The Agaricus mushroom is an edible mushroom and is known by the names “the Almond Mushroom”, “the Sun Mushroom”, or “the Gods Mushroom”. In Japan it is known as himematsutake – “10000 years mushroom”.
Its flavor and aroma reminds almonds.
The mushroom was initially domesticated along the East Coast of the USA in the year 1893 (1-2) and received a renewed recognition in Brazil in 1970. Very rapidly it received recognition due to its health beneficiary characteristics. In the literature the mushroom is called ABM (Agaricus blazei Murill) and is described as growing on reach humid soil in the USA, Canada, Hawaii, England, Holland, Taiwan, Philippines and Brazil (2,5).
In Brazil natural healers use Agaricus for treating diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis, high cholesterol and heart disease (5).
In Japan, natural healers use Agaricus for the enrichment of antioxidants, anti-mutagenesis, anti-tumors, inhibitor of cancerous tumors, and as a booster of the immune system (6,7).
The Agaricus is rich in many types of polysaccharides some are specific to the mushroom, such as blazeipolysaccharide.
In addition high levels of Alpha and Beta Glucan, Glucomannan, arabinose and mannose can be found.
Lectin, Aromatic structures, Linoleic Acid, Oleic Acid, Argosterol, steric acid, and Palmitic acid (8).
Agaricus contains high levels of Beta (3) and Alpha (4) Glucans and in Japan and Brazil is used for cancer treatment (10).
In a survey performed in Japan 31% of the oncologists recommend the mushroom to patients suffering from urologic cancer (3).
At the end of the 20th century a research group from Japan demonstrated the anti-tumor activity of the Agaricus blazei.
Both in-vivo and in-vitro studies demonstrated that polysaccharides from the Agaricus mushroom has anti-carcinogenic activity in various cancer types such as: lung cancer, ovary cancer, sarcoma and Ehrlich ascites cancer. In addition, a beneficiary synergy was found between the
mushroom and the activity of chemotherapy and radiation therapy (9).
In an in-vivo study performed on mice suffering from breast cancer, the extract of Agaricus mushroom was found to reduce tumor size, increase body weight, and at the time reduced the AST levels (an enzyme that indicates damage to the liver, heart and other tissue)(10).
Additional in-vivo study indicated that the polysaccharide blazeipolysaccharides inhibits the development of prostate cancer cells by promoting apoptosis, inhibiting proliferation and inhibiting angiogenesis mechanisms (11).
A double blind / placebo study published in 2008 demonstrated that taking the polysaccharide blazeipolysaccharide rich Agaricus extract increases the activity of NK cells (12). Another study on the extract in lung cancer patients also showed an increase in the activity of NK cells during chemotherapy, while reducing the side effects of the treatment (such as reduced appetite, alopecia, , emotional stability and general weakness) that were the result of topoisomerase inhibitors (etoposide, etoposide phosphate, or VP-16 carboplatin) or carboplatin treatment (13).
A study that explored the admission of 1500 mg Agaricus extracts per day on Hepatitis B patients for 12 months, showed a marked reduction of the AST liver enzymes from 246 to 61 and ALT was reduced from 151 to 46 (14).
An additional study that explored the effectiveness of Agaricus extracts on Hepatitis C patients showed 80% reduction in GPT levels (15).
In a dose of 20 grams per day Agaricus extract that was administrated as scalded in hot water to Hepatitis B patients for 3 months reduced stomach swelling, reduced fatigue and aches in the liver area, this in addition to reducing the liver and the spleen size (16).
1. Peck CH. (1893). “Report of the Botanist (1892)”. Annual Report on the New York State Museum of Natural History 46: 85–149.
2. Kerrigan, RW (2005). “Agaricus subrufescens, a cultivated edible and medicinal mushroom, and its synonyms”. Mycologia 97 (1): 12–24.
3. Weil, Andrew (2002). “Mushrooms to Curb Cancer?”
4. Firenzuoli, F; Gori, L; Lombardo, G (2008). “The Medicinal Mushroom Agaricus blazei Murrill: Review of Literature and Pharmaco-Toxicological Problems”. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM 5 (1): 3–5.
5. Hyodo I, Amano N, Eguchi K, Narabayashi M, Imanishi J, Hirai M et al. (2005). “Nationwide survey on complementary and alternative medicine in cancer patients in Japan”. J Clin Oncol 23(12): 2645–54.
6. F. Firenzuoli, L. Gori, and G. Lombardo, “The medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei murrill: review of literature and pharmaco-toxicological problems,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 3–15, 2008.
7. I. P. Lee, B. H. Kang, J. K. Roh, and J. R. Kim, “Lack of carcinogenicity of lyophilized Agaricus blazei Murill in a F344 rat two year bioassay,” Food and Chemical Toxicology, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 87–95, 2008.
8. Isolation of an antitumor compound (Ergosterol) from Agaricus blazei Murill and its mechanism of action. Takaku T, Kimura Y, Okuda H.J. Nutr. 2001;131:1409–1413.
9. Suppressing effects of daily oral supplementation of beta-glucan extracted from Agaricus blazei Murill on spontaneous and peritoneal disseminated metastasis in mouse model. Kobayashi H, Yoshida R, Kanada Y, Fukuda Y, Yagyu T, Inagaki K, Kondo T, Kurita N, Suzuki M, Kanayama N, Terao T. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol
10. Effects of Agaricus brasiliensis mushroom in Walker-256 tumor-bearing rats. Jumes F.M, Lugarini D, Pereira A.L, de Oliveira A, Christoff Ade O, Linde G.A, do Valle J.S, Colauto N.B, Acco A. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 010;88(1):21-7. Jing W, Min MX, Zheng CR, Zhi WJ, Ito H, Shimura K.
11. Inhibitory mechanisms of Agaricus blazei Murill on the growth of prostate cancer in vitro and in vivo. Yu C.H, Kan S.F, Shu C.H, Lu T.J, Sun-Hwang L, Wang P.S. J Nutr Biochem. 2009;20(10):753-64.
12. Immunomodulating activity of Agaricus brasiliensis KA21 in mice and in human volunteers. Liu Y, Fukuwatari Y, Okumura K, Takeda K, Ishibashi KI, Furukawa M, Ohno N, Mori K, Gao M, Motoi M. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2008;5(2):205-219.
13. Natural killer cell activity and quality of life were improved by consumption of a mushroom extract, Agaricus blazei Murill Kyowa, in gynecological cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Ahn W.S, et al. Int J Gynecol Cancer 2004;14(4):589-594.
14. The mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill extract normalizes liver function in patients with chronic hepatitis B. Hsu C.H, Hwang K.C, Chiang Y.H, Chou P. J Altern Complement Med. 2008;14(3):299-301
15. Clinical utility of ABCL (Agaricus Mushroom Extract) treatment for C-type hepatitis. Jpn Pharmacol Ther. 2002;30:103-7
Observation on the treatment effect of Agaricus blazei to the liver function of chronic hepatitis patients. Wang L. and Ma H. J Lanzhou Med Coll. 2004;20:24–26