Abstract Cordyceps sinensis, a well-known traditional Chinese medicine, possesses anti-tumor, immunostimulant and antioxidant activities; however, the identities of active components have not been determined. In our previous study using antioxidant activity-guided fractionation [Li et al., 2003. A polysaccharide isolated from Cordyceps sinensis, a traditional Chinese medicine, protects PC12 cells against hydrogen peroxide-induced injury. Life Sci. 73, 2503–2513], a polysaccharide of molecular weight ∼210 kDa was isolated from cultured Cordyceps mycelia by ion-exchange and sizing chromatography. The isolated polysaccharide, named CSP-1, which has strong anti-oxidation activity, contains glucose, mannose and galactose in the ratio of 1:0.6:0.75. In the present study, we demonstrated the hypoglycemic effect of CSP-1 on normal and alloxan-diabetic mice and streptozotocin (STZ)-diabetic rats. The basal glucose level did not differ significantly among the normal mice. CSP-1 (at 200 and 400 mg/kg body wt./day for 7 days, p.o.), however, significantly reduced the blood glucose level by 12.0±3.2% and 22.5±4.7% in normal mice, respectively ( p<0.05). When administered at a dose of higher than 200 mg/kg body wt. daily for 7 days, CSP-1 produced a significant drop in blood glucose level in both STZ-induced diabetic rats and alloxan-induced diabetic mice. The serum insulin levels in diabetic animals were also increased by administration of CSP-1 ( p<0.05). CSP-1 with hypoglycemic properties increased circulating insulin level in diabetic animals, which suggests that CSP-1 may stimulate pancreatic release of insulin and/or reduce insulin metabolism.