Cordyceps, Caterpillar fungus, Trooping cordyceps, Scarlet caterpillar club, Adder’s tongue, Truffle eater, Canadian truffle eater, Round headed cordyceps, Canadian round headed cordyceps, Ant fungus, Chinese cordyceps, Chinese caterpillar fungus, tochukaso (China), aweto (Tibet), dong cao (Mandarin) (Cordyceps sp.)
Cordyceps is from the Greek “kordyle” meaning “club” and “ceps” meaning “head”.
It comes by these names honestly as in the wild, the mushroom grows from the heads of insects, particularly the caterpillar.
It grows inside these insects to produce hyphae (that is, the long filaments to form the fungi).
When they die, the fungus produces a fruiting body that blows out into the wind to infect other insects.
Vegans and vegetarians will naturally have a problem with this mushroom if found in the wild. But not to worry, its health benefits can still be obtained since the mushrooms are now grown commercially on wheat, rice, millet, sorghum, organic purple corn and other grains to produce a safer and more consistent, yet effective, product.
Aloha Medicinals produces cultured Cordyceps that are bioidentical and maybe superior in activity to those found in the wild.
It is estimated that there are some 680 varieties of cordyceps that have been discovered and named. In Peru alone, some 250 species have yet to be named.
Cordyceps were discovered in Tibet when herdsmen noticed that yaks were vigorously digging up the mushrooms during rutting season. The men tried the mushroom themselves and noticed an improvement in stamina and fewer infections.
The herdsmen shared this information with monks. Eventually, the information reached the Emperor’s physicians who prescribed it to their high-powered patient. Thereafter, it was decreed, and required by law, that only the Emperor could consume the mushroom.
Using this mushroom, modern day sports yields some interesting results in stamina. In 1993, a scandal broke out at the National Games in Beijing, China when in one week, three women’s track and field events were broken, and not by a small amount either.
After rigorous testing, no performance-enhancing drugs were found. When reporters questioned the coach, Ma Zunren, it was revealed that he fed his athletes an elixir made from the cordycep mushroom.
NOTE: The Canadian Olympic Committee has finally ruled that the cordycep mushroom is allowed in professional competition.
Not only is the mushroom excellent for stamina but it also has many other proven medicinal effects.
Evidence-based healing benefits of Cordyceps include:
- improves sperm quality and quantity
- a potent liver protector
- improves renal function in those with chronic renal failure
- reduces the need for anti-rejection drugs after a renal transplant
- improves lungs especially in those with asthma
- prevents autoimmune diseases
- treats and prevents recurrence of lupus and lessens the severity
- counteracts the effects of chemically-induced arrhythmias
- has anti-viral effects including Influenza A
- has anti-biotic effects including the Strep bacteria
- combats stress and fatigue
- has broad anti-tumor effects
- treats and prevents melanomas
- lessens the effects of radiation