Here is an article I wrote for FungiCultura on one of the most powerful (and most expensive!) natural medicines on Earth!

When most people think of mushrooms, they think of them growing out of trees, decaying logs or leaves. That is not the case for one highly unusual genus of mushrooms; Cordyceps.

Cordyceps sinensis is known as the Caterpillar Mushroom. As you may have guessed from it’s nickname, may have something to do with caterpillars, Ghost Moth Caterpillars to be exact.  These caterpillars live underground throughout Europe and Asia. But the ones who live in the high plateaus of the Himalayas play a special role in the life of Cordyceps sinensis.

The spores of the fungus are throughout the soil and debris in which the caterpillars live and graze. When a caterpillar ingests some of the spores, the fungus begins to infect the caterpillar and begins to take the role of lead commander.

It is unclear whether or not the fungus has complete control over the caterpillar, but it…

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