Latin: Cordyceps sinensis
Chinese: Dong chong xia cao
English: Winter Worm Summer Flower
WHAT IT DOES: Cordyceps mushroom is sweet and bland in taste, and warming in action. It strengthens immunity and fortifies and heals the lungs, heart and kidneys. Used as a tonic for weakness in the elderly and to promote longevity.
SAFETY ISSUES: None known
STARTING DOSAGE: dried powder or tincture
• Dried powder: two grams two to three times per day
• 1:5 tincture: 10-15 drops two to three times per day
Winter worm summer flower is the direct translation from Chinese of this amazing mushroom that grows out of caterpillar larvae in the Himalayas. TCM doctors use it medicinally to treat chronic cough, wheezing from deficiency, emphysema, and consumptive cough. Because it tonifies both Yin and Yang, it is very safe and can be taken over a long period of time to stimulate endocrine function, reduce fatigue and calm nervousness. Cordyceps was reportedly used at the Olympics by Chinese women’s track and field teams to enhance performance when they went on to set nine world-records.
From the scientific point of view, attention has focused on Chaga’s immune-enhancing and cancer-fighting properties. At our clinic, we find cordyceps most useful for treating lung and kidney weakness of any variety. We also use it with other medicinal mushrooms after cancer therapy to strengthen the immune system. Although it is clear that similar nutrients in most medicinal mushrooms are generally found to stimulate immunity, it is also obvious that various mushrooms have different actions when given to living beings.
• Cordyceps, like many other medicinal mushrooms, contains complex sugars (especially beta 1,3 glucan) and other nutrients (nucleosides, triterpeniods) which seem to strongly nourish and activate various components of the immune system, useful in treating cancer, chronic fatigue and other immune disorders (Borchers et al., 1999; Nakamura et al., 1999).
• It also seems to have value in treating nephritis (Lin et al., 1999; Li et al., 1996)
• Cordyceps may help the immune system recognize tumors that otherwise might escape immune surveillance (Chiu et al., 1998).
• Other benefits include positive effects on the cardiovascular and nervous systems, and an anti-aging effect (Zhu et al. 1998).