Improvement of sperm production in subfertile boars by Cordyceps militaris supplement

Am J Chin Med. 2007;35(4):631-41. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X07005120.


Cordyceps species have been traditionally used for the enhancement of sexual function, however, there is few direct evidence to prove this. We investigated the spermatogenic effect of Cordyceps militaris (CM) by supplementation with CM mycelium to subfertile boars. Seventeen Duroc and 12 Landrace boars (29 to 40 months old) were selected to feed with regular diet (control groups, n = 8 and 6, respectively) or diet supplemented with CM mycelium (treatment groups, n = 9 and 6, respectively) for 2 months. Semen was collected once a week. The quality of fertile sperm (normally greater than 62% of motility and 70% of normal morphology) and the quantity (semen volume, and total sperm number) were compared in these boars. The result showed that sperm production was enhanced significantly at the end of first month (p < 0.05), peaked at the second month (p < 0.01) of supplementation with CM and was maintained for 2 weeks after stopping the treatment (p < 0.01). Plasma cordycepin concentration was detected in boars supplemented with CM but not in the controls. More importantly, the percentages of motile sperm cells and sperm morphology were also improved significantly in most of treated boars during the second month of supplementation (p < 0.01) and 2 weeks after the treatment (p < 0.05) as compared to their initial values. These results indicate that supplementation with CM mycelium improves sperm quality and quantity in subfertile boars and may partly support the role of Cordyceps in sexual enhancement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cordyceps*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Infertility, Male / drug therapy*
  • Infertility, Male / physiopathology
  • Infertility, Male / veterinary
  • Male
  • Phytotherapy / methods
  • Sperm Count
  • Sperm Motility / drug effects
  • Sperm Motility / physiology
  • Spermatogenesis / drug effects*
  • Spermatogenesis / physiology
  • Spermatozoa / pathology
  • Sus scrofa


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal