Published: 2020-07-22

Page: 217-223


University Institute of Biotechnology, Chandigarh University, Gharuan, Mohali, Punjab, 140413 India.


University Institute of Biotechnology, Chandigarh University, Gharuan, Mohali, Punjab, 140413 India.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


For centuries, traditional Chinese medicine has relied on medicinal mushrooms as a panacea to strengthen the immune system and revitalize the human body, because mushrooms have different biological functions. The bio-active compounds of this fungus contain cordycepin, cordymin, ergosterol, glycoproteins and polysaccharides which are considered as immunity enhancers and beneficial in various treatments related to kidney, hyperglycemia and liver damage. In the present review, we will focus on Cordyceps militaris (C. militaris) which is known as an essential medicine for potential therapeutic uses. Some ailments like thrombolytic effect, diabetic, melanogenesis and infertility are effectively healed by using constituents extracted from C. militaris. Hence, C. militaris is providing an understanding of all its constituent and novel therapeutic strategies to cure diseases.

Keywords: Cordyceps militaris, therapeutic uses, cancer, cordymin, polysaccharides

How to Cite

SHARMA, N., & SHARMA, V. (2020). HEALTH BENEFITS OF Cordyceps militaris: OVERVIEW. PLANT CELL BIOTECHNOLOGY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, 21(15-16), 217–223. Retrieved from


Download data is not yet available.


Sung JM, Choi YS, Lee HK, Kim SH, Kim YO, Sung GH. Production of fruiting body using cultures of entomopathogenic fungal species. Kor J Mycol. 1999;27:15-9.

Chang ST, Miles PG. Mushrooms: Cultivation, nutritional value, medicinal effect and environmental impact. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla, USA, 1st Edition; 2004.

Badalyan S. Medicinal aspects of edible ectomycorrhizal mushrooms. Springer, Verlag, Germany. 2012;34:317-334.

Villares A, Lafuente AG, Guillamón E, Ramos A. Identification and quantification of ergosterol and phenolic compounds occurring in Tuber spp. truffles. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 2012;261(2):177-182.

Yoo HS, Shin JW, Cho JH, Son CG, Lee YW, Park SY, Cho CK. Effects of Cordyceps militaris extract on angiogenesis and tumour growth. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2004;25:657–65.

Zhang G, Huang Y, Bian Y, Wong JH, Ng TB, Wang H. Hypoglycemic activity of the fungi Cordyceps militaris, Cordyceps sinensis, Tricholoma mongolicum and Omphalia lapidescens in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 2006;72:11521-156.

Alessandro B, Francesca C. Cordyceps sinensis medicinal mungus: Traditional use among tibetan people, harvesting techniques and modern uses. Herbal Gram: American Botanical Council. 2009;83:52-61.

Sharma, Sapan Kumar, Gautam Nandini, Atri, Narender Singh, Dhancholia, Subhash. Taxonomical establishment and compositional studies of a new Cordyceps (Ascomycetes) species from Northwest Himalayas (India). Int. J. Med. Mushrooms. 2016;18(12):1121-1130.

Das SK, Masuda M, Sakurai A, Sakakibara M. Medicinal uses of the mushroom Cordyceps militaris: Current state and prospects. Fitoterapia. 2010;81(8):961-8.

Wang HJ, Pan MC, Chang CK, Chang SW, Hsieh CW. Optimization of ultrasonic assisted extraction of cordycepin from Cordyceps militaris using orthogonal experimental design. Molecules. 2014;19:20808-20820.

Ma L, Chen H, Zhang Y, Zhang N, Fu L. Chemical modification and antioxidant activities of polysaccharide from mushroom Inonotus obliquus. Carbohydrate Polymers. 2012;89(2):371-378.

Mizuno T, Zhuang C, Abe K, Okamoto H, Kiho T, Ukai S. Antitumor and hypoglycemic activities of polysaccharides from the sclerotia and mycelia of Inonotus obliquus (Pers.:Fr.) Pil. (Aphyllophoromycetideae). International J. Medical Mushrooms. 1999;1(4):301- 316.

