Dong Chong Xia Cao - Cordyceps sinensis

Professional Data
 Pin Yin
Dong Chong Xia Cao
 
 Latin
Cordyceps
 Introduction Back to Top
Cordyceps is a composite consisting of the stroma of the fungus, Cordyceps sinensis (Berk. ) Sacc. (Fam. Hypocreaceae), parasitzed on the larva of some species of insects (Fam. Hepialidae), and the dead caterpillar. The drug is collected in early summer while the stromata have come up out of the ground but the spores have not ejected, partially dried in the sun, removed from the attached fibrous matter and other impurities and dried in the sun or at a low temperature.

 Western medical Back to Top
The herb is indicated in the treatment of asthma, impotence, spermatorrhea, heart disease, hepatitis, etc..

 Eastern medical Back to Top
  • Pattern: Nourishes the Lung and the Kidney, calms asthma, activates yang.
  • Properties: Sweet, warm.
  • Channels entered: Lung and Kidney.
 Chemical constituents Back to Top
The main constituents in Cordyceps are crude protein, whose hydrolysates are glutamic acid, phenylalanine, proline, valine, arginine and alinine etc.. It also contains D-mannitol.

 Pharmacological actions Back to Top
Influence over cardiovascular system and blood system

(1) Actions on the heart

Anesthetized rats were injected with CsB intravenously. When the dosage was higher than 1.5g/kg, the heart rate would be decreased but would be return to normal within around 5 minutes. When injected subcutaneously at a dosage higher than 5g/kg, the mice's anoxia intolerance would be significantly improved, and the 86Rb intaking of the cardiac muscles increased too, which indicated that it could increase the volume of nutritional blood flow of the cardiac muscles.

According to Lou Yaqing's report, intravenous injection of 0.15g/kg CsB could decrease the heart rate of rabbits, and the action could last 1 hours; the dosage of 0.5g/kg could antagonize the arrhythmia induced by aconitine and barium chloride; intraperitoneal injection of a dosage higher than 2.5g/kg could obviously decrease the myocardial oxygen consumption of the mice, antagonize the increased myocardial oxygen consumption and decreased anoxia intolerance induced by isoprenaline; in addition, it also had certain protective function over the myocardial infarction caused by condition of stress in rats.

According to Feng Mingguo's report, CsB could slow down the beat of isolated culture of myocardial cell of rats.

(2) Influences over blood pressure, vascular resistance and volume of blood flow in tissues

Intravenous injection of CsB more than 1.5g/kg could temporarily decrease the blood pressure of rats; subcutaneous injection of 5~20g/kg in mice could increase the 86Rb intaking in the heart and brain tissues, but large dosage could also result in the decreased 86Rb intaking in the kidney tissues.

Feng Mingguo reported that the blood pressure could be lowered after intravenous injection of CsB 0.3g/kg in anesthetized dogs, and the action lasted half an hour; 0.6g/kg could decrease the resistance in the vertebral artery and femoral artery; when 2.5~10mg/kg was injected into the vertebral artery, there's no change in blood pressure, but the cerebrovascular resistance decreased significantly.

(3) Lowering blood fat and anti-arteriosclerosis

Subcutaneous injection of CsB and its further extract CxB-851 could lower serum total cholesterol (TC) and triglyceride (TG) in both normal mice and mice with hyperlipaemia induced by Triton WR 1339. It had no influence over TC in the liver tissues, but could decrease liver TG. Further research showed that the primary mechanism of the CsB-851's function of lowering serum cholesterol was to inhibit the cholesterol synthesis in the liver tissues, and it hadn't much influence over the absorption and excretion of cholesterol. Given high cholesterol food for 3 months, rabbits would develop hyperlipaemia and arteriosclerosis; but if the rabbits were given CsB at the same time, the increase of the blood fat could be inhibited, the arteriosclerosis of the aorta wall could be reduced, and the content of cholesterol ester of the aorta could be decreased but the content of free cholesterol wouldn't be affected.

According to the report from Xu Ningsheng, et al., after normal rats were given 2.5~5g/kg extractum of Cordyceps fermentation liquid through gastrogavage for 7 days, the serum TC and TG decreased significantly, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) increased, low and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C, VLDL-C) decreased. It's believed that the main mechanism was to increase the activities of the lipoprotein lipase in the human body onload="highlight();" , accelerate the TG disintegration so as to lower serum TG. This extractum could also significantly inhibit the increase of blood fat in rats caused by condition of stress or high cholesterol food.

