Caterpillar Fungus, Caterpillar Mushroom, Cs-4, Champignon Chenille, Chinese Caterpillar Fungus, Cordyceps sinensis, Dong Chong Xia Cao, Dong Chong Zia Cao, Hsia Ts'Ao Tung Ch'Ung, Jinshuibao Jiaonang, Jinshuibao Pian, Ophiocordyceps sinensis, Tochukaso, Vegetable Caterpillar.
Overview InformationCordyceps is a fungus that lives on certain caterpillars in the high mountain regions of China. Natural cordyceps is hard to get and may be expensive. Most supplements are made with cordyceps grown in a laboratory.
Cordyceps is most commonly used for kidney disorders and male sexual problems. It is also used after a kidney transplant. It is also used for liver problems, improving athletic performance, and many other conditions but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
How does it work?Cordyceps might improve immunity by stimulating cells and specific chemicals in the immune system. It may also have activity against cancer cells and may shrink tumor size, particularly with lung or skin cancers.
Uses & Effectiveness
Possibly Ineffective for
- Athletic performance. Several studies have shown that taking cordyceps or a combination of cordyceps and roseroot does not improve endurance in trained male cyclists.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Kidney injury caused by certain antibiotics (aminoglycoside nephrotoxicity). Early research shows that using cordyceps with the drug amikacin might reduce kidney damage caused by the drug in older people.
- Asthma. Early research suggests that taking cordyceps alone can reduce asthma symptoms in adults. However, other early research shows that taking cordyceps along with other herbs for 6 months does not reduce the need for medication or improve asthma symptoms in children.
- Long-term kidney disease (chronic kidney disease or CKD). Early research shows that taking cordyceps along with standard therapy for chronic kidney disease may improve kidney function. However, most of these studies are low quality and were conducted for only 6 months or less.
- Kidney damage caused by contrast dyes (contrast induced nephropathy). Some early research shows that taking cordyceps while undergoing an exam using contrast dye reduces the chance of kidney damage caused by the dye. But other early research shows no benefit.
- Kidney damage caused by the drug cyclosporine. There is early evidence that taking cordyceps with cyclosporine can reduce kidney damage caused by cyclosporine in people with kidney transplants.
- Swelling (inflammation) of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus (hepatitis B). Early evidence shows that taking cordyceps by mouth might improve liver function in people with hepatitis B. However, cordyceps seems to be less effective than the supplementsastragalus and fo-ti.
- Kidney transplant. Early research shows that taking cordyceps with low-dose cyclosporine can improve 1-year survival, prevent transplant rejection, and reduce the risk of infection similar to taking standard dose cyclosporine in people who received a kidney transplant. Also, cordyceps seems to improve kidney transplant survival, kidney transplant rejection, and infection similar to azathioprine when taken with medications to prevent organ rejection. It might also reduce the risk of long-term impaired kidney function called chronic allograft nephropathy, which is the leading cause of kidney transplant failure.
- Sexual problems that prevent satisfaction during sexual activity. Early research shows that taking a specific cordyceps product (CordyMax Cs-4) daily for 40 days might improve sex drive in people with low sex drive.
- Breathing disorders.
- Lung infections (Bronchitis).
- Decreasing fatigue.
- Frequent urination at night.
- Heart arrhythmias.
- High cholesterol.
- Liver disorders.
- Promoting longevity.
- Ringing in the ears.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyWhen taken by mouth: Cordyceps is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken appropriately, short-term. It might cause mild side effects such as diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal discomfort.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if cordyceps is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding or what the side effects might be. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
"Auto-immune diseases" such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: When taken by mouth, cordyceps might cause the immune system to become more active. This could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using cordyceps.
Bleeding disorders: When taken by mouth, cordyceps might slow blood clotting. Taking cordyceps might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
Surgery: When taken by mouth, cordyceps might increase the risk of bleeding during surgery. Stop taking cordyceps 2 weeks before surgery.
Be cautious with this combination
Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar) interacts with CORDYCEPS
Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar) is used to decrease the immune system. Cordyceps seems to increase the immune system. Taking cordyceps along with cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar) might decrease the effectiveness of cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar).
Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with CORDYCEPS
Cordyceps might increase the immune system. By increasing the immune system, cordyceps might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.
Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.
Prednisolone interacts with CORDYCEPS
Prednisolone is sometimes used to decrease the immune system. Taking cordyceps might make prednisolone less effective for decreasing the immune system.
