Agaricus Big Unfounded Boom
7, 07. 2006
"Even terminal cancer was gone by use of agaricus." This is a typical phrase started appearing some three years ago in advertisements in Japan. A boom came and cancer patients and consumers who had anxiety abut their health started jumping on it by paying on some occasions more than 100,000 yen for one-month dose of high-priced products. Its market in Japan expanded to more than 30 billion yen. It can be said, however, that it has none what so ever of scientific proof for the effectiveness of agaricus.
The Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guidebook for Cancer published by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Self-responsibility and self-judgement are important in use of agaricus.
For cancer patients who are thinking of trying the so-called "complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)," a research group of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare issued in April this year a "Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guidebook for Cancer." The booklet was intended to verify the medical effect of agaricus and other CAM. Public organizations until that time had conducted little research work to verify the effectiveness and side effects of health food for cancer from the viewpoint of western medicine.
Little Report to Prove Treatment Effectiveness in Past
According to Dr. Yoshimitsu Sumiyoshi, ward director at Shikoku Cancer Center who took part in the issuing of the guidebook, 40% of cancer patients are taking some kind or other of CAM. Ninety percent are relying on health food. Apparently to grab at a straw, the percentage was higher among the patients who were denied the hope of being cured by surgery, radiation treatment, anticancer drugs or any other type of treatment by the western medicine.
Boom of Agaricus Happened Only in Japan
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare received a report about the incident reported by the newspapers, but it decided not to make the report public because the "causal relationship can not be established." On March 20 this year, Kirin-Wellfoods Co., Ltd. suddenly stopped selling of its agaricus products. The sales were expanding to 250 million yen per year, but the products were withdrawn from the market because the company was told by the ministry that agaricus "had the carcinogenic promotion effects by mixing with other substance." The company became unable to continue selling the products.
The company, however, had its say:
Then, how has it come that agaricus has enjoyed so much support so far? Agaricus has been said to have nutritious components that are good for health. Being full of minerals, amino acids, nucleic acids and, most of all, βglucan-D, agaricus was also said to have the effectiveness of strengthening the self-healing power. So far so good, but it has never scientifically proved that agaricus is good for cancer. Yet, it was widely publicized by mass media, and books were published one after another praising its effectiveness. The boom of agaricus was something that happened only in Japan.
"Try Low-Priced Products"
An official with a major pharmaceutical company that makes agaricus products whispered:
Toshinori Nishimoto, editor of "Men-eki-shinko ha Abunai (Faith in Immunity is Dangerous)" and President of Nan Nan Sha, which published the book, said:
The "point" he referred to has something to do with mentality. By eating agaricus, the patient gets the feeling of the effectiveness. He or she can mentally calm down. By this, as it is said "Illness originates in the mind," the immune strength of the patient sometimes increases.
Dr. Sumiyoshi said in conclusion: