Cordycep mushrooms (Cordyceps sinensis) are also known as caterpillar fungus, winter worm and summer grass mushrooms.
Cordyceps obtains its nutrients and from moth larvae or caterpillars that live in the high altitude areas of China, Tibet and Nepal.
The local herdsmen of Tibet observed that when their cattle and sheep grazed in the area where cordyceps grew, the animals grew strong
In Traditional Chinese medicine, cordyceps activity is considered similar to ginseng. Ginseng is discussed in Natural Healing.
Cordycep is purported to be a supertonic that increases physical stamina, sexual power, and mental acuity.
Cordyceps were once considered a national treasure in China and were only allowed to be eaten by their emperors. In modern times cordyceps attracted world-wide attention when it was learned that runners from the Chinese national team broke nine world records and attribute it in part to its use as a tonic.
Cordyceps is used by elite athletes because it is thought to enhance performance by increasing stamina and improving endurance. The fungus itself grows by penetrating the larva thereby killing and mummifying its host. The mushroom then develops a stalk that releases spores.
Cordyceps is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to benefit lung and kidney function, treat fatigue and is a popular longevity tonic.
Cordyceps extract are used in many different tonic formulas and as an alternative to the pharmaceutical treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Cordyceps grown in the wild are of limited supply. Therefore commercial fermentaion remains the most common method of obtaining the mushroom. In fact, one isolated strain of the wild version, dubbed Cs-4 has become the focus of much research. Cs-4 extracts have been used to delay fatigue, improve sexual function and aid the body’s respiratory and excretory systems. It is also believed to positively modulate homone regulation and improve cholesterol levels.
Cordycep contains two active agents. A beta-glucan component and cordycepin, an adenosine-based compound.