Chaga mushroom is a fungal sclerotia that grows most commonly on Birch trees within the circumpolar region of the northern hemisphere. It has been used as a folk medicine for centuries, primarily as an immune booster, remedy for digestive and respiratory ailments and an overall vitality tonic. It has now been studied extensively and proven to contain a wide array of different nutrients and medicinal constituents that can provide us with A LOT of health benefits.
Throughout the temperate regions of this planet, a walk through the forest during Autumn is likely to present a magestic, ‘bemushroomed’ landscape to those paying attention. It can unearth sensations within us that we may have neglected to acknowledge since early childhood – feelings of being in a real-life fairytale or some magical fantasy epic. Connecting with our natural surroundings during periods of seasonal transition can genuinely enliven the senses and activate even the dustiest of imaginations… it can provide genuine medicine for the spirit!
Cordyceps is one of the most highly prized natural medicines on Earth. It is ranked as valuable and effective as wild Ginseng, Reishi Mushroom and Deer Antler. Cordyceps parasitises insects by firstly taking control of the hosts nervous system and moving to a more suitable location to release reproductive spores. This behaviour contributes enormously to the biodiversity of the surrounding natural environment, and there are many different types of Cordyceps that live in a large variety of different ecosystems, and each type of Cordyceps focuses solely on a single species of insect.
Cordyceps Sinensis is native to the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding Himalayan regions of India, Nepal and Bhutan and parasitises the larvae of Ghost Moths, which is why it has been popularly labelled as the “caterpillar fungus”. The Tibetan name for it is “Yartsa Gunbu”, which literally translates as “summer grass, winter worm”. Himalayan Cordyceps affects larvae that are hibernating 6 inches below soil level by ensuring their heads are vertically upright so that when the fruiting body of the mushroom is produced, it can penetrate the soil and extend upwards, releasing spores to be carried and dispersed by alpine winds. By the time the fruiting body has fully matured, it has completely replaced all of the original tissue of the host organism. So although Himalayan Cordyceps may look exactly like a caterpillar with a slightly twisted club emerging from its head, the body of the caterpillar is now 100% made up of fungal cells – it contains no original tissue whatsoever.
Cordyceps has been used as a potent medicinal substance since antiquity – a privilege that was enjoyed exclusively by royalty and noblemen throughout the ages right up until very recent history. In Tibetan Medicine it is used for people with kidney and heart weakness and to enhance fertility in both men and women. In traditional Chinese medicine Cordyceps is revered for its ability to regenerate both the yin & yang aspects of our primordial essence – our jing. Jing is an energetic phenomenon that is considered to be the subtlest and most refined aspect of the physical body. On the one hand it represents our youthfulness, resilience and ability to heal (yin), and on the other hand it is our core vitality that allows us to be active in the world and fulfil our purpose in this life (yang), maintaining our lustre without wilting from stress and disease. So Cordyceps is believed to replenish this most subtle essence while enabling us to put it to use without the risk of running our batteries too low. It is used to help people recover from over-exertion – it restores energy at the deepest level and allows us to adapt to the many stressors we encounter in life with minimal negative impact. This is why Cordyceps is famed for its anti-aging properties, and also why it is such a potent tonic for the kidneys, because the kidneys are considered to be the ‘containers’ of this jing essence.
Our jing is also what offers us the potential to reproduce – if we have a strong sense of vitality we will produce robust and vibrant offspring. Decreased jing however indicates weakness in our genetic lineage, and if this essence becomes too depleted we may not be able to reproduce at all. Cordyceps has long been used as a remedy for impotence, infertility and frigidity – it can restore our spent sexual vigour and act as an effective aphrodisiac.
As a qi tonic Cordyceps improves appetite and digestion, fortifies immunity and offers incredible respiratory support by increasing lung capacity and dilating the alveoli, and consequently enhancing oxygen absorption and utilisation on a cellular level. This makes it a powerful ally for those with general respiratory weakness, wheezing and chest tightness or people living with asthma or chronic bronchitis. This is also one reason why Cordyceps possesses such a formidable reputation as one of the greatest performance enhancing herbs, but also because it strengthens the lower back, hips, knees and ankles. It increases our physical endurance, enhances healing and recovery and has been used as a tonic for athletes and those who are very active physically. This is in fact how knowledge of Cordyceps first began to permeate the western world, because three female athletes broke 5 world records for track running at the Beijing National Games in 1993. This phenomenal achievement attracted suspicion, particularly because all three athletes were on the same team, however they all tested negative for narcotics. When questioned, their coach explained that the team had been consuming daily doses of a herbal formula as part of their training, and the primary herb in that formula was Cordyceps.
Traditionally it has also been used for enhancing mental clarity and improving focus and concentration, building mental stamina and allowing people to rest their attention on a single subject/object for extended periods of time without the usual signs of fatigue and exhaustion. This has also made it an invaluable support for meditation – especially lengthy retreats that require the individual to remain in focused contemplation for many hours at a time.
Since being subject to the modern scrutiny of scientific analysis, it has proven to share many genuine health benefits with us such as:
- modulating the immune system by enhancing the activity of macrophages & natural killer cells
- regulating blood sugar
- possesses unique polysaccharides (cordycepic acids) that inhibit tumour growth of a number of different types of cancer including leukaemia
- protects against a wide range of pathogenic organisms including lyme
- an effective antiviral that is used to treat HIV
- inhibiting cholesterol build-up within the heart/aorta
- dilating blood vessels while under stress
- improves physical endurance/anti-fatigue
- improves respiratory function & increases lung capacity
- significantly improves sexual function in both men & women
- high antioxidant content
- excellent tonic for the heart, liver, kidneys and lungs
So much of the ancient wisdom of this rare and precious substance has been validated through contemporary scientific studies, which has led to a dramatic increase in its demand throughout much of the world. As a consequence the wild-harvesting of Cordyceps throughout the Himalayas is closely monitored for the purpose of sustainability, although illegal poaching remains an unfortunate reality. Wild Cordyceps revenue now contributes the largest annual income for native Tibetan people and so there are many sides to this story – it is an important part of the culture and economy of Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan, but harvesting restrictions must be enforced if Cordyceps is to prevail in its natural environment. It is totally possible for it to continue thriving in the wild if harvesting and retail limits are honoured and respected, but this remains a very sensitive issue as Cordyceps is such an important natural resource with very high economic value throughout the Himalayas.
There are now cultivated varieties of Cordyceps available – most notably the CS-4 variety – which are very good and exhibit many of the same benefits as the wild fungus, although growing methods of many producers are unfortunately less than excellent. CS-4 is ultimately the best quality and most trusted form of this cultivated mushroom. The wild Tibetan variety is still considered to be the best, most effective Cordyceps in the world, and is by far the most expensive. Many of the eastern healing traditions consider that a great deal of this mushrooms’ power comes from the fact that it is from both plant and animal origin – it contains concentrated energies from both of these kingdoms, plus a lot of the potency is believed to emanate from the ‘wildness’ of the organism. This is something that cannot be said for the cultivated variety, as manually infecting the host insects with spores has never been successfully achieved, so the cultivated variety is grown on a substrate of cooked soybeans or grain slurry. This makes the cultivated variety 100% sustainable though, and a lot cheaper.
So Cordyceps has been revered as a sacred and majestic substance that can offer profound healing potential to those that consume it – a belief that has been intimately witnessed through and verified by the scientific lens during more recent history. It is a powerful tonic for the kidneys, lungs, liver and heart and can restore our core vitality at the deepest level, raising fertility, affording us protection from disease, supporting recovery from illness and injury, and increasing our adaptability to the trials and stresses of modern life.
The Flying Potion is actually a major lifetime achievement. When I created it I knew there was something extremely special, powerful and unique about it, but I had no idea how popular it would become in such a short period of time and how many people it would help and support on such a profound level. This year it has developed a large following of people that swear by its transformative benefits and I have to admit, the feedback has been both humbling and awe-inspiring…
I have published some previous testimonials about the Flying Potion before (which you can read here), but I thought I would share a couple more with you now as they both moved and honoured me, and further established the awesome yet subtle power of this incredible formula…
“I stumbled upon the flying potion and I was instantly intrigued. Having had difficulties maintaining lucidity in the last couple of months I figured this might be that little extra push to help me get back on track. To begin with I didn’t really feel any effects but I persisted with it. My dreams were perhaps longer and a tad more vivid but I couldn’t quite get lucid. Being quite a regular lucid dreamer in the past (probably had no lucidity in the last 2 months) I felt disappointed but I began to notice a change in myself. Now I’ve suffered most of my life with quite complex mental health issues. Without going into too much detail I’ve had really bad depression for almost 10 years now as well as experiencing hallucinations and hearing voices. This is something I have to continuously battle and it makes functioning in day to day life very difficult. I’ve taken various meds that do provide some stability but not for very long.
After taking the flying potion for the last 2 weeks I feel absolutely amazing. I have more energy. I feel more positive. I’m starting to get motivation back. I feel more able to handle my problems and people say I’m nicer to be around (I’m normally a completely miserable fucker). It’s helping me see things in a different light and although this isn’t going to “cure” me of anything (I don’t wish to be “cured” anyway) this is definitely the pick me up I need to finally get my life on track. So I just wanted to say thank you. – Max Hunter, Yorkshire, UK.
“I just received a bottle of the Flying Potion from Nyishar. This is an excellent Shen formula for anyone who seeks a more spiritual peace. It contains a fine combination of herbs long known in China to raise conscious frequencies in and around a person. I highly recommend the Flying Potion for all spiritual mendicants, as well as for those who wish to break out of ideological ruts.” – Rehmannia Dean Thomas, Taoist Tonic Herbalist, Los Angeles, USA.
Traditional Tibetan Medicine (TTM) is a healing system that can offer immense benefit to all people, whether they are suffering with disease, seeking to maintain optimal health or in search of greater spiritual clarity. It is one of the oldest and most diverse systems of health cultivation in the history of humanity and includes practices for diagnosis and treatment such as diet & lifestyle principles, urine analysis, tongue/eye analysis, pulse reading, acupuncture, massage, moxibustion, blood letting, astrology, yoga, herbal medicine, mantra healing and meditation amongst others… Of all the natural healing modalities I have explored and experimented with, Tibetan Medicine is by far the most precise, complete and profound. It is a truly life-changing path that has redefined the way I perceive health and wellness, and provides a deep spiritual sustenance that I have found nowhere else…
This ancient and vast system of Tibetan healing is known as “sowa rigpa” – a term which actually has two meanings; firstly it translates as “healing science” or “healing wisdom” and is concerned with the interdependent law of cause & effect. It’s second meaning however translates as “nourishment of awareness” and refers to the absolute balance of the mind – a condition which lies beyond the constraints of cause & effect and is only possible through deepening one’s connection to spirituality. TTM is indeed a profound and complete spiritual practice in itself…
Through understanding the law of cause & effect it becomes clear that no disease or imbalance can exist without a corresponding ’cause’, and although treating symptoms is essential, identifying the cause of illness is of paramount importance in order to restore balance and equilibrium. Avoiding the cause of imbalance is also how we can aim at preventing disease in the future. However, true health results from a balanced relationship between body, energy and mind, so working on all of these levels simultaneously is the focus of TTM. Balancing these interrelated dimensions is how we can reach beyond this reality of cause & effect – of health & sickness – and embody a more awakened existence that is less affected by karma and duality. Ultimately, TTM imparts profound wisdom that can provide immense healing and health maintenance, while also nourishing and balancing those aspects of ourselves that persist beyond this lifetime. So TTM offers curative medicine, preventative medicine and also spiritual medicine…
But what are the origins of TTM? In truth nobody really knows exactly when it began, although it has its earliest roots in the shamanic Bön tradition – the indigenous spiritual tradition of Tibet that predates the arrival of Buddhism by many thousands of years. Originally, the Tibetan shamans lived a life that was inextricably close to nature. They were in constant communication with their natural environment, interacting with wild plants and animals as well as the non-physical spirits of nature. A medical system and growing herbal pharmacopeia emerged based upon this dynamic alliance with nature, however about 18,000 years ago the great master Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche recreated the shamans’ role as that of a physician, with more advanced methods of diagnosis and treatment, as well as the art of healing through dreams and divination.
As the millennia passed, Tibetan Buddhist Yogi’s contributed a significant influence on the development of TTM, expanding on the interconnectedness of reality with the central concept of “tendrel”. In Tibetan, “ten” means dependence and “drel” means connected. This foundational understanding led to the holistic view of the five elements of nature that constitute the fabric of the entire universe, both directly and indirectly. Everything in creation is made from the five elements, so there are clear connections between our health (personal constitutions, internal organs, mental state) and our surrounding environment (the seasons, plants, animals, spirits). Because of this, the five elements system is a foundational principle in diagnosis and treatment. Buddhism is also responsible for contributing the practices of mantra healing and advanced dream work/dream yoga amongst others.
In the 3rd century, a Tibetan master known as “Yuthok Yonten Gonpo” was regarded as the ‘father of Tibetan Medicine’ and has been ever since due to his profound understanding of the entire TTM system, and his unrivalled abilities as a healer. He re-wrote, extended and clarified all of the existing texts on TTM in the form of the Four Medical Tantras – the primary resource for all students and physicians of TTM to this day. Prior to his death he vowed to reincarnate in the 12th century to revise his works and further propagate the spreading of TTM. As his life ended Yuthok is said to have achieved the ‘rainbow body’ – the highest of all spiritual practices, whereby the practitioner returns themselves to the essence of the five elements, leaving no remains behind. Centuries later as he had foretold, Yuthok returned and was the leading medical physician in Tibet by the age of 8. During his life he updated the Four Medical Tantras and composed the spiritual practice of the ‘Yuthok Nyinthig’, a path by which practitioners could achieve the ‘rainbow body’ at the moment of their death. Yuthok lived to 120 years old before once again performing the rainbow body at the moment of his death, dissolving his physical body into the subtle lights of the five elements, leaving no mortal remains whatsoever. The rainbow body practice is not only something that we find in historical texts but is a practice that has been achieved by many contemporary masters in recent times…
From the 7th century onwards, extensive medical conventions took place in Tibet where medical scholars and healers travelled from afar to share their knowledge together. This led to the infusion of both Chinese (TCM) and Indian (Ayurveda) medical knowledge into TTM, and vice versa. There are a number of striking similarities between TTM and Ayurveda, although they are very much unique and different systems, and although TCM has contributed to the evolution of TTM, it is believed that the Chinese system has taken significantly more from TTM than it has given. An important point to understand though is that from its earliest origins over 18,000 years ago, TTM has been transmitted from master to student in an unbroken lineage to this very day. During the ‘cultural revolution’ in Tibet after the Chinese invasion last century, many Tibetan doctors were murdered and medical literature destroyed, but thanks to Champa Trinle – a highly regarded master of TTM and astrology – the lineage remains unbroken to this day. He assembled a secret school that continued to teach TTM and the Yuthok Nyinthig and helped to establish these teachings in Dharamsala, India – the home of the Tibetan government in exile.
It is believed in TTM that deepening our connection with nature can provide everything we need to rebalance ourselves on every level – physical, mental/emotional, energetic and spiritual. Even though nature itself may experience an imbalance, through dynamic interaction there is still a valuable opportunity for healing to occur for ourselves as well as the natural world within which we live. Through understanding the principle of “tendrel” (interconnectedness/interdependence) we can see that in order to heal and attain a state of balance within, we must acknowledge and respect our relationship to the nature that exists ‘outside’ of us. There is always a chance for us to unveil the solution to our personal challenges – all we need to do is return to nature and start searching.