What Is Cordyceps Fungus? Did The Chinese Army Intrude Into Indian Territory To Find It? Find Out About The Usage, Location, And Other Details Here!
The well-known Traditional Chinese Medicine Cordyceps has been used for centuries to treat many health ailments and this herbal drug seems to be at the heart of recently attempted forays into Indian territory by the Chinese Army.
Cordyceps is thought to be more expensive than gold in China. Though experts remain skeptical about its health benefits, it remains in high demand among the Chinese who use it to treat everything from kidney disorders to impotence
Though the Cordyceps fungi may show promise in many areas there’s little to no research on their effects in humans as there is no current consensus on the dosage people should take to reap its potential health benefits, or how safe it is.
What is the Cordyceps Fungus?
- Cordyceps, with the scientific name Cordyceps Sinensis, is a unique combination of a caterpillar and fungus.
- Popularly known as caterpillar fungus or Himalayan Gold, Cordyceps is an expensive herbal drug, as per the Indo-Pacific Centre for Strategic Communications (IPCSC).
- The term Cordyceps is coined from the Latin words meaning club and head.
- It is Brown in color and can be up to two inches in length.
- The fungus can consume more than 90 percent of the infected insect as it is Parasitic in nature.
- The cordyceps weighs around 300 to 500 mg.
Cordyceps Fungus: Where is it found?
- Mainly found in the Indian Himalayas and at higher altitudes of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau in southwestern China,
- The Cordyceps is also found at altitudes above 4500m in Sikkim.
- Other parts of India, Nepal, and Bhutan are also home to this fungus.
Cordyceps Fungus: Benefits
Cordyceps are believed to have the following benefits:
- Increased exercise performance
- Boosted immunity
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved heart health
- Lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.
Though health experts are still uncertain about its benefit, scientists can't seem to ignore the potential of the bioactive molecule cordycepin found in Cordyceps.
According to them, it has great therapeutic potential and one day can be turned into an effective new antiviral and anti-cancer treatment.
Why is it so expensive in China?
- Due to its high demand, the international market can fetch Rs 65 lakh. Meaning that the Cordyceps is costlier than gold or diamonds.
- Cordyceps has a market value of $1,072.50 million in 2022.
The IPCSC claimed that,
“In the last two years, the Cordyceps harvest has waned in Qinghai, the largest producing region in China as the fungus grew scarce. At the same time, demand for the highly prized Cordyceps has increased sharply in the last decade as an emerging Chinese middle class seeks it to cure everything from kidney disorders to impotence, despite a lack of scientific evidence.”
High demand and limited resources have led to the fungus’ overharvesting, experts say.
“Output fell to 41,200 kg in 2018 from 43,500 kg a year earlier, a 5.2 percent slump, revealed data from the bureau. That’s a fraction of the 150,000 kg reported by provincial media for 2010 and 2011,” stated IPCSC.