Ingredient Name:  Worm Grass (also known as Vegetable Caterpillar or Vegetable Fungus)

Traditional Chinese Name: 冬虫夏草 (dong chong xia cao)

What is this?
  • Worm grass is a very expensive, yet highly prized, ingredient used in Chinese soups and teas.
  • It is said to treat everything from fatigue to cancer and has been shown to protect mice against radiation.
  • Worm grass occurs when moth larvae are infected by a fungus (Cordyceps).   The fungus kills the larvae and invades the body, mummifying it.   In the spring, it grows a fruiting body out of the head of the larvae (hence it has a long, black “stem”).
  • In traditional chinese medicine, worm grass is said to have an excellent balance of yin and yang.
  • The worm grass has a neutral taste and a crunchy texture when eaten (after boiling in soups).

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse in cold water before usage
  • Add directly to soups

Where can I buy this?

  • You can purchase worm grass from most chinese herb shops

What is the cost?

  • A few grams can cost $100 CAD.

Any benefits?

  • Worm grass is said to have many benefits, including invigorating the kidney and lungs, treating exhaustion and dizziness, building immunity, and as a general tonic for recovering from illness.
  • It is also considered a very potent aphrodisiac for men.

Any precautions?

  • Be sure you are buying worm grass from a reputable source, especially because it is very expensive (pound for pound, has been said to cost more than gold!)

Additional Information?

  • The worm grass can be eaten along with the soup.