Agaricus blazei (Agaricus brasiliensis, Himematsutake, 姫松茸)
This is a species of mushroom whose identification seems to have begun in the West unlike many other mushrooms and medicinal plants. It was found in the north eastern side of the US and Canada. Later on it was identified in Hawaii, California, UK, the Netherlands, Philippines, Brazil and Taiwan. Every community that uses it refers to it very fondly. Its various names are God’s mushroom, mushroom of life, royal sun agaricus, Mushroom of the sun, almond mushroom, princess, and many other beautiful names.
The look of Agaricus Blazei
The mushroom has a cap whose colour varies from white, grey, all through to reddish-brown. Its surface has silk like fibres, and then as it grows it develops tiny scales.
The shape of the cap begins as a hemisphere then it develops into a convex shape. The mushroom’s flesh tastes like green nuts and smells like almonds.
The gills, which are squeezed closely together, begin as white, and then they develop to pink as the mushroom grows. Finally as the spores mature, they turn into a black-brown colour. When viewed through a microscope though, the spores look purplish-brown.
When the mushroom is young its stipe is solid but it becomes hollow as it ages.
Agaricus Blazei likes rich soils and can grow as a stand alone or in a cluster. Often it will be found in domestic areas where there is soil with plenty of manure or where litter has been rotting.
The Culinary Use of Agaricus Blazei
The Agaricus Blazei mushroom is used to make delicious dishes. It tastes nice and smells of almonds. It has the smell of almonds because it contains benzyl alcohol, benzonitrile, benzaldehyde, and methyl benzoate. The recipes that can go with the mushroom Agaricus Blazei include Vegetable Soup, Mushroom Tea, Pumpkin Soup with Ginger and Agaricus Mushrooms, Sea Bass with Agaricius Blazei Mushroom Sauce, Cannelloni with Ricotta and Agaricus Blazei Murill Mushroom, Fillet with Agaricus Blazei Mushrooms, Rice with Agaricus Blazei Mushroom, Natural Salad Dressing, among others.
The Healing Properties of Agaricus Blazei
Body immunity and Cancer
The animal and cellular research that has been done over the years shows an ability of the Agaricus Blazei Mushroom to stimulate the body’s immune system so that it can fight disease. The 2008 research by Hetland G, Johnson E, Lyberg T, Bernardshaw S, Tryggestad AM, and Grinde B in "Effects of the medicinal mushroom Agaricusblazei Murill on immunity, infection and cancer" do confirm this observation.
Further research confirms the ability of the Agaricus Blazei mushroom to lower blood cholesterol, inhibit the negative effects of pathogens and also deter angiogenesis. Other animal and clinical research indicates that the mushroom can lower blood sugar and control insulin.
A lot of animal and cellular research has been done on Agaricus Blazei to see its effect on cancer cells. For colorectal and Gynaecological cancers, clinical results were positive. This means there were signs of improvement in quality of life. In cases of Sarcoma, Ovarian cancer, Lung cancer, Leukaemia, Hepatocarcinoma, Stomach cancer and prostate cancer, metastasis was inhibited. So whereas cancer was not entirely wiped out, at least its growth was impeded.
The October 2008 report by Yu CH, Kan SF, Shu CH, Lu TJ, Sun-Hwang L and Wang PS: "Inhibitory mechanisms of Agaricusblazei Murill on the growth of prostate cancer in vitro and in vivo" affirms these powers of the Agaricus Blazei Mushroom.
Antiviral impact of the Agaricus Blazei Mushroom
This species has been popularly known to have healing properties. What has not been shown empirically is the composition of the mushroom and what it can specifically do medically. The authorities below show the results of extensive research as reported by the Brazilian Journal of Microbiology.
The main body of the Agaricus Blazei Mushroom which is the fructification body of the mushroom has 85-87% of water. Once the water is gone and the mushroom is dry, what remains is a protein rich fungus with 40-45% of protein. The carbohydrates form 38-45%. The fibres are 6-8% and the plant fats make up 3-4%. This mushroom also contains vitamins B1, B2 and niacin. It also contains a fungal sterol, ergosterol, which is convertible to vitamin D2. This mushroom also contains minerals but the most significant one is Potassium.
Research has shown that the richness in the Agaricus Blazei Mushroom makes it capable of curbing stress-physical and mental; slow down the advancement of osteoporosis; cure gastric ulcers; as it stimulates the immunity of the body and lowers cholesterol. The mushroom is able to curtail the cytopathic impact of the Western Equine Encephalitis Virus because of its antioxidant, antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic properties.