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Sportsmen's energy package Cordyceps sinensis: Medicinal importance and responsible phytochemical constituents

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Yarsagumba (Cordyceps sinensis) is one of the world rarest fungal species that parasites on the body of a caterpillar of a moth and found underground of alpine grass at high altitude. The Cordyceps sinensis is known as " summer plant and winter insect " or " half-caterpillar-half-mushroom ". This fungus used for various medicinal purposes, caring diseases and specially used as a food product in China and south Asian countries. It contains various biologically active pharmacophores which helps to maintain the health and body. Reports say that, the regular use of Cordyceps, is very useful for sportsperson to maintain their body balance, endurance, strength, and to make healthy body weight etc. On the basis of scientific and manmade facts, we tried to summarise, why Cordyceps is recommended to sport person as a physical booster. It contains various bioactive pharmacophores including essential oil, which are medicinally important. Thus body always looks for such type of dietary supplements.
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American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products 2017; 5(2): 37-51
ISSN: 2321-9114
AJEONP 2017; 5(2): 37-51
© 2017 AkiNik Publications
Received: 28-02-2017
Accepted: 30-03-2017
Yogesh Chandra Joshi
Research Scholar, Department of
Physical Education & Sports
Science, Swarnim Gujrat Sports
University, Gujrat, India
Mukesh Chandra Joshi
Department of Chemistry,
Motilal Nehru College,
University of Delhi, Delhi, India
Vivek Chopra
Department of Biotechnology,
Delhi Technological University
Delhi, Delhi, India
Rakesh Kumar Joshi
Department of Education,
Government of Uttrakhand,
India
Rajni Kant Sharma
Department of Chemistry,
Global Research Institute of
Managment and Technology,
Kurukshetra University,
Haryana, India
Vikrant Kumar
Department of Chemistry,
Acharya Narendra Dev College,
University of Delhi, Delhi, India
Correspondence
Vikrant Kumar
Department of Chemistry,
Acharya Narendra Dev College,
University of Delhi, Delhi, India
Sportsmen’s energy package Cordyceps sinensis:
Medicinal importance and responsible phytochemical
constituents
Yogesh Chandra Joshi, Mukesh Chandra Joshi, Vivek Chopra, Rakesh
Kumar Joshi, Rajni Kant Sharma and Vikrant Kumar
Abstract
Yarsagumba (Cordyceps sinensis) is one of the world rarest fungal species that parasites on the body of a
caterpillar of a moth and found underground of alpine grass at high altitude. The Cordyceps sinensis is
known as “summer plant and winter insect” or half-caterpillar-half-mushroom”. This fungus used for
various medicinal purposes, caring diseases and specially used as a food product in China and south
Asian countries. It contains various biologically active pharmacophores which helps to maintain the
health and body. Reports say that, the regular use of Cordyceps, is very useful for sportsperson to
maintain their body balance, endurance, strength, and to make healthy body weight etc. On the basis of
scientific and manmade facts, we tried to summarise, why Cordyceps is recommended to sport person as
a physical booster. It contains various bioactive pharmacophores including essential oil, which are
medicinally important. Thus body always looks for such type of dietary supplements.
Keywords: Yarssgumba, Cordyceps, Physical endurance, Physical booster, Stamina, Phytochemical
constituents
1. Introduction
Yarsagumba is one of the world rarest fungal species that parasitizes the body of a caterpillar
of a moth [1]. This herb is found underground of alpine grass at high altitude (3000-5000 m)
between the Himalayas of Indian, Chinese, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibetan Plateau. It is also
named as Caterpillar fungus known as Cordyceps sinensis which is hosted by Thitarodes insect
during its asexual cycle. Recent study proposed that the botanical name of
Yarsagumba changed from Cordyceps sinensis to Ophiocordyceps sinensis [2]. The latin name
Cordyceps sinensis means “summer plant and winter insect” so called the mysterious half-
caterpillar-half-mushroom”. Before the rainy season begins, spores of the Cordyceps
mushroom settled on the heads of caterpillars that lives underground. The fungus gets so much
into the body of the caterpillars that it grows out through its head and drains all the energy
from the insect and ultimately it dies (Fig. 1, www.youtube.com/ channel/
UCIl7KZhkaWBsVCEFKUMGDOg). The fungus takes 5-7 years for complete its life cycle. It
is dark brown fructification and yellowish white stalk having small spikes. The size of the
fungus is about 4 to 12 cm in length and 0.14 to 0.4 cm in girth. Cordyceps is known by
different names Yarsagumba, Buti, Jivanbuti, caterpillar mushroom and Cordyceps while in
China it is known as Dong Chong Xia Cao and in Tibet it is known as winter (yarsa) and
summer (gumba) grass. It is also called Keera Jhar (insect herb) by the local Nepalese.
It has been used since ancient in China as a traditional medicine and in south Asian content for
more than 3000 years [3]. Caterpillar fungus specially been used for its medicinal importance [4-
12]. It is also used as food product in China and south Asian countries. It has traditionally been
used for backache, blood production, impotence, to increase sperm production, chronic cough,
asthma, improve shortness of breath anemia, improves blood circulation and regulates blood
pressure, production of bone marrow, to remove tiredness, soreness of loins and knees,
dizziness, tinnitus, to strengthen the immune system of tumor patients who have received
radiotherapy, chemotherapy, anticancerous [4, 11, 12], in the treatment of deficiency syndrome
caused by overstrain, to strengthen the immune system by attacking on virus and bacteria, anti-
allergic, reduce triglycerides and cholesterol level, increases vitality and stamina, enhancing
physical endurance and mental stability, controls liver, lung and kidney dysfunction, reduces
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American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products
pains of loins and knees [13-17]. It is also used as traditional
healer such as erectile dysfunction, malignant tumors,
diabetes, female aphrodisia, bronchitis, asthma, cough and
cold, jaundice, alcoholic hepatitis, anti-tussive and
expectorant effects etc. It is also used as a natural Viagra or
also known as Himalayan Herbal Viagra.
Cordycep contains several biologically active
pharmacophores such as sterols, alkaloids, polysaccharides,
nucleosides, amino acids, inorganic elements, vitamins, fatty
acids and other ketone, aldehydes, ether, and phenols etc.
Thus human body always look for such type of dietary
supplements which contains all the material in it. Thus, we
can say Cordyceps must be responsible for its mode of action
against human health hazards.
Fig 1: Caterpillar fungus
Scientific classification
Kingdom : Fungi
Subkingdom : Dikarya
Phylum : Ascomycota
Subphylum : Pezizomycotina
Class : Sordariomycetes
Subclass : Hypocreomycetidae
Order : Hypocreales
Family : Clavicipitaceae
Genus : Cordyceps Species
Spp. about 300 described species [18] some common are as
follows:
C. bassiana (Bals.-Criv.)
C. gunnii
C. militaris
C. ophioglossoides
C. sinensis
C. subsessilis (Petch)
C. unilateralis
2. Habitat, Ecology and Economy
Cordyceps is generally found in the alpine region of the
Himalayas at the elevation >3000 m. Cordyceps mostly found
above the snowline in Jumla, Dolpa, Kalikot, Baglung,
Mustang, Humla, Rasuwa and Manang districts of Nepal and
Ganzi, Lithang and high Himalayas of India, Tibet and
Bhutan [19]. The suitable conditions are high altitude, low
oxygen level and low temperature for Cordyceps cultivation.
Most of Alpine rural population economically based on this
cultivation in Nepal and Tibet. It has a very high trade value
that is transacted at more than twice the cost of gold by
weight. For last couple of years, the trade of Yarsagumba is
increasing and it has been regarded as an expensive life
saving tonic. Yarsagumba is a remedy for headache,
toothache or any many other diseases. Thousands of villagers
particularly from Nepal and Tibet are risking their own lives
to collect Yarsagumba from high mountains during May and
August for making money.
3. Cordyceps as a physical booster for sportsman
Cordyceps has been used to support good balance, strength,
and a healthy body weight. It is also used widely and
traditionally to increase the energy and enhance stamina in the
human body. It has a positive effect on blood sugar and fat
metabolism, which is important to boost the health, because
fats and sugars are actively mobilized during activation of the
stress response to supply the body with extra energy.
Furthermore, the cell-protective and antioxidant activities of
Cordyceps have been documented [6]. Traditional Chinese
medicine practitioners also recommend the regular use of
Cordyceps to strengthen the body [6, 20, 21].
Daily dietary supplements are the best known to reducing the
risk of disease, to maintain good health and to improve
homeostasis. Thus research for complete package energy food
is high in demands, which can be effective, nontoxic,
antioxidant and ergogenic properties has gained attention.
During the training of sportsperson, the individual is looking
for large amount of physical and psychic energy. During this
time numerous energetic and other substances are consumed
by the sportsperson to retain their physical energy and
strength [22-26]. Thus the individuals are looking for the
complete package of energy and we know that giving
individuals a complete package of energy substances through
food is not possible therefore; nutrition specialists are facing
lot of problems regarding this. For strengthened the body it
has been scientifically proved that various food supplements
are helpful in solving this problem [27], and one of them is
Cordyceps, which is gaining a lot of attention as a food
supplement or a complete energy package for sportsmen’s
nutrition.
In 1993 World Championships in Athletics, the manager of a
group of dominant Chinese female distance runners,
announced that his athletes had been fed a soup of
Yarsagumba and turtle blood. Daniel Winkler, an ecologist
has done extensive research on this fungus, and explains in
one of his articles that, “Among the wealthy and power in
China,” Yarsagumba, “has come to rival French champagne
as a status symbol at dinner parties or as a prestigious gift.”
Researchers are working to raise the adaptive reserves of
sportsmen functional system to ensure the positive result in
the training outcome. Therefore, the important part is to
investigations of the effects of Cordyceps (a food supplement
used by sportsmen), on their blood haematological and
biochemical indices of the individual sportsperson. Thus, it
has been concluded that the effect of Cordyceps may
contribute to improving the course of adaptation of elite
sportsmen to physical loads, increasing the physical and
functional capacity of their body, results in better sport
results. Researchers studied the effect of Cordyceps in 28
sportsmen aged between 2225 years. Members of the
experimental group were administered Codyceps in capsules,
each containing 500 mg of dry fermented powder of the
Cordyceps sinensis. Cordyceps was administered for 14 days
(according to the following scheme: one capsule with
breakfast and one with lunch for 4 days, one capsule three
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American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products
times a day for 6 days, and one capsule four times a day for 4
days) which shows that no significant change in red blood
corpuscles, mean red corpuscle volume, red corpuscle
distribution area, mean corpuscular haemoglobin and its
concentration in the blood and also there is no positive effect
of Cordyceps on haemopoiesis. However during this, the
positive changes in number of leukocyte and leukocyte
formula were observed. The number of lymphocytes
increased, and the percentage ratio between granulocytes and
agranulocytes was levelled in the leucogram. Creatinine
concentration, which statistically significantly increased over
the experimental period on the background of lowered
creatinekinase, uric acid and urea levels in the blood of the
studied individuals, indicates the ergogenic effect of
Cordyceps on the energetic system, physical and functional
performance of the sportsmen’s body [28]. Related study has
been done by Meena et al. [29] in rat and observed that no
significant change in organ weight and serological
parameters, however, there was a significant increase in food
intake, body weight gain and haematological parameters such
as RBC, WBC, Hb and lymphocytes in treated group.
The traditional uses of Cordyceps in Sikkim, India, found that
most of local folk healers/traditional healers use Cordyceps
for the treatment of 21 ailments. One research group from
China have reported that Cordyceps helps in lactate clearance
and improved lactate energy metabolism within the cell of
mice and allowing athletes greater anaerobic physical
performance [30]. There are few other reports have been
published regarding the curative effect of Cordyceps
involving various experimental model and some clinical trials
in volunteer athletes [31]. Clinical research has shown that
Cordyceps increased cellular bio-energy ATP [32] by increase
in useful energy and improves internal mechanism, which
results more and more efficient utilization of oxygen [33].
Rossi et. al. reported that a specific combination of fungal
supplements can help to improve the performance of
endurance in athletes. They studied the effects of a brief 3-
month trial of two fungal supplements, Ganoderma lucidum
and Cordyceps sinensis (3 capsules of C. sinensis and 2
capsules of G. lucidum per day), in ages between 30-40 years
old, 7 healthy male volunteers, amateur cyclists participated
in “Gran Fondo” cycling races. They reported the effects of
fungal supplements on physical fitness of the athletes by
monitoring and comparing the testosterone/cortisol ratio in the
saliva and oxidative stress [DPPH (1, 1’-diphenyl-2-
picrylhydrazyl) free radical scavenging activity] just before
and after the physical activity [34, 35]. They observed a decrease
of more than 30% in the testosterone/cortisol ratio after race
compared to before race was considered as a risk factor for
nonfunctional overreaching (NFO) or the overtraining
syndrome (OTS). The results show that, after 3 months of
supplementation, the testosterone/cortisol ratio changed in a
statistically significant manner, thereby protecting the athletes
from NFO and OTS. Antioxidant activity was also measured
by quantifying the scavenging ability of the human serum on
the synthetic free radical DPPH. After 3 months of fungal
supplementation, the data demonstrate an increased scavenger
capacity of free radicals in the athletes’ serum after the race,
thereby protecting the athletes from oxidative stress [36]. It also
helps to reduce the lactic acid accumulation in the muscles.
The reduction of lactic acid is the reason of reduction in
exhaustion and stress, and thus improves physical
performance and increases the stamina. By using swimming
test the similar results were found in a rat study [37, 38].
Now, researchers believe that Cordyceps is the best known
multimedicine or complete energy package (dietary
supplements) or booster for increasing physical stamina.
Thus, consumption of Cordyceps by human led individual to
great physical enhancement, extra endurance and the anti-
fatigue ability [39-41].
4. Cordyceps medicinal importance and phytochemical
constituents
Cordyceps has various biological effects on the human organ
systems viz., on the, central nervous system (sedative,
anticonvulsant and cooling effects), respiratory system
(relaxant role in the bronchi, it increases adrenaline secretion
from the adrenal glands and important role in tracheal
contraction caused by histamine, antitussive, expectorant and
anti-asthmatic action and prevents pulmonary emphysema),
endocrine system (it can increase plasma corticosterone levels
thus affects male hormone), nourishing the kidney, renal,
hyposexuality and hyperlipidemia etc. [42]. It also has been
used as an antitumor and haemostatic, mycolytic,
antiashmatic, and expectorant etc., few pharmacophore such
as cordycepin and polysaccharides are mostly detected as
cytotoxic, antibiotic, antitumor, antioxidation and boosting the
immune system etc. [43-48].
