Botanical name: Cordyceps militaris
Other names: Caterpillar fungus
Also known as ‘caterpillar fungus’, Cordyceps is a parasitic fungi that takes over the body of a caterpillar, eventually killing, mummifying and growing out of the head of its host as it fruits. Cordyceps is a powerful energy tonic that helps build physical power, helps the body utilise and absorb oxygen, benefits endurance and reduces fatigue. First discovered and recorded in Tibetan medicine, they used it for increasing energy, semen production and kidney strength, and as an aphrodisiac.
The Chinese caught on it’s healing potential, and it became highly valued there, sometimes worth more than gold! The Chinese continue to revere this rare fungus as a life-enhancing herb, immune stimulant, and overall tonic. They use it for debility after illness and for the elderly. It is considered one of the three primary invigorating tonics in TCM along with Panax (Korean) Ginseng and Deer Antler. It is also used to tonify the lungs in conditions such as asthma, and for impotence, low libido, and general weakness.
Cordyceps benefits include increased stamina and efficiency of the circulatory system; immune system stimulation; lowers cholesterol; is an adaptogen (increased resistance to stress, increased energy, strength, stamina); acts as a sexual potentiator; acts as a liver protector (and better recovery from chemotherapy); helps enhanced respiratory function; strengthening of kidneys and adrenals.
Preparation: Add 7 grams cordyceps mushrooms or 1 tablespoon cordyceps powder to just boiled water and steep for 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and steep for another 5 minutes. Strain and serve.
Reference: Stephen Harrod Buhner (2012), Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for emerging and resistant viral infections, pp 274-293.
Cordyceps Common Uses
Cordyceps are likely safe for use, there is insufficient information on the safety of cordyceps for children, pregnant, and breastfeeding women.
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