As the story goes, the nine Chinese women runners who slaughtered the nine world records in the 1993 Chinese National Games, including the woman who beat the previous record in the 10,000 meter race by a shocking forty-two seconds, were not pumped up on steroids as as other athletes and journalists world wide accused.
Nope, they passed all of their drug and steroid tests with flying colors and they showed none of the typical signs or symptoms of steroid usage. Inflamed by these accusations, the coach for the Chinese women's team, Ma Jun Ren, revealed the secret of the team's phenomenal success. "This is what I tell my trainees to drink," Ma said holding up a box of the worm-derived potion. "This is all natural and Chinese people have been drinking it for hundreds of years." (You can see the original New York Times archived article, here.)
The worm extract used to concoct Ma Jun Ren's drink comes from the Dong Chong Xia Cao worm, the literal translation of its name means, "winter-bug-summer-grass."
According to the 1993 New York Times article, "The worm thrives in summer on the high-altitude plateau of Qinhai and Gansu provinces. It dies in winter and is gathered before the first snows by local farmers, who sell the twig-like, one or two-inch long carcasses into the herbal medicine market."
Cordyceps is much easier for athletes to find and use these days. It helps to improve sports performance in a variety of ways. It is known for "improving the breath," meaning that it dilates and relaxes bronchial muscles, improving oxygen delivery throughout the body and invigorating energy levels. It is adaptogenic and improves the strength of the adrenal glands, helps to normalize blood fats and sugars, helps maintain blood pressure within normal range, supports the immune system and encourages helathy circulation.
Historically used to promote longevity as a potent aphrodisiac, Dong Chong Xia Cao also has the wonderful added benefit of supporting optimal sexual function and sexual vitality.
A new study just published in September 2014 in High Altitude Medicine and Biology, however, adds continued support to the claims that Cordyceps has an ergogenic effect on humans.
The study found that the effect of Rhodiola crenulata and Cordyceps sinensis supplementation provided better training benefit and significantly improved aerobic exercise capacity and sports performance following 2-week high altitude training. The study concluded that "the beneficial effect of Rhodiola and Cordyceps treatment may result from better maintenance of PNS [parasympathetic] activity and accelerated physiological adaptations during high altitude training."
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For educational purposes only
This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Please be advised:
You should always consult with your doctor
before making any changes to your diet or nutritional program.