Folklore and History
According to legend, yak herders in the Himalayas of Tibet and Nepal noticed that when their yaks grazed on a certain mushroom, they suddenly become very energetic and playful. The herders investigated what they were eating and the strange and mysterious Cordyceps caterpillar-mushroom was discovered.
The first written record of Cordyceps was made during the Tang Dynasty (620AD). It quickly became prized by the ruling emperors of China for its healing and longevity properties. Physicians of the Ming dynasty are said to have used this fungus to make powerful tonics. From the 1400’s onwards, Tibetan scholars wrote extensively about Cordyceps.
Cordyceps were brought to Europe by a French priest – residing as a guest of the Chinese Emperor, he was introduced to Cordyceps and their revitalizing powers. In 1757 Cordyceps made its first appearance in a European medical text – New Compilation of Materia Medica. From that point on, scientists have been fascinated by the health properties of Cordyceps.
Cordyceps Sinensis is just one member of the massive Cordyceps family, comprising of over 400 members. All Cordyceps are endoparasitoids, meaning the spores infect a host insect, taking over the body, culminating in the fruiting body sprouting from the insects brain. Each species will only invade a single species of insect. Cordyceps Sinensis invades the larvae of the Chongcao bat moth which hibernates for the winter underground in a cocoon. Its mycelium mummifies the body of the larvae whilst it is asleep and when the spring comes a single thin stroma sprouts from the head and pushes upwards like a single blade of iridescent blue grass. Land rich in Cordyceps can apparently be easily identified – that’s where the yaks prefer to graze!
Amino Acids, Beta Glucans, Betulinic Acid, Calcium, Chloride, Copper, Dietary Fibre, Enzymes, Flavonoids, Germanium, Inotodiols, Iron, Lanosterol, Manganese, Magnesium, Melanin, Pantothenic Acid, Phenols, Phosphorus, Phytonutrients, Polysaccharides, Potassium, Saponins, Selenium, Sodium, Sterols, Trametenolic Acid, Tripeptides, Triterpenes, Triterpenoids, Vanillic Acid, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin D2, Vitamin K, Zinc.
Cordyceps Sinensis is an extremely safe herb with only mild digestive upsets being reported after taking large doses. We recommend that you take between 2g-5g a day. Just add to a glass of filtered water, a smoothie or sprinkle it on your food.
Not recommended if you have low blood sugar or an auto-immune disorder. Cordyceps tends to lower blood sugar and significantly increase immunity. Which is good news for most people, but is not suitable for people with these conditions.