What is cordyceps?
Cordyceps is a type of fungus lives on certain caterpillars in China which has been used as a medicine by Chinese for centuries. Traditionally, it is called Dong Chong Xia Cao in Chinese, which means "A worm in the winter and a plant in the summer". The interesting and vivid name comes from the process of cordyceps growing. The caterpillar buries herself under earth in the winter, and the fungus finds her and lives on her, growing up a "plant" in the summer.
See Dong Chong Xia Cao in the picture.
What does cordyceps do?
Ancient Chinese used cordyceps to improve the overall health, and modern research does find it sufficient in supporting liver, kidney, heart, and immune system function. Researchers also found that cordyceps can act as an antioxidant to protecting the body from free radical damage.
The anti-inflammatory substances in cordyceps can positively affect the immune system. It may also fight against oxidative stress, stimulate protective cells which can prevent the body from mutations and infections.
Early research suggests that cordyceps can improve sex drive in people with low sex drive.
Chinese athletes use cordyceps to help increase their stamina and endurance. Although there is not evidence proving the effectiveness, it is theorized that cordyceps can improve the blood circulation and promote oxygen supplies.
Expensive wild cordyceps
Cordyceps can be found in the Tibetan regions in China, which costs up to $10 a gram. Cordyceps as supplements bought in the market mainly comes from laboratories.