is one of the most popular and widely respected herbs in the world. It has been
revered for thousands of years in the Orient, but has historically been very
rare. As a result of modern growing techniques, it is now available to everyone
at a fraction of its traditional cost. It is a truly extraordinary tonic herb.
� Cordyceps is restorative after excessive exertion.
� Cordyceps may improve physical endurance.
helps restore cellular energy levels after adapting to stress.
helps boost functions associated with the adrenal cortex that aid in the
adaptation to stress.
� Cordyceps increases respiratory capacity
� Cordyceps is an immune modulating and immune-potentiating agent.
� Cordyceps tonifies Qi.
� Cordyceps replenishes Yin and Yang Jing.
� Cordyceps is used to strengthen the body and mind.
� Cordyceps is believed in the Orient to have rejuvenation functions.
Based on the belief that Cordyceps replenishes Yin and Yang Jing, Cordyceps is believed in
the Orient to have anti-aging functions.
� Cordyceps is also a Lung* tonic.
� Cordyceps is used for the purposes of strengthening the primal Kidney*
functions, which include sexual functions, brain power, structural integrity
and healing ability, according to traditional Chinese health theory.
� Cordyceps can have a benefit in the vascular system.
� Cordyceps improves the function of the micro-circulation and improves
efficiency at the capillary level.
*When the organ name refers to the traditional Chinese concept of that
organ-function, the organ-function name is capitalized. When a name refers to
the conventional western definition of an organ, it is not capitalized.
Caterpillar Fungus and Winterworm
Number In Radiant Health
Dong Chong Xia Cao
Yang Jing and Qi.
Yang Jing and Qi.
Organ Meridian Systems
Used and Form
wild Cordyceps includes the complete fungus
(mushroom) which is attached to the forehead of the carcass of a caterpillar.
Occasionally, insects form the growth substrate instead of the more common
caterpillar. Modern fermentation type of growth includes just the fungus, and
does not include the caterpillar. The "caterpillar" has actually been
totally transformed into fungal mycelial mass by the
time the herb is collected. There is no animal matter left and therefor the herb is vegetarian.
Can be used by itself, but almost always combined with other tonic
herbs. Combine with:
1. Ginseng Root to build qi, yin and yang
2. Dang Gui to build blood and
3. Gecko and Morinda to tonify Kidney yang and yin
4. Lycium, Polygonum
and Rehmannia (steamed) to tonify
blood and Kidney and Liver yin
5. Glehnia, Donkey skin glue and Fritillary bulb for
chronic cough and asthma due to lung deficiency
Cordyceps is one of the most rare and expensive herbs in Chinese
tonic herbalism. It is primarily collected wild in the high mountainous regions
of Tibet, and on the high
peaks of Yunnan, Sichuan, and Gansu
Provinces of China. It can
also be grown in a semi-wild manner, but this Cordyceps
will be of lower quality (it is still very good). A rule of thumb---low cost Cordyceps is not wild. The wild Cordyceps
will always be the most expensive. Generally, the larger the
whole Cordyceps (caterpillar and mushroom), the more
expensive---but not always. There are occasional species of caterpillar
which are larger but not of high quality. In buying Cordyceps
you have to trust your herbalist. Fortunately, all Cordyceps
is good---it's just that some is better than others. High grade Cordyceps is light brown in color and neat. The caterpillar
should have eight pairs of legs, the four middle ones being predominant. The
mushroom, or stroma, should be slightly longer than
the larva's body and will be slightly twisted. In good quality Cordyceps, most of these stroma will be intact. Cordyceps
possesses a rich and not unpleasant flavor.
Cordyceps grows in Tibet,
and in Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces
Tibetan Cordyceps is considered to be the best. It is
highly sought after and is more expensive than that from other sources. Wild Cordyceps from Tibet is the best Cordyceps in the world. The very best Cordyceps,
the kind the emperor would want, is called "King Cordyceps."
It is graded according to size, the larger the better. Large ones command a
hefty price, in the same league with premium Ginseng and Deer Antler.
However, the difference between Tibetan Cordyceps and
or Sichuan Cordyceps is actually not that significant
so you should worry about it. However, there is a big difference between wild
and cultivated Cordyceps. They look alike, but
studies have shown that wild Cordyceps is richer in
certain components and that the proportions of components is different, which
probably makes a difference in the activity. However, cultivated Cordyceps is still a premium tonic herb, and if this is
what you can find, its still great (����). The Cordyceps most commonly found in
Chinese herb stores is cultivated. It comes in neat packages. But wild Cordyceps from Sichuan and
are readily available if you ask for it. Tibetan, however, is rare and
In the last several years, it has become possible to grow a number of fungi by
"fermentation" technology. The fungus is literally grown in large
tanks, and in just a matter of days a large quantity can be produced. The
technology has now become highly advanced and is making previously rare herbs
like Cordyceps and Ganoderma
much more accessible. Many studies indicate that the chemical nature of this
biotechnology Cordyceps is almost identical to that
of the wild variety and pharmacological and clinical studies
seems to farther confirm this. The Cordyceps
contained in most commercial products is produced by this technology.
Personally, I am a firm believer that there is something special in the wild
variety that may not be testable in a laboratory. The same holds true for wild
Ginseng, wild Ganoderma, wild Astragalus,
or the antler of wild deer, etc., when compared to their cultivated cousins. It
may be the stress the wild plant or fungus or animal had to endure which
creates some of the micro-chemistry that ultimately has subtle but profound
effects on the body and mind of the one who consumes the final herbal
substance. Though each batch may be slightly different, this is the way nature
meant herbalism to be. The advantage of the wild variety lies precisely in this
attribute---its slight variability and subtle wildness. This subtle advantage
is important to the true tonic herbalist, who expects variation both in life
and in his or her herbs.
However, the new biotechnological approach to growing Cordyceps
possesses two truly great advantages. The greatest advantage of the new
technology is that the herbal substance, in this case Cordyceps,
can be highly controlled by scientific means during its growth and
"standardized" so that every batch is virtually identical---and in a
sense, "perfect." This is very important in pharmaceutical terms
because without standardization, it is difficult or impossible to develop
drug-type standards for substances like Cordyceps.
Once an herb can be standardized, all kinds of studies can be conducted that
will be accepted by the scientific community, including our FDA. However,
standardization itself does not make a product effective,
or great or anything else. What makes a product great are its benefits and
safety, and both wild Cordyceps and cultured Cordyceps alike possess both these qualities.
The second benefit of growing Cordyceps by
fermentation technology is that it is far less expensive to grow a ton of Cordyceps in a tank in just a matter of days than it is to
collect of ton of wild Cordyceps off the dangerous
cliffs of a Tibetan and Sichuan
peak. Collecting wild Cordyceps is dangerous work,
resulting in deaths every year as collectors fall off cliffs trying to collect
this valuable treasure. True, high quality wild Cordyceps
now sells for well over a thousand dollars a pound in cities like Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York or London. The culture-grown
Cordyceps is available at a third of the cost, with
approximately the same benefits. Fermentation technology makes this substance
available to anybody who wants it, and this is great news for the world. Until
now, few people have even heard of Cordyceps because
of its rarity. In the next decade, as a result of the new fermentation
technology, Cordyceps will become known throughout
There is one more advantage, at least by some people's standard, to the new
fermentation Cordyceps. There's no worm! Wild Cordyceps, by weight, is mostly caterpillar. Americans
generally don't eat caterpillars. Certainly, even if wild Cordyceps
was readily available, most Americans would be turned off by the sight of what
is obviously a caterpillar (most people call it a "worm") or even
just the thought of it. Frankly, it doesn't matter at all. The caterpillar is
clean and healthful (it's full of protein and special nutrients). But for
vegetarians and those who simply don't want to consume caterpillars, the new
technology provides the solution. The fermentation technology does not include
the caterpillar in the growing process. The fungus is grown without the use of
animal nutrients and the result is a 100% pure "vegetarian" health
Not to be used when experiencing a fever.