We have the most beautiful, large, edible looking mushrooms in our back yard. Do you think I plan to pull them out so that I can put them in our dinner salad? “No way.” The reason for this is that I have no way of knowing if these mushrooms are poisonous or not. After looking up the various types of poisonous mushrooms in a medical book, I still don’t know, and I’m not willing to find out by eating them.
I’m writing the following information to help those who like mushrooms avoid a disastrous situation. Some people, not knowingly, may take some bites from a poisonous mushroom that they may have seen out in some field somewhere.
The mushroom known as “the death cap” is considered to be the most fatal case of mushroom poisoning. This mushroom is said to look innocuous because it has the resemblance of the edible field mushroom.
The death cap grows in deciduous woods, and has a yellow-olive colored cap. It has white gills on the underside of its cap. (not pink-brown as on the edible mushroom).
The death cap contains highly poisonous peptides called amanitins. If this mushroom is swallowed, it will attack cells in the lining of the small intestine, the liver, and sometimes the kidneys. The symptoms are severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. This usually occurs 8 to 14 hours after eating this mushroom.
There can also be jaundice. Several people who have eaten this mushroom, have died of liver failure. For those who have survived after eating this poisonous mushroom, have to be taken to the hospital immediately.
Another species of mushroom that you have to be aware of is the fly agaric. This mushroom is similar in shape to the death cap, but has a red cap with white flecks. This poisonous mushroom, if eaten, causes drowsiness, visual disturbances, delirium, muscle tremors, nausea, and vomiting. The treatment for this type of poisoning is what is known as lavage gastric. This is when water is used to get rid of the poison. Administration of activated charcoal is also used.
What is known as “Magic” mushrooms are a species containing the hallucinogenic substance, psilocybin. This causes hallucinations and can also cause high fever in children, which require medical attention.
Source: The American Medical Association and Encyclopedia of Medicine