Cordyceps Sinensis mushroom, is also referred to as a symbiant (not a parasite), boosts the immune system of its known host. It doesn’t live in anything living but attaches itself to dead insects or skeletons of insects.
Cordyceps is probably the single most important food development in the 21st century. This mushroom was discovered several centuries ago on the Himalayan Alps in Tibet, where it was growing at 14.000 feet and higher. It is only found at this high altitude because it is such a rare find mushroom because it required a DNA from dead insects to acquire the oxygen it requires to survive at these altitudes.
As the cordyceps sinensis attaches itself to dead insects, it obtains their DNA for oxygen and creates what a polysaccharide, a very large oxygen based sugar molecule that has perhaps as many as 100 oxygen molecules in it. As the sugar is broken down, the oxygen is released on a cellular level and hence you have a regulation of blood sugar swings and the elimination of cancer, which cannot exist in an oxygen-rich environment.
The main use of most medicinal mushrooms is to enhance immune function. Most countries use these mushrooms or mushroom derived compounds in clinical practice. This is not part of our culture here in the states. Under our regulatory system, mushrooms have to go through pharmaceutical approval before it can be used in clinical setting. So, while we use mushroom products as dietary supplements in America, the primary use in most of the world is either in cancer or in HIV treatment. Cordyceps has antiviral compounds which are as effective or more effective than the pharmaceutical available drugs today, only they are not toxic. So, the main use for Cordyceps Sinensis is antiviral use.