Agaricus Blazei: The Little-Known Brazilian Mushroom
I talk a lot about functional mushrooms from Finland, Lapland, Russia, China, and Japan. There’s a solid reason behind that: These countries have the longest history of consuming functional mushrooms, and today have the world’s highest consumption.
But functional mushrooms have been used in countries around the globe for a very long time. A great example of that is my Brazilian buddy, Agaricus blazei.
Agaricus blazei is an edible mushroom grown mostly in Brazil and Japan. Known as the Sun Mushroom, in Brazil you’d call this mushroom “Cogumelo do Sol.” Agaricus blazei was originally found near Sao Paulo Brazil by a Japanese grower[*]. While other Agaricus mushrooms have been used since the 4th century, this particular species was a newcomer to North America and Asia just in the last 60 years[*].
The Japanese, being lovers of functional mushrooms for a variety of conditions, know it as “Himematsutake”[*]. Its scientific name is Agaricus blazei Murrill (sometimes shortened to ABM because 3 words is hard).
When you first look at this little brown cap mushroom you might not think it very impressive. In fact, it may be biologically the same species as Agaricus subrufescens Peck from North America, which you’ve probably seen while out on a hike. But if we dive into the research on this little brown mushroom, you’ll see it’s anything but ordinary.
Agaricus Blazei and Your Immune System
Coworker have the sniffles? Kids never stop sneezing? Stuck next to the snotty guy on the plane? Your poor immune system is doing its job in overtime.
Your immune response keeps you well against a whole host of foreign invaders. Some studies have found that the polysaccharides in Agaricus blazei activate macrophages and natural killer cells as part of your immune response[*][*]. Natural killer cell activity is activated when foreign microbes hit, while macrophages break down foreign invaders.
Agaricus blazei’s potential as an immunomodulator has piqued the interest of Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan[*].
Agaricus Blazei and Blood Sugar
Clinical trials using a supplement of beta-glucan extracts of Agaricus blazei have shown potential for it to support blood sugar management[*][*]. Since over 100 million Americans struggle with blood sugar, I hope we can have more clinical studies of Agaricus blazei soon[*].
Of course, if you’re pregnant, nursing, or have a health condition, talk to your healthcare practitioner before trying Agaricus blazei or any other form of alternative medicine.
Where to Find Agaricus Blazei
Though it looks like a crimini, Agaricus blazei is most commonly found in dietary supplements. Look for the fruit bodies of the mushroom Agaricus blazei, not mycelium extracts. You can sometimes find it as a freeze-dried mushroom, which tastes great in soups and stocks. It adds a nutty, almost almond taste.
Our bestselling immune supporting 10 Mushroom Blend features Agaricus blazei. Each serving has 160 milligrams of Agaricus blazei fruiting bodies mushroom extract, free from fillers and carriers. This neutral mushroom powder is great in smoothies, coffee, or soups. (And when it’s in back in stock, you’ll also find Agaricus blazei in the Mushroom Chocolate).
Ready to learn more about functional mushrooms? Sign up for our free e-learning course: The Mushroom Academy. This self-paced course will teach you about the top 10 functional mushrooms and how to incorporate them into your life.