One commodity that has sharply shot up to the price of gold over the years is the Caterpillar fungus.
Its numerous medicinal benefits have made it one of the most valuable exports and it generates a substantial proportion of the regional gross domestic product in China.
In the early 1757 AD, the Ophiocordyceps Sinensis (Chinese Caterpillar fungus) made its first appearance
in the traditional city of Qinghai-Tibetan plateau in southwestern China.
Initially, the Chinese thought that the caterpillar fungus were worms but after years of thorough study and research, they discovered that the fungus was not a worm but rather a fruiting body bored by the fungus, (Cordyceps Sinensis), on dead caterpillars.
How does this happen?
When a caterpillar dies, the fungus produces a stalked fruiting body that produces spores.
These Spores grow inside the caterpillars filling the caterpillar with hyphae.
The spores are then spread into the wind to the next generation of caterpillars.
Cordyceps Sinensis is found mostly in high-altitude regions and is one of the most valued Chinese medicinal herbs. Historically, cordyceps were primarily used in Traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine to improve energy and sleep patterns and increase appetite and stamina with immune-modulating benefits.
Cordyceps has also been found to support kidney function, heart health, energy, anti-ageing, and brain health, and has many immunomodulatory and antioxidant benefits.
- Kidney Function: Cordyceps contain antioxidants and immunostimulant properties that boost kidney function.
- Heart Health: Research has proven that fungi can significantly reduce the regulating levels of metabolic dysfunction in order to support heart health and as well improve blood circulation.
- Anti-Ageing: Cordyceps extract helps to support brain health and improve memory. The antioxidants contained in these fungi help increase energy and fight fatigue that may occur as you get older.
- Athletes also use them for an extra boost of energy. It has also been proven that Cordyceps have extraordinary clinical health effects on cardiovascular and respiratory health.
Side effect: Cordyceps, when taken in excess, might cause mild side effects such as diarrhoea, constipation, and stomach discomfort.
Contraindication: Cordyceps is contraindicated in cases of Auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions.
When cordyceps is taken orally, it might cause the immune system to become more active. Thereby increasing the symptoms of auto-immune diseases.
The medicinal fungi are also contraindicated in pregnancy or breastfeeding as sufficient information has not been gathered to support their safety in both cases.