Cordyceps has been no doubt become one of the most precious and expensive mushrooms that has been applied in health purpose.
Cordyceps sinensis (CS) iscolloquially known as caterpillar fungus. Its use has a long history in Traditional Chinese medicineas well as Traditional Tibetan medicine. Cordyceps are the result of a parasitic relationship between the fungus and the larva of the ghost mothgenus Thitarodes, several species of which live on the Tibetan Plateau.
It is used by practitioners of Tibetan medicine, Chinese medicine and traditional Folk medicines as an aphrodisiac and as a treatment for a variety of ailments from fatigue to cancer. Assays have found that Cordyceps species produce many pharmacologically active substances. They are now cultivated on an industrial scale for their medicinal value.
Extracts from C. sinensis possess significant anticancer activities by various mechanisms such as modulating immune system and inducing cell apoptosis. Some polysaccharide components and cordycepin (3'-deoxyadenosine) have been isolated from caterpillar fungus, which acted as potent anticancer components.
There also have been several research papers indicating consumption of Cordyceps sinensis is shown to have beneficial effects on patients undergoing chemotherapies. One particular study published in 2006 suggests orally administered hot-water extract from C. sinensis protects mice from bone marrow and intestinal injuries after total-body irradiation (Liu et al.). CS appears to enhance recovery of mice from leukopenia caused by Taxol treatmentby protecting both hematopoietic progenitor cells directly and the bone marrow stem cell niche through its effects on osteoblast differentiation(Liu et al. 2008).
Other medicinal properties of C. sinensis include antihepatotoxicity, anti-depressant effects, neuroprotective potential through anti-inflammatory mechanisms, as well as anti-aging effects. Researchers have also noted that Cordyceps has a hypoglycemic effect and may be beneficial for people with insulin resistance.