The Medicinal Mushroom Agaricus blazei Murrill: Review of Literature and Pharmaco-Toxicological Problems
Agaricus blazei Murrill (ABM) popularly known as ‘Cogumelo do Sol’ in Brazil, or ‘Himematsutake’ in Japan, is a mushroom native to Brazil, and widely cultivated in Japan for its medicinal uses, so it is now considered as one of the most important edible and culinary-medicinal biotechnological species. It was traditionally used to treat many common diseases like atherosclerosis, hepatitis, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, dermatitis and cancer. In vitro and in vivo ABM has shown immunomodulatory and antimutagenic properties, although the biological pathways and chemical substances involved in its pharmacological activities are still not clear. The polysaccharides phytocomplex is thought to be responsible for its immunostimulant and antitumor properties, probably through an opsonizing biochemical pathway. Clinical studies are positive confirmations, but we are still at the beginning, and there are perplexing concerns especially relative to the content of agaritine. Argantine is a well-known carcinogenic and toxic substance in animals, that must be completely and fully evaluated.