Hypoglycemic activity of a polysaccharide (CS-F30) from the cultural mycelium of Cordyceps sinensis and its effect on glucose metabolism in mouse liver. A polysaccharide (CS-F30) obtained from the cultural mycelium of Cordyceps sinensis showed potent hypoglycemic activity in genetic diabetic mice after intraperitoneal administration, and the plasma glucose level was quickly reduced in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice after intravenous administration. Administration of CS-F-30 to normal mice significantly increased the activities of hepatic glucokinase, hexokinase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, although the glycogen content in the liver was reduced. Furthermore, CS-F30 lowered the plasma triglyceride level and cholesterol level in mice.

(4) Influences over the function of blood composition and haemopoietic system

CsB could inhibit the platelet aggregation in vitro induced by ADP and collagen; this function was several times stronger on the human platelets and rabbit platelets than on rats', and the inhibitory function on aggregation induced by collagen was much stronger than on that induced by ADP. CsB-851 could significantly inhibit the TXB2 increase in the brain tissue in Mongolian gerbils caused by cerebral ischemia due to carotid artery ligation, as it didn't have great influence over b-Keto-PGF1, the ratio of TXA2/PGI2 lowered obviously; and this indicated that it might have certain protective function over ischemic brain tissue. But natural Cordyceps didn't have any obvious inhibitory function over platelet aggregation; on the contrary, it had mild action of inducing platelet aggregation.

Zhao Yongqiang reported that to inhibit rabbit platelet aggregation induced by collagen and ADP in vitro, the IC50s of CsB-851 were 2.4 0.38 and 34 18mg respectively. When anesthetized rabbits were given CsB-851 through intravenous drip at the dosage of 90mg/(kg·min), the platelet aggregation was inhibited after 15 minutes, and the inhibitory function reached the maximum at the 60th minute. If the in vivo aortas of the anesthetized rabbits were impaired by air cell, the platelets would aggregate at the injured regions; but if intravenous drip of 30 and 90mg/(kg·min) CsB-851 was given one hour before the impairment, the aggregation of platelets marked with 51Cr at the injured regions could be significantly decreased, and there's obvious dose-effect relationship. They also found that CsB-851 could obviously increase the cAMP in human blood platelets, and assumed that the mechanism of inhibiting platelet aggregation may consist in the increase of platelet cAMP.

According to Chen Daoming, Cordyceps could promote the proliferation of the megalokaryocytes in the spleen and increase the platelets in the blood. Chen Guozhen reported that Cordyceps extracts could promote the proliferation of erythroid, granulocyte-macrophage, and progenitor fibroblasts as well as hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow. By this token, Cordyceps could comprehensively promote the hematopoietic function.

Cordyceps alcohol extracting solution was administrated to rats. The results showed that it could promote the proliferation of hematopoietic cells, in Cordyceps group, the production rate of colony forming unit-spleen was increased by 22.7% more than that of the control group.

In vitro, the aqueous extract of Cordyceps could improve the phenomenon that the deformability of RBC would decrease after strenuous exercise, and there's the concentration-dependence relationship between them. The effects of improvement would enhance with the increase of concentration. In the lactic acid stimulated test, the adding of lactic acid would lower the deformability of RBC, CS could improve and prevent this phenomenon to certain extent. CS aqueous extract could also significantly inhibit lipid peroxidation, and have a quite strong function of clearing the lipid peroxide after exercise.

(5) Function on glucose metabolism, etc.

Hypoglycemic activity of a polysaccharide (CS-F30) from the cultural mycelium of Cordyceps sinensis and its effect on glucose metabolism in mouse liver. A polysaccharide (CS-F30) obtained from the cultural mycelium of Cordyceps sinensis showed potent hypoglycemic activity in genetic diabetic mice after intraperitoneal administration, and the plasma glucose level was quickly reduced in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice after intravenous administration. Administration of CS-F-30 to normal mice significantly increased the activities of hepatic glucokinase, hexokinase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, although the glycogen content in the liver was reduced. Furthermore, CS-F30 lowered the plasma triglyceride level and cholesterol level in mice.

Influences over immunologic functions

There're quite a few research on the influences of Cordyceps over immunologic functions, and the results diverge. Generally speaking, most reports believe that Cordyceps can improve non-specific immunity, and the main dispute lies in its influences over the specific immunity.

(1) Influences over the spleen weight, thymus gland weight and the function of reticuloendothelial system

Most reports showed that Cordyceps preparation could increase the spleen weight (spleen index) of animals, and improve the function of reticuloendothelial system. Cui Zhigui reported that through intraperitoneal or subcutaneous injection, preparations of Cordyceps or cultured Cordyceps could both accelerate the clearance speed of the colloid carbon granule in the blood in mice, increase the phagocytosis of the macrophages in the abdominal cavity, and increase the weight of the liver and spleen as well. Liu Gengtao et al. reported that injection of 1~3g/kg 60% alcohol extract of Tibet Cordyceps could increase the spleen weight, synthesis of the spleen RNA and protein, and the proliferation of lymphocytes in the spleen; it could also antagonize the spleen weight loss caused by cyclophosphane and hydroprednisone. Further research showed that only extracts of Cordyceps stroma could increase the spleen weight, the worm body onload="highlight();" showed no effects. After mice were injected with 5~10g/kg CsB subcutaneously for 5 days in succession, it was found that the spleen weight of the animals increased, liver weight showed no change, and the thymus gland weight tended to decrease.

(2) Influences over cellular immunity and humoral immunity

Some researchers believe that Cordyceps has immunological enhancement. Chen Guoqiang et al. reported that intraperitoneal injection of alcohol extract could increase the quantities of accessory T cell in peripheral blood and spleen cells in mice, but it had no influence over the quantities of inhibitory T cell. Kuang Yande reported that water extract of Cordyceps at the concentration of 5~10mg/ml had mild stimulating function on the proliferation of the thymus gland and spleen cells, and it would directly promote the proliferation of the accessory T cell; it showed no promoting function on the interleukin-2 (IL-2) generating of the spleen cells, but it could induce its expression of IL-2 receptor. Xu Renhe et al. reported that alcohol extract of Cordyceps could improve the activities of the natural kill cells in both human and mouse blood, and partially antagonize the inhibitory function of cyclophosphane on this kind of cell. Huang Heng et al. reported that Cordyceps extract could promote delayed allergic reaction while it could inhibit the generation of serum hemolysin in mice, so he believed that it could promote the cellular immunity but inhibit the humoral immunity. Zang Qizhong reported that polysaccharide from Cordyceps could promote the phagocytosis of the reticuloendothelial system and macrophages, accelerate the proliferation of lymphocytes, antagonize the spleen and thymus gland weight loss caused by cyclophosphane and cortogen, and increase the serum IgG in the blood of mice.

Other reports held that Cordyceps mainly showed inhibitory function over the specific immunity. Huang Mingming reported that either water extract or alcohol extract of the mycelia of Paecilomyces Hepiali Chen could significantly inhibit the lymphocyte transformation and rosette formation rate; by inhibiting the rejection reaction, the survival time of the skin graft or heart implant behind the ear of mice could be prolonged. Further research showed that its mechanism of immunosuppression might be because that it could strengthen the inhibitory T cell. Zhu Xiyuan et al. reported that water extract of Cordyceps could inhibit the phagocytic function of peripheral WBC in mice, and the reaction of the lymph proliferation in the spleen and mixed lymphocyte reaction induced by Con A.

Our experiments also proved that CsB had inhibitory function over both cellular immunity and humoral immunity. In vivo, it could inhibit the delayed allergic reaction (with ear swelling of the mice as the index) and the generation of serum serotonin in mice induced by DNFB; inhibit the proliferation of spleen lymphocytes in mice induced by Con A, but at the minimal dose, it had slight stimulating function over spleen lymphocytes. In addition, Zhu Xihuan and Chen Yanping et al. also reported that Cordyceps preparation could suppress cellular immunity.

Accordingly, the influence of Cordyceps over immunity, especially on specific immunity is rather complicated and needs further research.

Additionally, CsB had slight anti-inflammatory function; it could inhibit the ear edema reaction of mice induced by croton oil.

Cordyceps alcohol extracting solution was administrated to rats. The results showed that it could improve the immunologic function, promote the proliferation of lymphocytes in the peripheral blood and the spleen. Especially, there's significant difference (P<0.05) in the proliferation of T helper lymphocyte compared with the control group, the TH/TS rate increased and the ability of spleen cells to produce IL-2, the activity of NK cells were enhanced.

CP (Cordyceps polysacchride) could induce the expression of IL-2R singly or working in coordination with PHA, improve the formation of soluble IL-2R, while take on the selective inhibition in the activity of IL-2, IFN-g induced by PHA, and the function of cooperation or inhibition was dependent on the dosage. The research indicated that CP had a bi-directional immunologic regulatory function on lymphocytes in the peripheral blood.

Effects of various fractions of methanol extracts from fruiting bodies of Cordyceps sinensis on the lymphoproliferative response, natural killer (NK) cell activity, and phytohemagglutinin (PHA) stimulated interleukin-2 (IL-2) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) production on human mononuclear cells (HMNC) were studied. Two of the 15 column fractions (CS-36-39 and CS-48-51) significantly inhibited the blastogenesis response (IC50 = 71.0 3.0 and 21.7 ± 2.0 micrograms/ml, respectively), NK cell activity (IC50=25.0±2.5 and 12.9±5.8 micrograms/ml, respectively) and IL-2 production of HMNC stimulated by PHA (IC50=9.6±2.3 and 5.5±1.6 micrograms/ml, respectively). TNF-alpha production in HMNC cultures was also blocked by CS-36-39 and CS-48-51 (IC50=2.7±1.0 and 12.5±3.8 micrograms/ml, respectively). These results indicated that neither CS-36-39 nor CS-48-51 was cytotoxic on HMNC, and that immunosuppressive ingredients are contained in Cordyceps sinensis.

The results indicated that the levels of IL-1, IFN, and TNF, especially those of IL-1 and INF, produced by cultured rat kupffer cells were increased in the presence of Cordyceps sinensis (CS) or the drug serum (DS) from rats fed on CS. The experimental result of DS was similar to that of CS. However, the former had a better repeatability and stability.

Anti-tumor function

In 1981, Tumor group in our institute carried out some research on the anti-tumor activities of Cordyceps. The results showed that it had certain inhibitory function over Lewis lung carcinoma in mice, and the inhibitory rate was 30%~50%. It had no obvious inhibitory effect on sarcoma S37, leukemia L1210 and P388, etc.. But cultured fermented Cordyceps had no effects over Lewis lung carcinoma, sarcoma S37 and leukemia P388, etc.. Jiang Ping reported that Cordyceps preparation had effects on various experimental transplantation tumors which included Lewis lung carcinoma, sarcoma S180, S37, leukemia P388, and mammary cancer MA737, etc., but it had no effects on H22 and several other tumors. Ding Rui reported that intraperitoneal injection of alcohol extract of Cordyceps had inhibitory effect on Ehrlich ascites carcinoma. Du Deji reported that aqua of Cordyceps had no effects on Lewis lung carcinoma, U14, L7212, W256 and Yoshida sarcoma except for S180; the function of polysaccharide from Cordyceps was similar to but weaker than aqua.

According to the report of Ling Peizhong, et al., Cordyceps could inhibit the hyperplasia and cancerization of proventriculus epidermis induced by carcinogenic substances; Wu Defeng reported that Cordyceps could inhibit the cervical carcinoma cell cultured in vitro.

Cordyceps sinensis is a herb medicine with antitumor activity capable of suppressing the growth of mouse Sarcoma 180 in vivo. In the present study, we have isolated polysaccharide fraction of Cordyceps sinensis (PSCS) and investigated its effect on the proliferation and differentiation of human leukemic U937 cells using an in vitro culture system. Our results showed that the conditioned medium from PSCS (10 microg/ml)-stimulated blood mononuclear cells (PSCS-MNC-CM) had an activity that could significantly inhibit the proliferation of U937 cells resulting in a growth inhibition rate of 78-83%. Furthermore, PSCS-MNC-CM treatment induced about 50% of the cells differentiating into mature monocytes/macrophages expressing nonspecific esterase (NSE) activity and the surface antigens of CD11b, CD14, and CD 68. Yet, the differentiated U937 cells also had functions of phagocytosis and superoxide production. However, PSCS alone or normal MNC-CM had no such effects. The levels of interferon (IFN)-gamma, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, and interleukin (IL)-1 were very low in normal MNC-CM, and they were greatly increased in MNC-CM prepared with PSCS stimulation. Antibody onload="highlight();" neutralization studies further revealed that the tumoricidal and differentiating effects of PSCS-MNC-CM were mainly derived from the elevated cytokines, especially IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha. These two cytokines acted synergistically on inhibiting cell growth and inducing differentiation of the target U937 cells.

