Cordyceps is a centuries-old Chinese herb that in ancient times was very rare and reserved only for dignitaries and wealthy people. A classical 17th century medical text by a master Chinese druggist stated that Cordyceps was even more powerful than Ginseng or Reishi when it comes to treating a wide variety of health problems.
Cordyceps has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to treat fatigue and other ailments for over 1500 years. Of the twelve strains of Cordyceps grown in China, the Cordyceps Sinensis is the most potent and famous strain. Wild Cordyceps Sinensis grows high in the Tibetan plateau at elevations over 13,000 feet and in very small quantities. It sells for around $1000 per kg (US).
About twenty years ago, the Chinese Medicine and Science Academy began research that lead to the development of a technique for producing a significant strain of Cordyceps Sinensis in a laboratory environment. Using fermentation technology, Cordyceps Sinensis is now produced in large quantities at a very reasonable cost with the same medicinal properties as wild Cordyceps.
Since the early 1990s, Cordyceps has become more widely known for its ability to increase physical stamina. In 1993, at the World Track & Field Meeting in Stuttgart Germany, China's Wang Junxia broke the world record in the 10,000 meter race by an astounding 40 seconds at 29 minutes and 31.78 seconds. Since then she has broken several world records in distance races. She performed so well that officials suggested she might have been using illegal steroids. But testing proved she wasn't using illegal substances. She attributed her success to rigorous training and a special herbal drink she took after each training session. Her secret - Cordyceps Sinensis!
Cordyceps contains many amino acids, minerals, vitamins, trace elements and its own unique active compounds such as adenosine, cordycepic acid, and polysaccharides. Adenosine is an energy carrier that helps support the transfer of energy throughout the body. Cordycepic acid seems to improve circulation. The polysaccharides help boost the immune system.
Modern researchers have found that Cordyceps seems to help improve respiratory and heart functions, reduce kidney and liver conditions, support the immune system, increase energy levels, and enhance sexual function. Also, Cordyceps may have a positive effect on memory, appetite, and sleep patterns.
Cordyceps is a unique nutritional herb that has been used for many centuries in China, Japan, and other Asian countries. From a nutritional viewpoint, Cordyceps is a well-balanced nutritious whole food. Each vegetarian capsule contains 500 mg of Cordyceps Sinensis and 20 mg of Lipase.
An article published in the May 2001 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise documents the results of a double-blind study conducted on 30 male athletes. In the study, athletes were given a daily dose of a placebo or 4.5 g. of Cordyceps. During the study, the athletes maintained their same exercise routine. After six weeks, the oxygen intake of the athletes taking Cordyceps was almost double that of the placebo group. This additional oxygen intake helped the athletes exercise more efficiently. In May 1999, another article published in the same journal reported on the results of a study with 30 healthy elderly Chinese. The subjects were given either a placebo or 3 g. of Cordyceps every day. At the end of six weeks, the Cordyceps group exhibited a 9% increase in aerobic capacity, which researchers believe produced higher energy levels. The placebo group saw no change in their energy level.
An article published in the Chinese Journal o Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine in 1992 reported that Natural Killer (NK) cell activity was greatly enhanced for patients taking Cordyceps. Normal patients experienced a 74% increase in NK cell activity and in leukemia patients NK cell activity increased by 400%. This increase in NK cell activity is helpful for boosting the immune system. The level of the NK cells determines how well the body can fight infections and diseases.
The anti-aging attributes of Cordyceps were reported in a placebo-controlled clinical study in the Journal of Applied Traditional Chinese Medicine. In this study, elderly patients suffering from fatigue and senility related symptoms showed significant improvement after taking Cordyceps Sinensis for 30 days. They reported a 92% reduction in fatigue, an 83% reduction in dizziness, and an 89% reduction in cold tolerance. There was no change reported in the placebo group.
In three separate double blind, placebo-controlled studies done in China, male participants with reduced libido and other sexual problems were given either 3 g. of Cordyceps Sinensis per day for 40 days or a placebo. At the end of the study, the placebo group reported a 24% improvement in their sex drive. The Cordyceps group experienced a 64% improvement.
The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, December 2005 issue, published a Chinese study suggesting that the polysaccharides in Cordyceps had antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies conducted by the Chinese government show that Cordyceps seems to help 1) promote more restful sleep, 2) enhance stamina and endurance, 3) boost mental clarity, 4) fight free radical damage and signs of premature aging, 5) maintain healthy blood pressure, 6) improve resistance to colds and flu, 7) effectively manage stress, and 8) improve sexual function.
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