Cordyceps and Health
Over the millennia, Cordyceps sinensis has been treasured throughout Asia as one of the most effective natural tonics and body harmonizers that helps to strengthen vital essence and promote longevity. The miraculous medicinal attributes of Cordyceps in promoting virility and fortifying the lungs and kidneys have been well-documented through the practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as through folk medicine and are the subjects of modern biomedical and clinical studies around the world. In more recent times, the use of Cordyceps has been memorialized by its association with athletic training and impressive outcome at international sports competitions. It attracted worldwide attention in 1993 when the Chinese women’s track and field team broke 9 world records during the National Games in Stuttgart, Germany and has since gained popularity among athletes, including international basketball star Yao Ming. Because Cordyceps sinensis is only found in the southwest highlands of China and in the cold, snowy mountain tops of the Himalayas at altitudes of 3,000 to 5,000 meters, it is deemed a priceless entity.
Hirsutella sinensis as the True Cordyceps Species
Its rarity and high medicinal value have prompted researchers around the world to grow the Cordyceps fungus in culture. In hindsight, many of the earlier cultures obtained in China, such as Cs-4, and marketed as Cordyceps have turned out to be false when subjected to comparative genetic analysis. In recent years, Hirsutella sinensis has been proven by scientists to be the asexual phase of the Cordyceps sinensis species with morphological and chemical characteristics that reflect the true species. It should be noted that although both Hirsutella sinensis and Cordyceps sinensis are now known to represent the same species, the rules of mushroom taxonomy require that different names are given to the sexual stage (fruiting body) and the asexual stage (mycelia) of the same species.
In addition to molecular identification and verification, scientists have also used Koch’s Postulates to reaffirm that Hirsutella sinensis is the same species as Cordyceps sinensis. The famous Koch Postulates are a set of microbiological criteria used by scientists more than a century ago to prove that certain germs (bacteria) were, in fact, the agents of the disease that they were deemed to cause. Live bacteria were inoculated into animal (and sometimes human) subjects to demonstrate that they indeed caused the disease cycle that they were claimed to initiate.
Likewise, the Hirsutella sinensis strain was inoculated into the host insect larva of the Himalayan Bat Moth. This insect is the normal carrier from which the fruiting body of the fungus grows after infection by fungal spores. In the experiment, after the inoculation of the insect by fungal spores, a fruiting body, or the sexual stage of the mushroom species, was able to grow from within the insect host. Since only spores from the true asexual strain can generate a fruiting body from within the insect host, these results confirm that Hirsutella sinensis is the true asexual strain of the Cordyceps sinensis species.
Our Uniquely Authentic Cordyceps Offerings
In the late 1990s, working carefully with the wild Cordyceps fungus, we at Primordia were able to select, propagate, and culture our own strain of Hirsutella sinensis, the proven authentic species of Cordyceps. We have been recognized worldwide as one of the only companies that has cultivated this true form of Cordyceps. Our strain has a 99.645% similarity in rDNA sequence compared to the wild Cordyceps fungus that grows naturally in Tibet—practically sealing its identity as a true Cordyceps strain. In addition, our product has a nutritional composition and metabolite profile that is identical to those of the wild-type Cordyceps species.
We have closely replicated the natural growing conditions of Cordyceps, which include the use of low ambient temperatures, a micro-clustered form of water, the right lighting conditions, the right physical and geometrical contour relationships encountered by the fungus, the right combination of micro-nutrients that match the growth curve of the fungus, and the inclusion of proprietary rare trace elements (our Primordia Elements®) to enhance the growth of our cultures. Our product is free of contamination, including bacterial pollutants, pesticides, or heavy metals. In fact, each product lot is tested against five real-time dynamic parameters as part of our quality control to ensure product consistency. We use a freeze-extraction technique that carefully preserves all the enzymatic and biological activities of the mushroom. This unique process gives our Cordyceps offering a tasteful and unmatched quality that is even more potent than the wild-type form of the mushroom found in nature.
With increasing demands for Cordyceps and the extreme rarity of the species in the wild, many counterfeit products have been sold as health supplements worldwide. Most products sold in the market today do not feature the true species with companies attempting to sell the more easily cultivatable Cordyceps militaris or Cs-4 as the true species of Cordyceps.
At Primordia, we have cultivated the authentic strain of Cordyceps that has a 99.645% similarity in rDNA sequence with the wild-type strain, whereas the rDNA sequence alignment between the wild-type strain and a well-known brand of Cordyceps extract in the market shows only an 82.791% similarity. Most other health supplement companies use a few isolated and misleading ingredients, such as the presence of cordycepin, cordycepic acid, or polysaccharide content, as indicators of the potency and quality of their Cordyceps products. However, we view the efficacy of our mushrooms as the totality of environmental and intrinsic conditions underlying their growth and harvest.
Our Cordyceps are cultivated in 100% water-soluble medium under nourishing geographically authentic conditions that mimic their natural habitat, yielding extracts that are 100% pure and natural.
Cordyceps has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a tonic to treat kidney, lung, liver, and heart diseases and to boost energy and vitality levels. Because of its miraculous medicinal properties and its scarcity in nature, Cordyceps was deemed so precious that it was reserved only for emperors in ancient China.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. In fact, we believe that in order to obtain optimal health, there is the need for a radical transformation in one’s lifestyle that should include the adherence to a balanced diet, regular exercise, proper methods of breathing, and positive and healthy ways of thinking. In this sense then, the mushrooms can be seen as adjuvants for health. It should be noted that the activities of wild-type Cordyceps are being shared here for educational purposes only. Interested readers can pursue further literature research to assess the validity and the reliability of these activities and to arrive at an impartial and educated view of this species of mushroom.