisfaction in men with mild to moderate ED. A 2006 study in the International Journal of Andrology found that reishi mushroom extract improved sexual behavior and increased sperm count in rats with a low sperm count. A 2009 study in the Journal of Medicinal Food further strengthened this evidence, suggesting that reishi mushrooms increased testosterone levels and improved sexual behavior in older rats.

Dried cordyceps militaris on wooden background.
Dried cordyceps militaris on wooden background.

Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis) is another functional mushroom used historically for its health benefits. A study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that cordyceps were able to improve sexual function in rats with ED. The study found that cordyceps accomplished this by improving blood flow to the penis, which is essential for an erection, and increasing the concentration of nitric oxide, which is necessary for proper sexual function.

A 2015 study in Journal of Sexual Medicine found that cordyceps extract supplementation improved sexual activity in aging mice, while this does not necessarily translate to similar effects in humans. It does suggest that cordyceps may improve sexual function in male patients with sexual dysfunction. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that cordyceps increased testosterone in older rats. It would seem that cordyceps have the proven ability to improve sexual health. Even Women’s Health Magazine is promoting cordyceps to boost women’s libido.

It’s important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the effects of functional fungu on libido in humans. While both reishi and cordyceps are considered safe, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement, especially if you are taking medication, may be pregnant, or have a health condition.

In conclusion, functional fungi have been used for centuries in traditional medicine for their health benefits. The available scientific evidence suggests that some functional fungi, such as reishi and cordyceps, may have a positive impact on sexual health.

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