The Uses and Benefits of Agaricus Mushroom

Agaricus mushroom
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Agaricus blazei is a type of edible medicinal mushroom grown in Brazil, Japan, and China. In Brazil, agaricus mushroom is known as "Cogumelo do Sol" and in Japan, it is known as "Himematsutake."

Although research on the health effects of agaricus mushroom is very limited, some preliminary studies suggest that it may offer certain benefits.

Uses for Agaricus Mushroom

In folk medicine, agaricus is said to be a natural remedy for the following health conditions:

In addition, agaricus is purported to have anti-viral and anti-tumor effects.

Benefits of Agaricus Mushroom

So far, very few scientific studies have tested the potential health benefits of agaricus mushroom. Although it is often touted as a natural immune-booster, most of the evidence comes from preliminary animal-based research and test-tube studies. Here's a look at several study findings:

Diabetes

Agaricus mushroom may aid in diabetes control, according to a 2007 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. For the study, 72 patients with type 2 diabetes were given either agaricus extract or a placebo every day for 12 weeks. By the end of the study, members of the agaricus group showed significantly greater improvements in insulin resistance compared to those given the placebo.

In an earlier study (published in Biotechnology Letters), scientists discovered that beta-glucan found in agaricus helped reduce blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol in diabetic rats.

Cancer

Several early studies indicate that agaricus may help fight cancer cells. For instance, in a 2017 study published in BioMed Research International, tests on cancer cells revealed that a mushroom extract containing agaricus may have anti-tumor properties. A small 2015 study in BioMed Research International found that the same mushroom extract containing agaricus influenced the body's immune response in adults with multiple myeloma, however there were no significant differences in treatment response, overall survival, and time to new treatment.

Side Effects

Little is known about the safety of taking agaricus regularly or in the long term. However, there is some concern that agaricus may harm liver health. For instance, in a 2006 report from the Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology, scientists linked consumption of agaricus to severe liver damage in cancer patients. It's thought that taking agaricus may increase your levels of certain liver enzymes.

Agaricus blazei contains agaritine, a substance (classified as a "hydrazine") known to be carcinogenic and toxic in animals.

Additionally, a 2011 report in Microbiological Research found that agaricus may have estrogen-like activity. Therefore, medical experts warn that people with hormone-sensitive cancer (including some types of breast cancer and ovarian cancer) take caution when consuming agaricus.

Taking agaricus with medication may result in adverse drug reactions or side effects. For instance, since agaricus may reduce your blood sugar levels, you should consult your physician prior to consuming agaricus if you take medication to lower blood sugar. You shouldn't take agaricus mushroom within two weeks of a scheduled surgery.

There is some concern that certain mushrooms (particularly wild mushrooms) may be contaminated with metals such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury.

Self-treating a condition with agaricus mushroom and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Where to Find It

Widely available online, supplements containing agaricus are also sold in many natural-food stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements.

The Takeaway

Due to a lack of supporting evidence and lack of research on the safety of Agaricus blazei, it's too soon to recommend agaricus mushroom as a treatment for any health condition. If you're considering taking it, make sure to consult your primary care provider before you begin.

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