The history of Agaricus blazei Murill is tightly linked to the mountain village Piedade, located within the Atlantic rain forest, about one hundred kilometers west of São Paulo, Brazil.
It is well known to the people of this region as a traditional panacea bringing longevity and health. The mushroom itself was considered as something more than just food, which is reflected in some local names, including: Cogumelo da Vida and Cogumelo de Deus – Portuguese for mushroom of life and mushroom of God.
Meanwhile, the first historical description about the use of this mushroom for medicinal purposes comes from Byzantine medical treatises, showing its long tradition. Since Takatoshi Furumoto became interested in the mushroom in the 1960's, Agaricus Blazei has become a serious topic for researchers in different fields, in which it has been investigated for its health benefits.
The mushroom got to be more and more popular. At the beginning of the 1970's, researchers began studying the surprisingly unusual low rate of geriatric illness among inhabitants of Piedade. This was followed by attempts to cultivate the mushroom world-wide.
The mushroom was found to be rich in immune-modulating substances such as β-glucans and proteoglycans, and presented anti-infection and anti-tumor effects in animal studies.
Currently, Agaricus blazei Murill remains under intense investigation, and the results are published in major scientific journals. The mushroom is one of the most promising anti-cancer remedies and stimulants of the efficient and broad-spectered innate immune system.