Aphrodisiacs and sexual potentiators have been all the rage since Viagra was introduced in 1998, and believers in natural remedies have been looking for herbal alternatives. The traditional Chinese 'herb' of choice for this purpose is called Cordyceps sinensis.
The mushroom Cordyceps sinensis does have a common name in English, Caterpillar fungus, although many more people know it by its Latin name as just "Cordyceps." In its natural environment, it can be found only at high altitudes in the mountains of China and Tibet. Considering its minute size, it is a 'small' (pun intended) miracle that anyone ever discovered it and thought to use it as a medicinal mushroom.
Since the time of Christ, Oriental physicians have administered Cordyceps sinensis to improve physical as well as sexual prowess and stamina. The earliest written record of this can be found in the book The Classic Herbal of the Divine Plowman. from around 200 A.D.
There is a reason why the common English name for Cordyceps is Caterpillar fungus. In nature, it grows as a parasite on silk-worm caterpillars, eventually killing them, and finally sprouting out of their dead bodies. Not very appetizing, is it? However, Cordyceps sinensis can now be grown on a rice medium and harvested free from any caterpillar carcasses, heavy metals, or contaminating bacteria and funguses. Cordyceps grown under these controlled conditions has been shown to contain the same therapeutic compounds as its wild counter-parts.
A study out of China, which was released over a decade before the introduction of Viagra, reported a 64% improvement in erectile dysfunction from a daily consumption of 1,000 mg of Cordyceps sinensis. (1)
So what's the mechanism behind Cordyceps' apparent effect as an aphrodisiac and sexual potentiator? The following three factors may help explain:
- Three modern scientific studies have concluded that Cordyceps helps improve physical stamina, vitality and endurance. (2,3,4) At the Chinese National Games of 1993, nine world records were set by female athletes. When questioned about the secret behind their success, they said it was due to their use of Cordyceps. (5,6)
- Cordyceps sinensis helps dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow (7,8), which is certainly an important factor in erectile function.
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there have been two research papers published that concluded that Cordyceps extract "significantly increased" testosterone levels in males. (9,10)
Note: This article is for scientific and informational purposes only. It is very important to always consult with a licensed medical doctor before using an herb to treat any medical condition.