Cordyceps contains multicomponent biologically active
pharmacophores such as sterols [39] fatty acids, inorganic
metals [49], polysaccharides, phenols, almost all the essential
amino acids, few aliphatic and aromatic ketones, aldehydes,
and essential oil etc. Biologically active pharmacophores are
discussed one by one as follows:
4.1 Sterols
Sterols are one of the major constituent extracted from
Cordyceps. The glycosylated form of ergosterol peroxide was
found to be a greater inhibitor to the proliferation of K562,
Jurkat, WM-1341, HL-60, and RPMI-8226 tumor cell lines [39,
43-48, 50-54]. Examples are, ergosterol (1), ergosteryl-3-O-β-D-
glucopyranoside (2), ergosterol peroxide (3), 5α,8α-epidioxy-
24(R)-methylcholesta-6,22-dien-3β-D-glucopyranoside (4),
5α-ergosta-7,22-diene-3β,5β,6β-triol (cerevisterol) (5),
ergosta-4,6,8(14),22-tetraen-3-one (6, ergone), 4,4-dimethyl-
5α-ergosta-8,24(28)-dien-3β-ol (7), 3-o-ferulylcycloartenol
(8), 5α,6α-epoxy-24(R)-methylcholesta-7,22-dien-3β-ol (9),
3β,15β-dihydroxy-(22E,24R)-ergosta-5,8(14),22-trien-7-one
[H1-A] (10), 22, 23-dihydroergosteryl-3-O-β-D-
glucopyranoside (11), β-sitosterol (12), β-sitosterol-3-O-
acetate (13), daucosterol (14), stigmasterol (15), stigmasterol
3-O-acetate (16), cholesterol (17), campesterol (18),
dihydrobrassicasterol [D5-ergosterol] (19); fungisterol [D7-
ergosterol] (20), and (17R)-17-methylincisterol (21).
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American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products
HO
H
H
H1O
H
H
H
O
OHHO OH
HO 2HO O
O
3
OO
O
O
OHHO OH
HO
4HO
H
HH
5O6
HO OH
HO
CH2
7
O
O
HO OMe
8
HO O9
HO O 10
OH OO
OHHO OH
HO 11 HO 12
AcO 13 OO
OHHO OH
HO
14 HO H 15
AcO H 16 HO 17 HO
H
HO
H
18
19 HO
O
O
MeO
H
2120
Ergosterol (1) and its derivatives have diverse medicinal value
including cytotoxicity and antimicrobial activity [50, 52-54].
Ergosterol (1) is well known as diuretic bioactive compound
with excellent efficacy [13]. Ergosterol derivative (2) have
significant inhibition of superoxide anion generation and
elastase release with IC50 values of 5.42 ± 0.50 and 5.62 ±
0.37 μM, respectively [53] and ergosterol peroxide (4) act as a
greater inhibitor to the proliferation of K562, Jurkat, WM-
1341, HL-60 and RPMI-8226 tumor cell lines and could be a
potential anticancer property [43]. Sterol (5) improved kidney
function in renal diseases, including IgA nephritis,
autoimmune nephritis, and lupus nephritis by inhibiting IL-2
formation by monocyte and proliferation of mesangial cells
and lymph node and also preventing and treating bronchial
hyper responsiveness and acute asthma attack and improving
pulmonary function. H1-A (10) can suppress the activated
human mesangial cells HMC and alleviate IgAN (Berger’s
disease) with clinical and histological improvement [7].
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American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products
4.2 Nitrogenous compounds
Another major constituent [55] extracted from Cordyceps are
nitrogen containing compounds which includes nitrogenous
bases, nucleosides and nucleosides etc. These are as follows:
Nitogenous base: Cytosine (22), uracil (23), thymine (24),
adenine (25), guanine (26), hypoxanthine (27), 2-nicotinic
acid (28), caffeine (29), cordysinin C (30), cordysinin D (31),
and cordysinin E (32).
N
H
N
NH2
ON
H
NH
O
O
22 23
N
NN
H
N
NH2
HN
NN
H
N
O
H2N
25 26
N
H
NH
O
O
HN
NN
H
N
O
24 27
N
H
N
Me
HOH
N
H
N
Me
HO H
N
H
N
OH
OH
30 31 32
N
NN
N
O
O
Me
Me
Me
N
COOH
29
28
Nucleosides [55]: Adenosine (33), cordycepin (34), guanosine
(35), dideoxyadenosine (36), N6-(2-hydroxyethyl) adenosine
(37), inosine (38), thymidine (39), uridine (40),
dideoxyuridine (41), and cordysinin B (42). All nitrogenous
bases and nucleosides can play a major role in the biological
system. Adenosine (33) has anticonvulsant activity, inhibits
cancer cell growth, anti-inflammatory and other effect [5, 9, 10,
16, 56-58, 60-62]. Cordycepin (34) has been well characterized [57,
58] and can have a role in DNA repair mechanism for
antitumor response [31] and inhibit the phosphorylation of Akt
and p38 in dose-dependent manners in LPS-activated
macrophage. It also helps to decrease the expressions of
cycloxygenase-2 (COX-2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase
(iNOS) in RAW 264.7 cell and has good effect on diabetic
osteopenia in diabetic rats [63]. The significant effect of
Cordycepin (Cordymin) on diabetic osteopenia might be
directly through weakening of ALP and TRAP activity and
mediate through recovery of 𝛽-cells and lowering the
concentration of serum glucose, which subsequently triggered
a lower extent of oxidative stress in diabetic rats. Other uses
of Cordycepin as an antitumor, antibacteria, antivirus,
antinsecticidal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic effect, and can
stimulates steroidogenesis and enhances immunity [64-67].
