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Tibetan caterpillar fungus in cancer therapy

With the presence of targeted chemotherapeutic agents, cancer treatment has achieved significant improvement in many tumor types, however malignancies are unfortunately still a serious, often fatal disease. Therefore, chemotherapy prescribed by doctors are complemented by natural medical treatment. In the field of natural products numerous are at issue, a Japanese research group tried to answer one - Is Cordyceps sinensis (Tibetan Caterpillar Fungus) eligible in cancer therapy?

The Japanese study summarized data from 101 patients with a type of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, and supplemented the medical treatment with naturopathic products. These natural ingredients used in individually different combinations, such as Cordyceps sinensis, different herbal mixtures (e.g. Ginseng, kudzu root, rhubarb root), formulations high in antioxidants (e.g. wheat germ, green tea), and other medicinal fungi (almond fungus etc.). All patients consumed at least 2 natural supplements, and the number typically increased as the disease progressed.

Patients were at different stages at the time of tumor diagnosis. 27% of them were administered the supplements when the medical treatment started, the others had already undergone surgical intervention beforehand, or started the supplement support after a previously commenced chemotherapy.


Demonstrated efficiency of Tibetan caterpillar fungus

50 of the patients used a total of at least 4 types of natural supplements, and 51 used 3 kinds or less. Those patients who consumed a minimum of four formulations, improved the survival rate, even after 3 years more than half of the group was still alive. In contrast, of those who used up to 3 formulations, every second patient died within just half a year.

Further analyzing the data, they took notice that the survival was more significant, when one of the 4 natural raw material was Cordyceps sinensis medicinal fungus. The reason for this, according to the authors, was partly the active ingredient, cordycepin in the fungus, which has proven earlier, although in animal experiments. The other reason may lie in the cumulative, synergistic effect of fungi and plants, when the beneficial effects do not add up, but rather multiply.

It was also noted that natural preparations administered to patients with conventional chemotherapy were more effective, which demonstrates that the supplements have more support in medical treatment, rather than substitutions.

Summarizing the Japanese study, it has been proven that naturopathic therapy with Cordyceps sinensis, can increase the survival of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma if used appropriately in addition to medical treatment. In order to be generalized, much more similar, scientifically demanding research is necessary. Animal experiments and further research to date, however, are encouraging.

Study in original language: