Pharmacological and therapeutic potential of Cordyceps with special reference to Cordycepin
Pharmacological and therapeutic potential of Cordyceps with special reference to Cordycepin
Hardeep S. Tuli 0 1
Sardul S. Sandhu 0 1
A. K. Sharma 0 1
0 S. S. Sandhu Department of Biological Sciences, R. D. University , Jabalpur 482001, MP , India
1 H. S. Tuli A. K. Sharma (&) Department of Biotechnology, M.M.E.C., Maharishi Markandeshwar University , Mullana, Ambala 133203, Haryana , India
An entomopathogenic fungus, Cordyceps sp. has been known to have numerous pharmacological and therapeutic implications, especially, in terms of human health making it a suitable candidate for ethno-pharmacological use. Main constituent of the extract derived from this fungus comprises a novel bio-metabolite called as Cordycepin (30deoxyadenosine) which has a very potent anti-cancer, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. The current review discusses about the broad spectrum potential of Cordycepin including biological and pharmacological actions in immunological, hepatic, renal, cardiovascular systems as well as an anti-cancer agent. The article also reviews the current efforts to delineate the mechanism of action of Cordycepin in various bio-molecular processes. The study will certainly draw the attention of scientific community to improve the bioactivity and production of Cordycepin for its commercial use in pharmacological and medical fields.
Mechanism; Cordyceps militaris; Infection; Cordycepin; Pharmacological effect
Medicinal mushrooms have been known for thousands of
years to produce biometabolites which are used or studied
as possible treatment for diseases. Over two-third of
cancer-related deaths could be prevented or reduced by
modifying our diet with mushrooms, as they contain
antioxidants (Borchers et al. 2004; Zaidman et al. 2005).
Cordyceps have a history of medicinal use spanning
millennia in parts of Asia (Gu et al. 2007). The name
Cordyceps has been derived from two Latin words, i.e.,
cord and ceps meaning club and head, respectively.
Cordyceps militaris belongs to the phylum Ascomycota
classified in the order hypocreales, as spores are produced
internally inside a sac, called ascus (Wang et al. 2008). It is
an entomopathogenic fungus having an annual appearance
which often grows parasitically on lepidopteron larvae and
pupae of insects and spiders. It normally inhabits on the
surface of insects pupae in winters and leading to the
formation of fruiting body in summers justifying its name as
Cordyceps has been found mainly in North America,
Europe and Asia (Mains 1958; Winkler 2010; Panda and
Swain 2011). In India, it is prominently found in subalpine
regions of grassy lands of Himalayas commonly known as
‘‘Keera Ghas’’. Recently it has been reported from Sutol
and Kanol villages of Chamoli district of Uttarakhand
(Singh et al. 2010). The ethnopharmacological use of
Cordyceps sinensis has been reported from western Nepal
for the cure of different diseases like diarrhea, headache,
cough, rheumatism, liver disease, etc. This herb is also
referred as ‘‘Himalayan Viagra’’ or ‘‘Himalayan Gold’’ due
to its broad clinical and commercial value (Devkota 2006).
Cordyceps requires specific set of conditions for its growth
and has small size; therefore, the large-scale collection of
this mushroom is a daunting task. However, people within
the age group 15–65 years including men, women, young
boys and girls are the main collectors of this fungus and
price for 1 kg of wild-collected mushroom in the market of
Nepal varies from 30,000 to 60,000 Nepali Rupees while in
India it costs about Rupees 100,000 (Sharma 2004). Past
5 years have seen tremendous exploitation of Cordyceps
which has significantly reduced its wild occurrence (Negi
et al. 2006; Winkler 2008). Efforts have been made to
artificially cultivate this mushroom by surface and
submerged fermentation techniques.
There have been a variety of pharmacologically active
compounds (e.g., Cordycepin) reported from Cordyceps sp.
Cordycepin (Fig. 1) has received much attention due to its
broad-spectrum biological activity. It is known to interfere
with various biochemical and molecular processes
including purine biosynthesis (Fig. 2) (Overgaard 1964; Rottman
and Guarino 1964), DNA/RNA synthesis (Fig. 3) (Holbein
et al. 2009) and mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin)
signaling transduction (Fig. 4) (Wong et al. 2010).
