5 facts about cordyceps, the bug-eating parasitic fungus that inspired HBO’s zombie apocalypse series The Last of Us
He told the American non-profit media company NPR that cordyceps cannot survive in animals with a body temperature higher than 34.5 degrees Celsius (94.1 degrees Fahrenheit). Humans generally have a temperature of about 37 degrees Celsius.
The traits that allow the fungi to attack insects evolved specifically for a single species, he added, so they cannot infect humans, which share only around a third of the DNA with the insects cordyceps do attack.
Here are five things you may not know about cordyceps.
1. The fungus was reserved for Chinese imperial use
Used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years, cordyceps were such a sought-after and valued commodity that they were strictly reserved for use by the emperor and his family.
2. In TCM, cordyceps helps restore energy balance and male vitality
According to Hong Kong-based TCM practitioner Samuel To Ching-san, cordyceps are excellent for replenishing “yin” energy in the body – characterised as cold and dark, and counteractive to hot, light “yang” energy in a way that provides balance.
In particular, To says cordyceps may strengthen lung and kidney function. The kidneys are associated with male vitality, which is why the fungus is said to help with male sexual problems, too. It is nicknamed “Himalayan Viagra”.
To says that when it comes to health benefits, cordyceps are better used as a supplement combined with other things, rather than on their own.
3. Factory farming brings cordyceps’ price down
In 2019, cordyceps were reported to cost HK$370 (US$47) per gram – about HK$40 a gram more than gold at the time.
The Post recently reported that cordyceps are now being farmed in factories in China, reducing the price to 1,934 yuan (US$284) for 10 grams of fresh cordyceps, or 1,699 yuan for a pack of 30 dried pieces.
4. Wild cordyceps attracts a premium price
There is a distinction between wild and farmed cordyceps; wild cordyceps are in high demand and fetch a high price.
The supply of wild cordyceps is limited. Ophiocordyceps sinensis, the species most commonly used in TCM, flourishes at high altitudes – from 3,000 to 5,000 metres (9,600 to 16,000 feet) above sea level – in parts of China such as Tibet, Sichuan, Qinghai, Yunnan and Gansu.
Foraging for the fungus is generally left to local residents who are acclimated to the thin air, and the collection process is slow.
5. Cordyceps is best served steamed or boiled
The fungus has a savoury and earthy flavour, and a nutty taste not unlike that of chestnut mushrooms.
Ho Wai-sing, executive chef of The Royal Garden Chinese Restaurant, in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui East neighbourhood, says the ingredient is best served steamed or boiled.
“Cordyceps with mallard duck in soup is a classic Cantonese dish. The soup is nourishing, sweet in flavour, and because there isn’t a lot of fat on the duck, the proteins bring out the flavour of the fungi.”
Denial of responsibility! insideheadline is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.