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Vegetarians can consume the Yarsagumba Cordyceps. Why you ask? As will be explained further in the article, the only evidence of meat left after formation is the exoskeleton of the caterpillar, which constitutes about one percent of the entire mushroom.

Also known as the Caterpillar Fungus or the Cordyceps Sinensis, the Yarsagumba is one of the rarest and oldest mushrooms found mainly in China, Nepal, India, Tibet, and Bhutan above 3500 feet. With a risk of endangerment, cordyceps is a unique caterpillar mushroom fusion that occurs when the parasitic mushroom pores (ophiocordyceps sinensis) infect and mummifies the ghost moth larva habiting in the soil. Later on, a fungus sprouts through the host’s head.

To help you understand better as to why we consider the caterpillar fungus fit for a vegetarian and not a vegan, we will first define the terms vegan and vegetarian, then explain the formation of the Yarsagumba Cordyceps and why it is okay for vegetarians to eat it.

Who is a vegan?

A vegan is an individual who, for diverse reasons such as ethics, religion, individual convictions, to mention a few, chooses to avoid eating meat and any animal products such as eggs, honey, dairy, or anything that was once alive. This kind of lifestyle is called veganism, and it aims to preserve and control the exploitation of all animals.

Who is a vegetarian?

On the other hand, vegetarians are a bit more open. These individuals avoid meat, fish, and fowls for reasons such as health or ethical concerns such as the preservation of life, but are open to consuming animal products such as eggs, honey, and fish.

Vegetarians have further been classified into the;

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy products
  • The Lacto vegetarians who eat dairy products but no meat, poultry, eggs, or fish
  • The ovo vegetarians who eat eggs but not meat, fish, dairy, or poultry
  • And the partial vegetarians who do not eat meat but are partial to consuming fish and poultry.

Looking at the above explanations, it can be said that the vegetarian is more likely fit to eat the Yarsagumba Cordyceps as they are more open to animal products which the mushroom is as compared to the vegan.

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Origin of the fungi

This is an exciting story. About 1500 years ago, in a country known as Tibet, some herders noticed that their animals were acting weird. They were lustful and chasing each other with the same lust after eating the Yarsagumba Cordyceps. Later on, the herders experienced the same aphrodisiac experience together with some locals after consuming the fungi.

It is not a surprise that the fungus’s earliest documentation is as a sexual tonic by one Tibet physician and lama called Nyamnyi Dorje in the year 1439-1475.

Formation process

The caterpillar fungus is not cultivated. It remains a wild plant whose magic the world has barely touched.

The caterpillar fungus is revered as a living mystery for its medical value or its impeccable history and the incredible process of formation. It is warm in the winter, but then comes summer, and it becomes one of the rearrests and most distinguished plants.

During the summer seasons, the Cordyceps, which are the parasitic fungi, produce spores that scatter all over the soil. Later on, when it rains, the rainfall makes it possible for the spores to find deeper soil roots. When winter comes, the caterpillar larva of the order Lepidoptera land on the alpine-grass to feed. In the process of feeding, it gets infected by the parasitic fungus forming a larva-fungi symbiote.

We say it is infected because a parasitic organism gains from other organisms by taking from them and causing harm, which the cordyceps do to the caterpillar.

Once infected, the caterpillar larva acts as the parasites’ host, where it feeds on the larva gradually and surely. During this process, the host skin turns color from brown to milkfish-white. This color change is evidence that the mummification process of the host is almost complete.

After the color change, the cordyceps fungus replaces the larva’s interior by gutting it and replacing it with string-like hyphae (the host dies from the inside out). The host then crawls into the best position possible where it can dispose of more fungal spores. At this stage, the larva has been coated with mycelia causing it to stiffen gradually.

Once the mummification process has been completed, the exoskeleton( only remaining part of the caterpillar) acts as a fungal food cache while finally awaiting the warm weather to fruit into the Yarsagumba cordyceps.

Basically, after the fusion, nothing but the caterpillar’s shell is left—only the skin.