Cordyceps has been included as one of the growing
numbers of fungal traditional Chinese medicine (FTCM) used
as cures for modern diseases with many products available
commercially. Due to recent advancements in
pharmaceutical biotechniques, it is possible to isolate bioactive
compounds from Cordyceps and make it available in
powder as well as in capsular form (e.g., Didanosine).
Cordyceps and its product have remarkable clinical health
effects including action on hepatic, renal, cardiovascular,
respiratory, nervous, sexual, immunological systems,
besides having anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory
and anti-microbial activities (Zhou et al. 2008; Wang et al.
2011; Lee et al. 2011a, b; Zhang et al. 2012; Patel and
Goyal 2012; Yue et al. 2012).
Keeping in view of the above facts, the current review
updates us with the recent research pertaining to
Cordyceps and the bioactive compounds isolated from it;
especially for its ethno-pharmacological use. The study brings
together a variety of mechanisms of Cordycepin at one
platform and more importantly the broad spectrum
pharmacological, clinical or biological activities associated
Fig. 1 The figure elucidates the difference in the chemical structures
of bioactive compounds, Cordycepin and adenosine, produced by
Fig. 2 The inhibitory effect of Cordycepin in mono- and
triphosphate states on the enzymes, phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate
synthase and phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate amidotransferase,
involved in purine biosynthesis pathway
Infection to the host
Cordyceps usually infects insects at different stages of their
development ranging from insect larvae to adult. Insect’s
epidermis is covered with a thick layer of cuticle (procuticle
and epicuticle) which is also known as integument. Insect’s
integument comprises chitin, proteins and lipids. Beside
this, it also contains variety of enzymes and phenolic
compounds (Leger et al. 1991). Epidermis is formed by a
single layer of epithelial cells followed by a thick layer of
procuticle. Procuticle is differentiated into an inner soft part
known as an endocuticle while the outer hard part is called
exocuticle. Epicuticle and wax are known to constitute the
outermost covering of the cuticle. This not only serves as a
protective barrier against pathogenic organisms but also
prevents water loss and acting as an interface between
insect and its environment. Out of all these components,
chitin which is a kind of heteropolysaccharide made with
the polymerization of N-acetyl glucosamine through 1–4
b-linkage constitutes an important structural component of
insect’s integument. Pathogen has to invade this tough
integument covering to gain entry into the host.
Infection begins with the dispersion of fungus conidia
on insect’s surface. Once conidia get settled, they start
germinating within a few hours under suitable conditions.
To get protection from the environmental ultraviolet
radiations, protective enzymes like Cu–Zn superoxide
dismutase (SOD) and peroxidases are secreted by the fungal
conidia. These enzymes provide protection to the conidia
from reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated due to UV
rays and heat in the environment (Wanga et al. 2005).
Besides this, conidia secrete certain hydrolytic enzymes
like proteases, chitinases and lipases which lead to the
dissolution of the integument and play a very important
Fig. 3 The addition of
Cordycepin as a Co-TP
leads to transcriptional
Fig. 4 Cordycepin presumably activates the AMPK by some
unknown mechanism which further negatively regulates the
translation of mTOR signaling transduction pathway by the formation of a
translational repressor, 4-E-binding protein-1 (4EBP1)
role in infection to the host. These enzymes not only
provide a penetration path to the conidia but also provide
nutrition to the germinating conidia (Ali et al. 2010).
Further a short germ tube protruding out of the conidia
starts thickening at the distal end which is known as
appressorium. This appressorium maintains a kind of
mechanical pressure on the germinating germ tube further
improving the penetration effect of germ tube so as to reach
into the insect’s haemolymph (Hajek and Leger 1994). As
the germ tube penetrates the epicuticle layer of insect’s
integument, it starts forming a plate-like structure called
penetration plate. The penetration plate further produces
secondary hyphae, which cross the epidermal layer and
reach into the haemocoel of insect’s body. From these
hyphae, protoplast bodies bud off and start circulating into
the insect’s haemocoel. Fungus now starts growing into a
filamentous mode invading internal organs and tissues of
the host. During growth inside the host, fungus produces
various kinds of toxic secondary metabolites, which are
insecticidal. These secondary metabolites take the insect to
its final life stage and ultimately insect dies out. Fungal
mycelium emerges out through the cuticle and lead to the
formation of fruiting body under suitable environmental
conditions (Webster 1980). Morphological features of
fruiting body include stipitate, yellowish-orange to orange
to reddish-orange fruiting stroma which is cylindrical to
slightly clavate in shape. Stipes of 1.5- to 3-mm thickness
with fertile clava terminal (2.0- to 6.0-mm wide) are also
commonly seen in the fruiting body with overall stroma
of about 1.5- to 7.0-cm tall which can vary in length
depending on the size of the host.
