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Cordyceps is a rare fungus that grows in the mountains of Tibet, Nepal and China. There are more than 680 species of Cordyceps, but the most famous and well known is Cordyceps sinensis.

The first record of Cordyceps appeared in 1082, and a detailed description of its life cycle was found in manuscripts around 1590–1596, but Cordyceps has only been promoted in Europe since 1726, when it was introduced at a scientific meeting in Paris.

Cordyceps sinensis has been used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine as a natural remedy for more than 2,000 years. The imperial Quing dynasty used Cordyceps for treating kidney and lung ailments, restoring physical strength and the immune system, and rejuvenating and enhancing sexual energy.

How can we explain the effect that Cordyceps has on a human health? The curtain of mystery has been reopened by the study of growth conditions and life cycle of the fungus.

The natural environment of Cordyceps sinensis is the mountainous areas of north-western China at an altitude of 3–5,000 metres above sea level. Climatic conditions are very severe, with average temperatures of 0.2–0.8°C, humidity of 50–70% and snow for 140 to286 days a year.

During the last 20 years, modern scientific methods have increasingly been applied to the investigation of a copious range of medicinal applications for Cordyceps in an attempt to validate what Chinese practitioners have noted for centuries.