TCM Cordyceps: The Ancient Chinese Secret for Lung Health

Illustration of the front view of a pair of lungs, with a bacteria in the right lung

The importance of lung health cannot be overstated, as the respiratory system plays a vital role in sustaining life by facilitating oxygen exchange and removing carbon dioxide from the body. Yet, with the rise of environmental pollutants, lifestyle factors and respiratory infections maintaining optimal lung function has become increasingly challenging in modern times. Nevertheless, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a holistic approach to respiratory wellness that has been honed and refined over thousands of years.  Unlike Western medicine, TCM aims to address the root cause of imbalances in the body to restore harmony and promote healing. In this article, we’ll delve into TCM’s distinctive perspective on lung health and its application of Cordyceps in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Understanding Lung Health in TCM

In TCM, our lungs hold a vital role in maintaining overall health and well-being.  The term “lung Qi” specifically refers to the vital energy associated with the lungs. In TCM philosophy, Qi is believed to flow through the body’s meridian system, governing various physiological processes. So, the lungs are considered crucial organs, governing respiration. Their primary function is to regulate the intake of fresh Qi from the air and expel waste Qi. This continuous exchange ensures the body receives the essential vitality needed for proper organ function. When the lungs are weakened or imbalanced, disruptions in Qi flow may occur, leading to various health issues. Additionally, in TCM, the lungs serve as the body’s defence system. They safeguard the body’s Wei Qi, a protective energy barrier against external pathogens like cold, wind, and viruses. Strong lung Qi not only supports the immune system but also shields the body from respiratory infections and other illnesses. Hence, maintaining lung health is paramount for overall well-being and resilience against external threats. 

TCM Cordyceps: An Ancient Remedy for Modern Times

Close up shot of a man making Traditional herbal tea on a wooden table

One of the most valuable treasures used in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the Cordyceps. TCM Cordyceps is known as Dong Chong Xia Cao which is from a genus of parasitic fungus that grows on the larva of insects, particularly caterpillars. They are often found in the mountainous regions of China, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. That is why sometimes it’s also called “Chinese caterpillar fungus”. There are 700 species of cordyceps found and the most widely used species in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine is Cordyceps sinensis

Based on the Chinese medicinal background, there are various benefits of cordyceps, including boosting energy, libido and immunity. Moreover, its therapeutic properties extend to aiding people with chronic kidney disease. Cordyceps is thought to aid in improving renal blood flow and reducing inflammation in the kidneys, thus promoting overall kidney function. This makes it a valuable component in the holistic approach to managing chronic kidney conditions. Moreover, cordyceps are also associated with anti-aging properties. Its antioxidant content helps combat free radicals, which are implicated in aging processes. By reducing oxidative stress, cordyceps may contribute to maintaining youthful vitality and resilience. Furthermore, emerging research suggests that cordyceps may have potential anti-tumor properties. Certain compounds found in cordyceps have been studied for their ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and enhance the body’s natural defence mechanisms against cancerous cells. Therefore, due to all of these beneficial effects, cordyceps present a versatile solution in TCM.

How TCM Cordyceps Enhance Lung Health

In a lung health context, Cordyceps has been traditionally used as herbal medicine to support lung health. It’s believed to help tonify or strengthen Lung Qi. According to TCM principles, when Lung Qi is weak or deficient, it can lead to respiratory problems such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and susceptibility to respiratory infections. This valuable herb is thought to replenish this vital energy, thereby improving lung function and resilience. Scientifically, Cordyceps is known to contain bioactive compounds such as Cordycepin and Adenosine. These bioactive compounds have various pharmacological effects including antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Research studies have shown that Cordyceps can improve pulmonary function and is used to treat respiratory disease. It has also been found to inhibit airway remodelling in rats with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and attenuate lung inflammatory responses in a rat model of COPD.

Overall, both TCM principles and scientific research appear to be beneficial for lung health due to the effects of cordyceps strengthening lungs and its various pharmacological properties that support respiratory function and combat inflammation.

Practical Steps to Incorporate TCM Cordyceps into Your Routine

In TCM, Cordyceps is typically available in various forms, including capsules, powders, extracts and teas, tailored to suit diverse preferences and therapeutic requirements. One example is Qing Fei Pai Du Granules, an herbal formula that combines Cordyceps with other herbs such as Houttuynia, Scutellaria and Forsythia. This formula works synergistically to clear heat and toxins from the lungs, stopping coughs and wheezing. 

Now, you might be thinking about how to incorporate this valuable herb into your routine. To safely and effectively use Cordyceps for lung health, consider the following suggestions:

Consultation with a TCM Practitioner

Before consuming any new herbal supplement regimen, it’s crucial to consult a qualified TCM practitioner. They can evaluate your specific health requirements, recommend the appropriate form and dosage of Cordyceps, and provide personalised guidance for safe and effective integration into your routine.

Adjust Your Diet

Align your diet with TCM principles to complement the benefits of Cordyceps. You must include lung-nourishing foods such as pears, honey, white sesame seeds and white fungus while minimising intake of foods that generate excessive heat like spicy or greasy dishes. A balanced diet should be rich in fruits, vegetables and lean proteins further supporting your lung health.

Pair with Lung-Supporting Herbs

To enhance the effectiveness of Cordyceps you can combine it with other TCM herbs known for supporting lung function, such as astragalus or licorice root. Your TCM practitioner can recommend suitable combinations tailored to your specific needs and health goals.

Incorporate Deep Breathing Techniques

Engaging in deep breathing exercises is a powerful way to bolster lung strength and enhance respiratory function. Techniques like Qi Gong and Tai Chi offer gentle yet effective methods that prioritise breath control, movement, and relaxation. By incorporating these practices into your routine, you can improve circulation, lower stress levels and ultimately promote better lung health.

Monitor Your Progress

Monitoring your progress is crucial when integrating Cordyceps into your routine. Stay attentive to how these changes affect your overall well-being.  Stay attentive to how these changes affect your overall well-being. It’s essential to maintain open communication with your TCM practitioner. Regularly update them on your progress, allowing for evaluations and adjustments to dosage if needed. 


Incorporating Traditional Chinese Medicine for lungs, especially Cordyceps can be a transformative step towards enhancing lung health and overall well-being. With its rich history and proven efficacy, Cordyceps stands as a valuable herb, attesting to the enduring wisdom of Chinese medicine in promoting vitality and longevity.

If you’re interested in finding TCM Cordyceps products in Singapore, Tong Jum Chew is a reputable source. We offer a wide range of Cordyceps supplements and herbal formulas designed to support respiratory health and address various wellness needs. Our commitment to quality ensures that you receive the full benefits of this ancient remedy, providing a holistic approach to lung care.