After the Cordyceps mycelium grows in the insect body and sclerotia are formed, the insect remains dead, but decay does not occur well if the environment is not favorable for fruiting body formation even after the insect is dead.
In addition, Cordyceps forms fruiting bodies in moist soil and exist without decay even though there is a lot of moisture. This phenomenon implies the possibility that Cordyceps contains antibacterial substances. In fact, Cunningham and others isolated an antibacterial substance called Cordycepin from Cordyceps Militaris, and Kneifel and others isolated an antibacterial substance called Ophiocordin from C. Ophioglossoides.
Dr. Yamada and others of the Oriental Medicine Center in Japan measured the antitumor effect of glucan isolated from Cordyceps. 7-day-old sacorma 180 peritoneal cells (benign tumor cells) were transplanted into mice, and tumor cell growth was observed for 30 days. Thereafter, the mouse was dissected, the tumor cells were extracted, and the weight was measured to analyze the growth degree of the tumor. At this time, one group was injected with physiological saline, and the other group was injected with a substance called glucan, a polysaccharide isolated from Cordyceps, every day for 10 days after tumor cell transplantation. As a result of the experiment, the average tumor cell weight of the untreated group was 1.59 g, but the tumor cell weight of the glucan-injected group was 0-0.20 g, and tumors were suppressed by 87.6-100%. This suggests that, at least in mice, the substances contained in Cordyceps may completely inhibit the growth of transplanted tumor cells.
Antibacterial substances that inhibit the growth of general or pathogenic microorganisms can also inhibit the growth of tumor cells or cancer cells. However, since not all Cordyceps or Ophiocordin contain antibacterial Cordycepin, it seems difficult to claim uniformly that Cordyceps has antitumor effects. In addition, even if an antibacterial substance is present, the antibacterial effect will vary depending on the content. Professor Miyazaki of the College of Pharmacy, University of Tokyo, Japan reported that a substance containing a galactomannan group in the polysaccharide of Cordyceps showed an antitumor effect. However, Dr. Kuo et al. confirmed the effect of the Cordyceps extract to inhibit the growth of K562, Vero, Wish, Calu-1, and Raji tumor cell lines, but said that the active substance was neither cordycepin nor polysaccharide, but a novel substance. Therefore, it was suggested that there may be anti-tumor substances that have not yet been identified in addition to known substances in Cordyceps. After all, the anti-tumor effect of Cordyceps may be due to the direct action of the anti-tumor substance or maybe the result of polysaccharides or other substances increasing the immune function of the mouse. At present, the phenomenon that the Cordycepin contained in Cordyceps exhibit an antitumor effect has been investigated, but the mechanism of action has not yet been clearly clarified. However, even if the mechanism is not well understood, the phenomenon cannot be ignored, so it is judged that it is necessary to focus on clinical trials on the healing function of Cordyceps in relation to various cancers.
On the other hand, since the above experiment was conducted on mice, it is thought that the scientific basis for claiming that the same effect appears in humans with different physiological phenomena is insufficient. Cancer, which is the number 1 public concern of all mankind, has been studied countless times, but a refreshing treatment has not yet been developed. This means that conquering cancer is that difficult. In this line, we need to focus more on research on how to cure cancer, and bold research investment is needed for Cordyceps, which contains antibacterial substances and has a high potential to inhibit tumor or cancer cell proliferation.