The appropriate dose of cordyceps depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for cordyceps. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
- Balon, T. W., Jasman, A. P., and Zhu, J. S. A fermentation product of Cordyceps sinensis increases whole-body insulin sensitivity in rats. J Altern Complement Med 2002;8(3):315-323. View abstract.
- Che YS and Lin LZ. Clinical observation on therapeutic effects of JinShuiBao on coronary heart disease, hyperlipidemia, and blood rheology. Chinese Traditional Herbal Drugs 1996;27(9):552-553.
- Chen, H. and Weng, L. [Comparison on efficacy in treating liver fibrosis of chronic hepatitis B between Astragalus Polygonum anti-fibrosis decoction and jinshuibao capsule]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 2000;20(4):255-257. View abstract.
- Chen, S., Li, Z., Krochmal, R., Abrazado, M., Kim, W., and Cooper, C. B. Effect of Cs-4 (Cordyceps sinensis) on exercise performance in healthy older subjects: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Altern.Complement Med 2010;16(5):585-590. View abstract.
- Cheng JH, Guo XM, and Wang X. Analysis of therapeutic effects of Jinshuibao capsule in adjuvant treatment of 20 patients with terminal stage of lung cancer. J Administration Traditional Chinese Med 1995;5(Suppl):34-35.
- Cheng, YP, Liu, WZ, Shen, LM, and Xu, SN. Comparisons of fermented Cordyceps mycelia in natural Cordyceps sinensis in treating 30 patients with renal failure. Chinese Traditional Herbal Drugs 1986;17(6):256-258.
- Dai, G., Bao, T., Xu, C., Cooper, R., and Zhu, J. S. CordyMax Cs-4 improves steady-state bioenergy status in mouse liver. J Altern Complement Med 2001;7(3):231-240. View abstract.
- Ding, C. G., Tian, P. X., and Jin, Z. K. [Clinical application and exploration on mechanism of action of Cordyceps sinensis mycelia preparation for renal transplantation recipients]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 2009;29(11):975-978. View abstract.
- Ding, C., Tian, P. X., Xue, W., Ding, X., Yan, H., Pan, X., Feng, X., Xiang, H., Hou, J., and Tian, X. Efficacy of Cordyceps sinensis in long term treatment of renal transplant patients. Front Biosci (Elite.Ed) 2011;3:301-307. View abstract.
- Earnest, C. P., Morss, G. M., Wyatt, F., Jordan, A. N., Colson, S., Church, T. S., Fitzgerald, Y., Autrey, L., Jurca, R., and Lucia, A. Effects of a commercial herbal-based formula on exercise performance in cyclists. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004;36(3):504-509. View abstract.
- Gong, H. Y., Wang, K. Q., and Tang, S. G. [Effects of cordyceps sinensis on T lymphocyte subsets and hepatofibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis B]. Hunan.Yi.Ke.Da.Xue.Xue.Bao. 6-28-2000;25(3):248-250. View abstract.
- Guan, Y. J., Hu, Z., and Hou, M. [Effect of Cordyceps sinesis on T-lymphocyte subsets in chronic renal failure]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1992;12(6):338-9, 323. View abstract.
- Han SR. Experiences in treating patients with chronic bronchitis and pulmonary diseases with Cs-4 capsule (JinShuiBao). Journal of Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine 1995;5(Suppl):33-34 .
- Hsu, C. C., Huang, Y. L., Tsai, S. J., Sheu, C. C., and Huang, B. M. In vivo and in vitro stimulatory effects of Cordyceps sinensis on testosterone production in mouse Leydig cells. Life Sci 9-5-2003;73(16):2127-2136. View abstract.
- Ikumoto, T., Sasaki, S., Namba, H., Toyama, R., Moritoki, H., and Mouri, T. [Physiologically active compounds in the extracts from tochukaso and cultured mycelia of Cordyceps and Isaria]. Yakugaku Zasshi 1991;111(9):504-509. View abstract.
- Li, Y., Xue, W. J., Tian, P. X., Ding, X. M., Yan, H., Pan, X. M., and Feng, X. S. Clinical application of Cordyceps sinensis on immunosuppressive therapy in renal transplantation. Transplant.Proc. 2009;41(5):1565-1569. View abstract.
