Cordyceps - Tibetan Mushroom (Ophiocordyceps Sinensis) - Facts, Uses, Health Benefits, Side Effects

Facts

When they discovered Ophiocordyceps Sinensis or Tibetan mushroom on the high plateaus of Tibet, scientists didn’t know how to classify this organism, as if from another planet.

The locals said it was an animal during winter and in the summer it turns into grass, but also the fact that it cures all diseases.

It took them years of laboratory studies to determine it was a fungus, although strange but very evolved in terms of adaptation for survival.

The Tibetan mushroom, as it is called, has the unique ability to live on insects and become practically one with them, living in symbiosis with its host organisms, hence the popular belief that this “being” could turn from an animal into a grass and vice versa.

Description

Its name in Tibetan is “Yartsa Gunbu”, meaning: ”summer-grass, winter-worm”, referring to the fact that during winter the fungus lives invisible on the insect-host underground, and in the summer it develops an organ of fructification, which rises above the earth, like grass.

It is never seen below 4,000 meters, as it grows only at very high altitudes, above the limit where forest vegetation grows. European scientists who first found it in Tibet have named it Cordyceps.

About 300 mushroom species of the genus Cordyceps have been discovered so far in Asia (Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, the mountainous area of India), almost all living on insects and rarely on plants, but apparently, the Tibetan version has the strongest qualities.

In an ancient Chinese writing, during the Tang dynasty, this mushroom is first described as an amplifier of Yang (masculine) energy, but also a powerful incentive of kidney and lung meridians.

It was brought with great sacrifices from the foot of the Himalayas and was the remedy administered to aristocrats, to prolong their lives and to cure serious diseases.

Modern science has just started to learn about the therapeutic virtues of this mushroom. We should be grateful to dozens of teams of Chinese scientists for these findings, as they have studied in hospitals and laboratories for years to decipher the mysteries of the mushroom brought from Tibet.

Cordyceps uses and health benefits

It is a mushroom that has a highly effective therapeutic action. There isn’t just one single active principle to explain its antitumoral, immunostimulatory and immunomodulatory actions and, as such, obtaining semi-synthesis medicine from the Ophiocordyceps Sinensis is not desired, because the whole extract is much more efficient.

The healing substances act concurrently and their therapeutic effects occur somewhat slower, but then maintaining even after the cessation of treatment.

Powder

It is obtained by grinding the plant’s organ of fructification, the powder is then packaged as a capsule. Usually, 3-4 grams of powder is the daily amount, for a minimum of two months treatment. The problem is that this powder – very rich in bacteria and other microorganisms – must be sterilized.

The process of sterilization is done either at high temperatures or by exposure to ultraviolet rays, both methods massively destroying the active principles of the mushroom.

Then, the doses used for obtaining therapeutic effects are quite high, which would mean taking handfuls of capsules. How can these problems be solved? The solution is this mushroom extract.

Extract

It is obtained by putting the mushroom into alcohol, which on the one hand will destroy any harmful microorganisms, and on the other hand, will extract valuable active substances.

Then, by a complete evaporation of the alcohol, a fine powder is obtained, that is extremely rich in complex active principles and perfectly assimilated by the human body: the Ophiocordyceps Sinensis extract.

According to ancient recipes, this extract is mixed in equal proportions with turmeric (Curcuma longa), resulting in a product with remarkable efficiency.

Cancer

A very interesting fact was revealed in biology: parasitic plants are great specialists in secreting substances meant to destroy malignant tumors, which ultimately are some kind of … parasites, although extremely dangerous ones.

Mistletoe or dodder, for example, are two parasitic plants with one of the most powerful antitumoral effect of the European flora. Apparently, this mushroom is a specialist in the parasitization process of animals and seems to know better than anyone how to effectively fight an invading tumor. Here are some forms of cancer, in which the mushroom’s effectiveness has been proven:

Colon and rectal cancer 

research from 2007 of the Chinese scientists shows that two active ingredients, cordycepin, and cordycepin acid, inhibit the growth of tumors in the colon. In combination with turmeric, the effectiveness of these active ingredients enhances, blocking vascularization of tumors in the intestine.

Breast cancer – a Japanese study from 2008 shows that administration of Cordyceps extract stimulates the immune system to fight breast tumors, causing them to go into remission.

Lung cancer – two studies, from 1999 and 2007, demonstrate that the active substances of the Tibetan mushroom trigger the so-called apoptosis, i.e., programmed death of malignant cells in the lungs.

Skin cancer – an experiment on animals with malignant melanoma (the most aggressive form of skin cancer) shows a double action of the Cordyceps extract: it inhibits the growth of melanoma and prevents its metastasis within the body. In combination with turmeric, its effect is even stronger, curcumin preventing the relapse of melanoma after it went into remission.

Prostate cancer – its development is stopped in many cases, after 24 weeks of treatment with Tibetan mushroom extract.

Other forms of cancer, in which the positive effect of the mushroom has been proven, include – liver cancer, cervical cancer, malignant lymphoma, oral cancer, gastric cancer, leukemia, etc.

It can also be used before the onset of the disease. For prevention, it is recommended to take 600 milligrams of an extract from this mushroom daily, in the course of three months, followed by 3-6 months break. For treating already installed cancer, take 1200 mg of Cordyceps extract, in the course of 6 months, followed by 1-2 months break, then resume administration.

About chemotherapy

A study carried out simultaneously in China and Japan, on lung cancer patients in stages 3 and 4, showed that this mushroom potentiates antitumoral effects of chemotherapy. Of the 50 patients with lung cancer who were receiving chemotherapy and who participated in the study, 46% went into remission of tumors, and 22% of them registered a drop in the growth rate or even a surcease of development.

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Another study of experimental medicine has demonstrated something very important: combats side effects of cytostatics. For example, it was noticed that it stimulates the recovery of immune cells, destroyed by cytostatics used to treat breast cancer, thereby improving the body’s defense ability against microbes and cancer.

Increased immunity

Countless scientific research shows that a several weeks treatment with Tibetan mushroom extract helps improve the body’s defense ability. 800 milligrams of the extract is administered daily, on an empty stomach, for four weeks. This increases the defense ability against respiratory virosis, and also the efficiency of antibiotic treatments used to treat pneumonia, tuberculosis and urinary tract infections.

In addition, this mushroom combats immunity-lowering effects occurring due to the use of certain synthetic drugs, such as cortisone and its derivatives, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, cytostatics, certain antibiotics. Amazingly, this powerful immunostimulant is not contraindicated in autoimmune or allergic diseases, on the contrary.

The immunomodulatory effects of this remedy are so good that hospitals in China use it to help the patients’ body receive the kidney transplantation better.

Respiratory disorders

Medical practice has revealed that the evolution of chronic bronchitis towards asthma is stopped when administered this mushroom, and respiratory infections resistant to antibiotics respond better to treatment.

In a group of asthma patients, treated with the Cordyceps extract, the percentage of disease improvement (objectified by specific tests) was over 80%, compared to only 10% of patients treated with conventional synthetic drugs.

Interestingly, this mushroom also stimulates cellular respiration, research showing that after its administration, cell oxygenation increases with 20-40% – an unprecedented rate. Treatment is recommended for a minimum of 6 weeks while taking 800-1200 mg of Cordyceps extract daily.

Kidney disease

It is an excellent defender of the kidneys, as it protects them from infections, side effects of foods containing chemical additives (nitrites, nitrates, phosphates) and side effects of certain drugs (kanamycin, gentamicin, some antivirals etc.).

As such, people with a predisposition to kidney problems, such as infections, stone formation or cysts, should follow a one month treatment, taking one gram daily, on an empty stomach.

This treatment is also recommended to people whose ability to dispose of waste products from the body is deficient (urea and creatinine values in the blood are above normal). Following this cure, the elimination of urea and creatinine via urine increases by about 35%, thereby the body is quickly relieved of toxins.

Male fertility

A series of clinical studies in three different hospitals from China have observed the effects of internal treatment with this mushroom in men with sexual disorders, such as – low libido, loss of erection, oligospermia. 200 men were included in the 8-week studies, and at the end, 64% of participants have noticed definite improvements, compared to only 24% in the control group (which took false remedies, placebo).

A different study conducted by a clinic from Shanghai, which included 400 completely impotent men, has also registered improvements, this time at a rate of about 50%. On the one hand, it seems that the Tibetan mushroom extract stimulates endocrine and exocrine secretion of testicles, and on the other hand, it reduces reactivity to psychological stress, which helps improve sex life and fertility in men.

Cardiovascular disease

Cordyceps is a great adjuvant for heart and blood vessels, preventing infarction, stroke, and arthritis. One gram of this mushroom extract, administered daily, helps lower cholesterol by 15% on average and triglycerides by almost 12%. Last, but not least, this extract stimulates heart’s activity, which means a better stamina and prevention of myocardial infarction.

For this reason, administration of Tibetan mushroom is part of the Chinese athletes’ standard preparation for the Olympics. This might be an explanation for the extraordinary success achieved in athletics, in recent years.

Liver and hepatitis

A group of 83 children aged between 2 and 15, infected with hepatitis B, was treated with mushroom extract, for three months. At the end of the cure, the results were startling: 33 of them no longer had the specific antigen of the virus in their blood, and 50 of them, although had the virus, they didn’t show any symptoms of hepatitis, even a year after the end of treatment.

For hepatitis C, the results are less spectacular but, according to researchers at the University of Michigan, the Tibetan mushroom is one of the few remedies that prevents progress to cirrhosis and liver fibrosis, while supporting the liver’s functions.

In patients with cirrhosis, the effects were verified in a small study with 22 participants. After 3 months of treatment, 16 of them no longer showed clinical symptoms of cirrhosis, results confirmed by imagistic analyses as well.

It is a reliable aid even in cases of liver cancer, improving the overall condition of the patient. The treatment lasts for 3 months, followed by a one month break, then it must be resumed. During the treatment, take 1200-1600 milligrams of mushroom extract or, even better, in combination with turmeric, which enhances and completes the effects.

Precautions

The most important aspect is to use quality Tibetan mushroom. Remember that the extract is the most effective! Then, don’t confuse this mushroom with yeast and bacteria mixture that grows in tea and is sometimes improperly called Tibetan mushroom; it is actually Kombucha, which doesn’t have the same effects. As such, when you purchase this product be sure that Cordyceps, its scientific name, is written on the label.

Side effects of Tibetan mushroom (Ophiocordyceps Sinensis)

Although it’s such a strong remedy, this mushroom is almost devoid of side effects. There were seldom symptoms during administration, such as nausea, vomiting, and rapid heart rate, in which case the treatment will be ceased.

Its effects on pregnant women and nursing mothers are still not very well known.

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