Anti-oxidation activity of different types of natural Cordyceps sinensis and cultured Cordyceps mycelia

Phytomedicine. 2001 May;8(3):207-12. doi: 10.1078/0944-7113-00030.


Cordyceps, one of the well-known traditional Chinese medicines, consists of the dried fungus Cordyceps sinensis growing on the larva of the caterpillar. It is commonly used for the replenishment of body health. One of the known pharmacological effects is its anti-oxidation activity. However, there is a great variation of the quality in different sources of Cordyceps. Here, the water extracts of various sources of natural C. sinensis and cultured Cordyceps mycelia were analyzed for their anti-oxidation activity by using three different assay methods such as the xanthine oxidase assay, the induction of hemolysis assay and the lipid peroxidation assay. The results showed that Cordyceps, in general, possesses a strong anti-oxidation activity in all assays tested. However, both natural and cultured Cordyceps showed the lowest inhibition in the lipid peroxidation when compared with the other two assay methods. The cultured Cordyceps mycelia had equally strong anti-oxidation activity as compared to the natural Cordyceps. Besides, the anti-oxidation activities were increased to 10-30 folds in the partially purified polysaccharide fractions from the cultured Cordyceps mycelia, which suggested that the activity could be derived partly from Cordyceps polysaccharides.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects
  • Hemolysis / drug effects
  • Hypocreales / chemistry*
  • Hypocreales / classification
  • Lepidoptera / chemistry*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Microsomes, Liver / drug effects
  • Mycelium / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Superoxides / chemistry
  • Xanthine Oxidase / chemistry


  • Antioxidants
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Polysaccharides
  • Superoxides
  • Xanthine Oxidase