Cordyceps, the famous "caterpillar fungus" that feeds on the carcasses of dead moths, beetles, ants and other insects, has been honored as a healing phytotheraputic for over a thousand years. There are over 600 varieties of cordyceps, which was first recognized as a tonic when Himalayan yak hunters noted that their livestock became friskier after grazing in areas where the fungi grew. Medieval doctors used the mushroom to treat everything from infected lungs and excessive production of mucus to failing kidneys and enlarged prostates and more recently cordyceps has demonstrated anti-tumor properties and an ability to activate immune destruction of cancer cells. Cordyceps can lower cholesterol levels, support a healthy heart and liver and athletes have been known to use cordyceps supplements to improve performance and increase stamina. And, the versatile vegetable has energizing and mood boosting properties as well. Try sipping on Cordyceps tea, available on the internet and in health food stores, first thing in the morning with (or without) breakfast, for an invigorating, feel-good pick-me-up. And while you’re at it, save some of your a.m. beverage for a topical skin toner, the body’s largest organ loves cordyceps too! Try soaking a cotton ball with some cordyceps-infused liquid and gently applying to facial skin. Cordyceps’ anti-inflammatory properties make it an ideal treatment for chafing and irritation, as it inhibits enzymes that can accelerate the formation of wrinkles, has a skin brightening effect and it’s an antioxidant that can quench age-inducing free radicals. Cordyceps has humectant properties for skin softening, contains beta glucan to help heal rashes and reduce sensitivities and it may even provide you with a bit of sun protection. According to research published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, topically applied cordyceps extracts showed a “significant photoprotective effect” with an SPF of up to 25!
Facts about Cordyceps
Cordyceps is a member of the same family of fungi that give us delicious and odiferous truffles, life-saving penicillin and mind-bending LSD.
Cordyceps is expensive. It’s only found in tiny quantities growing on the bodies of dead bugs that live in high Himalayan peaks and a pound of the precious and pricey fungus can fetch up to 25 thousand dollars a pound!
Cordyceps has been called "cordysex" and its stimulating properties extend to the bedroom, it improves blood flow, up-regulates testosterone and contains a powerful aphrodisiac chemical called cordycepic acid.