Meet the Mushroom
Agaricus blazei – a mushroom with remarkable healing properties?
A relative newcomer to the world of medicinal mushrooms, but by no means any less popular, Agaricus blazei or Royal Sun Agaricus is known throughout its native Brazil where it grows in the wild, as the mushroom of the gods. Quite rightly so, as this mushroom has been scientifically linked to numerous health benefits.
Traditionally, Agaricus blazei was brewed into a medicinal tea or eaten as a restorative food in Brazil. (It has a slightly sweet flavour, and some say it tastes a little like almonds.) Then, in the 1960s, it was brought to Japan for scientific research. Japanese scientists have extensively researched Agaricus blazei and found that it has wide medicinal potential including use as an anti-inflammatory, for immune system support and even as an anti-tumour agent.
Immune support alongside cancer therapies
The Agaricus blazei mushroom is high in compounds called beta glucans. Beta glucans can enhance the activity of the immune system by stimulating immune cells called natural killer cells.
Having a strongly supported immune system has many benefits but specifically, studies have shown that Agaricus blazei has an anti-tumour effect by working as an immune system modulator.
In a study looking at 100 women undergoing treatment for cervical, ovarian or endometrial cancer, of the group of women given Agaricus blazei supplements, their natural killer cell activity was significantly higher. Researchers therefore conclude that Agaricus blazei could prove beneficial when used alongside chemotherapy in women with gynaecological cancers.
What’s more, the side-effects of chemotherapy such as weakness, nausea and hair loss were also improved.
Supporting chronic inflammatory bowel conditions
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic bowel conditions, linked to chronic inflammation. Agaricus blazei has been shown to support these conditions by reducing inflammatory markers in the blood and stools of sufferers.
Type 2 diabetes and liver disease support
Further studies have shown the benefits of the Agaricus blazei mushroom on other chronic disease. One, showed that it could help to normalise liver function in those with hepatitis B. Another showed promising results in improving insulin resistance in subjects with type 2 diabetes.
Obesity is also considered a chronic condition, that can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. A recent study has shown that this medicinal mushroom also has the potential for helping to control weight and obesity.