Mushrooms poisoning treatment

How to treat people poisoned with mushrooms


What is mushroom poisoning?

Poisoning by consumption of poisonous mushrooms is one of the most common types of food poisoning during the time of mushrooming or mushroom picking.

It occurs mainly in people living in big cities and moving into the woods during the weekend to pick mushrooms.

It is a kind of intoxication that affects both men and women.

Types of mushroom intoxication:

There are two types of intoxication: Minor mushroom poisoning and major mushroom poisoning

Minor mushroom poisoning

Fly agaric (Amanita muscaria)

Fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) is a very beautiful mushroom that produces minor mushroom poisoning

It usually occurs between half an hour and four hours after ingestion of toxic mushrooms. Toxicity in this case is mild. The main fungi that produce these poisonings are:

  • Mushrooms of the genera Clitocybe, Russula, Boletus, Agaritus and Lactarius: It produces gastrointestinal poisoning. It is due to the the action of certain emetic fatty acids, such as agaric, lauric. The symptoms appear from a quarter of an hour to four hours after having ingested. The main symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, or headache. The treatment involves the emptying of the stomach and the application of body fluids to avoid dehydration.

  • Mushrooms of the genera Conocybe, Psilocybe, Paneolus, Pluteus, Copelandiam Stropharia or Inocybe : They produce hallucinations. they contain norbaeocystin, baeocystin, psilocin and psilocybin. The symptoms appear 15 minutes after ingestion and before two hours. The main symptoms are: nausea, vomiting, hypotension, headache, amnesia, and especially hallucinations, usually resolving spontaneously after 4 or 10 hours.

  • Amanita muscaria and Amanita pantherina: They produce micoatropinic or panterianic nervous disorders, because they mainly contain muscaridin and other principles such as neurin, choline, isomuscarine, ibotenic acid, pyroibotenic acid, muscimol or muscazone

The main symptoms take place half an hour and three hours after eating the mushrooms. Among the main symptoms, we will include: diarrhea, vomiting and dry mouth.

After the first described symptoms, hallucinations can take place, especially of a visual type. Mental confusion, convulsions, dilated pupils and coma can also appear. The treatment involves intestinal emptying, the use of sedatives and hydration of the body.

  • Mushrooms of the genus Clitocybe and Inocybe. They produce sweating disturbances that start between 15 minutes and four hours after they are ingested. It is produced by the action of muscarine, betanin, neurin, isomuscarin and choline. It is mainly characterized by the onset of vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, lack of urination, profuse sweating, decreased heart rate, constriction of pupils, anxiety, etc. Treatment involves gastric lavage and hydration

  • Mushrooms of the genus Coprinus (C. atramentarius, C. africanus, C. insignis, C. erethisteus, C. micaceus) and Clitocive (C. clavipides) They produce coprinic disorders, because they contain a principle similar to disulfiram that prevents the metabolism of acetaldehyde. It is toxic only when combined with alcohol (if you drink alcohol 3 or 4 hours before taking the fungus or two or three days after having swallowed them)

Symptoms occur after a quarter of an hour or half an hour after drinking alcohol. The main symptoms are the following: nausea, vomiting, very strong hot feeling in the head and neck, arrhythmias, hypotension. The problem usually resolves spontaneously within three to six hours. Treatment may involve the use of drugs to treat hypotension and arrhythmia.

Major illness caused by poisonous mushrooms

death caps (Amanita phalloides)

Photo of death caps (Amanita phalloides) in different stages of development

Severe poisonings occur when this takes place a long time after the ingestion of the poisonous mushroom. This can range from just after 7 or 15 hours, even after 24 hours or several days after swallowing them.

The main damage is inflicted on the liver and kidneys that can be fatally undermined when the first symptoms of poisoning appear.

Among the mushrooms that produce this type of poisoning are:

  • Mushrooms of the genus Amanita (A.phalloides, A.verna, A.porrinensis and some species of Lepiota and Galerina). (They produce phaloid disorders) The main components of this genus are amaninamide, amanine, alpha, beta and gammaamanitinaloidine, phalloidin, phalloin, phallisacin, phallacidin, phallacin, viroidine,, etc)

Symptoms of poisoning occur after about 8 or 10 hours after ingestion but can occur within 24 hours. Among the most characteristic symptoms are the following: first, they produce gastrointestinal symptoms (severe diarrhea, vomiting, excessive thirst, sweating, cramps, stomach pain, headache, dehydration, etc)

Later, after an apparent recovery, a few days after having ingested them, a number of symptoms that indicate damage to the liver and kidney occur: lack of urination, jaundice, bleeding, pulmonary edema, hypoglycemia, etc.. It can cause problems of lack of awareness and behavioral disorders.

The final episode involves limb paralysis, convulsions, coma and death.

Only proper medical treatment in the first hours after ingestion may save the person who has eaten these mushrooms. The treatment is very complex and may even need a liver transplant.

  • Mushrooms of Cortinarius gender (mainly C. orellanus). They produce cortinaric disturbances. The first symptoms occur after 3 or 15 days after ingestion. Among the most characteristic symptoms are the following: mild belly pain, intense thirst, headache, muscle pain, cramps, nephritis, kidney failure, liver failure, hyperglycemia, uremia, pulmonary edema, and so on. The treatment involves the use of appropriate medications to protect the liver and kidneys. The use of hemodialysis has led to the recovery of most affected patients.

  • Mushrooms of the genus Gyromitra (G. esculenta, G.gigas, G.infula) and Morchella (M. esculenta) (They produce gyromitric poisoning) They contain some components called gyromitrins, which are very harmful to the liver and kidneys. Symptoms usually appear after about 6 or 9 hours after ingestion but can occur after almost a whole day. Among the main initial symptoms are the following: vomiting, diarrhea, arrhythmias and hypotension. After one or two days of poisoning symptoms can appear more severe kidney or liver (enlarged liver, elevated transaminases, destruction of red blood cells, black urine, etc).

How to treat major mushroom poisoning

The treatment of this poisoning is gastric lavage and intestinal protection of the liver and affected kidneys.

Home remedies for mushroom poisoning

There is no home remedy to nullify or cure the toxicity of mushrooms! Therefore, the only option is to abstain from eating poisoned mushrooms !

The best way to avoid mushroom poisoning is awareness and prevention. You should only pick those mushrooms you can identify very well. In case of doubt, you’d better not touch an unknown mushroom.

In case of suspicion of having ingested a toxic mushroom, one should seek prompt medical attention.

  • The more rapid the treatment for mushrooms poisoning is applied, the less effect of this poisoning will have on body organs.

punto rojo More information on mushrooms.

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

19 March, 2019

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Botanical-online is an informative page that describes, among other topics, the traditional uses of plants from a therapeutic point of view. Their descriptions do not replace professional advice. Botanical-online is not responsible for self-medication and recommends consulting with the physician.