Cordyceps Mycelium | The Root of It All

Cordyceps Mycelium | The Root of It All

Cordyceps (CS) is a traditional Chinese herb that has a variety of biological effects, including modulation of the immune system. Cordyceps mycelium has been recognized for long as a significant medicinal mushroom in China. Its pharmaceutical properties were recorded in Ben-Cao-Bei-Yao, edited by Wang Eng in 1694.

The cordyceps mycelium has a number of beneficial effects on human bodies, including immunological, anti-cancer, anti-metastasis, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, insecticidal, antimicrobial, hypolipidemic, hypoglycemic, anti-aging, neuroprotective, and renoprotective effects. The cordyceps mycelium-derived natural products are composed of complex components, including the cordycepin derivatives, cordycepic acids, ergosterols, polysaccharides, and nucleosides.

Adenosine, cordycepin, cordycepic acid, and polysaccharides were thought to be the major active ingredients, though that is still disputed. Cordyceps mycelium has been reported to act as an aphrodisiac, analgesic, an immune modulator, a free radical scavenger, and an anticancer agent. Because naturally occurring Cordyceps mycelium is rare and expensive, many scientists have studied its lifecycle in hopes of developing techniques to isolate and culture strains that are susceptible to fermentation.

Paecilomyces hepialis (PH) is a derivative of the mushroom Cordyceps sinensis (CS), which has been shown to exert anti-cancer and pro-apoptotic effects. This strain is one of the most well-known CS derivatives.

Some studies showed PH could suppress cancer growth, invasion, metastasis, and neovascularization; induce apoptosis; reverse drug resistance; and improve immune function. Despite these reports of PHs suppressive immunomodulating potential, there has been no convincing account so far on the mechanisms underlying the PH-mediated anti-inflammatory effects on macrophages. Furthermore, most of the studies mentioned above used mycelia-derived active ingredients alone.

When cultured mycelium is dissolved in water, a large portion of mycelium is precipitated. Only a tiny fraction of mycelium was dissolved into the water, and this is called extracting active ingredients from mycelium. Thus, the active ingredient part is in a very high concentration, relative to total mycelium. However, the water-soluble form was used in general applications with these mycelia, rather than in a highly concentrated form, as was done for experimental conditions.

About the author

Bruce Wilson

I've studied Mycology and Forest Pathology and love creating content to help other learn more about my passion. Follow along as I continue to explore the amazing world of functional fungi!

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