Ophiocordyceps sinensis (Berk.) is a fungus closely related to medicinal mushroom, which belongs to the family Ophiocordycipitaceae. It is a well-known and rich herbal source of bioactive active constituents. The medicinal mushroom has garnered worldwide attention owing to its multifarious bioactivities. This mushroom grows on the larva of ghost moths (Hepialidae) and produces fruiting bodies, which serve as a vital natural source of medicine and supplementary diets. On account of the diverse pharmacological and bioactive constituents present in O. sinensis, it has been established as a potential antioxidant, anticancer, antibacterial, anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory agent that has been successfully used for treating several health issues, including hypoxia-related problems encountered by mountaineers, pilgrims, tourists and soldiers occurring at high-altitude regions such as acute mountain sickness (AMS), high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE), frostbite, chilblains, hypothermia, etc. The most important pharmacologically active compounds present in the O. sinensis include nucleobases and its derivatives (adenosine, cordycepin, 3-deoxyadenosine, AMP, GMP, UMP, guanosine, uridine), polysaccharides (mannose, glucose, galactose, rhamnose, arabinose, xylose, galactose), proteins, peptides and steroids. This article focuses on the various research endeavors undertaken to scientifically establish the medicinal properties of O. sinensis, highlighting the various principally active compounds, their pharmacological action, drug designing and development and future perspective for various health benefits.
Keywords: Chemical constituents; High-altitude maladies; Novel formulations; Ophiocordyceps sinensis; Pharmacological action.
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