The Chinese caterpillar ( Cordyceps sinensis ) is a rare fungus that fulfills the definition of adaptogen by its properties (broad-spectrum effect + non-toxicity). However, it is not a ginseng-type adaptogen, since the center of gravity of its action does not tend to activate the hypothalamic-pituitary adaptation axis. According to available literature, the adaptogenic effect of the caterpillar appears to be mainly at the cellular level ( Liu2016hmc , Zou2016cso , etc.). The caterpillar also regulates the immune ( Liu2015ccp ) and the nervous system (eg Nishizawa2007aec ). Further, according to available literature:
- Wang2004aes claims that Cordyceps slows aging in mice. I do not believe in the mechanistic explanations of the author, the results are yes (I believe in the traditional use of the caterpillar).
- The Japanese study, Nishizawa2007aec, found the antidepressant effect of the caterpillar in mice by exposure to the dopaminergic system .
- Red caterpillar ( C. militaris ) had an influenza effect . ( Lee2014aec )
- In the diabetic rat model, it was effective against cellular pancreatic β-cell stress. ( Liu2016hmc )
- In experimental cerebral ischemia, it has been against memory impairment . ( Lee2016aec )
- The caterpillar extract slowed the growth of HT-29 and SW480 colon cancer cells. ( Huang2007iec )
Chinese caterpillars and related species of the genus Cordyceps are not as well researched as Ganoderma lucidum and the insect component (parasitic caterpillar) is still ignored by science. Regarding the non-scholarly TČM, it regards the caterpillar as a medicinal product with a perfectly balanced yin and yang aspect due to the presence of both "herbal" (ie mushroom) and animal components.