Comparison of protective effects between cultured Cordyceps militaris and natural Cordyceps sinensis against oxidative damage

J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Apr 19;54(8):3132-8. doi: 10.1021/jf053111w.


The Chinese herb DongChong-XiaCao originating from Cordyceps sinensis is widely used as a traditional medicine in China for treatment of a wide variety of diseases. The extracts of Cordyceps sinensis (CSE) and Cordyceps militaris (CME) are well-known for their biological effects. In the present study, the antioxidant efficiency of CME and CSE in protecting lipid, protein, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) against oxidative damage was investigated. CME and CSE showed weakly inhibitory effect on liposome oxidation, that of CME being superior to that of CSE. As for the protein oxidation model system, the inhibitory effect of CME on protein oxidation was inferior to that of CSE. CME and CSE at 1.0 mg/mL showed 50.5 and 67.1% inhibition of LDL oxidation, respectively. The contents of bioactive ingredients cordycepin and adenosine in CME are higher than those of CSE; however, both cordycepin and adenosine showed no significant antioxidant activity as determined by the Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity method. Polyphenolic and flavonoid contents are 60.2 and 0.598 microg/mL in CME and 31.8 and 0.616 microg/mL in CSE, respectively, which may in part be responsible for their antioxidant activities. In addition, a polysaccharide present in CME and CSE displayed antioxidant activity, which suggested that the activity might be derived partly from polysaccharides of CME and CSE. The tendency to scavenge the ABTS(*)(+) free radical and the reducing ability of CME and CSE display concentration-dependent manners, suggesting that CME and CSE may be potent hydrogen donators. On the basis of the results obtained, the protective effects of CME and CSE against oxidative damage of biomolecules are a result of their free radical scavenging abilities.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Cordyceps / chemistry*
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Polysaccharides / analysis
  • Proteins / chemistry


  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polysaccharides
  • Proteins