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Although Cordyceps sinensisis 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
Typical traditional recommended doses of cordyceps range from 5-10 grams per day. Concentrated extracts are also available, taken at a lower dosage.
- Pegler DN, Yao YJ, Li Y. The Chinese ‘caterpillar fungus’. The Mycologist. 1994;8:3-5.