Cordyceps sinensis

Herbs gallery - Cordyceps

Common names

  • Cordyceps
  • Dong Chong Xia Cao

The remedy called the cordyceps is actually made from lichen - a symbiotic organism of fungi, the name cordyceps itself can be translated literally from the Chinese as the "winter bug summer herb." An herbal remedy is made from this fungus and the fungus itself is found as an antlered fungal form which grows over insect larvae, this infestation is done before the formation of a cocoon by the insect - thus the fungus is parasitic on the insect. Morphologically, the fungus has a short and sticklike form, it also has a fat and full or round shape, the coloration is yellow white in cross section of the fungal body. Early summer and late spring is the usual time when the fungus is gathered from infested larvae. The main method of collection of this fungus is lab based from tissue cultures in the laboratories, as the pure fungal strain is very hard to collect in sufficient quantities in the wild - in spite of the fact this particular fungus is found all over Japan and China, and is also found to infect insect larvae along areas of the Atlantic seaboard in the United States.

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The use of the cordyceps in ancient China has been extensively written about by the medicinal mushroom expert and herbalist Christopher Hobbs - according to him the fungus, was for the exclusive herbal use of the members of the Emperor's palace due to its rarity. The preparation of the fungal remedy involved stuffing the collected fungus into a duck's stomach, this was followed by the slow roasting of the duck using a low flame. Following the roasting of the stuffed duck, the precious cordyceps was removed, and the roasted duck meat would be consumed over a period of eight to ten days as treatment for different conditions.

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Parts used



Renal disorders are usually treated using cordyceps in the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) which connects all problems with the kidneys with cordyceps as a remedy for relief; the cordyceps is also used in the treatment of high cholesterol and in the treatment of tinnitus or ringing in the ears, which affects many patients each year. At the same time, some other properties connected to the herb are an aphrodisiac action, for example, impotence is often treated using the cordyceps as the main herbal medicine. The cordyceps has also been used in the treatment of cancer and other malignant growths in the human body. During recovery and convalescence, an individual's immune system is strengthened by the cordyceps remedy especially, following periods of extensive radiation therapy, long term chemotherapy, or following invasive surgery. Additionally, people suffering from long term chronic illnesses and those affected by chronic physical exhaustion are also treated using the herbal cordyceps remedy. The endurance of athletes and energy levels of athletes is boosted by taking regular doses of cordyceps herbal remedy.

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Some of the specific health disorders which can be relived by the use of cordyceps include:

The treatment of cancer: the division of cancerous and malignant cells regulated and controlled by the cordyceps, as a result the herbal remedy can delay the diffusion of cancer cells within the body of the affected patient - thus aiding in treatment. The cordyceps remedy also boost the body's immune system and it increases the power and the effectiveness of the immune system's T cells and macrophages - thus boosted by the remedy, these immune cells are present in greater numbers and increase their engulfing and destruction of all cellular invaders such as viruses and microbes. Thus the cordyceps can significantly aid as an herbal supplement during the treatment of cancer and other malignant growths. The treatment of high or elevated cholesterol: cardiac strength is boosted by the cordyceps, at the same time; the remedy also slows down the elevated pulse rate.

The cordyceps also raises the levels of high-density lipoprotein-HDL, or the so called "good" cholesterol in the blood, correspondingly it reduces the elevated levels of total cholesterol and lowers the presence of low-density lipoprotein-called LDL, or the so called "bad" cholesterol in the blood. The formation of plaques of cholesterol is inhibited by the cordyceps, the herbal remedy does this by stimulating the activity of immune cells called the macrophages - which can often turn "sluggish" and inactive and can then lodge themselves along the walls of the arterial system wall - such deposition of sluggish macrophages on arterial walls can turn into cellular platforms where cholesterol can deposit to form accumulated plaque and blockage can result. The treatment of tinnitus: cordyceps can benefit people suffering from ringing in the ear, a condition also called tinnitus, which often develops as a result of accumulated fluid in the inner ear and the resulting pressure. While the remedy can alleviate tinnitus, it must be mentioned that the type of tinnitus which arise due to auditory nerve disorder in the long term cannot be corrected using this remedy alone.

Side effects and cautions

In many herbal stores around the country, both the tablet and tincture form of the cordyceps are available for purchase. The utilization of the cordyceps in any form is not advised for women and men who suffer from any form of disorder or disease which involve sensitivity to hormones - for example, patients affected by breast cancer or those with prostate cancer are advised not to use any form of the cordyceps based herbal remedies. This fungal product often comes with the warning from most manufacturers that the medication is for the use of adults only. The patients on long term anticoagulant medications are also not advised to use these remedies, all individuals using asthma inhalers are also advised not to use the cordyceps in any form. The cordyceps medication must also be used with caution by all patients who are under any immunosuppressant medications, such as those used during treatment for lupus, during treatment for myasthenia gravis, those drugs used for treating psoriasis, for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjögren's syndrome - all these patients are advised to inform a qualified health-care provider if they want to use the fungal remedy at the same time as the other medications mentioned.


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