Cordyceps sinensis

Botanical Name : Cordyceps sinensis
Family: Clavicipitaceae
Genus: Cordyceps
Kingdom: Fungi
Subkingdom: Dikarya
Phylum: Ascomycota
Subphylum: Pezizomycotina
Class: Sordariomycetes
Subclass: Hypocreomycetidae
Order: Hypocreales

Common Names: Winter Worm-Summer Grass,caterpillar fungus (English), dong zhong chang cao, dongchongxiacao,  semitake (Japan), zhongcao,  and chongcao (China).The fungus is known in Tibetan as yartsa gunbu or yatsa gunbu.

Habitat : Cordyceps sinensis grows wild at altitudes above 3000 meters in the mountainous regions of China. Cordyceps sinensis, first recorded as yartsa gunbu in Tibet in the 15th Century.

Edible Uses:
Cordyceps sinensis is a parasitic fungus often mistakenly referred to as a mushroom. Though in the western world cordyceps is most often taken in the form of an extract, it’s use as a food source in China dates back many millenia. It was cooked into soups, with poultry, and with meat, and was only consumed by the wealthy and among members of the Chinese Imperial Palace.

Description :
Caterpillar fungi are the result of a parasitic relationship between the fungus and the larva of the ghost moth genus Thitarodes, several species of which live on the Tibetan Plateau (Tibet, Qinghai, West-Sichuan, SW-Gansu & NW Yunnan, all in China, and the Himalayas India, Nepal, Bhutan). The fungus germinates in living organisms (in some cases the larvae), kills and mummifies the insect, and then the fungus grows from the body of the insect.
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One of the unique qualities of this parasitic fungus is it’s host organism. Most fungus and mushrooms grow out of decomposing plant matter. But cordyceps sinensis is parasitic to the larvae of moths, especially bat moths.

Once the insect has been colonized, it’s insides are filled with mycelium and the fruiting body (stroma) grows out, usually through the head of the host organism. Throughout this process, the outward form of the caterpillar is retained.

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It is known as yarsha gumba in Nepal. The Latin etymology describes cord as club, ceps as head, and sinensis as Chinese. Cordyceps sinensis, known in English commonly as caterpillar fungus, is considered a medicinal mushroom in oriental medicines, such as Traditional Chinese medicines and Traditional Tibetan medicine.

Medicinal Uses:
Cordyceps has been used for about 2000 years in the Far East.  It was virtually unknown to the Western part of the world until the Chinese women’s track team broke records in 1993 and was found to be part of their dietary supplements.  It is prized as a male sexual elixir and often appears in tonic formulas, particularly herbal liquors.  It is comparable in cost to good ginseng, and like many tonic herbs, it can be cooked and consumed together with tonic foods.  Traditional sources suggest stewing a male duck with this herb stuffed into its cavities.

Some of the specific actions are: It is very effective in tonifying arrhythmia with an efficacy up to 94%. When the product was applied to 200 different ailments, no toxic side effect was detected;   It helps strengthen the immune system of tumor patients who have received radiotherapy, chemotherapy or an operation. It is remarkable for stabilizing the hemogram, increasing the blood cells and protein for producing blood plasma, and for eliminating the ill effects after various therapies. Furthermore, the product is a synergist for reinforcing the efficacy of radiotherapy.  It provides remarkable benefits for various Climatic Age Illness, Impotence, Emission, Neurasthenia, Rheumatoid arthritis, Cirrhosis, flabby waist and knee.  It is also effective in lowering the lipoproteinemia level, and in preventing Arterio-Sclerosis, Coronary heart disease as well as certain other diseases related to blood vessels of the brain.  It helps stimulate the immune system of the elderly and strengthen their resistance to illness. Frequent dosage can prevent senile disorders.  One of the reasons for aging is due to the insufficient secretion of sexual hormones. Cordyceps sinensis is, in this regard, a hormone stimulator. Morever, the aging effect is to a large extent attributed to the rise of active monoamine oxidize enzyme inside the body and Cordyceps Sinensis can effectively inhibit the rising of such enzyme. Thus, it is an anti-aging medicine which helps regenerate the organic functioning of humans.  After a three-week dose, patients with the aforesaid symptoms would feel promising improvement. In general, this product is a tonic good for bodily nourishment and for stimulating brain activity.  Long-term administration can reinforce the body against foreign attacks, improve the organic functioning, strengthen the immune system and in turn help bring longevity.

Improved insulin sensitivity due to cordyceps has been demonstrated in both normal rats and humans. These effects are presumably mediated by the polysaccharide fraction of cordyceps, and multiple polysaccharides from cordyceps which reduce blood sugar in diabetic mice have been identified. It should be noted that cordyceps should be used with caution by those with low blood sugar.

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Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cordyceps
http://cordyceps-sinensis.org/
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://image.made-in-china.com/2f0j00eBNEcqZWMoVM/Cordyceps-Sinensis-Extract.jpg
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://img.tootoo.com/mytootoo/upload/26/268381/product/268381_5672087b5fa1a314dea41c74c864315e.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.tootoo.com/buy-cordyceps_sinensis/&h=368&w=400&sz=47&tbnid=W7YCTkV9OdYkUM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=98&zoom=1&docid=BV0Il1lxUj0HhM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=D9MST8KeDqeYiQLtk-GoDQ&ved=0CHQQ9QEwCA&dur=3285

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