· By Rashmi Parkhya
THE AGARICUS BLAZEI MURILL BRAZIL MUSHROOM 101
What Sets This Mushroom Apart? And Why Is It Called “The Mushroom of the Gods?”
For thousands of years, indigenous people have used various fungi not only as part of their daily diets, but also as a means to support and improve their health. Interestingly enough, modern medicine has only recently begun to acknowledge the potential benefits found in these health-supporting powerhouses thanks to the success achieved through their use by alternative medicine practitioners.
And perhaps one of the most powerful of all fungi is the Agaricus blazei mushroom, which is packed with such a complex and potent level of nutrients that it’s even featured in Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Cancer Center’s integrative medicine library of botanicals.
So what is the Agaricus blazei mushroom and why is it generating so much interest in the health community?
Let’s take a deep dive into its background and the potential benefits that modern research has been unveiling.
What is the Agaricus blazei mushroom?
The Agaricus blazei mushroom is a fungus originally native to Brazil, where it is called cogumelo do sol or “sun mushroom.” However, it also goes by a much more impressive name, which has been employed since ancient times. Native tribes dubbed the Agaricus blazei as cogmelo de deus (“Mushroom of God”) because they believed it offered better health and longevity to those who ate it.
Although native to Brazil, in the 1960’s, the mushroom also found popularity in Japan after a Japanese researcher noted that the people in a region of Brazil, known as Piedade, enjoyed better health than those from other regions – a fact the researcher linked to their consumption of the Agaricus blazei.
This led to a rapid rise in the cultivation of the mushroom in Japan, where it became known as himematsutake.
The mushroom is easily identified with its brownish-gold, short, hard stem and the scent of almonds it releases when crushed. Along with its almond scent, the mushroom is said to have a flavor similar to those almonds — which has earned it another name, “almond mushroom.”
Agaricus blazei nutrition and potential benefits
The benefits of the Agaricus blazei are due to the amazing amount of nutrients it packs in such a small package.
These nutrients can include:
Of even more importance the Agaricus blazei is also high in immune-modulating polysaccharides, and β-glucans.
Because of this, the mushroom has been used to support healthy blood sugar, boost liver health and function, promote normal cholesterol levels and help keep arteries clear.
Studies have also supported the ability of Agaricus blazei extract to promote the activation of macrophages, also known as natural killer cells, stimulate caspase 3 activation and reduce telomerase activity – pathways that could play a vital role in the battle against cancer.
All in all, it’s clear to see why the Agaricus blazei has earned the name “Mushroom of God” and why so many now turn to the fungi to help keep their health at its best.