Influences over nerve system

Quite a few literatures reported that Cordyceps preparations had sedative functions. Soon after the injection, the activities of the animals decreased, and they didn't fall into asleep and reacted to various external stimuli though they seemed to be asleep with their eyes shut. For example, spontaneous activities of mice obviously decreased 5 minutes after subcutaneous injection of 2.5~10g/kg CsB. CsB could prolong the pentobarbital sleep time, increase the sleeping rate of pentobarbital at sub-threshold dosage, strengthen the effects of sedatives such as chlorpromazine, and antagonize the excitatory functions of Benzedrine and caffeine, etc.. CsB could significantly reduce the entasia and death caused by nicotine, prolong the latent period of convulsion caused by strychnine; but it didn't show any protective function on the convulsion caused by caffeine and electric shock. CsB could also obviously lower the body onload="highlight();" temperature of normal mice, and inhibit the saliva secretions induced by pilocarpine. These actions were mainly related to adenosine substances contained in it. Additionally, Liu Jie reported that aqua of Cordyceps militaris could antagonize pentazol.

Influences over respiratory system

Zhang Shishan et al. reported that Cordyceps preparations could dilate Guinea pigs' trachea in vitro. Wan Fuchang et al. reported that gastrogavage of fermented mycelia and liquid of Cordyceps could prolong the latent period and decrease the times of cough induced by ammonia aerosol, increase the quantities of secretory juice in rats' trachea, and decrease the death rate of mice' acute pulmonary edema caused by adrenalin; it could relax Guinea pigs' convulsive trachea caused by histamine, but it had no obvious protective function on Guinea pigs' asthma induced by aerosol of the mixture of acetylcholine chloride and histamine. But Zhao Yi et al. reported that Cordyceps preparations could antagonize Guinea pigs' asthma caused by acetylcholine and the effect was no less than that of aminophyllin. Wang Zhiping et al. reported that Cordyceps could relieve rats' emphysema caused by cadmium chloride aerosol.

Lin Xiaoxia et al. studied the function of Cordyceps (artificial fermented Cordyceps sinensis (Berk.) Sacc) powder in the prevention and treatment of asthma in animal models. Pulmonary function and airway inflammation in vivo were investigated. The results showed that Cordyceps at 5g/kg (ig) could significantly inhibit bronchial challenge of ovalbumin-induced change of RL and Cdyn (P<0.05) and inhibite antigen-induced increase of eosinophils in the BALF of rats (P<0.05). The results suggested Cordyceps could be applied in the prevention and cure of asthma.

Cordyceps sinensis (C. sinensis) is one of the well known fungi used in traditional Chinese medicine for treatment asthma and bronchial and lung inflammation. In this study, effects of C. sinensis methanolic extracts on bronchoalveolar lavage fluids (BALF) cells proliferation, inflammatory cytokines production, and genes expression were evaluated. The proliferative response of BALF cells to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was determined by the tritiated thymidine uptake method. The cell-free supernatants were harvested then tested for interlukin-1beta (IL-1beta), interlukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-8 (IL-8), interleukin-10 (IL-10), interleukin-12 (IL-12), and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) by the enzyme immunoassay. The results indicated that the CS-19-22 fraction dose dependently suppressed BALF cells proliferation activated by LPS. The CS-19-22 fraction also reduced IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 and TNF-alpha production in LPS activated BALF cell cultures. Furthermore, the IL-12 and IFN-gamma production in activated BALF cells were enhanced by CS-19-22 treatment. The CS-19-22 fraction did not affect IL-1beta, IL-6, TNF-alpha, and IL-8 mRNAs expression in BALF cells detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). By contrast, the CS-19-22 fraction increased IL-12 and IFN-gamma mRNAs expression and decreased IL-10 mRNA expression in the BALF cells activated with LPS. These results indicated the CS-19-22 fraction suppressed IL-1beta, IL-6, TNF-alpha, and IL-8 cytokines production in BALF cells through other than inhibition of mRNAs expression pathway. These results also demonstrate that the therapeutic activity of C. sinensis in Chinese medicine may be related to modulation of TH1 and TH2 cells functions in bronchial airway.

