Cordyceps sinensis is a interesting mushroom that grows at very high altitude in the Himalayas. The name cordyceps comes from Latin words meaning club and head. It grows only in high-altitude regions of 3800 m above sea level, in cold, grassy, alpine meadows of the Himalayan mountains. In China it is called ” winter worm, summer grass”, and the “caterpillar mushroom”. Cordyceps sinensis has been used for the therapy of renal diseases, such as chronic nephritis, chronic pyelonephritis, chronic renal dysfunction or failure, and nephritic syndrome.
Cordyceps and Kidney Function
Scientific researches has shown that Cordyceps sinensis is useful to the kidneys. A Chinese trial has shown a 51% improvement in chronic kidney disease after just 1 month of supplementation with Cordyceps. Cordyceps sinensis improves kidney functions and it was shown to return levels of infection-fighting T cells to normal in kidney transplant people. In one clinical study on Cordyceps sinensis, scientists selected 7 kidney transplant patients who were taking the cocktail of anti-rejection medications. All the patients had developed low levels of infection-fighting white blood cells and other symptoms of organ rejection.
Cordyceps sinensis extract substantially improved renal function via antiapoptotic and anti-inflammatory activity in rats subjected to 60 minutes of ischemia and following three days of reperfusion of the kidneys. This mushroom protects the kidneys from damage oxidative stress and inflammation and deterioration of kidney functions. Professor Li Shuo Shin discovered that Cordyceps can avoid kidney damage caused by antibiotics and other medications without reducing their antibiotic effect.
The high toxicity of cyclosporin has caused many patients suffer from severe kidney damage, related to the use of the medication. In 1995, a study was undertaken in China in which 69 kidney-transplant patients were given either cyclosporin alone or in conjunction with Cordyceps sinensis (3 g per day). After 15 days it was clearly evident that the group receiving Cordyceps sinensis in addition to cyclosporin had a much lower incidence of kidney damage than the group receiving just cyclosporin, as measured by the levels of urinary NAG, serum creatinine, and blood urea nitrate. Other clinical study involved 57 patients with gentamicin-induced kidney damage, who were either treated with 4.5g of cordyceps sinensis per day or by other more conventional methods. After six days, the group that received Cordyceps had recovered 89% of their normal kidney function compare to a 45% recovery rate in the other group.
Research conducted on kidney patients who suffer from disorders of blood pressure showed that after one month of treatment with cordyceps sinensis their blood pressure lowered by 15 percent. Also, they noticed an increasing of superoxide dismutase which, together with established reducing of lipoperoxyde serum, suggests the possibility of neutralizing the free radicals, resulting in less damage to kidney cells. In a study among 51 people suffering from chronic renal failure, it was found that the administration of (3–5 g per day) of Cordyceps substantially improved both the kidney function and overall immune function of treated patients, compared to the untreated group. In 1995, scientists in China reported that Cordyceps sinensis can help patients with CRF (chronic renal failure). A clinical study of 37 chronic renal failure patients treated with 5 g daily of C. sinensis for 30 days found important improvement. Compared with the results of pre-treatment tests, red blood cell and hemoglobin counts were significantly enhanced. The most improvement was shown in the creatinine clearance test. Tests demonstrated an improvement rate of approximately 39%. Also, there was a 34% decrease in BUN (blood urea nitrogen). Was the 63% drop in proteins found in the urine, which is one of the strongest indicators of an overall correction of kidney function.