Ma L, Zhang S, Du M. Cordycepin from Cordyceps militaris prevents hyperglycemia in alloxan-induced diabetic mice. J. Nutres. 2015;35(5):431-439.

Patel KJ, Ingalhalli RS. Cordyceps militaris An important medicinal mushroom. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 2013;2(1):315-319.

Park BT, Na KH, Jung EC, Park JW, Kim H. Antifungal and anticancer activities of a protein from the mushroom Cordyceps militaris. The Korean Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology. 2009a;1:49-54.

Zhang, Al LUJ, Zhang N, Zhang D, Zhang G, Teng L. Extraction, purification and antitumour activity of polysaccharide from mycelium of mutant Cordyceps militaris. J. Pharmaceu. 2010;26(5):798-802.

Park SE, Yoo HS, Jin CY, Hong SH, Lee YW, Kim BWK, Lee SH, Kim WJ, Cho CK, Choi YH. Induction of apoptosis and inhibition of telomerase activity in human lung carcinoma cells by the water extract of Cordyceps militaris. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2009b;47(7):1667–1675.

Wong JH, Ng TB, Sze SC, Zhang KY, Li Q, Lu X. Cordymin, an antifungal peptide from the medicinal fungus Cordyceps militaris. Phytomedicine. 2011;18(5):387-92.

Dickneite G, Seiffe D, Diehl KH, Rogers M, Czech J. Pharmacological characterization on a new 4-amidinophenyl-alanine thrombin-inhibitor (CRC220). Thromb. Res. 1995;77:357-368.

Collen D, Lijnen HR. Thrombolytic agents. Thromb. Haemost. 2005;93:627-630.

Kim JS, Sapkota K, Park SE, Choi BS, Kim S, Hiep NT, Kim CS, Choi HS, Kim MK, Chun HS, Park Y, Kim SJ. A fibrinolytic enzyme from the medicinal mushroom Cordyceps militaris. The Journal of Microbiology. 2006;44(6):621-623.

Singh KS, Rai PK, Jaiswal D, Watal G. Evidence-based critical evaluation of glycemic potential of Cynodon dactylon. Evid. Based Complement. Altern. Med. 2008;5(4):415-420.

Malviya N, Jain S, Malviya S. Antidiabetic potential of medicinal plants. Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica. 2010;67(2):113-118.

Dong YT, Meng Q, Liu C, Hu S, Ma Y, Liu Y, Lu J, Cheng Y, Wang D, Teng L. Studies on the anti-diabetic activities of Cordyceps militaris extract in diet-streptozotocin-induced diabetic dprague-dawley rats. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 2010;72(6):1152-1156.

Silva DD, Rapior R, Hyde K, Bahkali A. Medicinal mushroom in prevention and control of diabeties mellitus. Oncol. Rep. 2012;56:1-29.

Ji DB, Ye J, Li CL, Wang YH, Zhao J, Cai SQ. Anti-aging effect of Cordyceps sinensis extract. Phytother. Res. 2009;23:116-122.

Lee YS, Kim HK, Lee KJ, Jeon HW, Cui S, Lee YM, Moon BJ, Kim YH, Lee YS. Inhibitory effect of glyceollin isolated from soybean against melanogenesis in B16 melanoma cell. BMB Reports. 2010;43:461-467.

Zaidi KU, Ali AS, Ali SA. Comparative evaluation of purified and characterized tyrosinases from two edible mushrooms, Agaricus bisporus and Pleurotus ostreatus and their clinical potential. Biosci. Biotech. Res. Comm. 2015a;8(2):161-170.

Zaidi KU, Ali AS, Ali SA. Purification and characterization of high potential tyrosinase from macrofungi and its appliance in food engineering. J. Microbiol. Biotech. Food Sci. 2015b;5(3):203-206.

Shimoda N, Mutou Y, Shimura N, Tsukimoto M, Awaya A, Kojima S. Effect of heterocyclic pyrimidine compounds on UVB-induced cell damage in human keratinocytes and on melanogenesis in mouse B16 cells. Biol. Pharm. Bull. 2010;33:862-868.

