What is Cordyceps?
Cordyceps Sinensis, sometimes known as Chinese caterpillar fungus, vegetable caterpillar, semitake, dong chong xia cao, or yarsha gumba, is a parasitic fungus that has deep roots in traditional Chinese medicine, though it is only in recent years that it has gained appreciation in the West. It grows exclusively at high altitudes, and is native to the Himalayas, where it infects the larvae of a particular species of ghost moth, growing and mummifying the insect before it works its way above ground. While most people refer to cordyceps as a mushroom, it is actually a different class of fungi altogether – an Ascomycetes, or sac fungi, similar in some ways to brewer’s yeast, morels and truffles. Though it is indigenous to Asia, it has been successfully cultivated in the West, producing a fungus with the identical chemical components. The cordyceps we use in our FCR formulation is certified USDA organic, grown in the Pacific Northwest state of Oregon.
What Does Cordyceps Do?
Known for its ability to increase energy levels, fight disease, and ease the symptoms of respiratory disorders, cordyceps has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and other healing properties that have been proven to protect the body against cell mutations. This action is of particular importance in the context of tumor reduction, as well as in repairing liver and renal damage, lending it great potential as a preventative cancer treatment, as well as an important support during the course of cancer treatment.
Other known actions of cordyceps include:
- Athletic endurance/stamina
- Treatment for erectile dysfunction
- Aphrodisiac (it is also known as the Himalayan Viagra)
- Eases the symptoms of coughs and colds
- Regulate blood glucose levels
- Balance hormone levels during menopause
- Improves and reduces cholesterol levels
- Appetite stimulant
- Lessens the instance of transplant rejection
Cordyceps’ benefits can be attributed to its three main constituents:
Sterols: as they sound, sterols are of the steroid family, and are known to reduce inflammation, reduce cholesterol, protect against heart disease, and inhibit the growth of tumors.
Polysaccharides: complex carbohydrates that have been proven to have a stabilizing effect on blood pressure, and stimulate the immune system.
Nucleosides: organic compounds that are the building blocks of RNA and DNA. Nucleosides and nucleoside analogues are often used as components of chemotherapy in the treatment of cancer, as well as in the treatment of auto-immune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and multiple sclerosis (MS).
There is evidence of cordyceps use in Chinese and Ayurveda (Indian) medicine dating back thousands of years. In the regions from which it originates, it is a staple of the daily diet, resulting in entire races of people who are incredibly long-lived, free of heart disease, diabetes, and other “common” afflictions. These people also heal faster, and are rarely affected by colds, flu, asthma, cancers, or tuberculosis. Though this could be a coincidence, it likely isn’t. True, people who live in the Himalayas and high altitude regions of Asia are less exposed to environmental toxins, and have a much lower stress level than those of us in North America, but their traditional diet and medicines can still tell us a great deal about why they live longer, stronger, and healthier lives.
Cordyceps and Cancer
Many studies have proven cordyceps to be highly effective in the inhibition of cancerous tumors, and limiting the progression of existing cancers. There are several possible reasons for this, and could be directly related to its ability to strengthen the immune system, though there are several other factors at play, including:
- The disruption of protein synthesis of cancer cells
- Inhibits the formation of new blood cells
- Inhibits cell mutation
- Inhibits the survival of tumor-producing viruses
- Induces programmed cell death (tumorcelapoptose)
The very presence of nucleosides in cordyceps and cordyceps powder is evidence of its potential as an anti-cancer aid. Benefits can be realized when cordyceps is used prophylactically – in other words, to protect against or prevent cancer – as well as through any stage of the disease to inhibit tumor growth, and to ease the adverse symptoms of chemotherapy. Many of its beneficial qualities counteract the discomfort and negative effects of chemotherapy, helping to restore energy, appetite, and lighten the mood.
Cordyceps Contraindications and Side Effects
Though there has not been a great deal of research into cordyceps use during pregnancy and breast feeding, it should probably be avoided in these instances. Cordyceps also has blood-thinning properties, which, while a positive for preventing heart disease and stroke, will inhibit blood clotting and may increase the risk of bleeding for those with bleeding disorders. With this in mind, cordyceps should be avoided for at least two weeks prior to surgery, and for some time afterwards to support incision healing. If you suffer from an auto-immune disease, it is possible that cordyceps will activate an immune response and intensify the symptoms of RA, MS, psoriasis, lupus, or any other immune disorder.
Cordyceps is not recommended for sufferers of myelogenous cancers like AML or CML. If you take medication to lower blood-glucose levels, you should exercise caution as cordyceps will lower blood-glucose even further; the same care should be taken if you take blood thinners. If you take medications to suppress the immune system, or steroids such as prednisone, or corticosteroids, taking cordyceps is not recommended, as it will stimulate the immune response and may negate the effects of the medication.
Certified Organic Cordyceps and FCR
Our cordyceps is delivered in a proprietary formulation. Combined with fucoidan and reishi mushroom, FCR provides health benefits that some have deemed miraculous. The quality and purity of our ingredients is backed by the highest regulatory standards, from the natural raw materials to the method of extraction, to the processing and packaging. It’s a three-in-one supplement that could make all the difference to your wellbeing.
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