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, because 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 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 the traditional use of the caterpillar).
- Japanese study Nishizawa2007aec found the antidepressant effect of caterpillar in mice by exposure to the dopaminergic system .
- Red caterpillar ( C. militaris ) had an influenza effect . ( Lee2014aec )
- In rat diabetes model, it has been shown to act against pancreatic β-cell cellular 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 explored as well as Ganoderma lucidum and the insect component (parasitic caterpillar) is still ignored by science. As for the non-scientific TČM, it considers the caterpillar as a medicinal product with an excellent balance of yin and yang aspect because of the presence of both herbaceous and animal components.