With all the hype around medicinal mushrooms, we turn to our fungi friends this week to shine light on Cordyceps. Did you know this mushroom parasitizes inside insect larvae? Crazy, right? Wild harvesting is quite difficult due to the high elevations. They grow in cold grassy meadows of Tibet and China and parts of the Atlantic seaboard in the US. This antlered fungus used to exclusively live in the emperor’s palace because of its scarcity and abundant medicinal properties. Its effectiveness is increased when cooked with duck interestingly enough. Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Cordyceps sinensis associates with the kidneys and lungs. A tonic of Cordyceps also helps weak backs and knees, impotence, and may help chronic coughs or coughs with blood in them. Research suggests that these fungi enhance immunity by increasing help-T cells and killer cells to fight replicative cancer cells. Also, Cordyceps enhances oxygen uptake to the heart and brain thus making this energizer a wonderful option for athletes. It has also been shown to improve libido and sperm count by increasing testosterone. Lastly, this magic fungus has been shown to reduce fibroid tumors, help with tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and cholesterol reducing. All in all, Cordyceps is a safe and effective fungi you can add to anything, cold or hot drinks, soups, broths, meats, and sweets!
Savory Mushroom Broth Recipe
By Mushroom Revival based on Fu Zheng tonifying formulas
2-4 quarts of water, limited only by the size of your stock pot
5-6 slices dried reishi mushroom
7-8 fresh or dried shiitake mushroom
½ cup dried maitake mushroom, chopped (1 cup if fresh)
¼ cup dried burdock root or use fresh if desired
10 sliced dried astragalus root
1 2-3 inch rootlet of ginseng (optional)
1 large carrot, chopped
2-3 scallions, chopped
3 stalks celery with tops, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 inch strip of dried Kombu seaweed OR 2 tbsp Wakame seaweed
1-2 Tablespoons cordyceps powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional: Miso paste, eleuthero root, turmeric root, and/or sesame oil
Combine all ingredients except cordyceps mushrooms in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover, and let simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours. Keep an eye on the water levels; you may want to add a bit more. The broth will be rich, feel free to further dilute to extend the life of the stock.
Near the end of your boil, add in cordyceps mushrooms, as these delicate mushrooms only need to be boiled for 15 minutes for optimal extraction.
After 2-3 hours total, remove from heat and strain your mushroom broth through a strainer or cheesecloth.
Supportive Dose: 3 big mugs of mushroom broth per day, or 2-3 bowls of soup using this broth as the base.