Zhang Shishan et al. reported that Cordyceps preparations could dilate Guinea pigs' trachea in vitro. Wan Fuchang et al. reported that gastrogavage of fermented mycelia and liquid of Cordyceps could prolong the latent period and decrease the times of cough induced by ammonia aerosol, increase the quantities of secretory juice in rats' trachea, and decrease the death rate of mice' acute pulmonary edema caused by adrenalin; it could relax Guinea pigs' convulsive trachea caused by histamine, but it had no obvious protective function on Guinea pigs' asthma induced by aerosol of the mixture of acetylcholine chloride and histamine. But Zhao Yi et al. reported that Cordyceps preparations could antagonize Guinea pigs' asthma caused by acetylcholine and the effect was no less than that of aminophyllin. Wang Zhiping et al. reported that Cordyceps could relieve rats' emphysema caused by cadmium chloride aerosol.

Complex Cordyceps C148 powder (a product made from Cordyceps) could obviously dilate the smooth muscles of isolated trachea of Guinea pigs.

Influence over endocrine system

Cordyceps sinensis contains a factor that stimulates corticosteroid production in the animal model. However, it is not known whether this drug acts directly on the adrenal glands or indirectly via the hypothalamus-pituitary axis. In the present study, we used primary rat adrenal cell cultures to investigate the pharmacological function of a water-soluble extract of Cordyceps sinensis (CS) and the signaling pathway involved. Radio immunoassay of corticosterone indicated that the amount of corticosterone produced by adrenal cells is increased in a positively dose-dependent manner by CS, reaching a maximum at 25 microgram/ml. This stimulating effect was seen 1 h after CS treatment and was maintained for up to 24 h. Concomitantly, the lipid droplets in these cells became small and fewer in number. Immunostaining with a monoclonal antibody onload="highlight();" , A2, a specific marker for the lipid droplet capsule, demonstrated that detachment of the capsule from the lipid droplet occurs in response to CS application and that the period required for decapsulation is inversely related to the concentration of CS applied. The mechanism of CS-induced steroidogenesis is apparently different from that for ACTH, since intracellular cAMP levels were not increased in CS-treated cells. However, combined application with calphostin C, a PKC inhibitor, completely blocked the effect of CS on steroidogenesis, suggesting that activation of PKC may be responsible for the CS-induced steroidogenesis.

Influence over hepatic energy metabolism

Mice were given the extract of cultured Cordyceps sinensis (Cs) (200 mg/kg daily, p.o.) for 3 weeks. In vivo phosphorus-31 nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra of the liver were acquired at weekly intervals using a surface coil. From 1 to 3 weeks, a consistent increase in the ATP/inorganic phosphate ratio, which represents the high energy state, was observed in the Cs extract-treated mice. The intracellular pH of the Cs extract-treated mice was not significantly different from that of the control mice. No steatosis, necrosis, inflammation or fibrosis were observed in the liver specimens from Cs extract-treated mice.

Anti-fatigue effect

Kunming male mice were used in this experiment and Cordyceps was made into suspension for gastrogavage. The mice were divided into the experimental group and control group. The experimental group was again divided three groups of low, medium and large dosage, and the mice in different dosage groups were given 0.25g/kg?bw, 0.5g/kg?bw and 1.0g/kg?bw of Cordyceps suspension respectively through gastrogavage. The control group was administrated with distilled water through gastrogavage. The mice in both groups were treated for 21 days, and then burden-borne swimming test was conducted, contents of blood lactic acid and serum urea nitrogen were determined. Results: 1. The dosages of 0.5g/kg·bw and 1.0g/kg·bw Cordyceps could prolong the swimming time of mice in the burden-borne swimming test. 2. The dosage of 1.0g/kg·bw Cordyceps could significantly lower the blood lactic acid of mice after swimming. 3. The dosage of 0.25g/kg·bw, 0.5g/kg·bw and 1.0g/kg·bw Cordyceps could lower the serum urea nitrogen of the mice after swimming.

