Frequently Asked Questions

Cordyceps is a parasitic fungus, of which there are about 500 documented species and varieties. All species of Cordyceps have similar life cycles where they behave as parasites, infecting buried pupae or larvae of insects and growing within the respective host, either alone or gregariously, before emerging in the summer. The species differ according to their locality, the host insect, morphology, and ease of cultivation.

Cordyceps has been recognized in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years as having valuable and extensive health benefits Some of its reported therapeutic effects include energy enhancement, aphrodisiac properties, improvement in respiratory ailments, immune system support, anti-viral properties, improvement in blood sugar control as well as liver and kidney health protection.

Overall, Cordyceps is known to play an important role in promoting good health and preventing the causes of fatal disease.

Cordycepin is the main bioactive compound found exclusively in some Cordyceps species, particularly in Cordyceps militaris. In the last decade, there have been much research that has revealed that cordycepin is a potent phytochemical, with broad therapeutic and pharmacological effects, which have been established in both in vitro and in vivo experiments.

A reliable index of quality of any Cordyceps product is the level of Cordycepin in that product.

Revitalizing and energy boosting

Cordyceps is considered the energy foundation or “root of vitality” for the entire body. It is used as an athletic stimulant as Cordycepin has revitalizing effects on physical stamina as well as increasing lung capacity and building muscle mass. It is also used as a pre-workout and energy booster for increasing energy output.

Improvement of sexual dysfunction and Aphrodisiac properties

As an energy promoting restorative, Cordycepin also has powerful aphrodisiac properties that enhance libido and is revitalizing to the sex glands in both men and women. It also helps to improve reproductive activity and restore impaired reproductive function.

Lungs and Respiratory System

Cordyceps is revered as a lung tonic and it is Cordycepin’s ability to improve efficient oxygen utilization which results in energy boosting effects. It has been widely recognized and used among professional athletes to increase their performance and endurance levels. However, there are also clinical studies that have reported that Cordycepin has also been effective in alleviating respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and bronchitis.

Anti-cancer /Anti-tumour

The anti-cancer function of Cordyceps has been widely reported and established. Recently, many researchers have discovered Cordycepin’s ability to inhibit DNA synthesis in cancerous cells and increasing the tumor cell kill rate.

Enhances and Strengthens the Immune System

The immune system is equivalent to the army of the human body, Cordycepin enhances the immune system to enable it to perform optimally. Not only does it promote an increase in immune system cells, it also promotes antibody production, increases phagocytic (killing) cell production and enhances their capabilities.

Effect on Sleep

Cordycepin is an adenosine analogue; its chemical structure being similar to adenosine and believed to be involved in sleep regulation via adenosine receptors (ARs). Cordycepin reduces sleep-wake cycles and is helpful for individuals who experience interrupted or disturbed sleep patterns.

Pain Relieving Effects

Cordycepin was revealed to be able to block the inflammatory process at a different stage of the inflammatory pathway as compared to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). This could indicate that Cordycepin has analgesic (pain-relieving) properties with fewer side effects than NSAIDS.

Anti-Diabetes and Hypoglycaemic

Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases in which the body is unable to regulate blood sugar levels. Cordycepin has been reported to improve blood sugar regulation, normalizing blood sugar levels, and decrease oxidative stress, induced by high glucose concentration.

Other bioactive ingredients found in Cordyceps include :

  • Polysaccharides ( ie. Beta Glucan)
  • Beta Carotene
  • Glucosamine
  • Superoxide dismutase (SOD)
  • Cordycepic acid ( d-mannitol)
  • Sterols ( Beta- sitosterol, ergosterol)

Anti-oxidant Anti-aging

Cordyceps also possesses Superoxide dismutase (SOD) which enhances the body’s cellular activities, including free radical scavenging, the degradation of fat, improved blood oxygenation. Other effects demonstrated include improved basic endocrine functions, elimination of age spots, melasma and acne. Cordycepic acid has effective free radical scavenging abilities which result in the resistance of oxidation activities. It is helpful in anti-cancer, anti-aging, and detoxifying.

β-glucan contained in C. militaris is effective for mitochondrial protection by scavenging reactive oxygen species, and increasing the activity of the antioxidases. Therefore, it has antioxidant and anti-aging values which is useful for the treatment of mitochondria-related metabolic disorders and delaying the aging process.

Anti-oxidant Anti-aging

The anti-cancer function of Cordyceps are widely reported and established. Polysaccharides and nucleosides found in Cordyceps play an important role as immune system potentiators and possess strong antioxidant, antiviral and antitumor activity by increasing the production of interleukins, interferons and antibodies. Currently, many researches revealed that cordycepin’s ability to inhibit DNA synthesis in cancerous cells and increasing the tumor cell kill rate.

As a supplement: 0.2-2mg /day Therapy for existing medical conditions: 1.5 -4.5mg /day

The cultivation of Cordyceps militaris, vs Cordyceps sinensis
In Traditional Chinese Medical practice, C. militaris and C. sinensis are the two species of Cordyceps that are the most widely used and valued.

