May 2, 2016

Cordyceps

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What other names is Cordyceps known by?

Caterpillar Fungus, Caterpillar Mushroom, Cs-4, Champignon Chenille, Chinese Caterpillar Fungus, Cordyceps sinensis, Dong Chong Xia Cao, Dong Chong Zia Cao, Hsia Ts'Ao Tung Ch'Ung, Ophiocordyceps sinensis, Tochukaso, Vegetable Caterpillar.

What is Cordyceps?

Cordyceps is a fungus that lives on certain caterpillars in the high mountain regions of China. Supplement makers are able to get enough of the product to sell because cordyceps will reproduce in the laboratory.

Cordyceps is used to treat coughs, chronic bronchitis, respiratory disorders, kidney disorders, nighttime urination, male sexual problems, anemia, irregular heartbeat, high cholesterol, liver disorders, dizziness, weakness, ringing in the ears, unwanted weight loss, and opium addiction.

It is also used for strengthening the immune system, improving athletic performance, reducing the effects of aging, promoting longer life, and improving liver function in people with hepatitis B.

Some people use cordyceps as a stimulant, a tonic, and an "adaptogen," which is used to increase energy, enhance stamina, and reduce fatigue.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Athletic performance. Several studies have shown that taking cordyceps (CordyMax Cs-4) or a combination of cordyceps and roseroot (Optygen) does not improve endurance in trained male cyclists.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Kidney damage caused by the drug amikracin. Early research shows that using cordyceps with the drug amikracin might reduce kidney damage caused by the drug in older people.
  • Asthma. Early research suggests that taking cordyceps alone can reduce asthma symptoms in adults. However, other early research suggests that taking cordyceps along with other herbs for 6 months does not reduce the need for medication or improve asthma symptoms in children.
  • Chemotherapy. Early evidence shows that taking cordyceps by mouth during or after chemotherapy might improve quality of life and improve tolerance to the treatments.
  • Kidney damage caused by the drug cyclosporine. There is early evidence that taking cordyceps with cyclosporine can reduce kidney damage caused by cyclosporine in people with kidney transplants.
  • Hepatitis B. Early evidence shows that taking cordyceps by mouth might improve liver function in people with hepatitis B. However, cordyceps seems to be less effective than astragalus and polygonum (fo-ti).
  • Sexual desire. Early research suggests that taking a specific cordyceps product (CordyMax Cs-4) daily for 40 days can improve sex drive in people with low sex drive.
  • Kidney transplant. Early research suggests that taking cordyceps (Bailing capsules) daily for up to 2 years together with conventional treatments does not improve survival in people who received a kidney transplant. However, taking cordyceps might reduce the need for some conventional treatments and the number of infections and other complications. Also, early research suggests that taking cordyceps (Bailing capsules) twice daily for 9 months together with the blood pressure-lowering drug enalapril improves kidney function and slow the progression of the disease in patients with declining kidney function after a transplant.
  • Promoting longevity.
  • Decreasing fatigue.
  • Cough.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Breathing disorders.
  • Male sexual dysfunction.
  • Anemia.
  • Heart arrhythmias.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Liver disorders.
  • Dizziness.
  • Weakness.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of cordyceps for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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