- Liu, P., Liu, C., and Hu, Y. Y. [Effect of fuzheng huayu recipe in treating posthepatitic cirrhosis]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1996;16(8):459-462. View abstract.
- Lu, L. [Study on effect of Cordyceps sinensis and artemisinin in preventing recurrence of lupus nephritis]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 2002;22(3):169-171. View abstract.
- Qu, ZY, Song, K, Cai, WL, and Tang, J. Evaluation of therapeutic effect of JinShuiBao capsule for treatment of respiratory disease. J Administration Traditional Chinese Med 1995;13(11):660.
- Quio, YL and Ma, XC. Treatment of 32 tussive asthma patients with JinShuiBao. Chinese J Integrated Traditional Western Med 1993;13(11):660.
- Shao, G. [Treatment of hyperlipidemia with cultivated Cordyceps--a double-blind, randomized placebo control trial]. Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1985;5(11):652-4, 642. View abstract.
- Sun, M., Yang, Y. R., Lu, Y. P., Gao, R., Wang, L., Wang, J., and Tang, K. [Clinical study on application of bailing capsule after renal transplantation]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 2004;24(9):808-810. View abstract.
- Tong Y. Clinical observations of Jin Shui Bao in the treatment of hyperlipidemia. J Administration Traditional Chinese Med 1995;5(suppl):7-8.
- Wan F, Guo Y, and Deng X. [Sex hormone-like effects of JinShuiBao [Cs-4] capsule: pharmacological and clinical studies]. Chinese Traditional Patented Med 1988;9:29-31.
- Wang Q and Zhao Y. Comparison of some pharmacological effects between Cordyceps sinensis (Berk.) Sacc. and Cephalosporium sinensis Chen sp. nov. Bulletin Chinese Materia Medica 1987;12(11):682-684 (English abstract 704).
- Wang, N. Q., Jiang, L. D., Zhang, X. M., and Li, Z. X. [Effect of dongchong xiacao capsule on airway inflammation of asthmatic patients]. Zhongguo Zhong.Yao Za Zhi. 2007;32(15):1566-1568. View abstract.
- Wong, E. L., Sung, R. Y., Leung, T. F., Wong, Y. O., Li, A. M., Cheung, K. L., Wong, C. K., Fok, T. F., and Leung, P. C. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of herbal therapy for children with asthma. J Altern.Complement Med 2009;15(10):1091-1097. View abstract.
- Xiao, Y, Huang, XZ, Cheng, G, and et al. Increased aerobic capacity in healthy elderly human adults given a fermentation product of Cordyceps Cs-4. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 1999;31(Suppl):S174.
- Xu, F., Huang, J. B., Jiang, L., Xu, J., and Mi, J. Amelioration of cyclosporin nephrotoxicity by Cordyceps sinensis in kidney-transplanted recipients. Nephrol.Dial.Transplant. 1995;10(1):142-143. View abstract.
- Yang W, Deng X, and Hu W. Clinical study of fermentation product of Cordyceps sinensis on treatment of hyposexuality. J Administration Traditional Chinese Med 1995;5(suppl):23-24.
- Yang WZ, Deng Xa Hu W. Treatment of sexual hypofunction with Cordyceps sinensis. Jiangxi Zhongyiyao. 1985;5:46-47.
- Yang YZ, Wang LS, Deng HY, and et al. [Short-term observation of treating chronic hepatitis B and post-hepatitis cirrhosis with XinGanBao]. Research of Chinese Materia Medica 1994;1:19-20.
- Yoo, H. S., Yoon, J., Lee, G. H., Lee, Y. W., and Cho, C. K. Best case series program supportive cases of Cordyceps militaris- and panax notoginseng-based anticancer herbal formula. Integr Cancer Ther 2011;10(4):NP1-NP3. View abstract.
- Zhang Z, Huang W, Liao S, and et al. [Clinical and laboratory studies of JinShuiBao (Cs-4) in scavenging oxygen free radicals in elderly senescent XuZheng patients]. Journal of Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine 1995;5(Suppl):14-18.
- Zhang, Z. H., Zhang, W. D., and Yao, K. [Treatment of chronic allograft nephropathy with combination of enalapril and bailing capsule]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 2008;28(9):806-809. View abstract.
- Zhu, J. L. and Liu, C. [Modulating effects of extractum semen Persicae and cultivated Cordyceps hyphae on immuno-dysfunction of inpatients with posthepatitic cirrhosis]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1992;12(4):207-9, 195. View abstract.
