Himalayan yarsagumba is a big deal here. You may know it by its other name: cordyceps.

And Singaporeans are the biggest consumers, according to the New York Times.

Cordyceps, or dongcong xiacao in Chinese, is a parasitic fungus that germinates in the living larvae of ghost butterflies in winter.

Ms. Lily Ong, 60, who has been taking cordyceps for almost 10 years, has spent up to $ 3,600 on just 100g of weed.

The New Paper understands that prices for cordyceps can range from $ 800 to $ 3,500 for 38 g of the herb, depending on the quality of the cordyceps.

Ms. Ong said, “I take it just for health – to prevent phlegm, to strengthen the lungs and just to boost my overall immune system.”

Dr Lim Min Yee, 30, a doctor at the Chinese Medicine Clinic at Nanyang Technological University, said most Singaporeans take cordyceps as a tonic to improve energy, mental alertness and their immune system.

She added, “Modern research has shown cordyceps to have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects.

“Animal studies have also shown that cordyceps improves testosterone levels and sperm production in animals.

“In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the kidneys are responsible for sexual and reproductive functions. Cordyceps has an effect on kidney function (and it is also said to have) the reproductive system improving abilities as well.”

However, Dr Lim would not recommend that people with sexual dysfunction take cordyceps as a remedy.

She said: “It would be best to see a doctor. Cordyceps are used more for the maintenance of general health.”

How many pieces of cordyceps should a person take at a time?

Dr Lim said it depends on a person’s health, age and other conditions.

“Follow the directions on the product label and if in doubt consult an authorized person, she said.

Cordyceps are usually taken in a stew consisting of three to five pieces that are combined with other herbs.

As to whether a piece of cordyceps is of good quality, Dr Lim said, “It should be dry and brittle. It should be yellowish-brown in color, and its legs and rings should be prominent and distinct. has a pleasant aroma. “


But be aware of its other effects.

Last year, a 58-year-old woman died of a major brain hemorrhage after surgery for a benign brain tumor and doctors blamed the cordyceps she took the week before her operation.

Cordyceps has an anticoagulant effect, which lengthens the time for a blood clot to form, according to a report in The Straits Times.

In addition, herbal-drug interactions can occur if a patient takes the two at the same time and they react with each other, Ms. Lim Ching Hui, senior senior pharmacist at the General Hospital, told Straits Times. Singapore.

“These interactions can increase the action of the drug, reduce its effectiveness or cause unexplained side effects,” she said.

However, Dr Lim said side effects are rare, especially when used in the right dosage.

A spokesperson for the Health Sciences Authority said he currently has no plans to publish an advisory on the use of cordyceps.

The spokesperson said: “As a general precaution, people undergoing medical treatment or surgery are advised to inform their doctors of any medications, herbs or supplements they are taking.

“This is because some of the ingredients may interfere or interact with the anesthetics and other drugs used.”

A spokesperson for the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority said cordyceps could be used as an ingredient in food.

The spokesperson added, “However, the use of traditional Chinese medicinal substances, such as cordyceps, in food is not intended to prevent, treat or alleviate disease. Food traders should ensure that the amount of cordyceps used in food products does not cause any therapeutic or medicinal effect when consumed.

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