The first time I heard of Cordyceps sinensis was on the can of a Steven Seagal energy drink. (Yes, such a thing really exists). Although the vile brew didn't give me the butt-kicking abilities of an action star, it did leave me curious about the fungus that supposedly had an effect on energy levels.
Cordyceps is considered a medicinal mushroom that increases energy, stimulates the immune system, and acts as an overall tonic to the body. It is one of the more famous Chinese herbs, but has only gained attention in the West over the last few decades.
In addition to its reported health benefits, this fungus is known for its unique way of reproducing. It develops inside insect larvae, killing and mummifying the remains before popping out of the ground as a fruiting body. This horror movie action makes cordyceps one of the coolest mushrooms around.
Let's take a closer look at this fascinating fungus. We'll start with some basic facts, where we'll see that truth really can be stranger than fiction! Next we'll move on to health benefits and information on supplements. Finally we'll end with some cordyceps controversy, harvesting the wild fungus on the Tibetan Plateau.