Monday, December 31, 2012



Cordyceps (冬蟲夏草) is widely known in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as an aphrodisiac and have a long history as medicinal fungi. The earliest clear record is a Tibetan medical text authored by Zurkhar Nyamnyi Dorje in the 15th Century outlining the tonic propensities of Yartsa gunbu (Cordyceps sinensis renamed now to Ophiocordyceps sinensis), especially as an aphrodisiac. Although there are often-repeated claims of thousands of years of use in traditional Chinese medicine, so far no clear textual source has surfaced.

What is Cordyceps Sinensis?

Chinese traditional medicine uses a variety of natural products to treat illness, among them Cordyceps Sinensis.

Cordyceps sinensis, colloquially known as Chinese Caterpiller fungus is a plant belonging to the ergot family. In China, this extremely rare herb is known as the dong chong xia chao (Winter Worm, Summer Grass). It is also known as Aweto in China and Tibet, and as Yarchagumba in Tibet. Belonging to the fungus category, the nutrients and active ingredients within the Cordyceps possess a variety of pharmacological properties that relates to almost every system in human body.

Cordyceps Sinensis is a species of southeast, mountainous China found only in altitudes above 2000 meters. Cordyceps sinensis spores are scattered by wind after maturation during the end of autumn. It infects and slowly consumes the Hepialidae larva while feeding on roots. The Cordyceps sinensis fungus grows and matures within the insect, absorbing the nutrients and soft tissues within the larva. Gradually the larva dies and dark brown to black fruiting body emerges from the ground, growing out of the forehead of the larvae. The long, usually columnar fruiting body has a reach of 3-5cm. Cordyceps sinensis takes around six years to complete its life cycle. Therefore, natural Cordyceps sinensis is both rare and expensive.

Traditional and precious to Chinese medicinal herbology, ancient medical practitioners believed it was the potent cure to all illnesses. However, for centuries, Cordyceps was exclusive for the Emperors due to its scarcity and high price. Cordyceps sinensis has always been considered the premier agent in the Chinese culture.

With modern day advances and technological evolution, a medical breakthrough was discovered by Microenvironment Control Technology Research Center of Research Institute of Tsinghua University, Zhejiang Yangtze River Delta when they founded the artificial cultivation and reproduction of the fruiting bodies of fresh Cordyceps sinensis.

Cordyceps is now available in the market. It comes in a variety of range, suitable for the consumption of to all who seeks improved and increased quality of health and life.

Legends of Cordyceps Sinesis

Legend has it that the Yung people, Tibetan herdsman, first discovered Cordyceps over a thousand years ago in the high plateaus of the region, thinking it was a type of grass. They first noticed that animals grazing on a tiny, grass-like mushroom became more energetic and agile. Even the older cattle showed signs of increased vigor. Intrigued, the herders began to harvest the mushroom and soon observed that human consumption seemed to yield similar benefits.

From that moment on, logic ensues and it was only a matter of time before the knowledge of the benefits of this miraculous herb was unlocked. Chinese herbalists were among the first few who began to use Cordyceps for a host of human ailments. However, the scarcity of the herb became an indefinite obstacle that made this cure-all panacea limited to the elites of the society.

Cordyceps Sinensis grows wild in the Tibetan Plateau, approximately 15,000 feet above the sea level. The low oxygen levels in the extreme climate and inhospitable environment causes only the toughest and fittest of a few species survive in the harsh conditions. The survivors are usually extremely adaptable, having developed powerful defenses against the elements. Thus, the harsher the environment in which the mushroom is harvested, the higher the quality of the Cordyceps.

Harvesters of the Cordyceps consider the mushroom the “elixir of life” and to be worth “more than gold”. In the narrow window of 4 weeks between May and June during its season, expert foragers unearth less than 10 cordyceps mushroom per day. The annual harvest of the highest grade cordyceps mushrooms worldwide is barely 660 pounds, making it one of the rarest, most precious mushrooms available. Its scarcity and the nature of which the mushroom prevails explain why Cordyceps Sinensis was such an exclusive privilege of the Chinese royalty.


In the second century, B.C., the first Emperor of China used Cordyceps religiously as a tonic for longevity. The legendary Chinese beauty Yang Kue-fei (701-756A.D) also took Cordyceps regularly, crediting the mushroom as her fountain of youth. The historical use of cordyceps as an anti-aging herb in TCM dates back to 1700BC. During China’s Chin Dynasty, one emperor is said to have paid an ounce of gold for a three days’ supply of the precious fungus. Tibetan scholars wrote detailed description of Cordyceps in 15th and 18th century texts. Only in 1726, at a scientific meeting was Cordyceps introduced to Europe.

Natural Cordyceps Sinensis takes about six years to complete its life cycle and consequently, the natural product is deemed extremely rare. Due to the scarcity and high price of natural Cordyceps, researchers and scientists have long studied the reproduction of the mushroom in accessible conditions. It was not until the recent medical breakthrough, discovered by Microenvironment Control Technology Research Center of Research Institute of Tsinghua University, Zhejiang Yangtze River Delta when they founded the artificial cultivation and reproduction of the fruiting bodies of fresh Cordyceps Sinensis, was the development of Cordyceps Sinensis products possible.

While other manufacturers may choose to utilize lower grade mushrooms that are easier to harvest, it only these select, highest grade Cordyceps Sinensis carefully developed and cultured by the Microenvironment Control Technology Research Center of Research Institute of Tsinghua University that AHB uses in our nutritional supplement.
Research shows that Cordyceps is beneficial for the heart, liver and immune system. 
  • Heart disease: In clinical studies significant improvements were found in stroke volume, heartbeat, cardiac output the Cordyceps group vs. the control group.
  • Cholesterol: Cordyceps reduces the amount of "bad" LDL cholesterol and increases the amount "good" HDLcholesterol. In one study, Cordyceps lowered total cholesterol levels by over 17%.
  • Liver Disease: Cordyceps can improve symptoms and liver-cell structures dramatically. Cirrhosis cells disappeared in 70 percent of the patients.
  • Sexual dysfunction : Cordyceps can benefit both sexes who have problems involving sexual function.
  • Disorder of the immune system: Cordyceps appears to be one of the most adaptive immunomodulators.
  • Respiratory system: Cordyceps can give a significant improvement for people who are smokers, asthma, lung infection and heavy coughing.

Wild Cordyceps Versus Tissue Culture Cordyceps
Centuries ago, Cordyceps Sinensis was the miracle, cure-all panacea which was exclusive to the Chinese Emperors. This was mainly due to the exorbitant value of the herb as it could only be harvested from the high altitude of its natural habitat.

Through the years, technological advancement from modern medicine and the breakthrough of technology contributed by the study of biotechnology has made this ‘miracle’ herb accessible to all walks of life. However, as modern societies begin to practice the replication of Cordyceps Sinensis, many wonder the adverse effects of the artificially grown herb.

The first cultivation of the fruiting bodies product of was discovered by the Microenvironmental Control Technology Research Centre of Research Institute of Tsinghua University, Zhejiang Yangtze River Delta.
In a nutshell, the university founded a way to reproduce the ‘natural’ growth environment of the asexual Cordyceps Sinensis, using the correct and proper processes to obtain the same extract and nutrients as that found in wild Cordyceps Sinensis.

The years of research and scientific studies has proven that the characteristic and nutritional components of cultured Cordyceps Sinensis are the same as the wild Cordyceps Sinensis, if not higher. Additionally, studies show that it can be cultivated to produce spores which are the elite of Cordyceps Sinensis.

The cultivation process involves the replication of the growth environment of Cordyceps Sinensis. Traces of neither additives nor preservatives are detected in the fruiting bodies of the artificially cultured Cordyceps Sinensis. Like its wild genesis, the cultured Cordyceps Sinensis does not contribute to any adverse or toxic side effects. It has, however been successfully established that it is easily absorbed by the human body, enabling faster and more effective results due to its ‘miraculous’ elements.

Today, there are about 300 species of Cordyceps distributed throughout the world with almost 60 species of the wild Cordyceps Sinensis resources found in China alone. The most representative of the species which possesses the highest medicinal values are Cordyceps Sinensis and Cordyceps Militaris.


No comments:

Post a Comment