Cordyceps militaris is a potential harbour of bio-metabolites for herbal drugs and evidences are available about its applications for revitalization of various systems of the body from ancient times. Amongst all the species, C. militaris is considered as the oldest source of some useful chemical constituents. Besides their popular applications for tonic medicine by the all stairs of the community, the constituents of C. militaris are now used extensively in modern systems of medicine. The current survey records the mysterious potentials of C. militaris are boosting up the present herbal treatments, as well as gearing up the green pharmacy revolution, in order to create a friendly environment with reasonable safety. Evidence showed that the active principles of C. militaris are beneficial to act as pro-sexual, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant/anti-aging, anti-tumour/anti-cancer/anti-leukemic, anti-proliferative, anti-metastatic, immunomodulatory, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-protozoal, insecticidal, larvicidal, anti-fibrotic, steroidogenic, hypoglacaemic, hypolipidaemic, anti-angiogenetic, anti-diabetic, anti-HIV, anti-malarial, anti-fatigue, neuroprotective, liver-protective, reno-protective as well as pneumo-protective, let alone their other synergistic activities, which let it be marketable in the western countries as over-the-counter medicine. A number of culture techniques for this mushroom have been noticed, for example, storage/stock culture, pre-culture, popular/indigenous culture (spawn culture, husked rice culture and saw dust culture) and, special/laboratory culture (shaking culture, submerged culture, surface liquid culture and continuous/repeated batch culture). The prospects for herbal biotechnology regarding drug discovery using C. militaris delivering what it has promised are high, as the technology is now extremely more powerful than before. This study chiefly highlights the medicinal uses of the mushroom C. militaris including its culture techniques, also aiming to draw sufficient attention of the researchers to the frontier research needs in this context.
The constituents of medicinal mushroom Cordyceps militaris, especially the anti-cancer agent cordycepin (3′-deoxyadenosine), are expected to play evolutionary roles in the pharmacognosy sector in future.