C. sinensis has been the most well known and expensive, originally collected in and around Tibet. It cannot be grown easily in culture, and is now becoming comparatively rare as the natural populations are decreasing from over harvesting. As a result of this, and the lack of mandatory quality control, many C. sinensis products on the market no longer contain pure Cordyceps, but contain added ingredients, the nature and safety of which are unknown. Wild C. sinensis possess not only low amounts of cordycepin, but the levels of bioactive ingredients are also known to fluctuate.

C. militaris was recognised in the past as having similar health benefitting effects as C. sinensis, but recently has been established to actually be more effective, as it has higher concentrations of the main active ingredient, Cordycepin. C. militaris has been successfully and easily cultivated, thus making it much more affordable.

In the wild, diverse growing conditions (e.g. type of growth medium, contaminants, light, etc.) can affect the levels of Cordycepin, which can vary from less than 200 to 600 ppm (parts per million).
High quality Cordyceps and Higher concentrations of bioactive ingredients
TOL has developed a patent pending unique procedure for C. militaris cultivation : a selective strain, use of innovative technology with a well developed cultivation protocol; use of modern analytical measurements and high standards of quality control, have allowed TOL to create and consistently produce a superior grade of C. militaris with levels of Cordycepin in excess of double that found in Cordyceps cultivated elsewhere; and over 10x that found in wild Cordyceps.
Traceability & Quality Control

  • We do not compromise on the standards and safety in any step of our C. militaris production, and have implemented stringent hygiene standards, quality control and safety measures, to ensure consistency in the quality and safety or our products. GMP, HACCP and ISO 9001 certifications have been awarded to TOL.
  • Reliable traceability has also been developed for controlling and monitoring the finished product. The lot number is shown on the label of every single package produced by TOL, which can be used to track that individual batch to test results from an independent reputable lab. Quality assurance procedures are carried out to fulfill product quality requirements and provide confidence for our consumers.
  • Bioactive compounds contained, especially cordycepin, are analyzed and analysis patterns are kept for quality guarantee as well as product verification. The DNA finger print of C. militaris TOLA00 has been tested and used as a specific marker to identify its origin. With this “fingerprint”, we can determine the authenticity of our products.

Traceability system
Traceability systems are used to investigate a product’s history. This includes the ability to chronologically identify the unique entities of a product in each stage, in a way that is verifiable. TOL realizes the importance of a traceability system with regards to product control, monitoring and ensuring product safety, so we have established a reliable trace back procedure for our Cordyceps product in various aspects, namely:

1) Production process and record information
2) Product quality control and certificate of analysis and
3) Molecular identity.
1) Standard regulation (Quality assurance, QA)
Manufacturers who commit to standard regulations like e.g. GMP, HACCP, ISO etc, are required to include a quality assurance (QA) system to ensure the quality of, and avoid any defects in, their product. QA is also useful for monitoring and tracing back the product’s origin by using all documented records of each product, batch by batch.
2.) Certificate of analysis
Analysis patterns can be a tool to identify the product as well. A sample of every batch of TOL’s Cordyceps is sent to an external lab for bioactive compound determination, and a chromatogram of each analysis is obtained. The chromatogram profile derived from the same product and test methodology should be identical.

Pictured above is an analysis chromatogram of TOL C. militaris obtained using HPLC approach. As clearly seen, this kind of chromatogram possesses its own characterization in both quantitative and qualitative aspects which is unique from other samples. Peaks at certain retention times imply the presence of different substances contained in the sample and peak heights show the amount of each of those substances present.
3) DNA fingerprint
A DNA fingerprint is the genetic profile of an organism, which is very specific and unique . TOL’s C. militaris fingerprint has been investigated and specific loci have been identified to develop the genetic pattern. This pattern is unique and different from other Cordyceps species, as well as being dissimilar from other C. militaris strains. DNA fingerprinting is a powerful marker that enables us to identify our unique C. militaris strain.

DNA fingerprint

Figure A shows a DNA band from electrophoresis result under uv light. The single sharp band likely indicates that the product contains only 1 species with no degradation of DNA during extraction. 18sRNA sequence also confirms that TOL product is true C. militaris with 100% match of C. militaris CM-LH from ncbi database (Figure B).

fingerprint

Cordyceps is generally considered not to have any side effects, and to be neutral in Traditional Chinese Medicine terms, being neither “heaty” nor “cooling”. There have been a few reports of adverse gastrointestinal symptoms like dry mouth, nausea and diarrhoea, which appear to settle after regular consumption of Cordyceps.

Patients with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis etc., should probably avoid Cordyceps. Pregnant or lactating women should avoid taking Cordyceps as there is a lack of reports for these groups.

Patients who are taking anti-viral agents, and Diabetic patients on treatment, should not take Cordyceps without medical supervision as it can potentiate the effects of these drugs.