Cordyceps, also known as “the mushroom of energy” is also known as the “Caterpillar fungus”’ as it is the only mushroom to parasitise insects.
The sinensis form grows out of the heads of dead caterpillars in the wild, but it can be more commonly cultivated now in the militaris form, which can be used in supplementation as it is easier to cultivate.
Cordyceps sinensis is native to the cold grassy alpine marshlands of the mountainous regions of China and Tibet, but it can be found growing elsewhere, and is now cultivated worldwide.
Like the sinensis form, militaris grows out of the pupae of insects (silkworms) in the wild. They usually look like little orange clubs growing out of the ground, but are actually growing out of pupae that are dead under the ground.
There are actually hundreds of different species of Cordyceps worldwide, mostly growing parasitically out of insect hosts, which is unique in the mushroom world.
As the sinensis form is rare and expensive to source, it is also used as a status symbol - but let’s take a deep dive into why this mushroom is so heavily sought after!
WHAT ARE CORDYCEPS MUSHROOMS USED FOR?
Both forms of cordyceps have been used in China for food and medicine for millennia.
It was mostly considered to be a strengthening tonic, but was also used to treat the elderly to help improve brain function, increase resistance to fatigue whilst increasing oxygen uptake and aerobic capacity – Making it a useful supplement in both senior pets, and working or performance pets for extra support.
BENEFITS OF CORDYCEPS
Today, a wealth of studies have been done on this mushroom and its list of properties have expanded to include:
● Antioxidant – neutralise free radicals produced by oxidation, which can damage cells
● Adaptogen – helps the body to adapt to stress
● Nervine – has a beneficial influence on the nervous system, either through relaxation or tonic effects.
● Modulate the immune system and hormones to encourage normal function, where it might be over or under functioning and causing disease.
● Support healthy ageing and prevents early senility, and speeds up recovery
Multi-organ support, as well as build bone marrow.
● Protecting the liver and kidneys from damage, and supports healthy detoxification
● Lowering cholesterol, lipid and blood glucose levels
Once again it is mind blowing that one tiny funghi has the ability to create such a wide range of beneficial effects in both humans and animals, and the wealth of scientific studies to support this only continues to grow!