- Bao ZD, Wu ZG, Zheng F. [Amelioration of aminoglycoside nephrotoxicity by Cordyceps sinensis in old patients]. Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih 1994;14:271-3, 259. View abstract.
- Bok JW, Lermer L, Chilton J, et al. Antitumor sterols from the mycelia of Cordyceps sinensis. Phytochemistry 1999;51:891-8. View abstract.
- Chen GZ, Chen GL, Sun T, et al. Effects of Cordyceps sinensis on murine T lymphocyte subsets. Chin Med J (English) 1991;104:4-8. View abstract.
- Chen JR, Yen JH, Lin CC, et al. The effects of Chinese herbs on improving survival and inhibiting anti-ds DNA antibody production in lupus mice. Am J Chin Med 1993;21:257-62. View abstract.
- Chen YJ, Shiao MS, Lee SS, Wang SY. Effect of Cordyceps sinensis on the proliferation and differentiation of human leukemic U937 cells. Life Sci 1997;60:2349-59. View abstract.
- Cheng Q. [Effect of cordyceps sinensis on cellular immunity in rats with chronic renal insufficiency]. Chung Hua I Hsueh Tsa Chih (Taipei) 1992;72:27-9, 63. View abstract.
- Chiu JH, Ju CH, Wu LH, et al. Cordyceps sinensis increases the expression of major histocompatibility complex class II antigens on human hepatoma cell line HA22T/VGH cells. Am J Chin Med 1998;26:159-70. View abstract.
- Colson SN, Wyatt FB, Johnston DL, et al. Cordyceps sinensis- and Rhodiola rosea-based supplementation in male cyclists and its effect on muscle tissue oxygen saturation. J Strength Cond Res 2005;19:358-63. View abstract.
- Hong T, Zhang M, Fan J. Cordyceps sinensis (a traditional Chinese medicine) for kidney transplant recipients (Review). Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;(10):CD009698. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009698.pub2. View abstract.
- Kai Z, Yongjian L, Sheng G, Yu L. Effect of Dongchongxiacao (Cordyceps) therapy on contrast-induced nephropathy in patients with type 2 diabetes and renal insufficiency undergoing coronary angiography. J Tradit Chin Med. 2015 Aug;35(4):422-427. View abstract.
- Kiho T, Hui J, Yamane A, Ukai S. Polysaccharides in fungi. XXXII. Hypoglycemic activity and chemical properties of a polysaccharide from the cultural mycelium of Cordyceps sinensis. Biol Pharm Bull 1993;16:1291-3. View abstract.
- Kiho T, Yamane A, Hui J, et al. Polysaccharides in fungi. XXXVI. Hypoglycemic activity of a polysaccharide (CS-F30) from the cultural mycelium of Cordyceps sinensis and its effect on glucose metabolism in mouse liver. Biol Pharm Bull 1996;19:294-6. View abstract.
- Kuo YC, Lin CY, Tsai WJ, et al. Growth inhibitors against tumor cells in Cordyceps sinensis other than cordycepin and polysaccharides. Cancer Invest 1994;12:611-5. View abstract.
- Kuo YC, Tsai WJ, Shiao MS, et al. Cordyceps sinensis as an immunomodulatory agent. Am J Chin Med 1996;24:111-25. View abstract.
- Li LS, Zheng F, Liu ZH. [Experimental study on effect of Cordyceps sinensis in ameliorating aminoglycoside induced nephrotoxicity]. Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih 1996;16:733-7. View abstract.
- Liu C, Lu S, Ji MR. [Effects of Cordyceps sinensis (CS) on in vitro natural killer cells]. Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih 1992;12:267-9, 259. View abstract.
- Luo Y, Yang SK, Zhou X, Wang M, Tang D, Liu FY, Sun L, Xiao L. Use of Ophiocordyceps sinensis (syn. Cordyceps sinensis) combined with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI)/angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) versus ACEI/ARB alone in the treatment of diabetic kidney disease: a meta-analysis. Ren Fail. 2015;37(4):614-634. doi: 10.3109/0886022X.2015.1009820. View abstract.
- Mei QB, Tao JY, Gao SB, et al. [Antiarrhythmic effects of Cordyceps sinensis (Berk.) Sacc]. Chung Kuo Chung Yao Tsa Chih 1989;14:616-8, 640. View abstract.
