The history of an anciently known but newly explored Tohchukaso
Based on the newest
research, letüfs try to find out what the Japanese Tohchukaso is,
and what effects is it thought to cause against the cancer?
Tohchukaso is the
name given to the fungi on animals. Academically, it is generic
name given to the Cordyceps genus that becomes parasitic to the
insects and changes itself to mushrooms and comes out of the ground.
As it seems like a plant growing out of an insect, hence it is
given the self-explanatory name of Tohchukaso (winter insect-summer
grass). From very old times, in China, the bacillus strain of
fungi has also been called as grass like a plant.
In the home of herbal
medicines, China, the existence of Tohchukaso has been known since
the In era, 2000 B. C. Emperor Shikotei of Shin era (210 to 259
B. C.) and Queen Youkihi(719 to 756 B. C.) also liked it very
much as a secret medicine for eternal youth and long life.
Chinese Tohchukaso is the name given to the one parasitic to the
larva of the moth (Hepialidae). As the moth is found only in the
4000 meters high alpine ranges of Tibet, Nepal, Himalayas and
the Sichuan province, hence Tohchukaso has been taken as an extremely
In 1722, a missionary
of the Jesus Society who has been in Beijing on missionary activities
wrote to his European friend that to buy Tohchukaso, silver of
4 times in weight was necessary. Perhaps it might be a document
to know how greatly the Tohchukaso was valued.
was known for a long time in China, its history in Japan is very
short. The first appearance in the literature is said to be in
1723 in by Konyo Aoki. Afterwards, Tohchukaso meant the one imported
from China. After that, there was a long period when it was thought
as a herbal medicine for nutrition sthenia. Comparing with its
long history, the knowledge about the natural existence of some
of the members of Tohchukaso in Japan can just be said as a matter
of very recent days.
In the wide meanings
of animal fungi parasitic to the insects, more than 350 types
have been discovered until now. The ügResearch Institute of Natural
Medicines, Food and Microbiologyüh as one of the globally very
few research group working on Tohchukaso. This group is conducting
research on these ecologically wonderful fungi since 1967. In
those days, there were almost no scientific researchers of Tohchukaso,
but now, 30 years after we started this work, the detailed research
about its elements is being done in universities changing greatly