Agaricus blazei Extract
Latin synonyms: Agaricus blazei, Agaricus brasiliensis, Agaricus rufotegulis, Agaricus subrufescens*
Common name synonyms: ABM, Almond Mushroom, Almond Portobello, Brazilian Blazei, Cogumelu de Deus, Cogumelu de Sol, Cogumelo de Vida, Himematsutake, Kawariharatake, King Agaricus, Mandelpilz, Murrill's Agaricus, Mushroom of God, Royal Sun Agaricus, Songrong
Agaricus blazei extract contains more beta glucans than any other mushroom species investigated. In addition to the research on Agaricus blazei itself, it may be worthwhile to look into the abundant research that has been done on beta glucans. 25
While Agaricus blazei extract appears to have little to no effect on cancer cell cultures grown in labs (in vitro), the tests conducted on live patients (in vivo) have been all the more promising. The conclusion from this would be that it works by stimulating the natural cancer-fighting mechanisms of the human immune system. 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140
A Japanese study from 2002 reported that Agaricus blazei extract appeared to stimulate macrophages (white blood cells) to perform a two-phased assault on cancer cells. The first phase began eight hours after the intake of Agaricus blazei extract, when the patient's macrophages began excreting a cancer killing agent known as "alpha tumor necrosis factor." The second phase started another four hours later, when the same macrophages began excreting a different agent designed to finish off the cancer cells weakened by the first assault. 141
Another study found that Agaricus blazei extract may help prevent breast cancer by inhibiting the enzyme aromatase, which is linked to that type of cancer. 142
Some non-cancer related research has also been conducted on Agaricus blazei extract. One study reported significant results against salmonella. 144
Before ending this article, some words of caution: A test conducted in 2003 showed that Agaricus blazei from China had much higher concentrations of cadmium (a heavy metal) than U.S. cultivated Agaricus. 145
Secondly, although Agaricus blazei extract has demonstrated some powerful anti-cancer properties, it also contains a family of cancer-inducing compounds known as agaritines. (These are also found in button mushrooms, crimini mushrooms and portobellos.)
A paper by Stijve et al. published in 2003 reported that Paul Stamets' Agaricus blazei extract, produced in Washington state, contained drastically less of the carcinogenic agaritines compared with samples from China or California by a factor of 8000% and 2000% respectively. 145
"Years ago, Paul Stamets ... developed methods that precluded agaritines, and Stijve et al. (2003) published a comparison of commercial products from the US, China, and Japan. All but [Paul Stamets] products contained significant amounts of agaritine." 145
A few additional areas of promising research on Agaricus blazei extract are listed by Paul Stamets in his book Mycelium Running: Colorectal cancer; sarcoma; viruses; blood sugar; cholesterol. 134
Note: The statements on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Never use any herb (or mushroom) except as advised by a licensed medical practitioner.
Click the following link to see chart for additional therapeutic properties of Agaricus blazei Extract. (Note: In chart referred to by old name Agaricus brasiliensis!)
Known active compounds:
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* We refer to the health promoting Agaricus as Agaricus blazei because that is how it is still known to the vast majority. However, Paul Stamets still labels the bottles, which we sell, as Agaricus brasiliensis. Regarding the confusing Latin nomenclature, see this quote from wikipedia:
"In 2002, Didukh and Wasser rejected the name A. blazei and called the Brazilian fungi Agaricus brasiliensis; this was rejected by Kerrigan through genetic and interfertility testing on several fungal strains. Samples of the Brazilian strains called A. blazei and A. braziliensis proved to be genetically similar to, and interfertile with, the North American population of Agaricus subrufescens. These tests also found European samples called A. rufotegulis to be of the same species. Because Agaricus subrufescensis the oldest name, it is traditionally considered the scientifically, historically correct name."
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Please note that the claims on this page and this web-site have not yet been verified by the FDA. We recommend that you consult a licensed medical practitioner before using any substance for medicinal purposes, including Agaricus blazei Extract.