Habitat and origin:
Cordyceps is a fungus mycelium which normally develops in the body of the caterpillar Hepialus Fabricius. Its aerial part (the peg), which has the shape of a finger (from 4 cm to 11 cm long) develops after the death of the insect in a sort of extension of the body. It is found under the trees in the high mountains of China (over 4000 m). Nowadays, the mycelium is grown on a substrate made of rice. There are at least 10 strains of cultured Cordyceps. The two strains that have been the subject of more studies are Hepiali Paecilomyces (Cs-4) and Cephalosporium Sinensis.
Dosage of Cordyceps:
Traditionally, it is recommended to take from 5 g to 10 g of fungus powder per day. In studies, it has often used an extract of cultured Cordyceps (Paecilomyces Hepiali strain Cs-4), at a rate of 3 g per day. Consult a practitioner trained in Chinese medicine for personalized treatment.
On the market, Cordyceps is easily available in its “natural” form in Chinese herbal medicine, but the powdered extracts are harder to find.
History of Cordyceps:
The Chinese used the cordyceps for about 1,000 years. Because of its rarity, it was mostly reserved for the Emperor and his courtiers. Traditionally, in Farcissait duck, we drank to invigorate the body and ensure longevity.
In China, this fungus is known to promote sexual vigor, both in women than in men. In Chinese medicine, it is used to treat tuberculosis, coughing, anemia, back pain and knee and to help convalescents rebuild their forces. The Chinese ascribe similar to ginseng adaptogenic properties, that is to say that it would increase overall resistance to stress.
The use of cordyceps has spread in China when it began to grow on a substrate of rice. Products that draws come in various forms: dried mushroom powder, aqueous or alcoholic extracts prepared from the aerial parts or mycelium. There is such a traditional preparation (Jinshuibao) composed of the product of the fermentation of the mycelium. Traditionally, various culinary recipes cordyceps and meat (pork, duck, chicken) had specific uses: opium addiction, recovery, anemia, impotence, etc.
The West began to take an interest in cordyceps in the early 1990s, when the victories won by Chinese athletes in running were attributed to the fact that they ate this fungus.
Research on Cordyceps:
The majority of studies on cordyceps was done in China and many of them are not listed in MedLine. The strain most often studied is the Hepiali Paecilomyces – Cs-4. In addition to the Cordyceps Sinensis variety, Asian researchers are interested in the variety cultivated C. Militaris, which appears to have substantially the same properties.
Sexual stimulation effectiveness: A few double-blind studies with placebo (not listed in Medline) were conducted in China. They focused on hundreds of subjects and suggest that cordyceps, at 3 g per day, is effective in stimulating a poor sexual function.
Physical energy Increase (adaptogenic effect): Three trials in China in 1995 and 1999 (not listed in Medline) indicate that 3 g of cordyceps daily have been successful to increase the vital and physical energy and the elderly subjects with chronic heart disease. A study published in 2010 involved 20 patients aged 50 to 75 years: These preliminary data indicate that the use of cordyceps has greatly improved their physical performance.
Effectiveness on Respiratory Diseases: Results of clinical studies conducted in China indicate that cordyceps may be helpful in relieving symptoms of many respiratory diseases, including chronic bronchitis and asthma.
Traditional use in Chinese medicine: Numerous studies in vitro and in animal seem to confirm some of the many traditional uses of cordyceps. For example, support convalescents, boost the immune system and sexual and strengthen the functions of the kidney, liver and lung function. In addition, several clinical studies conducted in China point to a protective effect on certain organs, including the kidneys.
This superfood may protect the kidneys against the toxic effects of certain drugs and stimulate their functioning in patients with renal insufficiency. It might also be helpful in reducing the risk of rejection and complication after renal transplantation. Combined with Artemisinin, Cordyceps could also reduce the recurrence of kidney disease, kidney disease which frequently affects people with lupus.
In 1996, a Chinese researcher reported 2 cases of lead poisoning from the consumption of cordyceps. So it is better to focus on products subject to strict quality controls.
Some cases of dry mouth, rash, drowsiness, nausea and diarrhea have been reported.
- With plants or supplements: None known
- With drugs: Theoretically, the effects of cordyceps could be added to those of immunosuppressant (such as cyclosporine).