Botanical Name – Cordyceps sinensis
Chinese Name – DONG CHONG XIA CAO
English Name – Cordyceps
Tincture made by a process of hydro-ethanolic percolation, with a ratio of 1 part Cordyceps to 3 parts liquid. Liquid comprises of 75% water and 25% sugar beet derived ethanol.
Cordyceps sinensis or Ophiocordyceps sinensis, is known in English colloquially as caterpillar fungus, or by its more prominent names yartsa gunbu or dong chong xia cao.
It is an entomopathogenic fungus (a fungus that grows on insects) in the family Ophiocordycipitaceae. It is mainly found in the meadows above 3,500 meters in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, Bhutan, India and Tibet. It parasitizes larvae of ghost moths and produces a fruiting body which is valued as a herbal remedy.
Cordyceps sinensis is classified as a medicinal mushroom, and its use has a long history in traditional Chinese medicine as well as traditional Tibetan medicine. The hand-collected, intact fungus-caterpillar body is valued by herbalists as medicine, and because of its cost, its use is also a status symbol.
This fruiting bodies of the fungus are not yet cultivated commercially, but the mycelium form can be cultivated in vitro. Overharvesting and overexploitation have led to the classification of Cordyceps sinensis as an endangered species in China.
Medicinal Action and Uses
Antioxidant – The herbs antioxidant abilities can assist with toxins that can cause premature aging and degenerative diseases.
Aphrodisiac – Also known as “Himalayan Viagra” and “The Sexual Potentiator”, Cordyceps highly influences the release of testosterone by increasing the blood circulation, thus enhancing erectile function, virility and stamina.
Energy Boosting – research shows that Cordyceps usage increases cellular ATP levels, the molecule that actually releases energy into the cell.
Hepatic – Cordyceps benefits the liver by increasing the efficient function of the organ.
Immunostimulant – Cordyceps is a powerful immune booster. It stimulates the immune system by increasing the number and boosting the activity of natural killer cells (a type of white blood cell), which protect the body from viruses and bacteria.
Respiratory – Cordyceps has been found to enhance the cells’ ability to utilise oxygen, which helps oxygen is in shorter supply. It therefore makes it easier to breathe and improves respiratory function in general. It can therefore be useful to treat bronchitis, asthma, coughs and emphysema.
Product is supplied in amber PET bottles with tamper evident screw tops.
Product is supplied in amber PET bottles with tamper evident screw tops. This keeps the contents fresh and protected from light. Look out for the QR code on the label - you can scan this with your smartphone to download the Certificate of Analysis document for this product.
What is a Tincture?
A herbal tincture is a concentrated extract of one or more herbs. The liquid in a tincture is a combination of alcohol and water. A tincture must contain at least 20% alcohol for preservation purposes. Alcohol concentrations tend to vary between 20% and 60%, but can be as high as 90% in some circumstances. At Herbal Apothecary we generally produce tinctures with alcohol concentrations of 25% - 45%. We use ethanol derived from sugar beat.
How Is A Tincture Made?
To produce the Cordyceps sinensis / DONG CHONG XIA CAO / Cordyceps Tincture we combine a quantity of herb with a proportional amount of liquid. Depending on the herb and the strength of tincture required this ratio can be 1:2, 1:3 or 1:4. The herb, alcohol and water is placed in a production vessel suitable for the size of the batch.
Traditionally, tinctures have been made by a process of maceration. This is where the herb sits in the liquid and over a period of time the plant cells break down. This allows the plant matter to be released into the liquid. Occasionally the producer might agitate the mixture to help the process along.
At Herbal Apothecary we have spent decades improving our tincture production processes. We use a system called Hydro-Ethanolic Percolation. Percolation is where liquid slowly passes through the herb, from top to bottom. In our case, the liquid is not simply passed through the herb once and then collected. Instead, it is continually cycled through the herb. Hydro-Ethanolic Percolation is a combination of maceration and traditional percolation. The circulation of liquid through a spray head agitates the herb, helping the key chemical compounds to be released into the liquid.
Our production vessels are primarily stainless steel. We use low voltage (24v) pumps to circulate the liquid. We have also developed a system of float switches and relays. These ensure the pumps only activate when an adequate level of liquid is present in the sump at the bottom of the vessel. It can take some time for the liquid to filter through the herb.
We produce most of our tinctures using dried herbs, although we sometimes use fresh. It's important that the size of the pieces of herb in the production vessel are small enough for the alcohol to thoroughly penetrate. No prior processing is required for flowers and leaves which are smaller and more delicate. However, for roots, bark and berries which tend to be tougher and larger we use herbs which are diced up into small pieces. This ensures that the maximum amount of plant material can be extracted into the liquid.
The manufacturing process takes 7 days to complete. Once the process is finished, the herb is pressed to extract every last drop of precious liquid. The Cordyceps sinensis / DONG CHONG XIA CAO / Cordyceps Tincture is filtered and then stored in bulk containers, before being bottled in smaller 250ml, 500ml and 1000ml quantities.
Click here if you'd like to know more about our herbal tincture manufacturing technology. At Herbal Apothecary we are committed to research - we want to provide a robust evidence base for the products we produce. As a result we review our manufacturing systems and processes in order to ensure we're making best use of the raw ingredients.