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J Pharm Pharmacol. 2013 Apr;65(4):474-93. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.2012.01601.x. Epub 2012 Oct 23.

The genus Cordyceps: a chemical and pharmacological review.

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College of Forestry, Sichuan Agricultural University, Ya'an, China.



Natural remedies are becoming increasingly popular and important in the public and scientific communities. Historically, natural remedies have been shown to present interesting biological and pharmacological activity and are used as chemotherapeutic agents. For centuries Cordyceps, which is a genus of more than 400 species in the family Clavicipitaceae, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine. This study highlights the chemistry and pharmacology of Cordyceps, especially Cordyceps sinensis (Berk.) Sacc. and C. militaris (Fr.) L. Information was obtained from Google Scholar and the journal databases PubMed and Scopus.


 Many bioactive components of Cordyceps have been extracted, such as cordycepin, cordycepic acid, ergosterol, polysaccharides, nucleosides and peptides. Studies show that Cordyceps and its active principles possess a wide range of pharmacological actions, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumour, antihyperglycaemic, antiapoptosis, immunomodulatory, nephroprotective, and hepatoprotective.


More research is required to discover the full extent of the activity of Cordyceps.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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