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Why We Decided to Grow Cordyceps Mushrooms in the United States

Justin Vergottini-Wexler

American Ginseng Pharm

138 Church St

Treadwell, NY 13846

Facebook: American ginseng pharm

Few mushroom species can compete with the little cordyceps mushroom when it comes to high medicinal potency. A powerful adaptogen with a history of use as a lung and kidney tonic, the cordyceps mushroom can also treat a wide variety of other ills. Yet, few medicinal mushroom species are as expensive as cordyceps, which fetches a price range of US$15,000 to $20,000 per kilo. And for good reason: the humble wild cordyceps mushrooms that are used for medicine exist exclusively as parasites of wild ghost moth caterpillars, traditionally harvested in the valleys of the Himalayan Mountains.

Subsequently, finding cordyceps mushrooms in nature is like searching for a needle in a haystack. But, in an effort to make this natural medicine more accessible to the average consumer, years of experimentation by growers has led to the cultivation of this powerful fungal medicine in laboratory settings on substrates ranging from mealworms to grain. Now, cultivated cordyceps mushrooms are available on the global market at prices more affordable to consumers. They can be found in whole, powdered, and extract forms. One of the leading exporters of cultivated cordyceps mushrooms and supplements is China.

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous Chinese producers of cordyceps and other medicinal mushrooms grow the fungi in contaminated substrates. Over the past two years, the Chinese Food and Drug Administration has inspected products containing cordyceps mushrooms and has found arsenic – up to ten times the national limit – in some supplements containing the mushroom. There is also widespread concern about potential mold and bacterial contamination. The cultivation and processing of cordyceps and other medicinal mushrooms in contaminated environments may be widespread.

At this time, it is difficult – if not impossible – for the Chinese government to control the problem. The increasingly large pool of consumers cannot trust sources of what should be clean, natural medicines. Fortunately, there are safe sources of cultivated cordyceps mushrooms from outside of the country. A select few medicinal mushroom farms in the United States in particular offer an alternative to potentially contaminated cordyceps mushroom supplements originating in China. One grower in particular, located in the Catskill Mountains two hours to the north of New York City, aims to provide safely-cultivated, medicinally-potent cordyceps mushrooms and other products for a wider range of consumers.

Our company, American Ginseng Pharm, grows the mushrooms exclusively on non-GMO, gluten-free organic grain in sterile, controlled rooms with an ambient climate that mimics that of the mountain valleys of the Himalayas. The quality of cordyceps supplements from the various producers varies. Some American growers make their products by combining both the fruiting bodies of the cordyceps mushroom and the mycelium and substrate on which it grows, making for a less potent product. In contrast, American Ginseng Pharm offers supplements wholly derived from cordyceps fruiting bodies.

In conclusion, at this time, the careful consumer should avoid cordyceps mushroom products originating from China. Fortunately, there are more conscientious and caring growers found in the United States. For those searching for supplements containing potent cordyceps mushrooms at much lower cost than the wild counterparts, look no farther than the Catskill Mountain region of New York State. There, American Ginseng Pharm cultivates clean, sustainable cordyceps, lingzhi, and wild-simulated ginseng with the love and care essential for high quality herbal supplements.


United States International Trade Commission. China’s Agricultural Trade: Competitive Conditions and Effects on U.S. Exports. Investigation No. 332-518, USITC Publication 4219. March, 2011.

Yan, Alice. "Highly prized 'caterpillar fungus' declared a danger to health by China's food and drug administration" in South China Morning Post. January 16, 2018.

#Cordyceps #冬蟲夏草 #蟲草屬

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