Ingredient Name: Worm Grass (also known as Vegetable Caterpillar or Vegetable Fungus)
Traditional Chinese Name: 冬虫夏草 (dong chong xia cao)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!)
- The worm grass can be eaten along with the soup.