treats Anti-aging, Hyperlipidemia, Hepatitis B, Asthma, Exercise performance enhancement, Liver disease, Renal failure, Bronchitis, Chemoprotective, Sexual dysfunction, and Immunosuppression
Alternate TitleCordyceps sinensis
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
Aweto, caoor, caterpillar fungus, Chinese caterpillar fungus, chongcao, cordycepin, Cordyceps cicadae, Cordyceps militaris, Cordyceps nipponica, Cordyceps ophioglossoides, Cordyceps pseudomilitaris, Cordyceps sinensis, Cordyceps sinensis (Berk) Succ., Cordyceps sinensis mycelium, Cordyceps spp., Cordyceps tuberbulata, Cs4, CS- 4, deer fungus parasite, dong chong xia cao, dong chong zia cao, dong zhong chang cao, fungus, hsia ts'ao tung ch'uung, jinshuibao, mummio, semitake, shilajit, Sphaeria sinensis, summer grass winter worm, summer- plant winter- worm, tochukaso, vegetable caterpillar, yarsha gumba, yertsa gonbu ze- e cordyceps.
Cordyceps sinensis, the Cordyceps species most widely used as a dietary supplement, naturally grows on the back of the larvae of a caterpillar from the moth Hepialus armoricanus Oberthur found mainly in China, Nepal, and Tibet. The mycelium invades the caterpillar and eventually replaces the host tissue. The stroma (fungal fruit body) grows out of the top of the caterpillar. The remaining structures of the caterpillar along with the fungus are dried and sold as the dietary supplement cordyceps.
Commonly known as "dong chong xia cao" (summer- plant, winter- worm) in Chinese, cordyceps has been used as a tonic food in China and Tibet and has been used as a food supplement and tonic beverage among the rich because of its short supply due to over harvesting. It is also an ingredient in soups and other foods used traditionally in Chinese medicine for thousands of years helping debilitated patients recover from illness.
Cordyceps is used therapeutically for asthma, bronchitis, chemoprotection, exercise performance, hepatitis B, hepatic cirrhosis, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), as an immunosuppressive agent, and in chronic renal failure.
The fungus became popular in 1993 when two female Chinese athletes, who admitted using cordyceps supplements, beat the world records in the track and field competition at the Stuttgart World Championships for the 1,500- , 3,000- , and 10,000- meter runs. The women were drug tested for any banned substances such as steroids and were negative. Their coach attributed the performance to the cordyceps supplementation.