"Cordyceps is group of fungi, all of which are parasites of various insects or other fungi."

over 750 species

750

There are over 750 species of Cordyceps fungi found around the world

The most well-known and studied is Cordyceps sinensis. In 2007, scientists discovered that this species is unrelated to most of the others and they placed it in an entirely new genus (Ophiocordyceps). Although its name has changed (now it is known as Ophiocordyceps sinensis), it is still commonly referred to as C. sinensis, or just cordyceps.

Cordyceps is no typical mushroom. The way it grows in nature has fascinated scientists for a long time and earned it the nickname "caterpillar fungus".

Namely, the spores of the fungus infect moth caterpillars. These tiny spores then grow into a large fungal mass called mycelium that spreads throughout the insect body, eventually killing the larvae. Victoriously, a thin stalk called a fruiting body then sprouts from the corpse, releases spores, and continues the cycle.

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Nutritional Facts
Cordycepin
12.7 mg / g
Energy
375.51 kcal / 100g
Carbohydrates
62.35 g / 100g
Fat
1.35 g / 100g
Protein
28.49 g / 100g
Dietary Fiber
21.14 g / 100g
Sugar
1.58 g / 100g
Copper
10.24 mg / kg
Zinc
49.56 mg / kg
Adenosine
1.47 mg / g

Scientific Research

Cordyceps is a mushroom traditionally used to treat sexual dysfunction and fertility in Chinese medicine, as well as a general sexual tonic and libido/performance enhancer. This mushroom belongs to phylum Ascomycoa, the sub-phylum Ascomycotina and the class Clavicipataceae; which as a whole is seen as medicinal.
  • Cordycepin, seen as the main bioactive and also known as 3'-deoxyadenosine
  • Ergosterol and Ergosterol palmitate
  • 'Cordycepic Acid' which is just D-Mannitol, but some related compounds such as 3,4-O-isopropylidene-d-mannitol
  • (Sinensis Mycelium) Glucosamine at 25.5mcg/mL (standard cultivation) and can be increased to 13.1-29.3mg/mL
  • (kyushuensis) Sodium (15,238mcg/g), Potassium (23,860mcg/g), Calcium (6248mcg/g), Magnesium (5630mcg/g), Iron (556mcg/g), and Zinc (32.9mcg/g)
  • (In selenium-enriched grown mushrooms), selenomethionine, senelite, and selanate
Cordycepin is known as a nucleotide analogue due to its structural similarity to adenosine. Structure
A polysaccharide from the fruiting bodies of Cordyceps Sinensis appears to have mitogenic properties on splenocytes as well as the ability to increase macrophage phagocytosis by 12% at 50-100mg/kg bodyweight, although immunostimulatory polysaccharides are common to most species of Cordyceps. Immunostimulation has been found with Militaris.
After injection of D-Galactose into mice, which mimicks the effects of oxidation-mediated aging, Cordyceps Militaris supplementation was able to reduce oxidation via increasing the activity of anti-oxidative enzymes in the body. These same effects have been seen with polysaccharides from Cordyceps Taii. The anti-oxidant effects of Sinensis and Militaris are somewhat equivalent, with Sinensis slightly more potent.
In vitro, extracts of the Mycelium of Cordyceps appear to inhibit proliferation of Melanoma cells with IC50 values in B16 cells of 99.47+/-1.67ug/mL in ethanolic and ethanolic acetate 12.17+/-1.24ug/mL, with water and petroleum extracts. Due to the potency of the ethyl acetate fraction, it was tested in mice implanted with B16 tumors at 0.05mg/kg (injections) and decreased tumor weight by 48% but underperformed relative to the active control of Cytoxan (62%). When comparing bioactives of these extracts, the ethyl acetate appear to have a very large dose of ergosterol.