Agaricus Benefits

Agaricus
Latin Name

Agaricus blazei

Also Known As

Mushroom of God, Mushroom of Life, ABM Mushroom, Himematsutake, Agaricus brasiliensis

Origin

Brazil, South America

Parts Used

Fruiting Bodies

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Known locally as “The Mushroom of God”, the Agaricus Blazei Murill mushroom gained global notoriety around 40 years ago when two researchers from Penn State University visited Piedade city in Sao Paulo, Brazil. They discovered that the natives were very healthy with very low rates of disease and that a disproportionately high number enjoyed longevity. The researchers observed that the people who consumed Agaricus tended not to develop serious chronic illnesses as they progressed into their sunset years.

Agaricus has traditionally been used against a variety of diseases, ranging from physical and emotional stress, diabetes, high cholesterol and circulatory problems, osteoporosis, peptic ulcers and indigestion to chronic hepatitis.

Agaricus Benefits

Immune System

Agaricus Blazei Murill is well known for its ability to stimulate the immune system. Studies have found that immune boosting properties of Agaricus Blazei come from the various beneficial polysaccharides in the form of highly structured beta-glucans they contain. These compounds are known for their amazing ability to modulate the body’s immune response and provide protection against disease. According to various studies, the polysaccharides found in this mushroom regulate the production of antibodies and work as "biological response modifiers".

Data from in vitro and animal studies indicate that Agaricus activates white blood cells such as macrophages, dendritic cells, granulocytes and natural killer cells in the innate immune system. The innate immune system is an important evolutionary first-line defence system. It detects danger patterns and reacts, destroying the hostile elements (for example viruses or bacteria).

Agaricus is also what is known as an immune modulator and educator, which means it works intelligently.  If the immune system is over-stimulated (as can happen with auto-immune disorders) the immune system attacks everything in sight including the body’s own tissues. In this case, Agaricus will down regulate the immune system and retrain it so that the response to invaders becomes more selective and efficient.

On the other hand, if the immune system is compromised, Agaricus will stimulate and up regulate it to deal with genuine threats appropriately.

Digestive Health

Agaricus stimulates the digestive system, containing the digestive enzymes amylase, trypsin, maltase and protease. These enzymes assist the body in breaking down protein, carbohydrates and fats. Various studies have shown this mushroom to be effective against many digestive disorders including; gastric ulcers, chronic gastritis, duodenal ulcers, viral enteritis, chronic stomatitis, pyorrhea, constipation and loss of appetite.

Longevity

The absence of disease and surprising longevity of the local population in the village of Piedade has lead to much research being undertaken in the seeming ability of the Agaricus mushroom to promote a long and healthy life. It is well known to the people of this region as a traditional panacea bringing longevity and health.

One study examining 90 to 100 year old indigenous inhabitants of Piedade showed that their biological age was much lower than their real one. Researchers found that their body cells’ division rate was much lower than normal, which slows down aging processes. These people were regularly consuming Agaricus Blazei.

Liver Health

Agaricus has shown abilities to improve the functioning of the liver, even in people who suffer liver damage from hepatitis B. This disease has long been considered as among the most difficult to treat and can produce extensive liver damage. One recent year-long study found that extracts of the mushroom can return liver function to normal. Also, extracts have been shown to be able to help protect the liver from further damage, specifically against the damaging effects of oxidative stress on the tissues of the liver.

Typical Use

Agaricus Blazei Murrill Mushrooms can be eaten fresh or dried. 

Powdered Agaricus can be added to soups, stews and smoothies or encapsulated.

Folklore and History

Images of Agaricus Blazei can be seen on frescoes and clay fragments from the Aztecs times. For a long time it was believed that the image was of some magic or hallucinogenic mushroom used by priests to induce a trance. 

Local people locate Agaricus with the help of dogs. They use the mushroom daily in the form of powder which can be added to sauces, meat dishes and for the preparation of tinctures. In the world there are about 30 species related to the Brazilian Agaricus, however, it is only Agaricus Blazei Murrill that boasts the amazing curative properties attributed to this mushroom, and only this species is called “The Sun Mushroom of Aztecs”.

Agaricus
Constituents

Agaricus contains, among other substances, over 18 different amino acids, 10 different minerals, 16 different vitamins, 46 enzymes, ergosterol, linoleic acid and  polysaccharides: 1-3/1-6 beta-glucans.
 

Precautions

Agaricus Blazei is considered a relatively safe non-toxic mushroom species that can be consumed for culinary purposes or as a dietary supplement and used in therapeutic amounts for an extended period of time. Avoid consumption is you have allergies to mushrooms, which may cause digestive upset. It is important to seek the advice of your Health Care Provider if you have serious medical conditions, are undergoing chemotherapy treatment or taking prescribed medications.

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