Cordyceps Sinensis vs Militaris: Whats The Difference?

Cordyceps Sinensis vs Militaris: Whats The Difference?

Since ancient times, cordyceps mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine to support vigor, vitality, and overall health. However, many individuals are unaware that there are different varieties of cordyceps mushrooms, such as Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris. Although both mushrooms have special qualities that make them helpful for enhancing health, there are significant distinctions in their composition and benefits. To help you determine which one could be more suitable for your health needs, we will examine the distinctions between Cordyceps sinensis and militaris in this article.*

What Is Cordyceps sinensis?

Cordyceps sinensis, also known as the "winter worm, summer grass," is a parasitic fungus that grows on the larvae of certain caterpillars found in the high mountains of China, Nepal, and Tibet. For centuries, this mushroom has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for supporting the body in its innate ability to overcome respiratory infections, fatigue, and issues pertaining to the kidneys and the liver.*

What Is Cordyceps militaris?

Cordyceps militaris, on the other hand, is an entomopathogenic fungus that grows on insect larvae and has a broader range of habitats than Cordyceps sinensis. Cold and humid places like China, Korea, and Japan usually have it. Over the years, the polysaccharides, cordycepin, cordycepic acid, and other substances found in Cordyceps militaris have been the subject of research looking for natural constituents that have immune-supporting and anti-inflammatory effects. It is frequently taken as a dietary supplement to increase endurance and boost sports performance.*

What Are The Differences Between Cordyceps sinensis and militaris?

Although Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris have a few similarities, there are some fundamental differences between the two.

Firstly, they come from  different habitats. While Cordyceps militaris is found in numerous regions of Asia, Europe, and North America, Cordyceps sinensis is mostly found in the Himalayan region.

Cordyceps sinensis has a darker and thinner fruit body compared to Cordyceps militaris which is larger and often orange or yellowish in color.

Both species have therapeutic advantages in their ability to support healthy immune, inflammatory, and aging processes within the body. Cordyceps militaris is known for aiding the body’s athletic performance as well as healthy liver function, whereas Cordyceps sinensis is frequently used to support the body’s innate ability to ward off ailments of the respiratory system and support healthy kidney function.* 

While both species have been studied for their potential health benefits, Cordyceps militaris has received more attention because it is easier to grow and more productive. Cordyceps sinensis is largely only available as mycelium because the fruit of this species is not easily cultivated.

Overall, Cordyceps sinensis and militaris are intriguing mushrooms holding possible health benefits. However, it is important to consult a medical professional before using them.

How Do Cordyceps sinensis and militaris Differ In Terms Of Flavor?

Cordyceps sinensis has a subtle, earthy taste with a slightly sweet aftertaste. It also has a distinct aroma, which is described as musky and slightly woody. On the other hand, Cordyceps militaris has a yeasty and slightly bitter taste along with a stronger, more pungent aroma.

The flavor of Cordyceps sinensis is considered to be milder and more pleasant than Cordyceps militaris, which is why it is primarily used for medicinal purposes. Cordyceps militaris is often used as a food ingredient and is believed to have a stronger impact on the immune system.*

Both Cordyceps sinensis and militaris offer similar nutritional value and health benefits. In addition to their antioxidant properties and ability to support a healthy inflammation response, they also contain various bioactive compounds that have been shown to support the body’s ability to strengthen the immune system.*

Ultimately, the choice between these two species depends on individual preferences and needs. While both offer unique properties, it is important to find the one that best aligns with your specific goals and lifestyle.

What Kind Of Environment Is Best For Cultivating Cordyceps sinensis and militaris?

The cultivation of Cordyceps sinensis and militaris requires a specific environment that mimics their natural habitats. The optimal climate conditions for the growth of both fungi are cool and temperate, with low light levels, high humidity, and adequate air circulation.

Cordyceps sinensis thrives in the frigid altitudes of the Tibetan Plateau, thriving in the unique combination of cold temperatures, low oxygen, and particular soil. Optimal conditions for cultivating are usually found between 3,000 to 5,000 meters above sea level. Cordyceps sinenses is primarily cultivated for its mycelium on a commercial scale.

On the other hand, Cordyceps militaris grows naturally in various regions of the world and is more adaptable to different environments. The ideal temperature for cultivating Cordyceps militaris is between 20-25°C, with a humidity level of 70-80%. To cultivate this fungus, it is advisable to use a substrate comprising rice, wheat, or barley. Cordyceps militaris is also much easier to cultivate, yielding hearty fruits on various substrates.

How Long Does It Take For Cordyceps sinensis and militaris To Fully Mature?

The full maturation period of Cordyceps sinensis and militaris varies depending on various factors, including their growing environment, fungal strain, and specific growth medium.

It takes roughly 4 to 6 months for Cordyceps sinensis to mature, compared to Cordyceps militaris which can take about 2 to 3 months to reach full maturity. Nevertheless, it's crucial to bear in mind that these timeframes serve only as approximations, and environmental factors and specific growing conditions may influence the timeline.

To fully maximize growth and development, it's crucial to cultivate fungi in a pristine, controlled environment. Close monitoring of Cordyceps sinensis and militaris growth is vital to guarantee they reach their full potential and are harvested at the optimal time.

Are There Any Differences In Nutritional Content Between Cordyceps sinensis and militaris?

One key difference between Cordyceps sinensis and militaris is their levels of cordycepin, a bioactive compound found in cordyceps mushrooms that have been linked to various health benefits. Cordyceps sinensis has been found to have higher levels of cordycepin than Cordyceps militaris.

In terms of protein content, both Cordyceps sinensis and militaris are rich sources, with around 25-30% protein by weight. Packed with vitamins B, iron, and potassium, these wholesome foods are a nutritional powerhouse essential to fueling the body and improving overall health. In addition, they contain other vital vitamins and minerals to supercharge your system and elevate your well-being.

Another key aspect of their nutritional value is their amino acid content. Amino acids serve as the building blocks for proteins, which are fundamental components of our cells. These crucial molecules serve countless purposes in our bodies and are indispensable for proper functioning. Cordyceps mushrooms encompass all vital amino acids, which are otherwise unobtainable from the body's natural processes and need to be sourced through dietary means.

Cordyceps sinensis and militaris have similar amino acid profiles, but there are some slight differences. Both species offer abundant amounts of lysine - an indispensable amino acid that is involved in protein synthesis, tissue repair, and immune function.

Cordyceps sinensis contains elevated levels of histidine, another essential amino acid vital for numerous physiological processes, such as digestion, nerve functionality, and blood cell formation. On the other hand, Cordyceps militaris boasts an elevated concentration of arginine, a pivotal amino acid in supporting cardiovascular health and fortifying the immune system.

Both species are a plentiful source of glutamine, an essential amino acid vital for supporting healthy muscle and immune function. Glutamine not only participates in numerous metabolic processes but also plays a critical role in synthesizing other essential amino acids.

What Is The Recommended Dosage For Consuming Cordyceps sinensis and militaris?

The recommended dosage for Cordyceps sinensis and militaris depends on several factors, including age, gender, health status, and individual tolerance. The suggested daily dose of Cordyceps sinensis supplements is typically 1-3 grams, compared to 1-3 ml (1-3 droppers full) up to 3 times per day for Cordyceps militaris extracts. Lower doses work for tonic support, and higher doses are for addressing more acute concerns.

What Are The Differences In Culinary Use Between Cordyceps sinensis and militaris?

In terms of culinary use, Cordyceps sinensis is often used in traditional Chinese cuisine, particularly in soups and stews. It has a slightly sweet and earthy flavor, which pairs well with savory dishes. Cordyceps militaris, on the other hand, has a slightly nutty and bitter flavor and is often used in Korean and Japanese cuisine, particularly in hot pot dishes. You can use it as a stir-fry ingredient or sprinkle it on top of rice dishes for added flavor. Both species can be consumed in supplement form for their various health benefits.


In conclusion, while Cordyceps sinensis and militaris share many similarities in terms of their amino acid profiles and health benefits, there are also some distinct differences between the two species. Cordyceps sinensis contains higher levels of histidine, while Cordyceps militaris is richer in arginine. When it comes to culinary use, Cordyceps sinensis is often used in Chinese cuisine, while Cordyceps militaris is a staple in Korean and Japanese dishes. No matter which species suits you, both are available in supplement form to bolster immune system, enhance energy levels and promote overall health and wellness.*

Final Thoughts

Discover the ultimate power of mushrooms with Feral Fungi. As experts in mushroom extracts, we take pride in crafting the finest blends using only the best US-sourced ingredients from Oregon. Whether you're looking to elevate your lifestyle or simply boost your well-being, we have the perfect solution for you. Experience the difference with Feral Fungi.



*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our product has not gone under clinical trial and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or any other diseases listed in this article. 


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