Cordyceps diversity and cultivation
There are more than 1,200 entomopathogenic fungi
reported (Humber 2000) in the literature out of which the
Cordyceps constitutes one of the largest genus containing
approximately 500 species and varieties (Hodge et al.
1998; Hywel 2002; Muslim and Rahman 2010). Many
different species of Cordyceps are being cultivated for their
medicinal and pharmaceutical properties including O.
sinensis, C. militaris, C. ophioglossoides, C. sobolifera,
C. liangshanesis, and C. cicadicola. Similarly many
other species of Cordyceps have been documented like
C. tuberculata, C. subsessilis, C. minuta, C. myrmecophila,
C. Canadensis, C. agriota, C. gracilis, C. ishikariensis,
C. konnoana, C. nigrella, C. nutans, C. pruinosa, C.
scarabaeicola, C. sphecocephala, C. tricentri, etc., although the
molecular evidence for their proper phylogenetic
placement is still lacking (Shrestha and Sung 2005; Wang et al.
2008; Zhou et al. 2009).
Nearly 80–85 % of all medicinal mushroom products
are extracted from their fruiting bodies while only 15 % are
derived from mycelium culture (Lindequist et al. 2005).
Fruiting body of Cordyceps is a very small blade-like
structure, making its collection difficult and expensive.
Since there is a huge requirement of medicinal mushroom
bio-metabolites, it is necessary to cultivate mycelium
biomass artificially for which variety of methods for its
cultivation have been proposed by many research groups
(Masuda et al. 2006; Das et al. 2008, 2010a). Cordyceps
mycelium can grow on different nutrients containing
media, but for commercial fermentation and cultivation,
insect larvae (silkworm residue) and various cereal grains
have been used in the past. It has been seen consistently
that from both insect larvae and cereal grains, fruiting body
of fungus can be obtained with almost comparable
medicinal properties (Holliday et al. 2004).
There are basically two fermentation techniques by
which the cultivation of mycelium biomass of Cordyceps
can be achieved including surface and submerged
fermentation. In surface fermentation, the cultivation of
microbial biomass occurs on the surface of liquid or
solid substrate. This technique, however, is very
cumbersome, expensive, labor intensive and rarely used at
the industrial scale. While in submerged fermentation,
micro-organisms are cultivated in liquid medium
aerobically with proper agitation to get homogenous growth
of cells and media components. However, there is a loss
of extra-cellular compounds (after harvesting mycelium)
from the broth which makes it necessary to improve the
culture medium composition and downstream processing
technology to get large-scale production of the secondary
bio-metabolites (Ni et al. 2009). It has been observed
that the highest productivity can be achieved by repeated
batch culture technique in which waste medium is
removed at the end of the process and further refreshing
the medium gives higher productivity of cells and bio
Nutritional value of Cordyceps
In Cordyceps, there occurs a wide range of nutritionally
important components including various types of essential
amino acids, vitamins like B1, B2, B12 and K, different
kinds of carbohydrates such as monosaccharide,
oligosaccharides and various medicinally important
polysaccharides, proteins, sterols, nucleosides, and other trace
elements (Hyun 2008; Yang et al. 2009, 2010; Li et al.
2011). In the fruiting body and in the corpus of C. militaris,
the reported total free amino acid content is 69.32 and
14.03 mg/g, respectively. The fruiting body harbors many
abundant amino acids such as lysine, glutamic acid, proline
and threonine as well. The fruiting body is also rich in
unsaturated fatty acids (e.g., linoleic acid), which
comprises of about 70 % of the total fatty acids. There are
differences in adenosine (0.18 and 0.06 %) and Cordycepin
(0.97 and 0.36 %) contents between the fruiting body and
the corpus, respectively (Hyun 2008).
Bio-metabolites isolated from Cordyceps
Cordyceps, especially its extract has been known to contain
many biologically active compounds like Cordycepin,
cordycepic acid, adenosine, exo-polysaccharides, vitamins,
enzymes etc. (Table 1). Out of these, Cordycepin, i.e.,
30-deoxyadenosine (Fig. 1) isolated from ascomycetes
fungus C. militaris, is the main active constituent which is
most widely studied for its medicinal value having a broad
spectrum biological activity (Cunningham et al. 1950).
