How does it feel?
The tincture of Cordyceps is initially sweet and mildly acrid in taste. Energetically this medicine is warm and moist in nature. The dried or powdered mushroom is similar in taste with more earthy undertones.
All around the world the actions of traditional medicines were understood by their immediate sensory impacts. Click on each of cordyceps’ key qualities below to learn more:
What can I use it for?
Cordyceps can be used to support through times of acute or chronic stress, as a mildly relaxing adaptogen (a substance that supports the body’s resilience to the damaging effects of stress). It would therefore be useful where a directly calming effect is required.
High levels of stress hormones can reduce immune function, disturb hormonal balance and metabolism.
As an adaptogen, Cordyceps helps to restore natural balance and metabolic function during times of prolonged stress, protecting the most susceptible physical systems.
A well loved tonic of the lungs, specifically for conditions where there is presence of a dry cough, excess phlegm and for asthmatics. Reducing tension in the bronchi of the lungs.
Traditionally used in cases of low libido, raising vitality and virility in both men and women. Nowadays many people use it as a supplement to enhance energy levels.
Into the heart of Cordyceps
A deeply nourishing mushroom, rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, Cordyceps packs its therapeutic punch on a number of levels.
A herbalist will usually always use a combined approach, with a number of plants that work together to create the desired effect. Cordyceps is a foundation on which a deeply regenerative medicine can be created.
In such times the stresses and demands of modern life can create disharmony in our body. Incorporating medicinal mushrooms such as Cordyceps in our daily lives, whether in capsule or tincture form, or mixed into broths, can offer huge support to our detox systems and and the systems which maintain hormonal balance, helping to reduce the risk of burnout.
Energetically Cordyceps is moist, which is reflected in its rich fatty acid content, its warmth is reflected in its ability to raise the circulation and bring cellular balance.
In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Cordyceps is esteemed as a medicine that brings harmony to the lung and kidney channels. The Kidneys and lungs are considered connected by their relationship in holding balance of air Qi. In TCM, it is believed that normal breathing requires assistance from the kidneys and that kidney disharmonies may result in respiratory problems, in particularly chronic asthma.
Known as Yartsa Gumbu in Tibet, Cordyceps has been used as a tonic for more than 500 years in both Tibet and China. A tonic for male virility, impotence and premature ejaculation are among some of the traditional applications mentioned in the Chinese Pharmacopeia.
Believed to restore vigour and promote longevity. Cordyceps is a well-known adaptogen, also used in the convalescence stages of long term illness and stress exhaustion.
In the energetic understating of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Cordyceps is used as a tonic to the kidney. The kidneys being the organ that manages elimination and blood quality, Cordyceps has been prescribed in TCM to counteract various types of anaemia, also increasing blood production and quality.
Cordyceps is also traditionally used in recovery from opium poisoning and addiction.
What practitioners say
Endocrine System: a widely used adaptogen that herbalists use to support those experiencing prolonged periods of stress, convalescence, stress exhaustion or burnout.
Adaptogenic medicines such as Cordyceps modulate our bodies responses to stress by helping to support and regulate the interconnected neuro-endocrine (neurological = brain/ endocrine = hormonal) and immune systems.
Prolonged exposure to stress hormones can reduce our immune function and our bodies ability to repair cell damage. Adaptogens are used to reduce these effects whilst lowering the physiological stress response.
Reproductive System: In male reproductive health, Cordyceps is often considered an aphrodisiac, improving libido, male impotence and increasing production of sperm. In female reproductive health, Cordyceps is sometimes used for irregular menstruation, also increasing libido.
Respiratory System: Cordyceps is used as a supportive treatment for chronic respiratory conditions. Especially in the presence of a persistent dry cough, excess phlegm and respiratory inflammation. By its action in relaxing smooth muscle of the lungs, Cordyceps is used to support those with asthma and bronchitis.
Immune System: Cordyceps can be used to modulate the function of the immune system and reduce inflammation in the body. Increasing the growth and activity of a number of important immune cells that support the bodies defence mechanism during infection and viral recovery.
Eliminatory System: Cordyceps is traditionally used to support kidney function. The kidneys role is in removing waste from the blood and maintaining mineral and fluid balance. Cordyceps is therefore traditionally used in supportive treatment for degenerative kidney disease, sometimes combined with Nettle seed and Rehmannia. A medicine which also holds therapeutic value in treatment of disease of the liver, improving its function in blood detoxification and metabolism.
Did you know?
Because of its rarity, in ancient China Cordyceps was reserved for use only by the Emperor and royal family. In China Cordyceps is used as a stuffing in a roasted duck. This preparation considered to be a delicacy, the mushroom would infuse the duck meat, which was believed to promote longevity, prevent illness and restore vitality.
Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs – may increase risk of bleeding
Testosterone drugs – may increase testosterone levels
For those with autoimmune diseases – Cordyceps may enhance immune activity
Surgery – may increase risk of bleeding
For those who are unsure, consult a Medical Herbalist or healthcare provider before using Cordyceps.
Western herbal actions are
Cordyceps has clearly been of great interest among the scientific community. A number of research papers are able to offer some clarity around the known therapeutic values of this medicine.
By the number of analytical assays to identify the active compounds present in Cordyceps. Findings confirmed that there is a strong case for the presence of antioxidant activity and potentially cytotoxin inhibitory effects. This same assay suggests a definite presence of compounds likely to be responsible for its protective effects on kidneys.
In a systematic review there was found to be extensive research into the Antitumour effects of Cordyceps. The Immunomodulatory action of this medicine is also well covered, with a large number of compounds having been isolated.
Cordyceps has also been found to have a protective effect in liver patients, including those with viral hepatitis A, chronic hepatitis B, chronic hepatitis C and hepatic fibrosis. It enhances cell immunological function, improving liver function and inhibiting hepatic fibrosis.
A randomised double blind placebo trial was carried out to evaluate the effects of Coryceps extracts on cardiopulmonary fitness and cognitive function in a group of young healthy physical education students in 2013.
To see the references used in this summary check our downloadable Expert Herbal Reality Resource pdf
Tincture (1:4, 1:5) 20 – 40 drops up to three times per day
Decoction: Add one – half a tsp of powdered mushroom or mycelium to 300ml water, decoction (simmer) for one hour. Take one or two cups a day.
- Polysaccharides -galactomannins, Cordycepic acid
- Amino acids
- Fatty acids – 31.69% oleic, 68.31% linoleic
- Sterols – Ergosterol
- Cordycepin- ergosterol