The health benefits of Cordyceps militaris

The health benefits of Cordyceps militaris

Cordyceps militaris, a macro fungus is medicinally important for having potential therapeutic applications. Its medicinal properties are due to variety of therapeutically important constituents including cordycepin, cordymin, ergosterol, glycoprotein, polysaccharides, as a part of its composition. 

These compounds have a wide range of therapeutic effects and can act as immunomodulatory, anticarcinogenic, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory agents. The potential health benefits are promising.

  • Cordyceps Militaris may help boost the immune system - In studies of cell cultures - think cells in dishes rather than in bodies, cordyceps extracts have been shown to increase proinflammatory cytokines. These molecules are excreted from immune cells like T cells and macrophages to regulate inflammatory reactions, which in turn aids in boosting the immune system. The potential revealed by these studies not only suggests an ability to combat an existing disease, but also to enhance the body’s innate ability to resist new diseases.

  • Cordyceps may improve the way your body uses oxygen, especially during exercise - Cordyceps are thought to increase the body’s production of the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is essential for delivering energy to the muscles.
  • Researchers believe antioxidant content in cordyceps mushroom may have anti-aging potentialAntioxidants are molecules that fight cell damage by neutralizing free radicals, which can otherwise contribute to disease and aging. showed that the extract of Cordyceps militaris possessed anti-oxidative property with capability to normalize superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxide level.
  • Potential anti-tumor effects - Cordycepin from Cordyceps militaris has played an evolutionary change in pharmacognosy, leading to establish as a viable base for the treatment of emerging diseases like cancer, SARS, AIDS and Swine flu. Cordymin from Cordyceps militaris which showed anti-proliferative activity towards breast cancer cells (MCF-7). It is important to understand that Cordyceps militaris, inhibits cell proliferation in tumor cells in order to develop it as a new agent for the prevention and treatment of cancer. 
  • Cordyceps contain a special type of sugar that may help treat diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which the body either does not produce or respond to the hormone insulin, which normally transports the sugar glucose into your cells for energy. When your body does not produce enough insulin or respond well to it, glucose cannot enter the cells, so it stays in the blood. Over time, having too much glucose in the blood can cause serious health problems. Therefore, it’s important for people with diabetes to make sure their blood sugar levels are well controlled. Interestingly, Cordyceps may keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range by mimicking the action of insulin.
  • Cordyceps may benefit heart health by helping prevent arrhythmias and lowering levels of triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol. In human as well as animal studies, administration of Cordyceps has been associated with reduction in cholesterol and triglyceride and an increase in the ratio of high density lipoprotein to LDL cholesterol. Whether the causative mechanism for this lipid balancing effect is through blood sugar stabilization, enhancing liver function. This has nurtured research interest in evaluating traditional remedies and alternative medicines as potentially efficacious cholesterol- lowering therapies which have few or no, side- effects.


Cordyceps militaris has been widely used since antiquity for pharmacological purposes like immuno-modulation, antiinflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-oxidative and radical scavenging and anti- aging effects.

In the recent past more scientific information about it has become available, to support these claims. The potency of Cordyceps militaris depends chiefly on its chemical constituents, viz. the cordycepin and polysaccharides that make up the fruiting body, mycelium or spores. Its anti-cancer properties have been demonstrated invarious human and murine cancer cell lines. However, the mechanisms responsible for the anti-cancer effects of Cordyceps militaris on cancer cells remain inconclusive. Cordyceps militaris offers a promising role in cancer prevention and treatment. However, further experimental, epidemiological and clinical studies are needed to identify other molecular targets, resolve the relationships between Cordyceps militaris intake and cancer risks, and explore the optimum dosing, efficacy and safety-alone and in combination with chemotherapy/ radiotherapy. In addition to the anti-cancer activity, Cordyceps militaris is being used for the general promotion of health and longevity. The antiinflammatory and immune- promoting effects described can potentially facilitate the treatments of other diseases such as arthritis, HIV and Crohn's disease. Since this fungi is edible and thus can be a food additive or supplement will play a key role in the prevention and cure of various ailments caused by metabolic disorder or infections.