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What makes the caterpillar fungi perfect for the vegetarian?

There are two significant aspects of the caterpillar fungus that make it perfect for the vegetarian. One is its ethical aspect, and the other is its medicinal benefit.

It is ethical in that no animal was harmed in the process of harvesting, considering that the caterpillar’s death was from a fungal infection. When you look at the formation process, it is clear that the mushroom came about merely by a parasite’s help. This is normal for all plants during the natural cycle of life in plants.

Also, the fungus for years has proven to contain immense medicinal benefits some that would otherwise need to be obtained from animal products. These are;

  • The Yarsagumba Cordyceps is known to boost performance during exercise, especially in adults and children. The mushroom acts as a catalyst in Adenosine Triphosphate (ADT) production, an essential enzyme in delivering energy to the human muscles. It, however, has shown not to have any effects on athletes. It is, therefore, a perfect meat substitute.
  • The Yarsagumba Cordyceps contains antioxidants that help slow the aging rate by neutralizing the free radicles, primary aging, and disease-causing agents. In the process, the body and the brain are nourished hence establishing proper metabolism and less aging.
  • The Yarsagumba Cordyceps helps to manage type two diabetes by acting in place of the insulin.
  • The Yarsagumba Cordyceps is used to treat asthma, tuberculosis, and bronchitis, among other cardiovascular diseases.
  • The Yarsagumba Cordyceps acts as an aphrodisiac by improving the quality of your sex life. Traditional Chinese medicine states that it will help cure erectile dysfunction, boost longevity, stamina, and endurance levels needed to perform if you drink the boiled broth from the fungus. It works best for both genders
  • The Yarsagumba Cordyceps Helps cure hepatitis B
  • The Yarsagumba Cordyceps Helps improve the liver functions
  • People with cancer use Yarsagumba Cordyceps to reduce chemotherapy’s effects during cancer treatment and improve life quality by fighting against tumor cells.

It contains about 35% beta-glucans, which are the most renowned immune modulators. This activates the production of immunity, which in turn helps to fight cancer.

The benefits of consuming the caterpillar fungus are more than any individual would obtain from merely incorporating meat into their diet. There is healing, prevention, enhancement, all attributes that help a vegetarian live a fulfilled life. They get a complete package without compromising on their convictions.

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Modes of consumption

  • You can take the Yarsagumba Cordyceps one or two pieces a day in its original form.
  • You can boil it and make the broth as a soup.
  • You can make tea from the Yarsagumba Cordyceps and consume it, preferably after meals. Soak it in water for about 20 minutes. This allows for the soluble components to dissolve in the water. You take it similarly to how you take green tea.
  • Grind it and mix the powder with milk, for vegetarians okay with animal products.
  • Make capsules of about 400mg and take two capsules three times a day.
  • You can make a tincture by soaking in water for the soluble extracts or alcohol for the antioxidants. All remedies ensure that you consume within three months to preserve the immunity properties, such as the beta-glucans.


Everything under the surface of the earth has risks. Generally, there are no risks that have been linked to the consumption of the Yarsagumba Cordyceps. However, prevention is better than cure. So, people about to go for surgery should avoid it due to the risks such as bleeding out, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid it also or keep it to a minimum to prevent complications.

This should be the case until further studies have established the correct dosage and safety of the fungi.

In conclusion, the caterpillar fungus is a gift to vegetarians and all of humanity. Goats are herbivorous animals, and they discovered the fungus, which reinforces the fact that it is a plant. This fungus is quite lucrative and more expensive than gold in some countries. It is one of the rearrests and undoubtedly the most distinguished medicinal mystery plant with an even more exciting history behind it.

Currently, in the international market, a kilogram of the fungus goes for about 10,000 dollars, give or take. And you thought vegetarians had it cheap. As more and more comprehensive research and resources go into studying the further benefits of the Yarsagumba, a more precise and more elaborate picture of its composure continues to emerge; the one thing known for sure is that it is perfect for the vegetarian.

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