Traditional herbalists will tell you this is one of the most potent and beneficial herbs in the world. But the mushroom related substance has also created a little bit of controversy. Why? Because the majority of facts and research results come from studies done by the Chinese scientists. Mind you, the Chinese seem to know their herbal medicine inside out, and many people have already reported great health benefits from taking it.
The bizarre action of cordyceps:
During the Ming Dynasty, the physicians of the emperor’s court studied the Cordyceps fungus, and using their own experience and knowledge, improved its usage. Cordyceps then became a respected traditional Chinese medicine but was available only for the Imperial Palace.
There are more than 680 species of Cordyceps but the most well known is Cordyceps sinensis.
Cordyceps was introduced to the Western World thanks to the work of Dr. Georges Halpern, a physician and professor emeritus at the University of Hong Kong. He’s also written several books on fungi. Together with other scientists he has confirmed a number of great health benefits to be associated with what is also a parasitic organism, growing wildly on caterpillars in the high plateaus of China:
- It can maximize the uptake of body oxygen.
- The herb boosts the immune system.
- It can have a positive effect on longevity.
- Sexual dysfunction in men can be cured through cordyceps.
- Muscles can be strengthened by it.
- It can improve kidney and lung function.
- The mushroom is great for the liver.
In Chinese herbal medicine it’s commonly used to replenish the kidney and soothe the lung
Cordyceps Supplement comes in various forms from powder or as an extract. It can be added into creams, made into a tea or even turned into a smoothie. This means you don’t have to ingest multiple pills on a daily basis but you can now buy tablets and capsules in a much higher concentration. The creams are predominantly used with natural hair colouring products containing cordyceps as the main ingredient.
The cardiovascular system can benefit greatly from Cordyceps supplement over the longer term. The heart and blood vessels can become damaged due to other illnesses and this can have a knock on effect. Research has revealed the relaxing effect cordyceps has on smooth muscle tissue can increase the flow of blood and regulate blood pressure. Antioxidants are very important to us of course and the herb possesses scavenging abilities which is another one of its plus points. People suffering from memory loss can be assisted by this scavenging activity. The extract of Cordyceps ophioglossoides can protect against Abeta-induced neuronal cell death.
Cordyceps is also known as Caterpillar Fungus, Caterpillar Mushroom, Cs-4, Champignon Chenille, Cordyceps sinensis, or the Vegetable Caterpillar. It has many more names.
Research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine which involved 273 patients in 9 hospitals a with high cholesterol level, revealed Cordyceps sinensis helps to lower total cholesterol by 10-21% and triglycerides by 9-26%. It also helps to increase good cholesterol by 27-30%.
Cordyceps hit the news big time when at the 1993 Chinese National Games, 9 world records including the 10,000 metres, won by an astonishing 40 seconds, were broken by the Chinese team. They claimed Cordyceps improved stamina and athletic performance, reduced muscle soreness and helped in muscle building. It doesn’t contain any steroids of course so it was perfectly legal.
More studies are being carried out but this wonderful substance can also help people suffering from diabetes and some studies have revealed cordyceps can actually help reduce the size of cancer tumours. This can have a very helpful effect in cancer treatments.
Fluid retention or edema occurs when the body isn’t able to get rid of excess fluid. In Chinese medicine theory, fluid levels are controlled by the kidneys and spleen. Cordyceps strengthens the kidney and it’s said will reduce edema.
Taking high doses of Cordyceps is reputed to be quite safe but as with all of these things and supplements in particular, talk to your doctor first to get the best possible advice. This especially applies to people already on prescribed medications. It’s always best to be completely safe.
As you can see this is an amazing fungi used for centuries and able to help clear up a multitude of ailments. No wonder it’s catching on in a very big way as a supplement!
(Zhu, JS, Halpern, GM, Jones, K. The scientific rediscovery of an ancient Chinese herbal medicine: Cordyceps sinensis. Part I. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 1998, 4(3), 289-303.)