Hasegawa S. Characterization and expression analysis of a maltose-utilizing (MAL) cluster in Aspergillus oryzae. Fungal Genet. Biol. 2010;47(1):1-9.

Shi B, Wang Z, Jin H, Chen YW, Wang Q, Qian Y. Immunoregulatory Cordyceps sinensis increases regulatory T cells to Th17 cell ratio and delays diabetes in NOD mice. Int. Immunopharmacol. 2009;9:582-586.

Ko WS, Hsu SL, Chyau CC, Chen KC, Peng RY. Compound cordyceps TCM- 700C exhibits potent hepatoprotective capability in animal model. Fitoterapia. 2010;81:1-7.

Chien CC, Tsai M, Chen CC, Chang SJ, Tseng CH. Effects on tyrosinase activity by the extracts of Ganoderma lucidum and related mushrooms. Mycopathologia. 2008;166:117-120.

Nam B, Jo WS, Choi YJ, Lee JY, Kang EY, Jeong MN, Lee JD. Inhibitory effects of melanin secretion on B16 melanoma cell of Cordyceps militaris water extract. Kor. J. Mycol. 2010;38(2):167-171.

Jin ML, Park SY, Kim YH, Park G, Son H, Lee S. Suppression of α-MSH and IBMX-induced melanogenesis by cordycepin via inhibition of CREB and MITF, and activation of PI3K/Akt and ERK-dependent mechanisms. International J. Molecular Medicine. 2012;29:119-124.

Aramwit P, Bang N, Ratanavaraporn J, Nakp T, Srichana T. An anti-cancer cordycepin produced by Cordyceps militaris growing on the dead larva of Bombax mori silkworm. Journal of Agricultural Science. 2014;6:6.

Glazener CM, Kelly NJ, Weir MJ. The diagnosis of male infertility-prospective time specific study of conception rates related to seminal analysis and post-coital sperm-mucus penetration and survival in otherwise unexplained infertility. Hum. Reprod. 1987;2:665-671.

Dada AA, Ajilore VO. Use of ethanol extracts of Garcinia kola as fertility enhancer in female catfish Clarias gariepinus brood stock. Int. J. Fish. and Aquacul. 2009;1(1):005-010.

Chang Y, Jeng KC, Huang F, Lee YC, Hou CW, Chen KH, Cheng FY, Liao JW, Chen YS. Effect of Cordyceps militaris supplementation on sperm production, sperm motility and hormones in sprague-dawley rats. The American J. Chinese Medicine. 2008;36(5):849-859.

Hong P, Choi1 YS, Woo1 SO, Han SM, Kim HK, Lee MR, Nam SH, Korean HN. Stimulatory effect of Cordyceps militaris on testosterone production in male mouse. Journal of Mycology. 2011;39(2):148- 150.

Rodrigo R, Bosco C. Oxidative stress and protective effects of polyphenols: comparative studies in human and rodent kidney. A review. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. Part C Toxicol. Pharmacol. 2006;142:317-327.

Li X, Xu L. Studies on (EPS) fermentation by Cordyceps militaris, and its physical and chemical properties and antioxidation. Journal of Microbiol. 1997;17:13- 17.

Fuchs FD. Princípios gerais do uso de antimicrobianos. In: Farmacologia clínica fundamentos da terapeutica racional (Eds.: Fuchs, F., Wannamacher, I. and Ferreira, M.), 3ª Ed. Rio de Janeiro, Guanabara Koogan. 2004;342.

Morsy MA, Fouad AA. Mechanisms of gastroprotective effect of eugenol in indomethacin induced ulcer in rats. Phytotherapy Research. 2008;22(10):1361-1366.

Jain KS, Kulkarni RR, Jain DP. Current drug targets for antihyperlipidemic therapy. Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry. 2010;10(3):232-262.

Nathan C. Points of control in inflammation. Nature. 2002;420(6917):846-852.

Cook M, Joan M, Deem TL. Active participation of endothelial cells in inflammation. Journal of Leukocyte Biology. 2005;4:487-495.