POISONOUS AND HALLUCINOGENIC MUSHROOMS
by Michael W. Beug Email: beugm@evergreen.edu
The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA
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Slide 15.
Gyromitra infula, also known as Helvella infula, and its look-alike Gyromitra ambigua can also cause gyromitrin-like poisonings. While Gyromitra esculenta fruits in the spring, Gyromitra infula is a fall species. Gyromitra ambigua and Gyromitra infula are both reported to cause gyromitrin poisoning though the toxin they contain has not been formally determined. Gyromitra infula and ambigua like all Gyromitra, Helvella, and Morchella species, are seriously poisonous if eaten raw. Some people detoxify them by boiling in water for a few minutes, discarding the water, and then sautéing the mushrooms. If you choose to eat these or any other it Gyromitra, for example the snow-bank mushroom Gyromitra gigas/montana never sample them raw, always throw away the water they were boiled in, and do not breathe the vapors while cooking them. Finally given that the toxin is cumulative over at least a short period of time, do not eat repeated meals of these mushrooms. Since the flavor is not exceptionally good in any of these species, is it worth the risk? The gyromitrin toxin is unusual in that at low doses, it causes no apparent adverse effects, but above a significant threshold serious poisoning occurs. Thus someone can safely eat them for years and then suddenly be seriously poisoned from eating too many, eating them for too many days in close succession, or getting a more potent batch than previously.
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