There are many Chinese legends about Cordyceps sinensis and myths out there about the characteristics and power of the Caterpillar Fungus. However, it seems to be consistently known that it was first discovered in China, most likely around 620 AD. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicines as a source to cure everything from cancer to sexual dysfunctions in both male and females. It was used in ancient China in the Emperor’s place for strengthening the body, aches, and illnesses. A few hundred years later, higher Chinese beauties used it as an ingredient in a fountain of youth to limit aging characteristics of their bodies. For quite some time they thought that this fungus was really a worm, because it simply resembled the shape of one. However, years of study proved otherwise. Either way, it is believed to have been used since a thousand years ago by either being ground into a powder or mixed.
Some people believe Cordyceps sinensis cures coughing, anemia, back and knee pains while increasing strength even after a long injury. It contains all of the essential amino acids and is also known to be used for fatigue, cancer treatment, kidney enhancement, respiratory treatment, heartbeat stabilizer, cholesterol reduction, HIV infection treatment in Africa, cholesterol stabilizer, and many other vital life symptoms.
In traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine, Chinese caterpillar mushroom is considered invigorating and aphrodisiac. After China’s success in the 1992 Summer Olympics, Chinese athletes claimed to have taken Chinese caterpillar mushroom beforehand. It is also used to treat lung, liver, kidney, and cardiovascular ailments, as well as back pain.
Various types of cancer, various viral diseases, cholesterol regulation, increased libido, menstrual discomfort, stimulation of the immune system, infections, insomnia, blood formation, aphrodisiac effect, night sweats, rheumatism, reduction of joint and muscle pain, improvement of metabolism.
Chinese caterpillar fungus has probably been collected and used for at least 1,000 years. The first mention of the mushroom in traditional Tibetan medicine is in the 15th century by the physician Surkhar Nyamnyi Dorje (1439-1475). In traditional Chinese medicine, it is first recorded in 1694 by Wang Ang.In the literature of the Western world, the first record is in 1736 by the Jesuit priest Jean-Baptiste Du Halde, who was treated with the mushroom by an imperial physician. Trade of the Chinese caterpillar fungus between Tibet and China dates back to at least the 17th century. It was used by the Tibetans as a barter item for tea and silk. To some extent, the mushroom still serves as currency today.
Today, Cordyceps sinensis is prized especially in the People’s Republic of China and other parts of East Asia. It has become a sign of prosperity and is often used as a gift. In addition, it has become a culinary status symbol in China, especially important during Chinese New Year. In addition, the mushroom is also sought after in Japan and Korea. On the western markets, the Chinese caterpillar fungus in unprocessed form is not yet widespread. The products offered are mostly pills, from the mycelium of the mushroom, which is artificially cultivated.
Due to the lucrative source of income for the collectors of the Chinese caterpillar fungus, profound changes in the social and economic conditions in the region took place in the last 15 years. The income favors access to medical care, education, transportation (especially motorcycles), consumer goods, and bank loans. In addition, goods and services within the rural population are increasingly paid for through cash rather than barter, for example. In particular, residents in the core area of the Chinese caterpillar fungus distribution range are now heavily dependent on income from collection activities.