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American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products
4.3. Proteins and amino acids and polypeptides
Cordyceps contains many amino acids (43-62) and
polypeptides, which played an important role in clinical trials.
Cordyceps contain crude protein which is made up of 18
amino acids such as aspartic acid, threonine, serine,
glutamate, proline, glycine, valine, methionine, isoleucine,
leucine, tyrosine, phenylalanine, lysine, histidine, cystine,
cysteine and tryptophan and among these glutamate, arginine
and aspartic acid have highest content.
H3N C
COO
HH H3N C
COO
CH3
H H3N C
COO
H
CH3
H3C
H3N C
COO
HCH3
CH3
H3N C
COO
H
SCH3
H3N C
COO
H
CH3
H3C
43
Glycine 44
Alanine 45
Valine 46
Leucine 47
Methionine 48
Isoleucine
Nonpolar, aliphatic R groups
H3N C
COO
H H3N C
COO
H
OHH3COH
H3N C
COO
H
SH
51
Serine 52
Threonine 53
Cysteine
H2N
COO H3N C
COO
HO
NH2
H3N C
COO
H
O NH2
54
Proline 55
Asparagine 56
Glutamine
Polar, uncharged R gruop
H3N C
COO
H
COO
H3N C
COO
H
COO
49
Aspartate
50
Glutamate
Negatively
Charged R groups
H3N C
COO
H
NH3
H3N C
COO
H
NH
H2N NH2
H3N C
COO
H
NH
N
59
Histidine
58
Arginine
57
Lysine
Positively Charged R groups
H3N C
COO
HH3N C
COO
H
OH
H3N C
COO
H
NH
Aromatic R groups
60
Phenylalanine 61
Tyrosine 62
Tryptophan
Peptides [53, 58]: Aurantiamide acetate (63), cordyceamides A
(64), cordyceamides B (65), cordysinin A (66),
cordycedipeptide A (3-acetamino-6-isobutyl-2,5-
dioxopiperazine) (67), 3-isopropyl-6-isobutyl-2,5-
dioxopiperazine (68), 3,6-di(4-hydroxy)benzyl-2,5-dioxo-
piperazine (69), cyclo-(Gly-Pro) (70), cyclo-(Val-Pro) (71),
cyclo-(Leu-Pro) (72), cyclo-(L-Pro-L-Val) (73), cyclo-(L-
Phe-L-Pro) (74), cyclo-(L-Pro-L-Tyr) (75), cyclo-(Ala-Leu)
(76), cyclo-(Ala-Val) (77), cyclo-(Thr-Leu) (78), and
myriocin (79). cordyceamides A (64) and B (65) as well as
cordycedipeptide A (67) act as cytotoxic against L-929, A375
and Hela cell lines. Cordycedipeptide A (67) showed
significant IC50 value of 6.30 mg/mL (L-929), 9.16 mg/mL
(A375). 64 showed better effect than 65 on L929 cell and
A375 cell, but on Hela cell 65 showed better effect. Jia et al.
[57] reported that Cordycedipeptide A (68) the cytotoxic
activities of the constituent to L-929, A375, and Hela and its
better effect on several tumor cell lines. Peptide 75 reported as
good antifungal [68] as well as antimicrobial property [69].
Myriocin (79, antibiotic ISP1 or thermozymocidin) is a
typical amino acid which is responsible for inhibit the
upregulated expression of cyclin D1 induced by high
concentrations of glucose, restoring the expression of cyclin
D1 [70]. Some macromolecule polypeptides isolated from C.
sinensis could be used for the treatment of hypertension.
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American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products
HN
N
H
OO
O
O
63
HN
N
H
OO
O
O
HO
65
HN
N
H
OO
O
O
HO
OH
64
NNH
O
O
HO
66
HN NH
O
O
NH2
OHN NH
O
O
NH2
O
67 68
HN NH
O
O
HO
OH
69
HN N
O
O
72
HN N
O
O70
HN N
O
O
71
HN N
O
O
73
HN N
O
O
74
HN N
O
O
HO
75
HN NH
O
O
76
HN NH
O
O
77
HN NH
O
O OH
78
O
OH
OH COOH
NH2
CH2OH
79
They significantly reduce the mean arterial pressure of rats
and induce a direct endothelium dependent vasorelaxant effect
by stimulating the production of nitric oxide and endothelium-
derived hyperpolarizing factor [71].
Amines and polyamines [20, 53]: 1,3-Diamino propane (80),
spermidine (81), spermine (82), putrescine (83), cadaverine
(84), N-(2'-hydroxy-tetracosanoyl)-2-amino-1,3,4-trihydroxy-
octadec-8E-ene(tetracosanamide) (85), 1-acetyl-a-carboline
(86), perlolyrine (87), flazin (88) and including all
nitrogenous compounds.
H2N N
HNH2
H2N NH2
81
N
HNH2
H
NH2N
82
H2NNH2
83
H2N NH2
84
OH
OH N
H
HO O(CH2)21CH3
OH
H3C(H2C)8
85
3
80
H
N
N
COOH
O
CH2OH
88
H
N
N
O
CH2OH
87
H
N
N
OMe
86
4.4 Fatty acids and other organic acids
Unsaturated fatty acids are the components [53, 72] which
playing a major role in cells or in living host. These have a
unique function of decreasing blood lipids and protecting
against cardiovascular disease.
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American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products
CH3(CH2)13CH2COOH CH3(CH2)9CH2COOH CH3(CH2)11CH2COOH CH3(CH2)12CH2COOH
89 90 91 92
Me COOH HOOC Me
94
93
COOHMe
95
CH3(CH2)15CH2COOH
96
COOH
97
COOH
98
HOOC COOH
99
The content of unsaturated fatty acid is higher than that of
saturated fatty acid in commercial preparations of Cordyceps.
Examples are Palmitic acid (89), lauric acid (90), myristic
acid (91), pentadecanoic acid (92), palmitoleic acid (93),
linoleic acid (94), oleic acid (95), stearic acid (96),
docosanoic acid (97, behenic acid), lignoceric acid (98,
tetracosanoic acid), and succinic acid (99).
4.5 Phenolics and acids [53]
p-Hydroxybenzoic acid (100), vanillic acid (101), syringic
acid (102), p-methoxybenzoic acid (103), p-
hydroxyphenylacetic acid (104), 3,4-dihydroxyacetophenone
(105), 4 hydroxyacetophenone (106), protocatechuic acid
(107), 3, p-methoxyphenol (108), acetovanillone (109),
salicylic acid (110), 3-hydroxy-2-methyl-4-pyrone (111),
methyl p-hydroxyphenylacetate (112), 2-deoxy-D-ribono-1,4-
lactone (113), and furancarboxylic acid (114).
COOH
OH
100
COOH
OH OMe
101
COOH
OH OMeMeO
102
COOH
OMe
103
CH2COOH
OH
104
COCH3
OH OH
105
COCH3
OH
106
COOH
OH OH
107
OH
OMe
108
COCH3
OH OMe
109
COOH
OH
110
O
O
OMe
OH
111
OH
CH2COOMe
112
O
HO
HO
O
113
OCOOH
114
HO OH
OH
OH
OH
OH
115
4.6 Isoflavones [53]
3,4,7-Trihydroxyisoflavone (116), glycitein (117), daidzein
(118), orobol (119), and genistein (120). Compound 116
displayed significant scavenging of DPPH free radicals with
IC50 values of 31.97 μM.
OH
OH
O
O
HO
116
OH
O
O
HO
MeO
117
OH
O
O
HO
118
OH
OH
O
O
HO
OH
119
OH
O
O
HO
OH
120
~ 45 ~
American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products
4.7 Sugar derivatives and polysaccharide [73-81]
Polysaccharides (PS) are the major bioactive constituents of
Cordyceps which have proven anticancer and
immunomodulation activities [83] and other notable health
effects such as anti-oxidation etc. [76] Some glucose and
polysaccharide derivatives were isolated from Cordyceps are
D-mannitol (121), cordycepic acid (122), CS-F30
[Gal:Glc:Man = 62:28:10] (123), CS-F10 [Gal:Glc:Man =
43:33:24] (124), CT-4N [Man:Gal =3:5] (125), CS-81002
[Man:Gal:Glc = 10.3:3.6:6.1] (126), SCP-I [D-glucan] (127),
CSP-1 [Glc:Man:Gal = 1:0.6:0.75] (128), CPS1 [Glc:Man:Gal
= 2.8:2.9:1] (129), CPS2 (130), Cordysinocan [Glc:Man:Gal
= 2.4:2.1] (131), PS-A [Glc:Gal:Man = 2:1:1] (132), CS-PS
[Man:Rhm:Ara:Xyl:Glc:Gal =
38.37:2.51:2.21:5.22:27.44:24.45] (133), mannoglucan
[Man:Glc = 1:9] (134).
O
O
O
O
O
HO OH
OH
OH OH
O
OH
HO OH
O
HO
OH
OH
O
O
O
HO O
O
OH
HO
HO
OH HO
HO COOH
HO OH OH
122
CH2OH
C
C
C
C
CH2OH
HO H
HHO OHH OHH
121
130, Predicted structure of CPS-2 isolated
from the fruiting bodies of cultured C. sinensis
In Cordyceps, polysaccharides are well explored as a
medicinally important pharmacophore [80, 82], such as D-
Mannitol and Cordycepic acid. These polysaccharides are
well explored as an effective in regulating blood sugar [73],
antimetastatic, immunomodulating, antitumor effects [43, 77],
antioxidants [45, 75], hypoglycmic [73, 74], antiinfluenza and
hypo-cholesterolemic effects. Cordycepic acid is another very
important medicinal components and used with variety of
medicines [31, 81] and can be used in treating liver fibrosis
diuretic, improving the plasma osmotic pressure, and anti-free
radical [76].
