CORDYCEPS SINENSIS, AN ENTOMOPATHOGENIC FUNGUS, IS AN IMMUNITY-BOOSTING, TUMOR-SLOWING, RESPIRATORY INFECTION-FIXING, KIDNEY-AND-LIVER SOOTHING, CHOLESTEROL-LOWERING APHRODISIAC. FOR STARTERS.
The Cordyceps fungus may be the craziest medicine chest nature currently offers. This is an entomopathogenic fungus that grows at the expense of its insect host, the cordyceps "fruiting body"emerging from the eventually mummified bug as a vibrant tubule of bioactive stuff that works all kinds of wonders in the human body. Though it's anybody's guess what brave ancient soul had the nerve to actually eat this stuff for the first time, cordyceps has spent several thousand years on the Traditional Medicine Hit Paradefor everything from energy-boosting to liver repairingand has been in China's state-published pharmacoepia forever.
SELECTIVE CELL ASSASSIN
Some researchers think cordyceps comes by its anti-cancer reputation by inducing normal cell death in cells that are otherwise refusing to die (a proliferating cell scenario which very very broadly describes cancer). Though the mad replication of rogue cells as a cause of tumors was not common knowledge in ancient times (to say the least), Chinese trad medicine practitioners have used cordyceps to treat tumors for thousands of years.
A journal called Radiation Research reported that in mice, cordyceps offered measurable protection against the normally serious effects of whole body radiation therapy on the bone marrow and intestinal tract.
Research with cordyceps has reported anti-hyperglycemic effects, possibly indicating a future for natural agents as way to treat diabetes.
TAMING THE BUCKLING BRONCHIOLE
Cordyceps seems to dilate the airways in the lungs (possibly due to its anti-inflammatory properties). Common sense tells us this will result in oxygen flowing more efficiently to the bloodstream, which in turn pushes more oxygen to the body's cells. Oxygen means energy. This at least partly explains cordyceps' centuries-old reputation as a stamina-booster.
Cordyceps' work with bronchioles and oxygen flow means it helps increase tolerance for cardiac hypoxia, and helps reduce the rate of oxygen consumption, making the body anti-arrhythmic.
Cordyceps has a positive impact on the kidneys. A study involving 51 patients with chronic renal failure reported that the administration of Cordyceps Sinensis at 3 to 5g per day helped the study subjects regain function from compromised kidneys.
SEXUAL HEALING WITH WEIRD FUNGUS
A controlled study of 756 people experiencing decreased sex drive showed that the sexual function of the group who took Cordyceps improved by 64.8%. Indeed, traditional medicine has long held that cordyceps boosts sexual desire and potency.
HIPSTER FUNGUS VS HEP B
Cordyceps has been shown in studies to slow and even reverse liver fibrosis in test subjects with Hepatitus B and cirrhosis of the liver.
LIFE IS A MANY-SPLENDORED THING
AND STRANGE, YES.
Cordyceps is one of those things that takes some explaining; a parasitic fungus that attaches to a caterpillar larva, sticks some horror filaments into the bug's clockworks, and basically sucks out its life force. Yes, it's a process familiar from the movies, though typically the transaction taks place in the claustrophobic confines of a disabled spaceship. The cordyceps fungus takes all this unpleasantness and makes of it an ingestible compound that ringingly serves the human body. What do we get out of it? An Immunity-boosting, tumor-slowing, respiratory infection-fixing, kidney-and-liver healing, cholesterol-lowering aphrodisiac. For starters.
FROM LEGEND TO DESK REFERENCE
The healing cordyceps fungus is central to much Chinese legend and myth, and has been for thousands of years. Tibetan scholarship, for instance, told of a mysteriously healing half-animal, half-plant that came and went with the seasons. It wasn't until 1757 that a scientifically thorough description of the Cordyceps was undertaken by Wu-Yiluo, and included in his medical opusthe so-called Ben Cao Congxin. A compendium of natural healing published during the Qing Dynasty, Ben Cao Congxin today forms the basis of the State Pharmacopoeia of the Peoples Republic of China
CORDYCEPS - LIFE FORCE IN A FUNGUS
Cordyceps is not a fragrant little herb or a delicate, nodding blossom demurely posing in the sun. Cordyceps is an entomopathogenic parasitic fungus. "Oh, cordyceps is one of those marvelous 'parasites' that has a charming symbiotic relationship with its host!" Uh, no. Cordyceps rather rudely barges in on the larva of the Hepialidae moth, affixes itself without proper introduction and proceeds to suck the life out of the surprised (and not a little annoyed, we assume) caterpillar. Once the host has been completely mummified, the fruiting body of the cordyceps fungus presents as a vividly colored, finger-shaped structure which is then harvested for its benefits to the human machine. Madly anti-oxidant and naturally detoxifying, cordyceps is also tumor-slowing and immune system-burnishing. It is a friend to kidney health and [get this] a very popular and effective aphrodisiac for going on 4,000 years. Which may be the one consolation the fading caterpillar has as the lights go out. "At least I am surrendering my body in the name of human sexual potency, and a candlelit evening of poetry and song." [This last bit about the caterpillar's final benediction is pure speculation, of course]...
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