 Clinical Studies Back to Top
Cardiovascular diseases

Shao Geng et al. carried out clinical research on the effects of treating hyperlipemia with cultured Cordyceps (Jin Shui Bao, a product made from cultured Cordyceps) with double-blind comparison method. 273 cases were equally divided into treated group and control group approximately. After 1~2 months' treatment, in the treated group, the average of serum total cholesterol was lowered by 17.5% compared with that before the treatment (the control group lowered by 1.2%); triglyceride was lowered by 9.9% (the control group 6.7%); high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) was increased by 27.2% (the control group increased by 10.4%). Compared with the control group, the differences were statistically significant. Accordingly, it's believed that this drug had reliable cholesterol-reducing as well as HDL-C increasing function.

Arrhythmia was treated with Ning Xing Bao (a product made from Cordyceps) by Li Peizhang et al. and with Xing Gan Bao (a product made from different fermented Cordyceps) by affiliated hospital of Guangzhou medical college. 200 cases were reported by the former author, the total effective ate was 74.5%; while 188 cases were reported by the latter author, the total effective rate was 74.4%~79.6%.

You Jingen used P.sinensis to treat 33 cases of coronary heart disease. The markedly effective rate of angina pectoris was 52.4%; and the effective rate of EKG was 42.4. Accordingly, it's believed that the effect of P.sinensis came up to that of persantine.

Respiratory diseases

Six hospitals were organized by Jiangxi TCM factory to make the research on the effects of treating chronic bronchitis with Jin Shui Bao (a product made from Cordyceps). Results: after one month's administration, among the 117 cases that took Jin Shui Bao, 58 cases were markedly effective (the markedly effective rate was 49.6%), 39 improved (33.3%), the total effective rate was 82.9%; among the 77 cases that took Mu Jing Oil, the markedly effective rate was 9%, and the total effective rate was 40.2%.

Fu Fang Chong Cao (Cordyceps) Ge Jie (gecko) San was used to prevent asthma attack in 68 patients. There're 42 males and 26 females, 35 of them had courses of diseases between 1~5 years, the other 33 cases were over 5 years. The ingredients: ge jie, one pair; Cordyceps, 5g; zi he che, huang qin, hou po, bai jie zi, 15g each; chen dan xing, 10g, huang qi, 30g. The drugs were ground into powder. For patients without symptoms, the dosage was 0.5~1g, tid; for those with symptoms of mild cough or asthma, the dosage was 1.5g tid. The patients took the treatment from later October to early April of next year, for two years. Results: within the two years, 36 cases didn't have asthma attacks, and were markedly effective; the other cases were effective.

Sexual disorders

Yang Wenzhi et al. carried out clinical research on treating low sexual function with Jin Shui Bao (a product made from Cordyceps). They compared the effects of Jin Shui Bao, natural Cordyceps and placebo with method of single-blind comparison and sequential administration. Methods: dosage 1g every time, three times daily, 20 days as a course; take the medicine according to the order of Jin Sui Bao, placebo and natural Cordyceps. Results: 16 cases totally, 9 were markedly effective when given Jin Shui Bao (56.2%), only 1 markedly effective when given placebo, and 4 markedly effective when given natural Cordyceps (25%).

Deng Xiaoan analysized 272 cases of low sexual function (11 were female), 152 cases were treated with Jin Shui Bao (a product made from Cordyceps). After 40 days' administration, the effective rate was 66.1%. Among 23 cases treated with natural Cordyceps, the effective rate was 31.6%. In the 97 cases of control group, the effective rate was 23.7%.

Renal diseases

Chen Yiping et al. reported the effects of treating 30 cases of chronic renal failure with Jin Shui Bao (a product made from Cordyceps). After one month's treatment, the patients' renal function was improved significantly, which was manifested as obviously decreased creatinine and urea nitrogen in the blood compared with those before treatment, increased creatinine clearance and hemoglobin. Natural Cordyceps and other cultured Cordyceps preparation (Zhi Ling Capsule) had certain effects too. Shen Lingmei treated 18 cases of chronic nephritis with cultured Cordyceps, it was observed that the renal function was improved and urine protein decreased obviously.

