You may have be familiar with medicinal mushrooms like reishi and chaga, but have you heard of cordycep mushrooms?
Cordyceps aren’t technically the same as most other medicinal mushrooms and are instead classified as a powerful form of fungus.
Cordyceps sinensis, also known as Dong Chong Xia Cao, is one of the most valued tonic herbs in traditional Chinese herbal medicine; it has a reputation for being “a precious longevity-promoting herb.”
Cordycep fungus is parasitic in nature because it grows on a type of caterpillar and then winds up eating its own host! The base of the mushroom forms from the insect’s larva and is dark brown to black, attaching itself to the organism and growing about six inches long. Once it fully matures, cordyceps actually consume more than 90 percent of the infected insect. They then swell up and enlarge to become about 300–500 milligrams in weight.
Slight weird eh?
Some of the benefits of cordyceps are:
Fight free radicals
Increase energy levels, reduce fatigue
Improve stamina and athletic performance
Act like a natural aphrodisiac
Remedy chronic respiratory illness
In TCM, cordyceps are classified as a yang tonic. Simply put – they warm the body, promote healthy function and movement of many systems in the body.
With most herbs that tonify the yang, long term use would not be prescribed.
However, cordyceps are a mild yang tonic and also have the function of nourishing the yin (which will provide a balanced tonifying function). This means that they can be taken long term to receive the most benefit.
My preferred method to consume cordyceps is in tablet form, blended with coffee or as a coffee substitute.
Check out the links below and enjoy!