- Nakamura K, Yamaguchi Y, Kagota S, et al. Inhibitory effect of Cordyceps sinensis on spontaneous liver metastasis of Lewis lung carcinoma and B16 melanoma cells in syngeneic mice. Jpn J Pharmacol 1999;79:335-41. View abstract.
- Ong BY, Aziz Z. Efficacy of Cordyceps sinensis as an adjunctive treatment in kidney transplant patients: a systematic-review and meta-analysis. Complement Ther Med. 2017;30:84-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2016.12.007. View abstract.
- Parcell AC, Smith JM, Schulthies SS, et al. Cordyceps sinensis (CordyMax Cs-4) supplementation does not improve endurance exercise performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2004;14:236-42. View abstract.
- Robbers JE, Tyler VE. Tyler's Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. New York, NY: The Haworth Herbal Press, 1999.
- Tsuk S, Lev YH, Rotstein A, Zeev A, Carasso R, Steiner G. Effects of a commercial supplement of Ophiocordyceps sinensis and Ganoderma lucidum on physiological responses to maximal exercise in healthy young participants. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2018;20(4):359-367. View abstract.
- Wang SM, Lee LJ, Lin WW, Chang CM. Effects of a water-soluble extract of Cordyceps sinensis on steroidogenesis and capsular morphology of lipid droplets in cultured rat adrenocortical cells. J Cell Biochem 1998;69:483-9. View abstract.
- Xu F, Huang JB, Jiang L, et al. Amelioration of cyclosporin nephrotoxicity by Cordyceps sinensis in kidney-transplanted recipients. Nephrol Dial Transplant 1995;10:142-3.
- Xu RH, Peng XE, Chen GZ, Chen GL. Effects of cordyceps sinensis on natural killer activity and colony formation of B16 melanoma. Chin Med J (English) 1992;105:97-101. View abstract.
- Yamaguchi N, Yoshida J, Ren LJ, et al. Augmentation of various immune reactivities of tumor-bearing hosts with an extract of Cordyceps sinensis. Biotherapy 1990;2:199-205. View abstract.
- Yoshida J, Takamura S, Yamaguchi N, et al. Antitumor activity of an extract of Cordyceps sinensis (Berk.) Sacc. against murine tumor cell lines. Jpn J Exp Med 1989;59:157-61. View abstract.
- Zhang HW, Lin ZX, Tung YS, Kwan TH, Mok CK, Leung C, Chan LS. Cordyceps sinensis (a traditional Chinese medicine) for treating chronic kidney disease (Review). Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(12):CD008353. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008353.pub2. View abstract.
- Zhao K, Li Y, Zhang H. Role of Dongchongxiacao (Cordyceps) in prevention of contrast-induced nephropathy in patients with stable angina pectoris. J Tradit Chin Med. 2013;33(3):283-286. View abstract.
- Zhao Y. [Inhibitory effects of alcoholic extract of Cordyceps sinensis on abdominal aortic thrombus formation in rabbits]. Chung Hua I Hsueh Tsa Chih (Taipei) 1991;71:612-5, 42. View abstract.
- Zhou DH, Lin LZ. [Effect of Jinshuibao capsule on the immunological function of 36 patients with advanced cancer]. Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih 1995;15:476-8. View abstract.
- Zhou L, Yang W, Xu Y, et al. [Short-term curative effect of cultured Cordyceps sinensis (Berk.) Sacc. Mycelia in chronic hepatitis B]. Chung Kuo Chung Yao Tsa Chih 1990;15:53-5, 65. View abstract.
- Zhu JS, Halpern GM, Jones K. The scientific rediscovery of a precious ancient Chinese herbal regimen: Cordyceps sinensis: part II. J Altern Complement Med 1998;4:429-57. View abstract.
- Zhu JS, Halpern GM, Jones K. The scientific rediscovery of an ancient Chinese herbal medicine: Cordyceps sinensis: part I. J Altern Complement Med 1998;4:289-303. View abstract.
- Zhu XY, Yu HY. [Immunosuppressive effect of cultured Cordyceps sinensis on cellular immune response]. Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih 1990;10:485-7, 454. View abstract.
Have you ever purchased CORDYCEPS?
Did you or will you purchase this product in-store or online?
Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?
Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?
What factors influenced or will influence your purchase? (check all that apply)
Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?
Do you buy vitamins online or instore?
What factors are most important to you? (check all that apply)