Cordyceps militaris, a valuable traditional Chinese herbal tonic, consists of active ingredients similar to Ophiocordyceps sinensis (commonly known as winter worm summer grass in China) including cordycepin, polysaccharide, and ergosterol.
Presently, the high economic value and health benefits of C. militaris have been recognized and accepted by scholars around the world and widely distributed. Not only could C. militaris be taken as food, but also be made into health production and medicine.
The most important biologically active metabolite in Cordyceps militaris is cordycepin, a nucleoside analog. It has been regarded as a medicinal agent responsible for immunological regulation, anticancer, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, antivirus, antileukemia, and antihyperlipidemia activities. Cordycepin has received much attention due to its broad-spectrum biological activity. It is also a Phase I/II clinical stage drug candidate for treatment of refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients who express the enzyme terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT).