Cordyceps the Fungal Gold - A Review
Issue: 2017 - Volume 11 [Issue 3]
Sangeetha Panicker *
Department of Plant Pathology, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Oilseeds Research Station, Tindivanam 604002, Tamil Nadu, India
*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cordyceps is an entomophagous medicinal mushroom that commands a price close to that of Gold or even more, it is believed that the price of this fungus reached USD $20,000 to 40,000 per kg in the international market. Cordyceps spp is mainly endemic to the Tibetian plateau including the adjoining high altitude areas of the central and East Himalayas that includes Nepal, Bhutan and India’s Uttaranchal, Sikkim, Himachal and Arunachal Pradesh. However certain species like Cordyceps militaris is said to be distributed worldwide from 0 to >2000 m a.s.l. The fungus attacks many lepidopteran larvae especially Thitarodes caterpillars and mummifies it. The larvae along with the mummified insect is highly valued for its medicinal property. The fungus initially navigates the weak body part of the larvae and then penetrates the insect integument which is composed of chitin or it may enter through the mouth region and then dispenses endotoxin to the larval blood, proliferates and finally mummifies the larvae and it’s stroma emerges through the larval head. Cordyceps sp is the world’s most efficient and expensive medicinal mushroom and considered as a traditional Chinese medicine having multiple medicinal and pharmacological properties and is used to treat respiratory and immune disorders, pulmonary diseases, renal, liver and cardiovascular diseases, hyposexuality and hyperlipidema etc. With regard to the various medicinal properties this review is limited to the facts which is substantiated with proofs only. This review further deals with the various methods of artificial production of the fungus.
Keywords: Cordyceps, Ophiocordyceps, symbiosis, entomophagous, yartsa gunbu, Hepialus armoricanus