Cosmetic and Skincare Benefits of Cultivated Mycelia from the Chinese Caterpillar Mushroom, Ophiocordyceps sinensis (Ascomycetes)

Int J Med Mushrooms. 2018;20(7):623-636. doi: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2018026883.


Mushrooms are potential sources of novel natural cosmeceutical ingredients. This study was conducted to evaluate the cosmetic (skincare) benefits of the valuable medicinal species Ophiocordyceps sinensis (=Cordyceps sinensis). The mycelial extracts of 2 O. sinensis strains, Cs-HK1 and Cs-4, prepared sequentially with ethyl acetate, ethanol, and hot water were tested with in vitro assays for tyrosinase-, collagenase-, and elastase-inhibitory activity. The ethyl acetate extracts of both fungal strains showed potent antityrosinase and antielastase activity, with low half-maximal inhibitory concentrations (0.14-0.47 mg/mL) comparable to those of the respective reference compounds (arbutin and epigallocatechin gallate). All mycelial extracts exhibited moderate or significant anticollagenase activity; most extracts showed a significant photoprotective effect with a sun protection factor up to 25. The results from this study show the potential use of O. sinensis as a source of cosmetic ingredients for skincare applications.

MeSH terms

  • Collagenases / chemistry
  • Cordyceps / chemistry*
  • Cordyceps / growth & development
  • Cosmetics / chemistry*
  • Cosmetics / isolation & purification
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / isolation & purification
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / chemistry
  • Mycelium / chemistry
  • Mycelium / growth & development
  • Pancreatic Elastase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Pancreatic Elastase / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification


  • Cosmetics
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Plant Extracts
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase
  • Pancreatic Elastase
  • Collagenases