Agaricus blazei Murrill ( Agaricus Brasiliensis)
Medicinal Use of Mushrooms Throughout History

For thousands of years, mushrooms have been used as food and medicine. The Greek physician Hippocrates (460 BC – 377 BC) considered to be the “Father of Medicine”, mentions in his writings the use of fungi to treat chronic illnesses.

Pliny Gaius Plinius Secundus , (23–79 A.D.) , a Roman author and Natural philosopher mentions in his body of work Naturalis Historia a number of fungi used to heal serious chronic illness of the kidney. A physician in Nero’s army, Dioscorides (55 A.D.) writes about medicinal properties of Agaric in his herbal De Materia Medica. Based on his studies, “ the only fungus that seemed to have any kind of reputation as a healing medicine was the “Agaric”and it was used at that time for injuries, bruises and fractured limbs, as an astringent, for kidney diseases, menstrual insufficiency, liver complaints and jaundice, cardiovascular deficiencies, asthma, tuberculosis, poisoning, and for snake and animal bites.

For the past century, many scientists from Eastern European countries studied medicinal mushrooms and their effects on health. The Chinese have been using mushrooms for over 3000 years. Chinese Pharmacopeias document the use of over 100 different types of medicinal mushrooms by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for a wide range of ailments. The use of mushrooms date back hundreds of years in Japan . The most known and widely used medicinal mushrooms are Agaricus blazei Murrill, Reishi, Maitake, Shitake, Cordyceps, among others. In Western Medicine, many clinically important drugs have been derived directly or indirectly from mushrooms, such as, anti-biotics (Tetracycline & Aureomycin), penicillin (and Griseofluvin), steroids and hormones (Progesterone), pain medication (Morphine, Cortisone), anti-fungal and anti-cancer drugs. The first chemotherapy drug approved by the FDA in the 1980’s was derived from a mushroom. In Japan , the Japanese government approved 3 different anticancer drugs extracted from mushrooms.

For the most part, the studies on the health benefits of mushrooms have been focused on its immune-stimulating properties. They offer great merit to the body in maintaining health and promoting healing. Mushrooms work naturally and gently with the body. 

Discovery of Agaricus blaze Murrill

The Agaricus blazei Murrill (AbM) mushroom, a Basidiomycete fungus, is native to the Atlantic Rainforest region in southeastern Brazil , where it has been part of the regular diet of the residents of the area for many generations. Researchers in the late sixties discovered a very low incidence of chronic illness, among the local people. This discovery led them to believe the AbM mushroom was a contributing factor. 

Agaricus blaze Murrill Nutritional Composition

AbM mushroom food supplements are a nutritionally well balanced valuable health food. The mushroom contains valuable ingredients, 192 nutrients in total, such as essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, vegetable proteins, anti-oxidants, enzymes, dietary crude fibers, natural sterols, Triterpenes, Saponins and polysaccharides which stimulate the immune system. AbM mushroom have no known side effects and toxicity studies have confirmed its safety. *2 For many years, in Brazil , Europe , Japan and other Asian countries ABM has been used in hospitals as adjunct nutritional therapy for cancer patients . It is the most widely used medicinal mushroom for health maintenance, prevention and for adjunct treatments for a wide range of health concerns.

The Immune System

Living organisms have an immune system whose function is to eliminate pathogens, chemical toxic substances and mutation-induced cell proliferation. It is thanks to this function, which we know as immunity, that the body stays healthy. It combats dangerous organisms by preventing them from penetrating the tissue, and therefore the body as a whole.
Compared to the other commonly used Oriental mushrooms – which include Maitake, Reishi, and Shiitake – the ABM mushroom demonstrated to have much higher levels of key polysaccharides, mainly beta glucans, ergosterol and other components which are unique to ABM mushroom. At present ABM is considered the strongest mushroom in supporting the immune function a well being.

Beta-D-Glucan

The Beta-D-glucan is found in the cell walls of the Agaricus blazei Murrill (ABM) mushroom.*7 The subject of extensive scientific research for several decades, Beta-D-glucan is a non-digestible polysaccharide (long chain carbohydrate) that is one of the most important substances responsible in the body for creating a defense system against viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic or neoplastic invaders.*3,6 It not only helps support immune function but also reduces excessive immunological reactions to maintain a healthy immune system balance.

Ergosterol

Another important component in AbM is Ergosterol. Ergosterol combined with Beta-D-Glucan account for innumerable successful immune support approaches. AbM also has the highest levels of Ergosterol compared to other mushrooms . *5 Other components found in the AbM mushroom are: xyloglucan, acid heteroglucan, ribonucleic acid protein compounds and lectin, which help and support macrophage activity.

References:

*1 Mizuno T. Medicinal Properties and Clinical Effects of Culinary-Medicinal Mushroom Agaricus blazei Murrill (Agaricomycedtideae) Review . International J of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2002(4).
*2 Kuroiwa Y, Nishikawa A, Imazawa T, Kanki K, Kitamura Y, Umemura T, Hirose M. Lack of subchronic toxicity of an aqueous extract of Agaricus blazei Murrill in F344 rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2005 Jul;43(7):1047-53. PMID: 15833380 [PubMed – in process]
*3 Ley B. Medicinal Mushrooms for Immune Enhancement: Agaricus blazei Murrill. 2001. ISBN: 1-890766-15-1
*4 Kimura Y, Kido T, Takaku T, Sumiyoshi M, Baba K. Isolation of an anti-angiogenic substance from Agaricus blazei Murill: its antitumor and antimetastatic actions. Cancer Sci. 2004 Sep;95(9):758-64. P MID: 15471563 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] *5 Ebina T. [Antitumor effects of intratumoral injection of Basidiomycetes preparations] [Article in Japanese] Division of Immunology, Miyagi Cancer Center Research Institute. Gan To Kagaku Ryoho. 2005 Oct;32(11):1654-6.PMID: 16315899 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
*6 Ohno N, Furakawa M, Miura N et al. Antitumor beta glucan from the cultured fruit body of Agaricus blazei. Biol Pharm Bull . 2001:24(7): 820-8.
*7 Wasser SP. Medicinal mushrooms as a source of antitumor and immunomodulating polysaccharides. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol . 2002;60:258-274.

* The information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.