Hepatic diseases

According the report of Zheng Furong, in Shanghai and some other areas, cultured Cordyceps preparation Xing Gan Bao was used to treat 256 cases of chronic viral hepatitis, the effective rate was over 80%, most patients symptoms, signs and liver function were improved to various degree, and the changes of serum albumin and sGPT were the most obvious. Zhou Liangmei used cultured Cordyceps to treat 33 cases of chronic hepatitis B, among the 32 cases with abnormal TTT, after 3 months' administration, 10 cases returned to normal, 13 cases were improved significantly. Liu Cheng et al. used cultured Cordyceps to treat 22 cases of posthepatitic cirrhosis, after 3 months' treatment, albumin increased; among 17 patients suffering from abdominal distension, 12 cases' ascites disappeared, and 5 cases' ascites decreased.

Ma Xiong, et al did some research on Cordyceps polysaccharides (CP) in order to evaluate its therapeutic effects in chronic hepatitis C. Twenty-one patients with chronic hepatitis C were treated with CP (15ml, t.i.d, taken orally) for 3 months. Peripheral blood CD3, CD4, CD8, NK activity and serum HA etc. were tested before and after the treatment. The results showed that the serum levels of ALT and r-GT were lowered after the treatment (P<0.05). HA, PIIIP were lower (P<0.01 and <0.05, respectively); peripheral blood CD4, CD4/CD8, NK activity were higher (P<0.01) and CD8 were lower (P<0.05) compared with those before treatment. Based on the above data, Ma Xiong, et al concluded that Cordyceps polysaccharides could improve the function of liver and peripheral blood lymphocyte in patients with chronic hepatitis C and may prevent liver fibrosis.

Tumors

Cheng Jianhua reported the effects of treating 20 cases of lung cancer in late period with Jin Shui Bao (a product made from Cordyceps) as an auxiliary therapy. There's also a control group with WBC-elevating drugs as the auxiliary therapy. Results: 95% of the cases in the Jin Shui Bao group completed the radiotherapy or chemotherapy, 85% of the cases had a normal blood picture, both were significantly higher than those of the control group (which were 64% and 59% respectively). Yan Rujie et al. treated 50 cases of lung cancer in late period (4 cases were complicated with radiotherapy or chemotherapy). Results: after 2~4 months' treatment, most of patients' subjective symptoms were obviously improved, focus of infection of 23 cases (46%) decreased by more than 25%. Zhang Jinchuan treated 30 cases of 30 cases of malignant tumors with the auxiliary therapy consisting of Zhi Ling Capsule, results: symptoms of 93% of the cases were improved, and the WBC was elevated obviously.

Jinshuibao Capsule (JSBC), produced by Jiangxi Jinshuibao pharmaceutical Company Limited, possesses the similar active principles and pharmacological activity with those of Cordyceps sinensis. The effect of JSBC on the immunological function of 36 patients with advanced cancer showed that it could restore cellular immunological function, improve quality of life, but had no significant effect on humoral immunological function. The results suggested that JSBC could be used as adjuvant drug in advanced cancer.

Others

Chen Daoming et al. reported that 30 cases of primary thrombocytopenic purpura were treated with cultured Cordyceps, after three months, patients' subjective symptoms and bleeding condition were improved significantly, the total effective rate was 90%. Chai Weimin et al. reported that Xin Gan Bao (a product made from Cordyceps) was used to treat 20 cases of schistosomiasis of ascites type in late period, after 3 months, all symptoms were improved: abdomen circumference and the spleen decreased, the diameters of the portal vein and the splenic vein decreased too. Besides, Liu Weisheng et al. used Xin Gan Bao (a product made from Cordyceps) to treat patients with decreased hemoglobin, decreased platelet or aplastic anemia, Zhang Jinmei et al. used Cordyceps to treat allergic rhinitis and tinnitus, and better effects were obtained in these treatment.

 
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Except those noted, all references come from Weng Weiliang, et al., Clinical Chinese materia medica, Henan Science & Technology Press, 1998