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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 5, Issue 1, Pages 3-15
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nem007
Review

The Medicinal Mushroom Agaricus blazei Murrill: Review of Literature and Pharmaco-Toxicological Problems

1Center of Natural Medicine, S. Giuseppe Hospital, Az USL 11, Empoli, Italy
2Department of Internal Medicine, S. Giuseppe Hospital, Az USL 11, Empoli, Italy
3Center of Natural Medicine, S. Giuseppe Hospital, via Paladini 40, 50053 Empoli, Italy

Received 7 July 2006; Accepted 10 January 2007

Copyright © 2008 F. Firenzuoli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

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.