May 19th, 2014
1. History and Medical Use of Cordyceps Sinensis
Many ancient remedies are steeped in mystery. Thanks to their long-term history, the true origin and discovery is difficult to unearth. In the case of the rare fungus Cordyceps, this continues to be true. Various stories are told about noticing the benefits and impacts of ingesting the mushroom.
Cordyceps Sinensis is a unique and exotic mushroom that grows in the mountains of Tibet, Nepal and China. Cordyceps Sinensis has a long history in Tibet Medicine and Traditional Chine Medicine. The mushroom has been used for centuries to address and treat various health conditions and to maintain normal functions of all body systems.
Some stories tell that yak herders in the Hymalayas noticed that the animals became more energetic and invigorated during grazing. The fungus often grows off caterpillars spread randomly through grasses, so it actually possible that while cropping the grasses the yaks also ate mushrooms. The story goes that when the herders noticed the difference in animal behavior they investigated the source and discovered Cordyceps.
When it comes to information that can be verified, it turns out the first written record of the fungus traces back to 620 AD. At this point in Chinese history the high-altitude fungus was reserved for the Emperor’s medicinal use. Stewed into a broth, the medicinal soup was given to the divine leader for health, fertility and increased vigor.
Later, many records out of Tibet date to the 1400s. More details related to the benefits related to energy, overall health improvement and other factors are laid out in more detail during this writings. The Western world discovered cordyceps much later. At one point a catholic priest stayed with the Chinese Emperor. As an honored guest during the 1700s, he was introduced to the rare, powerful mushroom. As a result it was the middle 1700s when documentation began appearing in Western medical literature.
The tradition of considering this odd fungus a mushroom started during this time. Now we know it’s actually in a different family but tradition still holds in most writings about Cordyceps Sinesis. The West has also had an interesting relationship with the mushroom. For most people in European-derived cultures consuming a fungus that grows on an insect is completely disgusting, regardless how much it might benefit your immune system, energy levels, or heart. Today this has also changed.
Modern farmers have learned to cultivate the mushroom without the use of insect hosts. In fact, sourcing Cordyceps outside of Asia is highly recommended. The supplement is very popular again, so demand may outstrip the supply in some areas. As a result some harvesters adulterate the fungus. Any cases of poisoning you hear of related to Cordyceps are typically due to this practice. Some sources even contain lead to increase the weight of this very valuable mushroom. This practice is more common outside countries with good quality controls such as Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States.
In modern herbal practice, Cordyceps is recommended for a variety of conditions. This supplement works in a highly adaptive manner: it adapts to your body and needs. The adaptations include a variety of ways to make your body more efficient resulting in more energy for healing. Common conditions supported by Cordyceps include chronic fatigue, heart conditions (including cholesterol issues), asthma, and others related to the balance between circulation and energy.
Presently this fungus has been under threat of extinction due to its high market price and over-exploitation. Cordyceps can survive only at an altitude of 3–5,000 meters above sea level therefore is the most difficult herb to harvest, which made it the most expensive. There are more than 680 species of Cordyceps, but Cordyceps Sinensis is the most famous and well known for its healing qualities.
Cordyceps Sinensis is by far the most profitable mushroom on the Tibetan Plateau. It is the most widely distributed of Tibet’s economically important wild mushrooms because it occurs in grasslands, the environmental basis for livestock herding.
The following are the most well know benefits:
One of the active elements of Cordyceps Sinensis is cordycepin acid; it acts as an anti-oxidant and helps in promoting the metabolic process. Cordyceps Sinensis contains approximately 20 elements, these are also important as they help in maintaining the electrolytes and elements that are homeostatic in the body.
2. Cordyceps Health Benefits
Occasionally a product comes along that seems like a miracle. Those that live up to those claims are rare. Even rarer is a supplement that has actually been studied to demonstrate potential benefits. Today Cordyceps is one of the few that brings all of these factors to customers. While any consumer is well-served to investigate “miracle” products, studies have been conducted and published regarding the benefits of this supplement.
The variety of health benefits possible with Cordyceps is perhaps one of the amazing qualities of this rare mushroom. Once you understand how and why so many changes are possible, it’s easier to invest in seeing the results for yourself.
Cordyceps can create a variety of benefits because of how it works with the body. It can literally improve the function of every cell in your system. Due to function and chemical components, this powerful mushroom makes the process of taking nutrition into each cell more efficient. As a result all the normal functions your body conducts are easier: they take less work. Here is what creates all the benefits.
Less work means less inflammation. For those struggling with immune challenges this is a huge benefit. Irritation means more effort. By easing the process of the immune system at a cellular level, you may reach an increased ability to heal, function, and enjoy your life.
The following are just some of the known Cordyceps health benefits.
Cordyceps sinensis species is used to cure liver fibrosis as a result of metalloproteinases-2 content in it. In a study conducted by researchers from Shanghai University that holds Traditional Chinese Medicine, it was found that Cordyceps sinensis is capable of T lymphocyte level adjustment therefore treating hepatic fibrosis in chronic hepatitis patients. Diabetes-people suffering from blood sugar disease can benefit from Cordyceps since the presence of polysaccharide and Cordyceps mycelia can lower the level of glucose in the blood. Cordyceps militaris also has the effect of improving utilization of glucose in the blood stream thereby enhancing insulin resistance.
Some types of cancer are cured by Cordyceps offering a relief to patients suffering from those cancer types. Cordyceps militaris has cytotoxic effects, which is a panacea to leukemia due to its cultivated fruiting body extracts. Cordyceps also contains the anti tumor extract, which significantly inhibits abnormal cell growth. It also modulates immunity in the body and the production of interleukin factor. Alteration in testosterone levels-it has been found that Cordyceps has an effect on the secretion of testosterone, which is in doses thus giving benefits to those having reproductive problems.
Cultured Cordyceps Sinensis has been perceived as a major benefit to those with cardiovascular complications. The extracts of fruiting bodies of Cordyceps sinensis contributes greatly to the beneficial effect in the formation of chemicals used to inhibit cholesterol levels. This creates a smooth line of blood circulation and inhibits heart conditions. Cordyceps also has the effect to lower blood pressure hence creating vaso relaxation effects.
Cordyceps brings about free radical scavenging effect, which is significant in inducing death of neuronal cell and loss of memory. This is a benefit to people with memory deficits. The radical scavenging effect also helps in anti-oxidative activities.
Cordyceps are beneficial in that they help lower the cholesterol effects in the body.
It is evident that Cordyceps is beneficial to the body when taken purposefully, and as it is used for its curative effects, researchers are still working out any possibility to find out if it has health benefits in kidney.
3. Safety & Species of Cordyceps
There are more than 680 species of Cordyceps, many of which are used medicinally in China. Common medicinal species include:
ous clinical studies have been performed on Cordyceps and no side effects were identified. However it is recommended to use Cordyceps cautiously in patients with prostate conditions or in individuals taking immuno suppressive medications, and hormonal replacement therapy. Avoid in patients with myelogenous-type cancers based on reports of Cordyceps causing proliferation of progenitor red blood cells.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid it as its effects on the human body during pregnancy and breastfeeding are not sufficiently well studied.
In addition, there is no reaction between this product and other drugs that has been confirmed.
Due to the increasing popularity of Cordyceps sinensis, some supplements have been adulterated; some manufacturers substitute other species of cordyceps. The safety of these supplements is not known.
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