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The tonifying herb Dong Chong Xia Cao or Cordyceps sinensis has been used for millennia in traditional Chinese medicine to treat deficiency of Kidney yang. Western research has shown the herb to contain compounds which have a complex range of actions meriting further investigation. Cultivated versions have become widely available, but increasing demand for the wild product has put the herb under threat from over-harvesting, and the struggle to control trade has led to criminal activity and even border disputes. The following review gives an overview of the herb’s history and use, and considers the implications of recent developments for its future.
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