Latin name: Cordyceps sinensis, Cordyceps sinensis (Berk.) Sacc. (It is often combined with the larval remains of Hepialus varians Staudinger.)
Chinese name: dong chong xia cao
Other names: caterpillar fungus, vegetable worm

What is Cordyceps?
Cordyceps is one of the most treasured substances in Chinese herbalism. It is a fungus that attacks the Hepialus species of moth while it is still in caterpillar form. The affected caterpillars come to the top of their underground burrows, where they die and sprout the fingerlike fungus. Cordyceps is also grown in labs, where the potency is more easily regulated, but as with most non-wild products, is thought to be less powerful. Therefore, the wild variety is more expensive.

What are the health benefits of Cordyceps?
Cordyceps is a highly valued herb. It has two primary areas of function: it is a sexual tonic, helping with male impotence, especially the type that presents itself with a weak lower back and knees. It also assists lung function, for issues like chronic cough and wheezing. Chinese Olympic athletes have been known to take this herb for its vitality-enhancing properties. Of course, it also helps increase energy for both men and women.

What are the guidelines for taking Cordyceps?
Cordyceps is generally considered safe to be taken long-term. It is available in several forms: as the dried fungus, as powder, in capsules, and as a tincture.

Where can I find Cordyceps?
Cordyceps can be found online through herb suppliers or at the offices of Chinese medical practitioners.

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This entry was posted in Herbs, Natural Health Dictionary.