Agaricus Mushroom

Agaricus blazei Murill (also known simply as Agaricus blazei) is a type of medicinal mushroom grown in Brazil, Japan, and China. It has been used in folk medicine for centuries to prevent or treat a wide range of diseases, including infections, allergy, and cancer.

Agaricus blazei is related to both the common mushroom and field mushroom but contains compounds that some believe can exert antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-tumor, and hypoglycemic effects.

In the West, Agaricus blazei is typically sold as a dietary supplement but is also available as a whole dried mushroom for culinary purposes. It has an aroma and smell that is vaguely reminiscent of almonds.

Also Known As
Agaricus brasiliensis
Almond mushroom
Ba xi mó gu (traditional Chinese medicine)
Cogumelo do sol (Brazil)
Himematsutake (Japan)
Health Benefits
According to regional lore, Agaricus blazei was first believed to have medicinal properties when outsiders noted that the people of Piedale rainforest of Brazil, who consumed the mushroom as part of their diet, had lower rates of aging-related disorders like cancer and heart disease.1

Alternative practitioners believe that many of the compounds in the mushroom (including isoflavonoids and plant-based steroids) can prevent or treat certain health conditions, including:

High blood pressure
High cholesterol
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

The current evidence supporting these claims is weak. With that being said, several studies have hinted at benefits that may warrant further investigation.


Agaricus blazei mushrooms may have a place in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, says a 2017 review of studies in the World Journal of Diabetes. According to the researchers, Agaricus blazei contains beta-glucan (a type of dietary fiber) and oligosaccharides (a type of carbohydrate). Both are known to improve blood glucose levels by reducing the inflammatory stress on the pancreas (the body’s primary source of insulin).

When used in combination with the anti-diabetes drug metformin, a daily 1,500-milligram dose of Agaricus blazei was able to improve insulin resistance and cut blood sugar levels by half compared to people given metformin alone.

Despite the promising findings, there has yet to any evidence that Agaricus blazei can control diabetes on its own or prevent the onset of diabetes in people with prediabetes.

Natural Approaches to Diabetes Prevention
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Agaricus blazei mushrooms appear to exert potent anti-inflammatory effects that may benefit people with inflammatory bowel diseases, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

According to a 2011 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Immunology, adults with Crohn’s disease experienced a significant reduction in intestinal inflammation when prescribed an oral Agaricus extract called AndoSan for 12 days.

At the end of the study period, people given AndoSan had between an 18% and 78% reduction in 17 different inflammatory proteins (called cytokines) in blood and stool tests. These effects are considered indicative of an improvement in IBD symptoms.

Further research is needed to determine how effective Agaricus blazei is in either sustaining IBD remission or treating an acute flare of symptoms.

What Probiotics Can and Cannot Do
In the same way that Agaricus blazei helps reduce inflammation in the pancreas and intestines, it may help alleviate the inflammation that drives chronic hepatitis infections.

A small study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reported that adults with chronic hepatitis B experienced a steep drop in liver enzymes (indicative of improved liver function) after being prescribed a daily 1,500-milligram dose of Agaricus blazei.

After 12 months, the participants experienced no less than a three- and four-fold drop in their alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels, respectively. This suggests a significant slowing in the disease progression.

On the flip side, a 2013 study in the Clinical Journal of Gastroenterology reported that a man and woman sustained severe liver damage after taking an Agaricus blazei extract as a complementary therapy for stage 4 lung cancer and stage 3 thymus cancer, respectively.

Neither disclosed the use of the extract to their doctors, and it can only be presumed that high doses may have contributed to the effect. According to the researchers, the damage appeared autoimmune in nature, suggesting that the mushroom may have in some way triggered an abnormal immune response.

Several preliminary studies have suggested that Agaricus blazei has anti-tumor properties. While the mechanism of action is unclear, Agaricus blazei appears to “switch on” apoptosis (programmed cell death) in certain cancer cells, including those involved in multiple myeloma, leukemia, fibrosarcoma, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and lung cancer.

According to a 2011 review published in Advances in Pharmacological Sciences, Agaricus blazei was able to prevent the spread (metastasis) of ovarian and lung cancer, inhibit the growth of fibrosarcoma and myeloma tumors, and reduce the size of prostate tumors in animal and test-tube studies. However, not all of the results have been consistent.

At present, it is impossible to say if any of these effects can be replicated in humans. Further research is needed.
Latin Name
Agaricus blazei

Also Known As
Mushroom of God, Mushroom of Life, ABM Mushroom, Himematsutake, Agaricus brasiliensis

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.


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.

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.