Monthly Archives: September 2013

Cordyceps – Parasitic Caterpillar Fungus in Decline

Cordyceps, also known as caterpillar fungus, is an ancient Chinese tonic. It is credited for helping improve the performance of athletes, as it improves athletic performance and oxygen utilization. In double blind controlled studies conducted in China by Christopher B. Cooper, M.D., demonstrated that derivatives from the Tibetan mushroom Cordyceps sinensis can play a significant role in increasing energy and aerobic capacity. Other studies have shown that Cordyceps has a marked bronchodilation effect and is able to increase the effects of adrenaline.

Cordyceps is used in many Chinese cancer-support formulas. In addition, Chinese research indicates that Cordyceps may be useful for many conditions such as arrhythmia, heart failure, pulmonary heart disease, hyperlipidemia, cirrhosis, hepatitis, male impotence, chronic fatigue syndrome, drug toxicity (cyclosporine). Laboratory research has found that extractions of Cordyceps inhibit growth of microorganisms such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, pneumococcus, and various disease causing fungi.

In terms of Chinese medicine, Cordyceps enters the lung and kidney channels. The traditional functions of Cordyceps include treating tuberculosis, deficiency-type cough, impotence, spermatorrheas, post-illness deficiency and weakness, spontaneous sweating, anemia. Additionally, it is a strong general tonifier and is used for health maintenance and disease prevention.

Cordyceps (dong chong xia cao), found fully in our Cordyceps PS™, tonifies kidney essence while strengthening lung yin, and also has anti-cancer and antibacterial activities. In addition, it is used to tonify after debilitating illness, and helps the other herbs in formulas like Clear Heat™ and CordySeng™, to enter the deepest areas of the body.

A recent article in this month’s South China Morning Post notes that due to trade and environmental issues the fungus is declining. The decline is so fast, they note that more systematic conservation efforts may be needed.

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