Plant poison and fungal poison - friend or foe?

Lilies of the valley and foxglove, oleander and poinsettia - these plants enrich our gardens and living rooms. As beautiful as the plants are, they are as dangerous as they are. Because in them are sometimes highly potent poisons.

Plant poison and fungal poison - friend or foe?

Lily of the valley and foxglove, oleander and poinsettia - these plants enrich our gardens and living rooms. As beautiful as the plants are, they are as dangerous as they are. Because in them are sometimes highly potent poisons. In most cases, this is not a problem, because usually you have to eat the plants, so their unpleasant sides come to light. However, it always happens to children that plant parts find their way into their mouths.

Typical symptoms of poisoning are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and severe stomach pain. Particularly treacherous plant toxins can even trigger convulsions, respiratory paralysis, or cardiac arrhythmias, all the way to cardiac arrest.

Plant poison and fungal poison - friend or foe?

From hallucinations to heart failure

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Even on a walk, along the edges of the road and in meadows, dangerous beauties lurk. The most poisonous native plants are for example henbane, yew, Eisenhut, Herbstzeitlose, datura and Tollkirsche as well as the extremely poisonous Wasserschierling.

For example, datura and belladonna contain alkaloids, such as atropine. It can cause hallucinations and cramps. The Herbstzeitlose on the other hand is so dangerous because of their colchicine. It inhibits cell division processes and can cause respiratory distress and heart failure.

The poison makes the dose

Their potent, often specific effect makes the poisons also interesting for medicine. Because in many cases: Only the dose makes the poison. What makes you sick or even kills in large quantities can be an effective remedy in smaller quantities. The poison of the autumn timeless, for example, is also used to treat gout to reduce joint pain.

The most well-known example of the medical effect is the thimble, which is one of the oldest heart medicines. The yellow or purple flowering plants contain digitalis. The active ingredient increases the contraction of the heart muscle, increases the arterial blood pressure and normalizes the heart's stroke function. He can thus help with heart failure or poorly closing heart valves. An overdose leads to cardiac arrest.

Toadstools - mortal likelihood of confusion

Poisoning with plants is comparatively rare, since the poisonous representatives often taste bitter and so do not animate for consumption. More common, however, are poisoning by fungi. Some poisonous ones are similar to edible ones, so the tasty mushroom dish may become a hangman's meal.

Fortunately, most domestic mushrooms are harmless. Of the 6,000 large mushrooms growing in Europe, only about 160 are considered toxic. Very few contain life-threatening toxins for humans.

About mushroom poisons is still little known. Despite the most advanced analysis methods only a fraction of them are decoded. Their structure is often very complex and they are often only present in very small amounts in the fungus. In addition, some toadstools contain a true poison cocktail with varying amounts of the various ingredients - often, this depends on the age of the mushrooms.

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    Edible mushrooms and their poisonous doppelgangers

    "Cep and chanterelle - I know them, nothing can go wrong", some mushroom pickers think. But it is not that easy, because many of the tasty mushrooms have a diabolical doppelganger - even the boletus mushroom. Here are the most important at a glance

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    Especially in May you can find this mushroom - hence its name. The Mairitterling has a pronounced smell of flour. The rather fleshy hat is often pure white to light cream. The margin is heavily curled in the young fungus and unfolds with age.

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    Brick-red crack mushroom

    The names of this mushroom type are the tears of the hat from the edge to the middle. The hat often has a felty surface. Most crack fungus are poisonous, however, especially the brick red Risspilz. Distinction: The color of the spore powder can be considered a safe differentiator. When Risspilz it is brown, when Mairitterling white.

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    Violet Rötelritterling

    The violet Rötelritterling lives up to its name: it is purple from hat to toe. This includes the lamellae and the mycelium. The young red chanterelle is, however, more lilac, while older mushrooms are more brownish - here, the hat arched upwards.

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    Purple thick-footed

    The thickened stalk base is the reason why this fungus is called Dickfuß. Its color is also violet - but the flesh is saffron-colored. Often between Hutrand and Stielansatz still spiderweb-like shreds can be found.Distinction: The Purple Dickfuss smells disgusting (disgustingly sweet) in contrast to the Violet Rötelritterling - which usually prevents him from being eaten by mistake. He also has a saffron meat, no purple slats and no smooth hat.

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    Gray Erdritterling

    Characteristics of the knightlings are the heavily booked, grown lamellae. One speaks of a "moat". Since there are both edible and poisonous species among the knights, usually only very experienced people collect this fungus.

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    Tiger Ritterlingsartige

    The Tiger Ridge hat is silver gray to brownish gray. The hat is covered with coarse, gray-brown scales. In young mushrooms, but especially at the top of the stem from water droplets. The taste of this knightling is good, but the poisoning can lead to death. Distinction: The flesh of the earth knight turns yellow on pressure and he does not smell like flour like the Tiger Knightling.

