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Ophiocordyceps sinensis

Ophiocordyceps sinensis

Caterpillar fungus, Ophiocordyceps sinensis (syn. Cordyceps sinensis), is highly valued in China as a dietary supplement or tonic food and natural remedy.

The combination of the fungus and dead insect has been used as a traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, and evidence shows its efficacy on immunomodulatory potentials. The price of O.sinensis has continued to increase over the last few years due to growing worldwide demand, driving research to determine methods of artificial cultivation to make O. sinensis a more affordable material for commercial trade.

This study highlights many aspects of artificial cultivation of O. sinensis, including separation of the anamorph, culture of The artificial cultivation of medicinal Caterpillar Fungus

the mycelium, cultivation of the fruiting bodies, bioecological characteristics of the host insect, and two patterns of artificial cultivation. In addition, this review discusses the current state, limitations, remedies, and future prospects, aiming to draw researchers’ attention to the new frontier of research needs in this context.

Currently we have identified that roughly 300-400 species of fungi have medicinal properties. According to experts at least 40% of our drugs utilize directly or indirectly mushrooms. Herbalist Robert Rogers estimates that a total of 126 medicinal functions are thought to be produced by medicinal mushrooms. Judging by these figures it is not surprising to hear that during the last decade there has been over 100,000 studies on medicinal mushrooms in Asia alone. The most famous “mushroom drug” is mold fungus based penicillin. After 1928, when Dr. Alexander Fleming “found” it, it has said to save tens of millions of people (some say even over 200 million lives but who really knows for sure?). Another major mushroom drug innovation started 25 years ago when the Japanese researcher Tetsuro Fujita came up with the idea 
to use Ophiocordyceps sinensis against multiple sclerosis, a very common and “incurable” autoimmune disease.

Based on Fujita’s studies Swiss drug company Novartis launched Gilenya. It’s a MS disease drug made from Myriocin originally derived from Isaria sinclairii, the anamorph of Cordyceps sinclairii. The Myriocin is synthesized for drug production as usual. It is said that this drug will generate up 
to US$5 billion a year in global sales making it soon the TOP 10 best selling drug of all time. The cost of treatment with Gilenya is $3000 per month. FSF sells Instant Cordyceps, that is made from natural cordyceps and even if used daily would not cost more than $500 a year. Just saying.

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