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Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

Dongchongxiacao Cordyceps sinensisOphiocordyceps sinensis


Cordyceps is a fungus that grows in China. It has been used to improve kidney function and help the body fight illness. Cordyceps can be taken as a pill, powder, or extract. It can also be made into a tea.


1 to 5 grams once daily

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

  • Chronic kidney disease —may provide benefit when used with standard treatment A1
  • Kidney transplant support —may provide benefit when used with standard treatment C1, C2

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Diabetic kidney disease B1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take cordyceps in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.



A. Chronic Kidney Disease

A1. Zhang HW, Lin ZX, et al. Cordyceps sinensis (a traditional Chinese medicine) for treating chronic kidney disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Dec 18;(12):CD008353.

B. Diabetic Kidney Disease

B1. Luo Y, Yang SK, et al. Use of Ophiocordyceps sinensis (syn. Cordyceps sinensis) combined with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI)/angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) versus ACEI/ARB alone in the treatment of diabetic kidney disease: a meta-analysis. Ren Fail. 2015 May;37(4):614-634.

C. Kidney Transplant Support

C1. Hong T, Zhang M, et al. Cordyceps sinensis (a traditional Chinese medicine) for kidney transplant recipients. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;(10):CD009698.

C2. Ong BY, Aziz Z. Efficacy of Cordyceps sinensis as an adjunctive treatment in kidney transplant patients: A systematic-review and meta-analysis. Complement Ther Med. 2017 Feb;30:84-92.

Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC