Chinese Caterpillar Fungus

Source Chinese Caterpillar Fungus is a composite consisting of the stroma of the fungus,Cordyceps sinensis (Berk.) Sacc (Fam. Hypocreaceae), parasitised on the larva of some species of insects (Fam. Hepialidae), and the dead caterpillar.

Producing Areas Sichuan, Qinghai, Yunnan, Xizang, etc.

Properties Sweet, Neutral

Channels Lungs, Kidney


  • Tonifies the lung and kidney, arrests bleeding and dispels phlegm
    Chronic cough and asthma; impotence and seminal emissions with aching of loins and knees.

Usage and Dosage
9 – 15g is used in decoction for oral use, or in pills or powder. It is also stewed with other nourishing food.

Notes Contraindicated in patient with cough due to pathogenic factors, dyspnea caused by sputum and cough with blood-tinged sputum.

It is a combination of a larva and a twig-like stroma of the fungus calledCaotou.
The larva resembles a silkworm, 3 – 5cm long, 0.3 – 0.8cm in diameter. Its surface is dark yellow to yellowish brown with 20 – 30 rings. Its head is reddish brown with thinner rings. It has 8 pairs of feet. The larva is crisp. The broken surface is light yellow white.
Caotou is shaped like a slender cylinder, 4 – 7cm long, about 0.3cm in diameter. Its surface is dark brown to brown, with longitudinal thin wrinkles. Its upper part is slightly expanded. It is soft and tough, with fibrous and yellowish white broken surface.
When soaked in water it has a mushroom-like fragrance. This medicinal material is slightly fishy and bitter.

Keep in a cool, dry and airtight place. This product is vulnerable to moths and mould.

Description of Quality Herb
The good one is integrated, bright yellow outside and white inside, with short stem ofCaotou.

Professional Advice
There are some similar products.

  1. Yaxiangbang Chongcao has white membrane covering the larva. TheCaotou is black.
  2. The larva of Liangshan Chongcao is covered by brown membrane with 9 – 12 rings. ItsCaotou is long and thin, with yellow brown colour.


  1. The roots of Dican (Stachys geobombycis C.Y.Wu) and Caoshican (S.sieboldi Miq.) are often passed off as Dongchongxiacao. They are shuttle-shaped with light yellow surface.
  2. The artificial Dongchongxiacao is made of flour, corn powder and gypsum. It is heavy with yellowish surface.

Mutton Soup with Cordyceps and Wolfberry

Effects Regulates the functions of the liver and kidneys, and promotes fertility. It helps to alleviate leukorrhea, infertility and abnormal development of the foetus in women. In men, it addresses impotence, infertility and premature ejaculation.

Cordyceps 20g, mutton 500g, wolfberry 15g, Chinese yam 30g, honey dates 30g, young ginger 6g, salt to taste.


  1. Blanch the mutton in boiling water to remove the odour.
  2. Rinse the other ingredients and place in a pot with the mutton. Add a suitable amount of water.
  3. Bring to a rolling boil, then stew until the meat becomes tender. Add salt to taste and serve.

Chicken Soup with Cordyceps

Effects Alleviates consumption and benefits the fivezang organs. It is most beneficial to weakness of the body and the symptoms produced by non-infectious consumptive diseases. It also acts to stave off the effects of ageing.

Cordyceps 10g, chicken fillet 250g.


  1. Cut the chicken into small pieces and place in a pot with the cordyceps. Add young ginger, garlic, onions, cooking wine and a suitable amount of water.
  2. Bring to a rolling boil, then stew over a low fire until the chicken meat becomes tender. Add salt to taste and serve.