Polygucans having high molecular weight tends to have
greater water solubility and have more effective as an anti-
tumour [79]. The crude exopolysaccharide (EPS) isolated from
the mycelia liquid culture medium by ethanol precipitation
contained 6570% sugar and about 25% protein, suggesting
that the EPS was composed of polysaccharideprotein
complexes and showed moderate antioxidant activities with a
Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity of 3540 μmol
Trolox/g and a ferric reducing ability of plasma of 5052
μmol Fe(II)/g. It also exhibited moderate radical scavenging
and ferric reducing activities [84-90]. Shao, et al. first time
reported that polysaccharide (glucose: mannose: galactose,
1:0.6:0.75) from Cordyceps can protects against the free
radical-induced neuronal cell toxicity [72]. An acid
polysaccharide (APS, 122) was isolated from cultivated C.
sinensis mycelia contains mannose, glucose, and galactose in
an approximate ratio of 1: 2: 1 [21]. APS possesses protective
effects in PC12 cells against H2O2-induced injury [72].
Polysaccharide CS-F30 (123) increased the activities of
hepatic glucokinase, hexokinase and glucose-6-phosphate
dehydrogenase and decreased glycogen content in the liver [85]
and CS-F10 (124) significantly increased the activity of
hepatic glucokinase in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic
mice leading to reduced hepatic glucose output [75]. CSP-1
(128) had strong antioxidant activities, which can be used to
reduce the blood glucose level [6] and treat renal failure. CSP-1
(128) showed hypoglycemic properties which increased
circulating insulin level in diabetic animals, due to stimulate
pancreatic release of insulin and/or reduce insulin metabolism
[6]. A water-soluble polysaccharide named CPS-1 (129) had
been isolated from C. sinensis mycelium having composition
of glucose, mannose, and galactose in approximate ratio of
2.8: 2.9: 1 and can be used as scavenge hydroxyl radicals and
reduce power- and Fe2+ chelating. CPS-2 (130) contains
mannose, glucose, and galactose in the approximate ratio of 4:
11: 1 [89]. Wang et al. found that 130 could reduce PDGF-BB-
induced cell proliferation through the PDGF/ERK and
TGFb1/Smad pathways [90] and fibrinolytic activity [88].
Cheung et al. reported that Cordysinocan (131) contains
glucose, mannose and galactose in a ration approximate of
2.4: 2: 1 and used to induced the cell proliferation and the
secretion of interleukin-2, interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 in
cultured T-lymphocytes and triggering the immune responses
[84]. The heteropolysaccharide PSA (132) composed of D-
glucose, D-galactose, and D-mannose in approximate ration
of 2: 1: 1 possess strong inhibitory activity against cholesterol
esterase and may be a potential agent to control
hypercholesterolemia [87].
4.8 Inorganic Metals ion and elements [49, 91]
Alkali Metals: K+, Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, and Al3+.
Metals: Fe2+, Cu2+/+, Mn2+, Zn2+, Ni2+, Sr2+, Ti3+, Cr2+, and
V3+.
Non Metal: P3+/5+, Se2+, Si4+, and Ga3+.
4.9 Vitamins [49, 91]
Vitamin B1 (thyamine hydrochloride, 135), vitamin B2
(riboflavin, 136), vitamin B12 (137), vitamin E (tocopherols
(140), tocotrienols (141)), vitamin K1 (phylloquinone, 138),
and vitamin K2 (Group of menaquinone, 139).
~ 46 ~
American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products
N
N
N
NH2SOH
Cl
135
N
N
N
NH
O
O
OH
OH
HO OH
136 N
NN
N
MeMe NH2
O
O
NH2
Me
MeO
NH2
H2NO
Me
O
H2N
Me
H2N
O
Me
HN
O
N
N
Me
Me
O
O
POO
OMe
Co
CN
HO
Me
137
O
OVitamin K1 (136) HO
O
R1
HO
R2R3
Me Me Me Me
Me
O
R1
HO
R2R3
Me Me Me Me
Me
Forms of Vitamin E
if, R1 = R2 = R3 = CH3
if, R1 = R3 = CH3, R2 = H
if, R1 = H, R2 = R3 = CH3
if, R1 = R2 = H, R3 = CH3
140
141
O
O
139
4.10 Volatile compounds [49, 91]
Aldehydes: Benzaldehyde (142), benzeneacetaldehyde (143),
4-fluoro-3-hydroxy-benzaldehyde (144), (E)-2-nonenal (145),
(E)-2-dodecenal (146), (E,E)-2,4-nonadienal (147), nonanal
(148), and decanal (149).
CHO CH2CHO
CHO
142 143 146
CHO
148
F
OH
CHO
CHO
145
144 CHO
149
CHO
147
Alcohols and phenols: Phenylethyl alcohol (150), 2-
(methylthio)-3-pyridinol (151), p-menth-4(E)-en-9-ol (152),
2-methyl-phenol (153), decahydro-2-naphthalenol (154), 2-
butyl-2,7-octadien-1-ol (155), and 5-methyl-5-hexen-2-ol
(156).
OH
OH
N
OH
SMe
OH
HO
OH Pr
HO
156155
150 151 152 153 154
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American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products
Ketones: 4-(2-Furanyl)-3-buten-2-one (157), 6-
Ethenyldihydro-2,2, 6-trimethyl-2H-pyran-3(4H)-one (158), trans-3-Nonen-2-one (159), and 4-Butoxy-3-penten-2-one
(160).
O
O
158
O
159
O
O
157
O
O
160
Esters: 1-Oxaspiro (4, 5)decan-2-one (161), (Z)-Dihydro-5-
(2-octenyl)-2(3H)-furanone (162), 1,3-Cyclohexadiene-1,3-
diol, 5,5-dimethyl-diacetate (163), 2-Butynedioic acid, di-2-
propenyl ester (164), and Oxalic acid, isobutyl tetradecyl ester
(165).
OO
OO
164
OO
OO
163
OO
O
O
165
OO
161 O
O
Me(H2C)3
162
Aromatics: 2,6-Dimethylnaphthalene (166), 1,6-dimethyl-naphthalene (167), azulene (168), and 1-methylene-1H-indene (169).
168 169166 167
Alkanes: 2, 4-Diisopropyl-1,1-dimethyl-cyclohexane (170),
2-methyl-dodecane (171), 2,6,10,14-tetramethyl-hexadecane (172), 1,54-dibromo-tetrapentacontane (173), and 1-chloro-
nonadecane (174).
171
174
170
Br(CH2)54Br
Me Me
Me Me Me Me
172
173
Me
Me
Me Me
MeMe
Me
Me
Me
CH3(CH2)18Cl
Others: Indole (175), 1,2-benzisothiazole (176), 1,2-
benzisothiazole, 3-(hexahydro-1H-azepin-1-yl)-1,1-dioxide
(177), 2-pentyl-furan (178), 1-(chloromethyl)-3-methoxy-
benzene (179), (E)-9-eicosene (180), ditert-dodecyl disulfide
(181), phosphonic acid (182), 7-chloro-2,3-dihydro-3-(4-N,N-
dimethylaminobenzylidene)-5-phenyl-1H-1,4-benzodiazepin
2-one (183), and 1,5-dihydro-1-methyl-2H-pyrrol-2-one
(184).
SN
N
OO
SN
N
H
175 176
177
O178
MeO CH2Cl
179
H3C(H2C)9(CH2)7CH3
180
C12H25 SSC12H25
181
P
O
HO HOH
182
H
N
N
O
N Cl
183
N
O184
~ 48 ~
American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products
4.11 Essential oils
A number of essential oils has been identifies using gas
chromatography (GCMS). Verticiol (185) has been found in
C. sinensis which indicates anti-tussive and expectorant
effects of C. sinensis [92, 93].
OH
185
5. Conclusion
Yarsagumba is one of the world rarest fungal species known
as “summer plant and winter insect” so called the
mysterious half-caterpillar-half-mushroom”. This fungus
specially used for food verbiage in China and south Asian
countries, since ancient time and used as various medicinal
purposes. Recent studies says that, Yarsagumba is a complete
package or dietary supplements for sportsperson which results
in increase body energy, stamina, endurance, strength, and
caring body diseases. This is because the availability of
variety of biologically active pharmacophores present in
Yarsagumba. Thus, in this text we tried to summarize, the
benefits of Yarsagumba specially for sportsperson due to
biologically active pharmacophores present in Yarsagumba
which are actually responsible for better efficacy of the body.
6. Acknowledgement
The authors would like to acknowledge DST Delhi, Swarnim
Gujrat University, Delhi Technological University, and Delhi
University of India for valuable literature support.
7. Conflicts of Interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
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... Cordyceps products, cultured either naturally or artificially, are very famous herbal medicine and as well as healthy food for this universe. Cordyceps species contains an extensive variety of nutritionally significant components including essential amino acids, proteins and polypeptides, essential oils, fatty acids, sterols, inorganic metals, polysaccharides, pyridines, phenols, almost all kinds of few aliphatic and aromatic ketones, aldehydes, etc. [34]. Few important bioactive compounds of Cordyceps are shown in Table 2 with their PubChem identifier as CID numbers. ...
... Amines and polyamines are low molecular weight nitrogenous compounds found in Cordyceps [34]. Vitamins, very essential to keep the body resistant to various nervous tissues and foreign infections [77][78][79], are important contents of Cordyceps and are exclusively found in the supplements of Cordyceps ( Table 2). ...
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