Supplements and products containing Cordyceps extract have become increasingly popular due to their many purported health benefits, so we normally would ask what is Cordyceps?
Cordyceps is a genus of parasitic fungi that grows on the larvae of insects.
When these fungi attack their host, they replace its tissue and sprout long, slender stems that grow outside the host’s body.
The remains of the insect and fungi have been hand-collected, dried and used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to treat fatigue, sickness, kidney disease and low sex drive.
Of the more than 400 species of Cordyceps discovered, two have become the focus of health research: Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris.
The Chinese herb DongChong-XiaCao originating from Cordyceps sinensis is widely used as a traditional medicine in China for treatment of a wide variety of diseases. The extracts of Cordyceps sinensis (CSE) and Cordyceps militaris (CME) are well-known for their biological effects. In the present study, the antioxidant efficiency of CME and CSE in protecting lipid, protein, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) against oxidative damage was investigated. CME and CSE showed weakly inhibitory effect on liposome oxidation, that of CME being superior to that of CSE.
Cordyceps militaris is a potential harbour of bio-metabolites for herbal drugs and evidences are available about its applications for revitalization of various systems of the body from ancient times. Amongst all the species, C. militaris is considered as the oldest source of some useful chemical constituents. Besides their popular applications for tonic medicine by the all stairs of the community, the constituents of C. militaris are now used extensively in modern systems of medicine. Evidence showed that the active principles of C. militaris are beneficial to act as pro-sexual, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-aging, anti-tumour, anti-cancer, anti-leukemic, anti-proliferative, anti-metastatic, immunomodulatory, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-protozoal, insecticidal, larvicidal, anti-fibrotic, steroidogenic, hypoglacaemic, hypolipidaemic, anti-angiogenetic, anti-diabetic, anti-HIV, anti-malarial, anti-fatigue, neuroprotective, liver-protective, reno-protective as well as pneumo-protective, let alone their other synergistic activities,
The constituents of mushroom Cordyceps militaris, especially the anti-cancer agent cordycepin (3′-deoxyadenosine), are expected to play evolutionary roles in the pharmacognosy sector in future.