• ]]>Cancer Prevention]]>, ]]>Diabetes]]>, ]]>Fatigue]]>, ]]>High Blood Pressure]]>, ]]>High Cholesterol]]>, ]]>Immune Support]]>, Kidney Protection, ]]>Liver Support]]>, ]]>Lupus]]>, ]]>Male Sexual Dysfunction]]>, ]]>Sports Performance]]>, ]]>Viral Hepatitis]]>, And Many Others
Although Cordyceps sinensis is often described as an herb, it’s actually a combination of a parasitic fungus and the larvae of a moth (a caterpillar). The fungus attacks the caterpillar and destroys it from within. The remaining structures of the caterpillar along with the fungus are dried and sold as cordyceps.
Cordyceps has a long history of use in China as a “tonic,” a substance said to generally strengthen the body, particularly following illness. It was also used to treat bronchitis, kidney failure, and tuberculosis. ]]>1]]>
What Is Cordyceps Used for Today?
Cordyceps is widely marketed today as treatment for many conditions. However, there is no reliable scientific evidence that it actually provides any medical benefits.
Most research on cordyceps was done in China and is not up to modern scientific standards. In general, double-blind]]> , placebo-controlled studies are the most reliable form of evidence. (For information on the reasons why, see ]]>Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies?]]> ) However, such studies have to be performed and reported according to certain standards. Although several double-blind studies have been reported on cordyceps, they all fall considerably short of the level necessary for scientific validity. These somewhat dubious double-blind trials hint that cordyceps might be helpful for reducing ]]>high cholesterol]]>]]>2]]> and improving ]]>male sexual function]]> . ]]>3,4]]>
Weak evidence hints that cordyceps may modulate the immune system, which means that it stimulates some aspects of the immune system while suppressing others. ]]>8-13]]>
Highly preliminary ]]>test-tube]]> and ]]>animal studies]]> hint that cordyceps may help fight ]]>stress]]> , ]]>19]]> control blood sugar levels (potentially making it useful in ]]>diabetes]]> ), ]]>20-22]]>]]>reduce cancer risk]]> , ]]>23]]> lower ]]>high blood pressure]]> , ]]>24]]> and help protect the kidney against damage caused by the drugs ]]>cyclosporin]]> and ]]>gentamycin]]> . ]]>25-27]]>
Other test-tube studies hint that cordyceps may stimulate production of hormones, such as cortisone and testosterone. ]]>28-33]]> However, contrary to what some websites say, these studies are far too preliminary to indicate any therapeutic hormonal effect.
Typical traditional recommended doses of cordyceps range from 5-10 grams per day. Concentrated extracts are also available, taken at a lower dosage.
Use of cordyceps does not generally cause apparent side effects. However, comprehensive safety studies have not been reported. In addition, there are two case reports in which cordyceps products contained enough lead to cause lead poisoning. 34]]> Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
7. Colson SN, Wyatt FB, Johnston DL, et al. Cordyceps sinensis and Rhodiola rosea -based supplementation in male cyclists and its effect on muscle tissue oxygen saturation. J Strength Cond Res . 2005;19:358-63.
8. Chen DM, Zhang SL, Li ZN, Cheng ZQ, Liu XP. Effect of natural cordyceps and the cultured mycelia of Cordyceps sinensis on murine immune organs and functions of mononuclear phagocyte system. Chin J lntegr Trad West Med . 1985;5:4241.
10. Koh JH, Yu KW, Suh HJ, Choi YM, Ahn TS. Activation of macrophages and the intestinal immune system by an orally administered decoction from cultured mycelia of Cordyceps sinensis . Biosci BiotechnolBiochem . 2002;66:407-411.
20. Kiho T, Ookubo K, Usui S, Ukai S, Hirano K. Structural features and hypoglycemic activity of a polysaccharide (CS-F10) from the cultured mycelium of Cordyceps sinensis . Biol Pharm Bull . 1999;22:966-970.
22. Kiho T, Ookubo K, Usui S, Ukai S, Hirano K. Structural features and hypoglycemic activity of a polysaccharide (CS-F10) from the cultured mycelium of Cordyceps sinensis . Biol Pharm Bull . 1999;22:966-970.
33. Wang SM, Lee LJ, Lin WW, Chang CM. Effects of a water-soluble extract of Cordyceps sinensis on steroidogenesis and capsular morphology of lipid droplets in cultured rat adrenocortical cells. J Cell Biochem . 1998;69:483-489.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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