Many animals and people are bitten by snakes each year all over the world and it can be life-threatening, depending on if the snake is venomous or not. There are 4 venomous snakes in Brazil alone; Jararaca, Cascavel (rattlesnake), Coral and Sururucu. Of all of the snakebites in Brazil, 90% of them are by the rattlesnake (Bothrops alternatus). Its venom composition is a mixture of enzymes; toxins and peptides which cause inflammation, edema (excess of watery fluid) necrosis (the death of most or all of the cells or tissue), hemorrhage (bleeding), intense pain and can cause kidney failure. (1) There are anti-venom treatments that are effective if taken a short time after being bitten, but it does not deal with the tissue damage caused by the venom which can be irreversible.
There are numerous studies on the benefits of the ABM mushrooms against allergies and for helping with kidneys and liver functions. This is very important as snakebites can cause kidney failure, especially in individuals over 40 years of age. (2)
ABM vs Rattlesnake (Bothrops alternatus)
In a joint study, conducted by researchers from the Veterinary College and the College of Pharmacy, from the State University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, the goal was to evaluate if the Agaricus blazei Murrill mushroom properties could protect against the localized effects of (edema, hemorrhage, and necrosis) of the rattlesnake (Bothrops alternatus) bite venom in rabbits. They divided 6 rabbits into 2 groups; Control Group, which received only a saline solution; and the other group received ABM mushrooms topically.
Once the rabbits were injected with the venom they all became; anemic, lethargic, had a fever and the skin was dark red caused by an inflammatory reaction. During the first 4 hours, the 3 rabbits of the ABM mushrooms group showed more excessive liquid accumulation, bleeding, than the control group (saline). However, after 24 hours the rabbits receiving the ABM mushrooms started to show drastic improvements over the control group (saline). All 3 rabbits of the control group died but all of the rabbits receiving ABM mushrooms survived. The 3 surviving rabbits were sacrificed and examined together with the Control group.
Results of the study:
The researchers concluded that the Control group (saline) had damage to both the tissue and internal organs; including the heart, lungs, and kidneys. The rabbits that received the ABM mushrooms had less edema, bleeding, tissue damage and it showed a protective effect on the kidneys and liver. This result could be because the venom is processed, metabolized and later eliminated by the body, through the kidneys and the liver. Previous studies on the ABM mushrooms have shown protective effects of the ABM mushrooms on both organs.
This protective effect along with an immune system reaction to the venom could be the reason these 3 rabbits survived. These findings could lead to possible complementary treatments along with anti-venom for animals and people bitten by snakes.
- FERREIRA, K.M.; MELO, M.M. and DANTAS-BARROS, A.M.. Tratamento tópico de coelhos com Agaricus blazei Murril após envenenamento botrópico experimental. Rev. bras. farmacogn. [online]. 2003, vol.13, suppl.1 [cited 2018-03-14], pp.77-80. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102-695X2003000300029
- Silveira PV1, Nishioka Sde A. South American rattlesnake bite in a Brazilian teaching hospital. Clinical and epidemiological study of 87 cases, with analysis of factors predictive of renal failure. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1992 Sep-Oct;86(5):562-4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/003592039290114R