Mycotherapy : Ophiocordyceps sinensis, the caterpillar mushroom

Joaquim A | 20 March 2022
Reading time : about 2 minutes
Mycotherapy :  Ophiocordyceps sinensis, the caterpillar mushroom

    What are the other names of Ophiocordyceps sinensis ?

    Ophiocordyceps sinensis is also known as caterpillar fungus, Tochukaso and Yara gunbu.

    A fungus that parasitizes a caterpillar under the ground

    This fungus parasitizes the caterpillar of the Thitarodes moth. The larva of the moth, which lives underground, will be eaten from the inside. Once the larva is completely digested, the fungus will emerge to the surface of the soil. The mushroom will emerge from the ground in the form of an elongated club.

    Where is this fungus found ?

    Ophiocordyceps sinensis lives on the high plateaus of the Himalayas between 3500 and 5000 meters of altitude, on inhospitable grounds where cultivation is difficult.

    When can we find this mushroom in the wild ?

    The mushroom emerges from the ground in spring and summer.

    Is this mushroom edible ?

    Ophiocordyceps sinensis is edible. Unfortunately, it is a victim of overconsumption due to trade with China. This mushroom is therefore very rare and expensive.

    What are the traditional uses of this mushroom ?

    Ophiocordyceps sinensis has been known in Tibetan medicine for 1500 years, which advises its use to treat many pathologies such as fatigue, libido decrease, liver and kidney diseases and respiratory tract diseases. It is glorified for its prowess on vital energy and physical capacities. It is reputed to slow down the aging of the body.

    What are the medicinal properties of Ophiocordyceps sinensis ?

    Ophiocordyceps sinensis has many medicinal properties :

    • it stimulates the immune system;
    • it helps to fight infections;
    • it has an anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic action (especially on the respiratory tract and on asthma);
    • it helps to fight fatigue and gives energy to the body;
    • it protects the liver and the kidneys;
    • it helps to fight osteoporosis.

    What are the side effects of this mushroom ?

    Ophiocordyceps sinensis can be responsible for some unwanted effects, it can cause :

    • digestive disorders;
    • a dry mouth.

    What precautions should be taken before using this mushroom ?

    This mushroom should not be used :

    • in the pregnant woman;
    • in breast-feeding women.
    Published on 20 March 2022 at 20:00
    Updated on 12 May 2022 at 10:33

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    Joaquim A

    Joaquim A

    Web Editor

    I have a great passion for nature. I trained as a pharmacist, during which time I acquired a certain amount of knowledge. It is now time to use this knowledge by sharing it with as many people as possible.