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    Damp or dry - that makes a big difference to the appearance of the stick sponge. The liquid changes color from light to dark brown. The hat is usually two-tone, with the middle is lighter. The Stockschwämmchen is particularly suitable as a soup mushroom, with only the hats are used.

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    galerina marginata

    Already 100 grams of softwood pounding can be poisonous, it contains similar active ingredients as the tuberous toadstool. The softwood hoarfrost also changes its appearance depending on the weather. If it is wet, it looks more yellow to orange brown, otherwise rather paler. Even experienced mushroom pickers avoid the Stockschwämmchen, as the Nadelholzhaeubling looks very similar to him. Distinction: The Stockschwämmchen has a ring below the hat neck, which is covered with scales and never smells like flour, in contrast to the Täubling.

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    Everyone knows the boletus. With its shape and appearance, it corresponds to the classic image of a mushroom. He is also one of the most popular edible mushrooms - and is under protection, especially as growing near the city fewer porcini mushrooms. Unfortunately, he is also often attacked by maggots.

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    Even a small piece of gallbladder can spoil a whole mushroom meal. It is not poisonous, but simply inedible due to its pronounced bitterness. The Gallenröhrling grows above all in coniferous and mixed forests. Distinction: Test with the tongue on the mushroom hat if the taste is bitter. If so, do not eat.

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    Flockenstieliger Witchesling

    The tube mushrooms (Röhrlinge) have, as the name already reveals, at the hat base many parallel arranged tubes, which end with the Flockenstieligen Hexenrölingling red. The hat is brown to brown-red in color, the surface is reminiscent of leather. The stem is also provided in addition to the yellow basic tone with red flakes. When the mushroom is cut, it turns on fast and strong blue.

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    Most tube mushrooms are non-toxic - an exception to the rule is the Satan's pipe. His hat is rather whitish in young specimens, in older dirty gray. The bulbous stalk is relatively short, measured at the hat width. If the Satan's blush smells fruity at first, the note becomes more likely to be described as urine-like to aas-like with age. The taste is unremarkable - which increases the likelihood of confusion. Distinction: The gate at the Satan's tube turns only slightly blue.

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    entoloma sinuatum


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    The chanterelle probably owes its name to its pungent taste: when eaten raw, it tastes similar to pepper. He is one of the most popular edible mushrooms and is usually well recognized by its egg yolk yellow color.

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    Wrong chanterelle

    The False Chanterelle looks a bit like its real counterpart - otherwise there are not many mushrooms that come up with this color. Conditionally it is edible but difficult to digest. If one cuts the mushroom, the genuine chanterelle shows a white meat with a yellow margin, while the false chanterelle is continuous yellowish to orange. In addition, the true chanterelle, unlike the fake does not grow on deadwood.

Tuberble mushroom - the green killer

The most poisonous native mushroom is the green Knollenblätterpilz in the vernacular also called "green killer". In addition to the toxin phallotoxin, it also contains amanitin, which is ten times more toxic than the poison of the adder. A single mushroom is enough to kill a human being. Amanitin inhibits a vital enzyme, RNA polymerase. Without them, the body cells can no longer produce proteins - they die.

This concerns in particular the liver cells. After four to seven days, the organ fails. Particularly treacherous: While after eating other fungal toxins use vomiting diarrhea, which at least partially carry the poison out of the body, the poison remains in the body.

But other mushrooms have it all:

Also time-delayed poisoning occurs with the toxin Orellanin on.Only 36 hours after consumption nausea and vomiting occur. Days later it comes to increasing kidney damage which can lead to kidney failure. The poison is mainly contained in representatives of the genus Haarschleierlinge, for example, in the orange-furred Rauhkopf.

Also very toxic Gyromitrin, the toxin of the spring hellebore. Consuming a single raw mushroom can lead to death. By boiling and rinsing, a large part of the poison can be washed out.

Watch out, for example, who consumes the Schopftintling. The mushroom is known to be tasty - especially in its youngest stages. But it also contains the mushroom poison Coprin, It only develops its effect when it is taken with alcohol. Then it comes to Coprinus syndrome: the body skin turns purple, the face red. The reason: Coprin inhibits a special enzyme, which is necessary to convert the toxic acetaldehyde formed during the alcohol degradation to acetate.

muscarinic was originally discovered in the toadstool but only occurs in traces. In larger quantities, some funnels and crack fungi contain the toxin. Typical symptoms of poisoning are increased salivation and tearing, sweating, vomiting, blurred vision, dyspnoea and slowed pulse. If larger amounts of the poison enter the body, it can lead to fatal circulatory failure. Here, the fine line between benefits and consequences of poison becomes clear. Because as an antidote atropine is administered - the poison of the deadly nightshade.

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