Cordycepin: mechanism of action
The structure of Cordycepin is very much similar with
cellular nucleoside, adenosine (Fig. 1) and acts like a
Inhibition of purine biosynthesis pathway
Once inside the cell, Cordycepin gets converted into 50
mono-, di- and tri-phosphates that inhibit the activity of
enzymes like ribose-phosphate pyrophosphokinase and
5-phosphoribosyl-1-pyrophosphate amidotransferase which
are used in de novo biosynthesis of purines (Fig. 2)
(Klenow 1963; Overgaard 1964; Rottman and Guarino 1964).
Cordycepin provokes RNA chain termination
Cordycepin lacks 30 hydroxyl group in its structure
(Fig. 1), which is the only difference from adenosine.
Adenosine is a nitrogenous base and acts as cellular
nucleoside, which is needed for the various molecular
processes in cells like synthesis of DNA and/or RNA.
Table 1 Bioactive compounds isolated from Cordyceps sp.
S. no Bioactive compounds
During the process of transcription (RNA synthesis), some
enzymes are not able to distinguish between an adenosine
and Cordycepin which leads to incorporation of
30-deoxyadenosine or Cordycepin, in place of normal nucleoside
preventing further incorporation of nitrogenous bases (A,
U, G, and C), leading to premature termination of
transcription (Fig. 3) (Chen et al. 2008; Holbein et al. 2009).
Cordycepin interferes in mTOR signal transduction
Cordycepin has been reported to shorten the poly A tail of
m-RNA which further affects its stability inside the
cytoplasm. It was observed that inhibition of polyadenylation
with Cordycepin of some m-RNAs made them more
sensitive than the other mRNAs. At higher doses, Cordycepin
inhibits cell attachment and reduces focal adhesion. Further
increase in the dosage of Cordycepin may shutdown mTOR
(mammalian target of rapamycin) signaling pathway
(Fig. 4) (Wong et al. 2010). The name mTOR has been
derived from the drug rapamycin, because this drug inhibits
mTOR activity. The mTOR inhibitors such as rapamycin
and CCI-779 have been tested as anti-cancer drugs,
because they inhibit or block mTOR signaling pathway.
mTOR is a 298 kDa serine/threonine protein kinase from
the family PIKK (Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-related
kinase). The mTOR plays a very important role to regulate
proteins synthesis. However, mTOR itself is regulated by
various kinds of cellular signals like growth factors,
hormones, nutritional environment, and cellular energy level
of cells. As growth factors bind with cell receptor,
Phosphatidyl inositol 3 kinase (PI3K) gets activated, converts
phosphatidyl inositol bisphosphate (PIP2) to phosphatidyl
inositol trisphosphate (PIP3). PIP3 further activates PDK1
(phosphoinositide dependent protein kinase 1). The
activated PDK1 then phosphorylates AKT 1 kinase and makes
it partially activated which is further made fully activated
by mTORC2 complex. The activated AKT 1 kinase now
activates mTORC1 complex that leads to the
phosphorylation of 4EBP1 (translational repressor) and makes it
inactive, switching on the protein synthesis (Wong et al.
2010). The study confirmed that under low nutritional
stress, Cordycepin activates AMPK which blocks the
activity of mTORC1 and mTORC2 complex by some
unknown mechanism. The inactivated mTORC2 complex
cannot activate AKT 1 kinase fully, which in turn blocks
mTOR signal transduction inhibiting translation and
further cell proliferation and growth (Fig. 4).
Molecular studies of genes isolated from Cordyceps sp.
It is necessary to understand the genetic makeup and
molecular biology of Cordyceps not only to enhance the
production of Cordycepin and exopolysaccharides but also
to figure out the biochemical synthetic pathway of the
above bio-metabolites. Cordycepin and exopolysaccharides
are some of the major pharmacologically active
constituents of Cordyceps. There exists a variety of valuable genes
encoding enzymes isolated and subsequently cloned from
this medicinally important insect fungus. Isolation and
cloning of FKS1 gene has been carried out successfully
from Cordyceps which encodes for an integral membrane
protein acting as a catalytic subunit for enzyme b-1,3
glucan synthase and responsible for the biosynthesis of a
potent immunological activator, i.e., b-glucan (Ujita et al.
2006). Another group isolated Cu, Zn SOD 1 gene (SOD 1)
from Cordyceps militaris which not only acts as an
antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent but also neutralizes
free radicals which could be a potential anti-aging drug
(Park et al. 2005). From Cordyceps sinensis, two cuticle
degrading serine protease genes, i.e., csp 1 and csp 2 have
been cloned and expressed in yeast Pichia pastoris. The
genes, csp1 and csp 2 were further characterized using
synthetic substrate N-suc-AAPF-p-NA to understand the
pathobiology and infection to the host (Zhang et al. 2008).
Similar studies were carried out to clone and analyse
glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate-dehydrogenase (GPD) gene from
Cordyceps militaris. GPD is an important enzyme used in
the glycolytic pathway, which catalyses the
phosphorylation of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate to form 1,
3-diphosphoglycerate, an important reaction to maintain life
activities in a cell for the generation of ATP (Gong et al.
2009). Further studies could be directed toward improving
Cordyceps sp. by developing an effective transformation
Pharmaceutical and therapeutic potential
of Cordyceps sp.
Cordyceps species is also known as traditional Chinese
medicine (TCM) as it has wide applications in
pharmaceutical (Table 2) and health sector (Ng and Wang 2005;
Russell and Paterson 2008). This medicinal mushroom was
in the limelight during the Chinese National Games in
1993, when a group of women athletes broke nine world
records, committed that they had been taking Cordyceps
regularly. It has been seen previously reported that
Cordyceps also enhances physical stamina making it very
useful for the elderly people and athletes. Recent literature
further confirms that Cordyceps enhances cellular energy
in the form of ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). Upon
hydrolysis of phosphates from ATP, lots of energy is
released which is further used by the cell (Dai et al. 2001;
Siu et al. 2004). The studies by many researchers in the
past on Cordyceps have demonstrated that it has
anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, larvicidal, anti-inflammatory,
anti-diabetic, anti-oxidant, anti-tumor, pro-sexual, apoptotic,
immunomodulatory, anti-HIV and many more activities
Cordyceps has a long history of use as a lung and kidney
tonic, and for the treatment of chronic bronchitis, asthma,
tuberculosis and other diseases of the respiratory system.
The cardiovascular effects of Cordyceps are being noticed
more frequently by researchers as it works through variety
of possible ways either by lowering high blood pressure via
direct dilatory effects or mediated through M-cholinergic
receptors resulting in improvement in the coronary
and cerebral blood circulation (Zhu et al. 1998b). Thus,
Cordyceps has implications at the therapeutic level as well
by rectifying the abnormalities in rhythmic contractions
(also known as cardiac arrhythmia). Cordyceps extract has
also been found as a promising source to increase cardiac
output up to 60 % in augmentation with conventional
treatment of chronic heart failure (Chen 1995). The product
from wild type and cultured Cordyceps has also been
shown to significantly decrease blood viscosity and
fibrinogen levels preventing myocardial infarction (Zhu
et al. 1998b). Another study showed that the fermentation
products of Cs-4 reduce myocardial oxygen consumption
in animals under experimental lab conditions revealing
dramatic anti-anoxic effects (Zhu et al. 1998a). These
studies provide strong evidence that Cs-4 and its
fermentative solution prevent platelet aggregation stimulated by
collagen or adenosine di-phosphate (ADP). An intravenous
injection of concentrated Cordyceps extract (90 lg/kg per
min, i.v.) resulted in 51–71 % reduction in 51Cr-labeled
platelet aggregation in the endothelial abdominal aorta in
rabbit (Zhu et al. 1998b).
Toxicological and dosage related studies of Cordyceps
Cordyceps is one of the best medicinal fungi known for
numerous positive aspects in terms of pharmacological
effects and considered to be safe. Some reports are
published on its adverse gastrointestinal behaviors like dry
mouth, nausea and diarrhea (Zhou et al. 1998). In some
patients, allergic response has been seen during treatment
with a strain of Cordyceps, i.e., CS-4 (Xu 1994). Patients,
who suffer from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid
arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and multiple
sclerosis, are generally suggested to avoid its use. Reports are
still lacking on pregnant and lactating women but some
animal studies in mice have revealed that Cordyceps have
effects on plasma testosterone levels (Huang et al. 2004;
Wong et al. 2007). There has been couple of reports on lead
poisoning in patients taking Cordyceps herbal medicine for
treatment. The lead content in the Cordyceps powder in
these cases was significantly high (20,000 ppm) (Wu et al.
1996). However, the blood lead levels returned to normal
upon termination of the product consumption.
Besides few negatively published data, Cordyceps is
relatively considered to be a non-toxic medicinal
mushroom. Cordyceps dose in patients suffering from long-term
renal failure was demonstrated up to 3–6 g/day (Zhu et al.
1998b). In clinical studies involving lung cancer,
chemotherapy was carried out with the combination of Cordyceps
(Holliday and Cleaver 2008). In another clinical trial,
results of Cordyceps (3.15 g for 5 weeks) were compared
with placebo to evaluate its effects on physical
performance (Parcell et al. 2004). In general, researchers
demonstrated that 3–4.5 g of Cordyceps/day is sufficient except
in patients suffering from severe liver disease (Mizuno
1999). However, no human toxicity report was found and
even animal models were failed to determine median lethal
dose. Cordyceps dosage up to 80 g/kg body weight/day for
7 days was injected intraperitonealy in mice and even then
it did not cause any fatality (Li et al. 2006). In another
study, rabbits fed through mouth for 3 months at a dose of
10 g/kg/day did not show any deviancy in blood reports, or
in kidney, liver functioning (Huang et al. 1987). Even
water extract of Cordyceps sinensis was found to be
nontoxic on macrophage cells line RAW264.7 proliferation
3 Ml in g 0 l 5 m l 6 0 ad
/gk in co is g l
g g g g l m m /k 0
l g k /k 5 /k /m /g ay tre g 0
/m /k /g g . g g /k /d a m –2
g g 5 5 – m m g g d 0 0
l m 2 2 5 0 4 l 5 5
0 0 .4 .4 .2 5 – 0 –4 an 1 1
5 6 0 0 0 1 2 3 2 [
I D D D D R P R L L
Fig. 5 Proposed metal complexes of Cordycepin which could be
formed with various transition metals ion
(Mizuha et al. 2007). It is suggested that caution should be
taken while taking Cordyceps by patients who are
undergoing anti-viral or diabetic drug treatments as Cordyceps
contains hypoglycemic and anti-viral agents, which can
further affect the dosage of these drugs (Holliday and
Cordyceps is a natural medicinal mushroom which is well
liked by people nowadays as they believe more in natural
therapy than chemotherapy because of lesser side effects.
Growth characteristics of Cordyceps militaris have to be
studied in-depth to cultivate this mushroom for its
massscale production so that one could collect enough
biometabolites from its mycelium extract. There is a strong
urge to use interdisciplinary biotechnological and chemical
tools to isolate and enhance the bioactivity of the
metabolites from this entomopathogenic fungus. The structure of
Cordycepin suggests that it has five N and three O atoms
which one can imagine could form transition metal
complexes in the form of di-, tri- and tetra-dentate ligands as
metals can accommodate donor atom’s lone pair of
electrons into their empty d orbital (Fig. 5). Complexity of the
resulting compound and its molecular mass can be
predicted with the help of spectroscopic tools like IR and mass
spectroscopy, respectively, which can further improve the
bioactivity of the compounds.
The remaining pharmacologically active compounds
apart from Cordycepin also need to be identified and
elucidate their structure–function relationship.
The usage of natural/herbal medicines over the synthetic
ones has seen an upward trend in the recent past.
Cordyceps being an ancient medicinal mushroom used as a crude
drug for the welfare of mankind in old civilization is now a
matter of great concern because of its unexplored potentials
obtained by various culture techniques and being an
excellent source of bioactive metabolites with more than 21
clinically approved benefits on human health including
anti-diabetic, anti-tumor, anti-oxidative,
immunomodulatory, sexual potentiator and anti-ageing effects (Das et al.
2010b). Cordycepin alone has been widely explored for its
anti-cancer/anti-oxidant activities, thus, holding a strong
pharmacological and therapeutic potential to cure many
dreadful diseases in future. Further investigations need to
be focused on to study the mechanistic insight into the
mysterious potential of this medicinal mushroom on human
health and promoting its cultivation strategies for
commercialization and ethno-pharmacological use of this
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